Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mosaic Socks... a review

The pattern, as posted in the Six Socks Knitalong group, is an interesting one. It caught me by surprise, actually. I was merrily knitting the leg part of the sock. After the mosaic knitting, you knit one round in your main colour, changing needles back to the smaller size. Then you go immediately into the heel. It's a modified strong heel. I read it over, sort of, then started knitting.

The usual heel is worked on half the stitches. The heel flap is worked on two needles, then you turn the heel, pick up gusset stitches and work around. On the modified strong heel, the heel flap and gusset is knitted along with the instep stitches until you reach a total of 60 stitches on the heel needles (32 instep, 60 heel), then the heel is turned. On a standard sock heel, the heel turning is perhaps 12 rows? On this sock the heel turning is much longer and follows the heel shape of the foot more closely.

I'm not sure if that's all comprehensible, but it works.

Once I finished the first sock, I was a little concerned about the depth of the heel (it's shorter than my standard heel flap) and the length of the sock (it looks really long... even Carol noticed that). However, once I tried the sock on, it fit perfectly fine. The second sock is well on it's way (I'm about halfway through working the heel) and I'll post a picture or two of the socks when it's done. No SSS this time... phew!

I may even use this heel again sometime.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

SSSS exchange and such things

SSSS exchange... no, I'm not trying to imitate the sound a snake makes. It stands for second sock syndrome sock exchange. I may have written about it before. The concept is simple. When you're knitting socks, the first sock goes easily; it's fun; the pattern is new to you perhaps. The second sock isn't so much fun. You've already done the pattern once and you'd rather try something different. So that first sock languishes in your knitting basket, just waiting for it's mate to show up.

That's where the exchange comes in. You knit the first sock. Then you take it, it's future mate (the yarn meant for the second sock), the pattern and any changes you've made and you send it all to your sock exchange partner. She gets to do the second one. In return, you get the sock she finished for you and it's future mate and you make the mate. That way, you're only knitting one sock of each pair... no second sock syndrome.

So, that's what I've been working on for the last few days, on and off. And, obviously, I can't show you a picture yet, but I will post one after Yahaira gets her sock. Suffice it to say that the pattern is one I've done before, but have wanted to to again, with a tweak or two. Not to worry, Yahaira, I'll make sure you know about the tweaks.

I've also been playing with a pattern from the Six Socks Knitalong Yahoo group. That's a group set up to knit six pairs of socks per year, one every other month. I haven't been keeping up with it, but did check out the last pattern. It's called Mosaic socks. At first, I wasn't too impressed with it, but after seeing the mosaic technique in the Barbara Walker treasuries, I was intrigued. I'm doing this one in a brown Regia 4 ply and the contrast yarn is one of the Online River Collection sock yarns. The pattern calls for two sizes of needles, US 1 and 3. In metric that's 2.25 mm and 3.25 mm. I thought at first that might be an error, but used the sizes called for. It's not a misktake. I think if I had stayed with the smaller needles, I would not be able to get the sock over my foot.

The mosaic technique used in the sock (and the BW books) has you knit each pattern row twice, exactly the same, with only one colour yarn at a time, slipping some stitches, knitting others. The advantage to this technique is that you're not having to work with two colours of yarn, trying to keep them from tangling. I'm really enjoying the process so far. I'll post another picture when the socks are done (or when one sock is done..... who knows... this may become a round of the dreaded second sock syndrome).

On the sweater front, I have one sleeve done, the second sleeve to the armhole and the back has about 5" done. I would have finished the second sleeve already, but I didn't want to work on it at the store because the sleeve cap has a lot of shaping and I wanted to be able to keep track of it. When you're having to help customers, it's a little more difficult to concentrate on shaping. I apologize for the quality of the picture in one of my previous posts. It's a little on the dark side. The sweater is a nice chocolate brown with multi-coloured flecks. As much as I want to stay away from dull colours, brown does suit me.

(btw, Sandra, if you need more of the Donegal Tweed, call and I'll put some aside for you. It IS a nice yarn.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Off the Needles

Finally, this scarf is off the needles. Now, I can mail it. The pattern is the wavy scarf from Scarf Style (Debbie Bliss pattern). The book has it as a children's scarf, but I used a heavier yarn and bigger needles. I love the way it turned out. My sister should be very happy with it.

On the cardigan front, I've finished one sleeve and have started the second. I'm pondering what to do with the front of the cardi. At first, I thought I'd put reverse stocking stitch diamonds along the button edge and the lower edge; I've since decided that wouldn't show up very well on this yarn. Now, I'm debating whether to put a lace panel along the button edge or a cable panel. I'm leaning towards the cable panel. I think a lace panel would be lost on this yarn, whereas a cable won't. Some of the Sirdar patterns that call for this yarn feature cables and they look very nice. Now, to decide on the cable.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pictures and a New Project

I've finally gotten around to taking a few pictures of finished projects. The first is a pair of socks for my brother-in-law. He chose the colour of yarn. Now to get my sister's scarf off the needles (not a lot more to knit on that one... should be done this weekend, I hope).

