February socks

The personal sock club is the best idea I never had.  I am enjoying myself immensely, even if I am not quite keeping up.  I am only a bit behind in the knitting, albeit months behind in the sharing.

For the February pair I was delighted beyond words when my husband pulled the bag containing Berroco Sox Metallic in Curacao.  I bought this yarn last summer while vacationing in Boston.  Good times!  Love Boston.

I paired the yarn with the Charade pattern by Sandra Park.  I was unhappy with the pattern at first, thinking it fiddly and the fabric unyielding.  Once past the first leg, I got the pattern down and, after trying the unfinished sock on a few times, had to also admit that it actually was a good fabric, not floppy or stiff.

I like these socks a great deal.

The color is a bit of a change for me, blues and grays.

The one thing about these socks that I would leave behind is February.  Gray, dismal, wet, snowy, cold February is a burden on me more and more every year.

At least I will have some beautiful socks to keep me warm next year.

January socks

I have started one of those self-imposed sock clubs.  I picked twelve yarns from the stash, matched them to twelve sock patterns I had queued up, put it all in paper lunch bags, stapled the bags shut, and literally tossed them into my office closet.  I gave my husband the honor of choosing the first bag and he did a great job. He chose–at random–one of the yarn and pattern combos I was most excited about.

Finished this afternoon:

Pattern is Kalajoki by Finnish knitter Tiina Seppala, yarn is Malabrigo Sock.  Kalajoki is a river in Finland and the off-center pattern winds like a river down the leg and foot.  It was fun to knit an off-center pattern and the toes are anatomical, which I dreaded doing but turned out to be far less complicated than it sounds.

Next up, my husband picked another awesome yarn, Berroco Sox Metallic. Nothing like a little sparkle in dreary February.

Gauge, you cruel mistress

Chickami is not working out.  The yarn I got specifically for this project, Elann Coto Canapone, is not knitting up at the advertised gauge for me, 19-20 sts/4 inches on US 5.  Instead I am getting 23 sts/4 inches on US 5 – and it is a good fabric that is not too firm or too loose so I don’t want to mess with that.  I thought I had taken into account my smaller gauge but, noooo… I apparently lied to myself about what 23/4*40=.

I’m spinning my wheels on what to do.  I might be able to scrounge up replacement yarn from my stash but… probably not.  I have a top’s worth of Dalegarn Svale to rip and reuse but that gauge is also probably too small.  The gauge of Classic Elite Flash is a bit too large but I also don’t think I have enough of that (and it’s discontinued).  And around and around my unhappy brain goes!

I’ve also spent an unreasonable amount of time searching for a tank pattern to replace this one and no go.  It’s just not a very popular gauge for patterns despite how nice and lightweight sport/DK yarns are.

Really, what I need to do is take the lovely simplicity of Chickami and rewrite it to fit this yarn.  But I am too mad at my failed project to take this step right now.  So I am going back to work on the Equinox Yoke Pullover and Chickami will have a time out.

Sadly, this means that there will be no new green cotton/hemp tank top for my birthday without a Christmas-in-July miracle.  I’ll survive somehow.  It will probably involve Woodchuck 802 and Season 3 of the Tudors.

Looking on the brighter side, omg, I love the Ultra Alpaca I’m using in the Equinox Pullover.  The color!  The softness!  The strength!  Berroco, you are genius.

Has anyone else been bitch slapped by the technical details lately?

Inspired by babies, part 1

Hard to not have babies on the brain when one is being kicked by a baby all day long from the inside.  Somehow I still manage to think of the impending bundle of joy as “cute” and dream up wonderful things to make in quantities that far exceed the time I have available.

Since watching the Urban Aran Cardigan grow – for the second time – is rather boring for the blog, I am going to blab a bit about the baby knits which tempt me.  And I am going to divide this over two posts because it’s coming out kind of long.

First of all, a finished project: Star of the Day hat by Susan Lawrence.

(Zander models for his baby sister)

Knit up in Violet Wool-Ease, a slightly dusky, dark purple which captures my eye in a way that makes me go “but I don’t usually like purple THIS much.”  The brim, finished with an applied i-cord per the pattern, rolls but not when worn so it’s not that big of a deal.  Sadly, the grapefruit test shows this hat to be too big for newborn use but she’ll wear it eventually.

