Friday, March 28, 2008

Fair Isle Cotton Socks/Happy Easter

After completing the test sock for my design using Cotton Fine, I wore them, washed them in machine on hand wash cycle, hung to dry, and then wore again for a full day before photographing. Don't "E-e-e-w-w-w-w!" You can't smell from a picture.
The shrinkage was tiny. I'm thinking to not have any negative ease in the next pair. The jog which I didn't try to remedy is noticeable, but since it is on the side of the foot, I don't care. I don't like the heel flap after the gusset pickup. I will use the side stitches of the heel flap as selvedges in the next design. Washing did improve the look of the pickup stitches from the original. They are tighter.
The star toe not only looks good, but it feels good. Candace Eisner-Strick told me a year ago that she uses this more and more. It is speedier than the Kitchenered toe and I am all about speed.
I am planning several patterns using this yarn. Stay tuned.

DGS#2 visited for Easter dinner and a personal egg hunt. He is the most joyous child I've ever known, and I think this picture captures that.
He is also a serious independent young man. Each plastic egg was scrutinized and opened before proceeding to find another.
DH's mom also was here. She got a bit chilled watching the egg hunt, so I loaned her my Malabrigo Clapotis. I almost didn't get it back. I think a Malabrigo shawl must be in her future.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vertical is always best

I started knitting (50 st cast on) at the brownish stripe at the right side of back and knitted until the back was able to reach from shoulder bone to shoulder bone with a tiny bit of stretch. The bottom border is 7 sts of seed st; the basic pattern is k3 rows, p 1 row. I alternated using two skeins of Iro in order to avoid larger areas of dark patches.

I determined how wide to make the shoulders by trying it on. Then I decreased about 2 inches at one time followed by decreasing one st every 2 rows 4 times in order to make the neckline. I just kept trying it on to make sure it fit.
I ended each front with 8 rows of seed stitch to mock the bottom border.
My adaptation to accommodate the "girls" was to add 4 stitches to the length of the front. This was the only way I could think of to create the effect of a short row in sideways knitting.

I used most of 4 skeins of Iro. I knit the body on a size 11 which kept the fabric from being too firm and then switched to a size 10 for the 8 rows of seed st in front. I sewed the shoulders using mattress st. I left the neck as it was. The chain selvedge I knit there was sufficient finishing. I did crochet crab st around the armholes, mostly to prevent them from stretching.

It was quick and I do like it. I will block it and stretch it just a bit lengthwise.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Sock Pattern

I have finished the Herbal Socks and finally written the pattern. It is downloadable at my site. The St. John's Wort pattern stitch looks very nice with handpaints that have very small repeats. One new wrinkle I tried with this pattern was to knit my gusset sts in a twisted rib. This firmed the gusset nicely and I plan to use this again.

I really like this Opal Rainforest sock yarn. The thicker stripes combined with the tweedy effect is rich looking. I'm never disappointed in Opal yarn.

Enjoy the pattern and please email me if you have any problems with it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Public Art????; New Projects

This redefines Fiber Art. I was sent this by a friend on a list I read. It captured my imagination. I wonder if the Charlotte Knitting Guild could use this to jump start a publicity campaign. Just a thought.

Noro Iro. I'm designing a sideways vest using this yarn. This is one part of a single skein which I knit in various st patterns to determine what I wanted to use. I chose the Knit 3 rows, Purl 1 row pattern to get a vertical stripe and a vertical texture. I added a border of seed st at the bottom. Because the color repeats tend to segregate the dark colors and the bright colors, I am using two balls at a time. This is a better look for me. I'm also forcing the colors I want near my face and trying to keep some darker ones under the armhole. Any slimming trick I can try!!! I'll post progress picture later.

hhobama sold me the yarn above to make a Sidna Farley Ribwarmer. The back will be the solid Malabrigo worsted named Geranium; sides and front are in the Kureyon. She promises mixing the yarns will receive rave reviews. I'm pleased that the Kureyon contains a few colors I never wear; nice to get a bit outside my rut.

The original EZ ribwarmer pattern and Sidna's are a bit too boxy for me, so my challenge is to figure a way to add some curves. More when I am underway.

Bargain Knitting Books; Stretch response

Check out this website from the Yarnmarket. It is their Bargain page for slightly damaged books. Both of the books below are under $10 and are the last two books I would ever be without.

Montse Stanley was a Spanish architect living in London. This has wonderful line drawings that make techniques easy to see. It is organized well and is easy to use. The section on cast ons and bind offs is worth the price, but there is so much more.
Maggie Righetti was not only a great knitter, but she could write. You will love reading this book because it is humorous as well as practical. My favorite Maggie Righetti chapter is "Buttonholes Are Bastards."

There are plenty of other books and some nice yarns for very good prices. Enjoy.

As to the stretch factor of the Fair Isle socks I am making in Cotton Fine---I'll let you know. I wore the finished sock all day yesterday and it didn't stretch out at all. After I launder, I'll advise.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fair Isle Sock swatching

Last year at the Colorado Knitting Camp, Candace Eisner-Strick taught a lovely three day workshop on fair isle techniques. It was wonderful. Candace is a tremendous teacher with the ability to allow students to go separate routes from what she planned for class. Why do I love that in a teacher? Well, if you know me, . . .

The owner/manager of Brown Sheep Yarns was one of the students and Peggy is a phemon. She even brought yarn to share--All colors of the NatureSpun sport weight and all colors of Cotton Fine, the baby brother of Cotton Fleece which I love. The Westerners and Mid-westerners just lapped up all the wool we had and knitted away. Over in the corner sat the lone Southerner just a knittin' that cotton, and praising it's characteristics. At the end of the workshop, Peggy gave me all of the Cotton Fleece she had brought---over 50 skeins, each in a different color. I'm still speechless.

The campers will be taking a bus trip from Ft. Collins to the Brown Sheep Factory this year, and I wanted to show my appreciation to Peggy. I am attempting to design some fair isle sock patterns to give her. These pics are my swatch attempt. I'm testing the different patterns in a short sock so that I can do some washing and wearing tests as well.

Just thought you'd like a look at one designer's slow process of design. Gee, I wish I could do some of this on paper or computer, but it just doesn't work for me.

In the mean time, check out Cotton Fine in you LYS. It knits lace beautifully and I'm far from the first to use it for socks.