The second picture is of my multi-directional scarf. I signed up for the MD tutorials and am having fun doing them. This scarf was an easy knit and looks neat. I made it from three balls of Noro Silk Garden on 5.5mm needles. The scarf is drapey and cozy and I've worn it a couple of times already.

And then, there's this...

This is the new project part. I'm making a cardigan for myself. Without an official pattern... sort of. I have Ann Budd's "Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" to use as a guideline. I've drawn out a design (which I'll post if you'd like to see it) and I've started the sleeve. I decided to start with the sleeves so that I can see where it comes to under the arm. From that, I can decide how long I want to make the body of the sweater. Does that make sense?

The yarn I'm using is Sirdar's Donegal Tweed DK (45% wool, 25% acrylic, 30% polyester), a yarn I've been eyeing since Art of Yarn first opened. Apparently, it's being discontinued so I figured the time was right to get what I needed while we still have it. I love how it's knitting up.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Casting on... again

Ok, I'm getting a little frustrated with the Faraoese shawl now. After having cast on for Cheryl Oberle's Litla Dimun shawl a couple of times, then frogging it for good (see the comment about little old Italian grandmothers in my last post), I've cast on for the Faraoese shawl out of "A Gathering of Lace". I've also frogged it.

One of the diamonds along the bottom edge wasn't diamond shaped. I didn't notice it until 3 rows (of 400+ stitches per row) later. I tried to correct the error, but it didn't work. I frogged it. I have not yet re-casted on. I will, though. I will not let this pattern get the best of me. Or, I'll do Evelyn A. Clark's Pacific Northwest shawl. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps it's just that the yarn I chose for the faroese shawl doesn't want to be a faroese shawl. That's happened before.

Now, what to do with the rest of my day? John's away for a couple of days and I have the day off.

I'll give it one more try. Just one more. If it still doesn't work, I'm doing the Pacific Northwest shaw. After all, I have the pattern, I have the yarn, I have the needles... what more do I need?

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I've been told a few times that I'm generous for sharing my patterns. I'm not sure that generosity has much to do with it, really. Certainly, I could be miserly and just tell you that you have to purchase my patterns. In all honesty, I'm too lazy to get everything set up to do that. It's easier to share.

And apart from that, I like the thought that somewhere out there, other knitters are knitting items that I designed. That gives me much satisfaction. It's difficult to explain. As well, I think if there was a little more of that kind of sharing, the sharing of knowledge, the world would be a better place.

Just for simplicity's sake, I've posted a pdf file of the Zig Zag Trellis scarf pattern in the sidebar. Yes, that's what it's decided it wanted to be called. It fits. Now, let's see what else I can come up with.

I think, actually, I want to start another shawl, a Faraoese shawl this time. I really want to see how they fit and feel. I'll be doing the one out of "A Gathering of Lace", I'm thinking. I had started one from Cheryl Oberle's book, "Folk Shawls", but John didn't like it at all. He said it reminded him of something an old Italian grandmother might wear and he didn't want me looking like an old Italian grandmother. I'm not Italian; I'll never be an old Italian grandmother. He was right, though, in that it was really quite a plain shawl. That was one reason I chose it; mindless knitting in front of the television while watching baseball, hockey, football or golf... the seemingly endless stream of testosterone driven entertainment that makes it's way across the television screens in this house. Hmm.. did that sound like the beginnings of a rant?

I'll keep you posted on the shawl progress.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Meet the Zig Zag Trellis

Here are a couple of pictures of the Zig Zag Trellis scarf, as promised. I have a few minutes before I have to head out the door, so I decided I'd get these up so you can see how it's supposed to look.

A close up of the stitch. You can see that using a worsted weight yarn, it looks almost like a rib.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Scarf Pattern

I had planned on taking and posting pictures of the new scarf I'm working on, but one of the girls at work came down with the flu and I have to work today. The pictures will have to wait, but I decided to write up the pattern anyway.

I'm not sure what to call this scarf yet... Wavy Lacy Rib... Zig Zag Lacy Scarf... I don't know. If you knit this up and come up with a better name, let me know. In the meantime, it's a somewhat lacy, somewhat ribbed scarf that ends up zigging and zagging. I'm knitting it a worsted weight cashmere (which is amazing!! to knit with... a real indulgence!) that I picked up on our trip to Vancouver, but you can knit it up in any worsted weight yarn on 5.5 mm needles (I think that's about 9.5 US). I'm thinking it will use up about 200-300 metres, depending on the length desired. Ok, here's the knitting part.

Cast on 24 stitches. Knit 2 rows. Begin pattern:

Section 1:
Row 1: k1, *yf, k2 tog; rep to last st, k1
Row 2: purl

Repeat these 2 rows 9 times more (10 pattern repeats completed)

Section 2:
Row 21: k1, *ssk, yo; rep to last st, k1
Repeat these 2 rows 9 times more (10 pattern repeats completed)

Continue working these two sections until scarf is desired length. Knit 2 rows. Cast off loosely.

