Monday, September 28, 2009

The Orangutan and the Hound

Or, as we of The Beagle's Knitting Blog would refer to it: "The Hound and the Orangutan". SFW

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Top O' The Sock

The ribbing part of a sock should flow into the design on the leg. With every fiber of my being, this I do believe. It should behave itself, as in the Willamette Hop Sock above.

Then along comes Eikrem, the new design from the Knit Purl Sock Club to question everything a stock stands for. That ribbing does not flow into the design of the leg. The pattern breaks between the two.
(Click on the photo to see the detail.) It's intentional! It's asymetric! It's atonal! It's postmodern! It's driving me to the brink!

That pattern break or lack of flow between the ribbing and the leg is meant to suggest the jagged coastline of the fjords in Norway, says the designer.

I'm not open-minded enough. That pattern break makes me go all Joan Crawford.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mini Sock

This yarn lollipop came in the first mailing from the Knit Purl Sock Club. Attached were instructions for knitting a mini sock with #1 or #2 dpns.

I cast on around 6:30 this morning and cast off 45 minutes later. It would be a snap to make a yarn lollipop for a knitters' get-together. It's just a little ball of yarn from leftovers (this is ShibuiKnits sock yarn) and a lollipop stick. Free mini sock patterns are all over the web.

It's easy to picture a little Christmas tree decorated with mini socks in red and green or blue and silver. How about a tying up a present of handknit socks with a mini sock in the middle of the bow?

Althea Crone's site Bugknits is a terrific showcase of her miniature knits. Don't miss the video of her mitting for the movie "Coraline". Buttercup Miniatures almost makes me want to take up miniature knitting. In reality, it would be two minutes max of genuine mini-knitting before my eyesight blurred.

The mini sock I made isn't nearly as small. It's perfectly cat-sized... if you can get the sock on your cat without incident. Our older cat Sally would have modeled the sock, if I had been able to find her. Nala the orange Ninja kitty con fuego was around but I value my life. Instead, please accept a stand-in:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Science of Socks: Science Project #1, Year 2

The mail carrier brought the newest kit of the Knit Purl Sock Club! As always, the presentation was beautiful. A shimmery pearl-colored bag held the yarn and the pattern, plus a surprise.

The surprise is a Lollipop Mini Sock kit, as imaginative and adorable as can be. Word has it that the little wool lollipop was a big hit at the Sock Summit last month. It's a stick wrapped with enough ShibuiKnits sock yarn to make the enclosed pattern for a tiny sock. The thing intrigues me and it must be a quickie knit. I'll be casting on for it tomorrow, although I have no idea what you do with a mini sock. Any suggestions?

Last year, each Knit Purl club kit was in a Portland, Oregon theme. A landmark or aspect of Portland inspired the yarn color and the pattern design. This year, that doesn't seem to be the case. I googled the pattern name - Eikrem - and came up with a Manchester United soccer team member. You can click on any of the photos to get a better look.

There's been some discussion on Ravelry about the way the ribbing at the top meets the leg pattern. It does look a bit awkward in the photo but I'll give it a go. We'll see if it looks better in the flesh. If not, it's easily changed.

The yarn is Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes (50% Superwash Merino, 50% Tencel.

I have never knit tencel, also known as lyocell. Tencel is from wood pulp cellulose. According to The Knitter's Book of Yarn:
Behaviorally speaking, lyocell has excellent dimensional strength and durability. It can absorb moisture, making it suitable for warm-weather attire, and it has a relaxed weight and drape that are enhanced by its excellent dye absorption and reflective qualities. It has a soft feel that makes it highly suitable for fabrics used in next-to-the-skin wear.

Sounds good for socks, doesn't it? The yarn has a buttery soft hand, mimicking a wool silk. At first, I thought the color was a vivid sky blue. Looking at the color name - Socktail - the color is really much more curacao.Photobucket

Friday, September 18, 2009

Knitting, Knitting Everywhere

I pride myself on being an organized person. Never miss a deadline, never lose a set of keys or a document, never forget an appointment.

So who's living room is this?

Oh yeah, it's mine. Left to right: extra wool for the bmp socks for my brother-in-law's 50th birthday, the Peacock Scarf I started in a hospital waiting room this summer plus row counter and the book with the pattern, a Bird-in-Hand mitten and instructions and extra wool.

Meanwhile, over at the piano ...

One bmp sock, coming along nicely, despite the size 0 needles.

But wait! That's not all!

An old wooden storage box with extra wool for the Bird-in-Hand mittens and a project I haven't blogged much about yet. It's the beginning of an afghan for my younger daughter who will be off to college next year.

