Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jaywalkers Done!!!

Here is my version of the popular Jaywalker sock from magknits. I changed so much in order to get it to fit my fat thigh and small foot. The yarn I used was from; it is called Esprit and is very similar to Cascade's Fixation. It is way too thick to use a size 0 needle and that is what I would need at 80 stitches. So . . . . my first change was to lose two stitches from each pattern repeat. I cast on 68 stitches using size 6 needles. I was very worried about the sock stretching enough to go over my heel. I knit the ribbing and switched to a size 5 to begin the pattern in the cuff. An inch or two of that and then I went to a size 4. Thus I shaped the cuff to fit my weird leg. At the very end I dropped two more stitches per repeat by doing the double decrease without the K f&B inc.

In my neverending quest for trying new heels and toes, I chose the Balbriggan heel. (from Ireland and Nancy Bush)

I knit the flap over half the stitches (30) using a ktbl, p repeat across the front and purl all across the back. It's very textured and I like it better than the plain k1,p1 heel flap. I switched to stockinette to turn the heel and fiddled with Nancy's numbers because I had 30 stitches and her directions were for 40. Figured it out, though, and the heel turned nicely.

Kitchnered the heel. Worked beautifully. Left a very smooth piece to stand on. Then I pick up the 30 sts I had used up for the heel and began the foot. No gusset decreases. I hate decreasing for the gusset. No good reason. Just hate. I did use a new pick up for me. I picked up only one strand and knitted it tbl to close it up a bit. This was great. You cannot feel a seam. I think that seam is what I don't like on traditional heels.

Now for a new toe. I chose the round toe which decreases much like the top of a hat. If you hate Kitchner (I don't understand why) this is an option for you. It merely spaces K2tog decreases around the foot with ever decreasing even rows in between the decrease rows. All of this is in Folk Socks by Nancy Bush.

They are finished. They slide on nice and easy. I'm pleased, most of all by the Balbriggan heel. I will definitely use that again because it cups my heel so well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Classes and Projects

It hasn't been blocked, doesn't have shoulder pads, but Meghan was available to take the picture, so here it is.

Yes, that is a thumb support in the picture. Left thumb really hurts; right thumb hurts. Strange pains come and go in both hands. Does anyone know a good hand doctor?

My progress toward class samples has been greatly slowed. I may never get back to those two pair of socks.

I have planned my classes for now until the end of the year. Lots of quickie weekend classes and few for the more advanced crowd. Hope everyone finds something they would like. If not, let me know.

Newest project is the Swallowtail shawl in Interweave Knits. I'm using the yarn it calls for--that's a first! Misti Alpaca that I had in my stash. The shawl knits from the top down and the pattern is only 24 inches. I don't like shawls that come to my knees. (No short jokes, please.) The first section after the cast-on and set up is a nice 6 row lace pattern with return row purl. I did use a safety line, but didn't need it. Then I got cocky.

For section two, a lily of the valley lace that I had never knit before, I forewent the safety line because I'm so good I don't need one. After tinking 3 tedious rows of botched lace over 200 sts long, I put in the safety line, practiced the pattern until I began to get a handle on that P5tog thing and then restarted. Actually it is coming along quite well. It just slows for the P5tog some of the time. It's so pretty that it is worth it.

Class schedule in brief. More details at
Sept. 23 10am – 12 Cables Workshop Adv. Beg
Sept. 24 2pm-4 Knit with Me Free
Help session for students who have taken classes in the past few months. Invitations will be sent by email.
Oct 1 – 8 1pm-2:30 Double Pointed Cabaret Bag
Oct. 5-19 6pm-7-30 Swallowtail shawl Intermediate
Oct 7 10am-12 Couture Cast-ons Adv. Beg
Oct 10-24 6pm-7:30 Advanced Sock techniques Intermediate
Nov. 4-11 10am-12 Beyond Beginners Adv. Beg
Nov. 5-19 1pm-2:30 Plus Size Fit Class Advanced
Nov. 9-16 6pm-7:30 Finishing workshop Adv. Beg
Dec. 2 10am-12 Lace Baby Bonnets Adv. Beg
Dec. 3 1pm-3 Lace edgings Adv. Beg
Dec. 17 1pm-3 Knit with Me Free
Help session for students who have taken classes in the past few months. Invitations will be sent by email.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bike Socks finished!!

The alternating dark-light pattern in the gusset is a departure from Lucy Neatby's pattern as is the dark-light striped toe. I just love the effect of that toe and it finds its way into many of my socks. (Actually, it just makes it easy to remember if I have decreased or not!)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Precious Pals--An Opportunity to do Girly Stuff

This is my first Precious Pal to be donated to the Charlotte Police Department. He's wearing a sweater knitted from the pattern on The Knitting Guild of America website. Officers will carry these animals in squad cars and use them to communicate with children who have been involved in or witnessed a crime. While shopping today, I acted on a hint from Debra Davis and stopped in at the Dollar Tree on South Blvd. I bought ten bears to dress for only $1.00 apiece. They are 20" tall and very soft.

I can't wait to get to work on something for the green bear. Since I have no granddaughters (two amazing grandsons), I plan to do a very girly sweater for this bear. Maybe metallics or ruffles. Maybe both.

The Guild is having a Knit In at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Southpark on August 19th. We are planning to work on this project there all day. I'll take some of my bears to share with others.

Henry was a little confused. Okay, Henry is always a little confused. But he did wonder who all these guys were sitting on his sofa.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Great Sock-a-long: A Guild Challenge

My knitting guild is sponsoring a Sock-a-long. This is like a knit-a-long only we are all doing different patterns of socks. Some of the group are first time sock knitters and we have put them in touch with some web tutorials and some appropriate patterns. We veterans of sock knitting are available for help as needed. The veterans, some of whom are true nut cases (Harriet), will be tackling different patterns which will offer us a chance to do something new. The Jaywalker pattern will be a choice of several, I think. I am looking at some new techniques.

My socks have a tubular cast-on that I discovered online. My Fashionable Life. I've played with tubular cast ons and cast offs before, but they didn't really stick in my brain.

I've complete the cast on for both socks and I like them.

Second challenge is an Austrian Twisted St pattern on the cuff.

It went really well on the first cuff, but it is a thick pattern. I decided that I didn't want the bulk in my clog so I decreased stitches and went to a smaller needle and continued in a K2, P2 pattern to knit the gusset. The heel botton and the entire sole will be st st. I'm very pleased with them so far. The Euroflax Gem Merino yarn is wonderful; practically knits itself and it's machine washable.

Final challenge is to use the new heel technique I discovered online where you knit the gusset first and then just turn the heel and continue. None of that nasty picking up stitches. I've completed one and it was effortless. I first saw this technique on A Time to Knit.

I used my old standard method of turning the heel which does not require a wrap before the turn. When I knitted her sample, I followed her directions and liked the effect that leaving the wrap made. It was a nice textural detail. I did use her lifted increases instead of my standard M1's and thought them excellent. This may become my preferred heel because you never slow down.