Note: On row 1, I've use yf (yarn forward). Simply bring your yarn to the front, as if to purl; then knit the next 2 stitches together. When you purl the next row, you'll find the stitches easier to "catch" if you do the yf this way, rather than a yo. You can, however, do what you find easiest. I love that about knitting; it's not an exact science.

As I said, I'll try to post pictures as soon as possible.

P.S. Renita pointed out to me that there might be a mistake in the Dewdrop Scarf pattern. She was right. I've corrected the errors and have reposted the pdf file. It is now correct. If you downloaded it before today, please re-download the corrected version. My apologies to anyone who may have become frustrated with the pattern.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Oops, I forgot...

... to let you know how much yarn the scarf will need. Thank you, Ms Mar, for pointing that out to me. I'm still working on mine because I'd like it to be on the longer side (yanno.. so I can wrap it around my neck a couple times for that one REALLY cold day we get). I've just finished the second ball of the Alpaca Cashmere. That makes it 200 metres of yarn and the scarf is just shy of 4 feet.

It's not a bad length, just long enough to wrap around the neck once, if necessary, and tuck into the neck of a jacket. Does that help?

And Sandra? You can also click right here for my Picture Trails albums.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another post for today

I really don't think I should be posting twice in the same day, but it's turning out to be a rather productive day. At least, I think it is.

For your enjoyment, I've added the Dewdrop scarf pattern to my sidebar. The scarf itself isn't quite finished yet, but I've increased it's total length by about 12 inches today. It's working up quite quickly. And, as you can tell, I've got the pattern typed up. Enjoy!

The remainder of today will be spent in Thanksgiving day celebration. In other words, cooking, relaxing, drinking wine, eating and more relaxing. We might even go for a walk; the weather's gorgeous. It's one of those beautiful, sunny autumn days with a lovely crispness to the air. We've got to enjoy it while we can.

A quick aside... pictures posted

For anyone interested, I've added an album to my Picture Trails web albums with pictures of Oceanna. Please feel free to check it out. There's a button near the bottom of the right sidebar that will take you directly to my PT albums.

Addendum: I've added the Dewdrop Scarf pattern to my sidebar, in pdf format. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Work in Progress

So, I bought yarn in Vancouver, made the skeins into center pull balls, cast on for a scarf and decided the pattern was all wrong for the yarn, frogged it, bought more yarn and cast on for the scarf and it's working just great!

I'll post pictures of the 'other' yarn another day (not much time today, unfortunately). In the meantime, here's the scarf in progress. I'm calling it the Dewdrop scarf, as the pattern stitch is the dewdrop stitch from the first Barbara Walker treasury (have I mentioned that I LOVE her books; I have 3 of them now).

The yarn I'm using is a combination of the Luxury Collection's Alpaca Cashmere and a strand of Crystal Palace's Kid Merino held together. It's very light, very soft and very cozy. And, did you notice the needles? I spoiled myself and bought a pair of Lantern Moon knitting needles. Talk about indulgence! They are a real pleasure to knit with... and they're beautiful, too. Who knew knitting needles could be a thing of beauty?

By the way, I will post the pattern for the scarf once I have it done. I've already decided it can be worked in just about any solid coloured yarn that's not too dark. It's a simple 8 row pattern that's easy to memorize and fairly easy to 'read'. I think any advanced beginner could work this pattern without difficulty.

Till the next post, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Home again, home again

We arrived home late last night after a week at the coast. It's been an interesting week, to say the least.

We decided, last Tuesday, to go ahead and drive out to the coast even though we hadn't heard for sure that anything was happening with baby's arrival. The last thing John did before we left was to have a shower and while he was having that shower (just after 10 a.m.), my mother called. Alaina had just given birth to my fourth grandchild, Oceanna Marie. She was born at 10:07 a.m. on September 28 and weighed in at 6 lbs 4 oz. Needless to say, we got on the road pretty quick and made it to Abbotsford in about three and a half hours.

When we arrived, we got the whole story. Apparently, Alaina woke up at about 6:30 a.m. in the beginning stages of labour. At about 9 a.m., she decided to wake her sister. She told Kristen they needed to go SOON. Trinity had to be woken up, fed and brought to the sitter. The girls called the doctor's office and were told to come to the office first, but by the time they got to the clinic, which is right next to the hospital, they decided it was getting too close for comfort and went to the hospital instead. By this time, it was 10:00. They got Alaina up to maternity, got her prepared and checked her. The nurse was surprised to find that the baby was already crowning and they got her into the delivery room as quickly as possible. As soon as they got her onto the bed, her water broke and by 10:07, Oceanna was born. Her doctor walked into the room just as Oceanna was delivered.

She's a beautiful little girl, but then, I could be somewhat biased. John, I do believe, is quite taken with her already and the fact that they share a birthday makes her even more special.

Trinity, when this picture was taken, wasn't quite sure who this little person was, but was telling us all where baby's eyes were. She couldn't stop saying "baby" and "eyes" and touching baby's eyes. Before long, she'll be used to this little invader, I'm sure. She's already being a helper to the girls, helping to pat Oceanna's back when she needs burping and fetching and carrying things like diapers and tubes of Vaseline.

Aren't grandbabies fun?