I'll finish them all. Really! A person needs a variety of things: the socks are for tv knitting, the lace is for in-the-zone knitting, and the mittens are because I had leftover white sparkly yarn. There's a rhyme and a reason ...

Okay, there's a problem. Call in a reality show cleaning squad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shhhhh! Secret Knitting in Progress

Two big birthdays coming up: my brother-in-law's 50th and the first birthday of their granddaughter.

For the little girl, I wanted to make a hat that Tinkerbell would wear. This is is Flower Toggle Hat from Handknits for Kids by Lucinda Guy. It's a wonderful book of patterns with many standouts, including this one. For the wool, I found two no-name skeins of Chinese merino superwash at Herrschner's Outlet.

I did modify the pattern to knit it in the round, rather than flat. A hat is just prettier if it doesn't have a seam running up the back. I also knit the stem of the flower as i-cord, rather than flat.
The design of the flower is so simple and clever. Don't you love the red and yellow stamens?

For her grandpa,who has been been working with computer-generated animation for years and years, I'm doing a pair of bmp.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Solar Charged

"I'd like to put one of these summer days in a drawer and pull it out in mid-January," Tom said.

The windows and the porch door open, we sat in our family room last night, watching the newly-released DVD "Valentino: the Last Emperor". It is a stunningly beautiful and moving documentary, with Valentino's partner Giancarlo Giammetti the Alice in Valentino's Wonderland.

Valentino and Giammetti would recoil in horror at the bmp Sock I was working on during the movie. They'd appreciate the workmanship, though. Did you know that everything at Valentino couture was sewn by hand? Valentino and Giammetti would also appreciate the quality of the Louet Gems wool. It is soft and tightly-spun, making it ideal for this kind of a sock.

The late-summer weather will continue today and tomorrow. This is lucky for the annual carnival that raises money for a school. There are lots of rides, of course. Elephant ears. Cotton candy. We'll stop by, have a brat, listen to some live polka music.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's a Newfangled World

Incredible as it may seem, my photo of Sally the cat received the most votes in the Knit Purl Sock Club online contest! The contest was for the most "twitterific" photo, which is going to mean different things to different people. My prize is a year's membership in their dreamy sock club.

Before the first installment arrives, there is time to finish a pair of socks for my brother-in-law's 50th birthday. He's an animator who does his work on computers, as most animators do these days. Knitty's bmp will remind him of Old School computerized animation. You can play Space Invaders on line, gratis, and for free here.

The yarn is the Louet Gems called for in the pattern. Despite the size 0 needles, this pattern is quick going. The pattern is simple but varied, which makes for an addictive knit.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Vote for Me, Pweeze

I have an entry in Knit Purl's photo contest. Vote for 3894's (that's my Twitter name) photo of Sally the cat! First prize is a year's membership in their wonderful sock club.

Oh, that contest is so exciting and, as of now, so infuriatingly close! But let's get our tranquil on with the sound of one mitten clapping. I finished the right Bird-in-Hand mitten a few minutes ago. You see it here, unblocked. And here's the namesake bird on the thumb:
You can click on any of the photos to make bigger.

This is my second pair of Bird-in-Hands. I cast on for the first during one of the early Democratic presidential primary debates last year. Couldn't figure out the braid at the bottom and read the chart backwards, i.e. left to right, instead of the correct right to left. Not too shabby, regardless, eh? That's how great a pattern Bird-in-Hand is. It gave good mitten even with my dorky, distracted knitting.

Right mitten down, left mitten to go. This pair of Bird-in-Hands, I can figure out the braid at the bottom (see first photo in this entry) and I'm reading the chart correctly. No promise of distraction-free knitting, though. We've got President Obama's healthcare reform address coming up.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Captain Obvious to Me: "Knitting Should Be Fun."

A Bird-in-Hand mitten. The green is Classic Elite Renaissance (100% wool)and the white is Nashua Ivy (50% alpaca, 45% merino, 5% Estellina which is sparkle), leftover from Hermione's Hat and Mittens.

The green yarn was originally purchased to make a pair of Grove Mittens. My elder daughter thought they were the standout design from Jared Flood's new booklet Made in Brooklyn and would I make them for her?

Halfway into one Grove, I frogged the whole durn thing. It wasn't the twisted stitches. I had agonized too much and loo long over a chart that is a witch to read, even enlarged. The twisted skp and sk2p icons are represented by a similar symbol. If the result had been fabulously fab, I would have soldiered on. Knitting is a hobby and a hobby should be fun. These mittens were not fun to knit.

To others knitting happily away on Groves, I kiss you on both cheeks -mwah! mwah! - and say unto you "Bonne continuation, mes amis!". And, now, I smile at you from where I sit on the shore, knitting away on a pair of Bird-in-Hands.