Second: Organic Guernsey by Fawn Pea.  I have loved this pattern for a long long time but have yet to make it.  Part of my issue is that I really do want to use the organic cotton but the $30+ price tag chokes my momentum.  I’ve read on Ravelry that there are sometimes fit issues so I think I will make this in something I have in my stash and, if I love it enough to knit again, then I will fork over for the organic cotton.

Third: baby cardigan from Argentina… I ran into an old college friend at a party last autumn and she was making this sweater from a pattern handed down in her family who have it from their neighbors.  She said that everyone in their neighborhood made this baby cardi.  It’s knit in one piece from sport-weight yarn (such as Louet Gems wool, which is machine washable) and I have no idea what the finish cardigan looks like.  Adventure!  I wouldn’t normally knit something sight unseen but the background of this garment intrigues me and apparently that’s enough.

Fourth: Toasty Topper, a Knitty pattern which is a hat/scarf combo for toddlers.  Love it!  I even bought yarn for this last month, Cascade 220 in a blue-grey which will look very fine on my blue-eyed boy.  I do highly recommend the Berroco Ultra Alpaca the pattern calls for, which is only a dollar or two more per skein than the Cascade.  If all goes well the first time around, I will make a second one this summer for baby #2 to wear in the winter.

Thus concludes part 1 of the parade of baby knits, many of which I think I am going to make in the next six weeks.  On top of the Urban Aran Cardi, hats and mittens for myself, a few designs in progress, a pair of socks, my Ribby Cardi…. hahaha!

Madly, Deeply

That is how much I want a beret.

I don’t wear hats but in college I tried berets and found my exception.  Whether or not they look good on me (most hats do not) is moot – *I* like how they look on me.  Or how I imagine myself to look in one.  Whatever.  They are wool and they cover my head and I will wear them.  (I feel like I am reasoning with my three-year-old self here.)

Alas, after going through a few of the plain black wool variety which I probably picked up at Target, I lost the last one and never replaced it.

This was all before I took up knitting in 2002.  Why have I not made myself headgear?  (Calorimetry doesn’t count, especially because I rarely wear it.)  Two years ago, I made Solstice hats for my family.  But not myself.  (Do not mistake me for the selfless knitter.  I just have a short attention span.  Re: multitudinous projects on the needles!)

This beret re-obsession has been sneaking up on me slowly this autumn.  Patterns coming out which catch my eye.  Mentions that slouchy hats are fashionable.  Me walking sloooowly across a windy November parking lot with toddler in tow, acknowledging that my jacket hood is but a windy cave.

A few days ago I realized I would be lucky to see the Winter Solstice sun rise without casting on for a beret.  I will try.  There is miles of yarn to go before that night…

I want to make a plain (and FAST) one first, then maybe Gretel, lovely Gretel.  Also I am charmed by the multicolored tam so that will be number three.

The first sign that this is an obsession: one is not enough.  The second? Instead of eating or dressing my child, I go spelunking for yarn:

The other morning our newly replaced halogen bulb burnt out (good thing they come in 2s) so in the dawn twilight I was bent over the cedar chest in the living room with a flashlight digging for the second skein of Donegal Tweed (dark foresty green).  In the process I found two skeins of Cascade Pastaza (dusky peacock).  Two hats worth!  And when I finish Equinox sometime in the next millennia, all the leftover Berroco Ultra Alpaca (I heart you, you warm softie!) for the colorwork in the yoke can go into a tam.  Maybe one of these?  Which are so beautiful (albeit a tad pastel) that I am weak in the knees.  And, apparently rhyming.  Perhaps another sign of obsession?

My enjoyment of picking out projects + yarn is second only to the actual knitting – at least while the knitting is fun, not the slogging to get it done part.  That is one measure better than seaming, the thing I must tolerate for my beloved hobby.

Finishing my Solstice knits before the Solstice looks dire but I do not fear my family’s disappointment or finger-pointing.  I have to get them done so I can make a beret so I don’t get a terrible cold for which I cannot take any medication!  And, ye gads, what if one of them thinks they can keep the knitting needles in their holiday package?  And what if said needles were the ones I need to make my beret?!?

Back to knitting.  Before I make myself cry.

Photographer's Assistant
Photographer’s Assistant