Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Java Rib Socks

The pattern for the Java Rib socks is up! As far as sizing goes, I've written the pattern up to my size with instructions on increasing. It's in Word format, but will be up in pdf format soon for those who prefer pdf files. Do keep in mind that the pattern has not been checked for errors and I do make the assumption that you know some of the basics of sockmaking. Please, let me know if you find any errors or glaring omissions. And if you do knit these socks, send me a picture! I'll even post the pictures I receive.


Oops... Heike noted a tiny error in the pattern. Where it says, "Rounds 2-5", it should read "Rounds 2-6". My apologies.

The pattern, for those who didn't see it, is in the right hand sidebar, under "My Patterns" (scroll down a bit). :)

Monday, March 27, 2006

This, that and the other thing

This weekend, I posted in one of the Yahoo groups that I have a sock pattern in the works. It's a simple, understated pattern, suitable for both men and women. I know that because John saw me working on the sock and hinted (no, told me flat out) that he likes that design and wouldn't mind a pair of socks like it. Without further ado, allow me to give you a sneak peek at Java Ribs.

The colour, in real life, is darker than the picture shows. What the picture does show is the different colours in the yarn. That yarn, incidentally, is Cherry Tree Hill, 100% merino sock yarn in a colour aptly named Java. Very nice to work with.

Then, there are a couple of finished objects. I finally got the moebius bag finished and felted. I love it! John loves it! It's comfortable to wear, just the right length and the colour is perfect. I do believe I will get a lot of use out of this bag.

I thought I had taken a picture or two of the bag before felting, but looking through the files, it appears I didn't. Oh well. Anyone who's done any felting at all will have some idea of how big this bag was. I did model it for John before felting it and the bag itself was below my knees. Now it sits comfortably on my hip, so you can imagine how much it shrank. It was a fun knit; I can see making another one (or two or three) at some point, perhaps as gifts for special people in my life... like daughters maybe.

There's one more finished object to show you. This is, again, my own design and I will make it available in the sidebar. I call it the Lacy Cantata Cap. It's named for the yarn I used, Cantata DK weight cotton. The lacy stitch is an easy two-row pattern, easy to memorize. It's knit in the round, using a 16", 4.5 mm needle. It will fit 20-22", as the lacy stitch does have some give to it. I did this one up in one afternoon. The pattern includes both written instructions and a chart.

Oh, SoapFiberGal (did I get that right?) asked about the twisted german cast on. Here's a link that explains it pretty well. (click here) As well, if you google "twisted german cast on", you'll get a few more hits. It takes a bit of practice, but it IS a nice, stretchy cast on. It's always good to know more than one method of casting on... and off, for that matter.

And now, off to get this day going. I've got lots to do today, including making a sleep balm (it's made with herbs, oils and beeswax; you rub it into your temples, forehead and neck when you go to bed and it's supposed to help you sleep better... I'll let you know if it works), going to the doctor, laundry, laundry, laundry and more.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kids Socks are an FO

That's right. The second pair of Most Basic Kids Socks is a finished object. Here's the proof...

This time, I used a German Twisted cast on, using a 3 mm needle. There's lots of give in this cast on, which is a good thing. Again, the yarn used is Online's Supersocke 100 River Collection. The pair used just under 50 gm, so one ball of this yarn (100 gm) should make two pairs of socks in this size. This pair of socks, like the smaller ones, was worked on 2.5 mm (US 1) double-pointed needles.

I'll be typing up the pattern today and will, hopefully, have it up later. Now, to get that fridge cleaned! *sigh* (In case you hadn't guessed, I'm procrastinating.)

P.S. I've just posted the pattern for the Most Basic Kids Socks in my sidebar. It's in the section entitled "My Patterns". Let me know if you find any errors in the pattern. Let me know, too, if you make the socks as per this pattern. Let me know how they turn out. I love feedback!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Responses to Comments

Just a couple of brief things today...

Kate asked what Yorkshire pudding is. Well, Kate, it's not pudding. I mean, it doesn't have the texture of pudding; it's not a milk based squishy substance. Do you know what popovers are? Basically, it's a type of quick bread that is usually served with roast beef (they remind me a tiny bit of dense cream puff shells). The recipe I used (click here or go to my recipe page; the link is there as well) uses six eggs, milk, flour, salt and bacon drippings. Usually, and for best tasting yorkshires, you would use the beef drippings, but today's roasts don't render much in the way of drippings. The oil is heated in muffin cups until almost smoking, then the batter is poured in and it goes back into the oven. The batter puffs up quite a bit as it bakes and the resulting "puddings" are wonderful as an accompaniment to the beef and, especially, the gravy.

Leslie asked me about lip balm. For those of you who've been reading my blog for the last year (yes, I've been blogging for almost 13 months now), you may remember I had another blog about one of my other passions: creams, lotions and natural body care. I no longer blog about it and haven't been making much of my product lately, but I'm slowly getting back into it.

The lip balm in question is made with a blend of healthy oils and beeswax. In this case, I use beeswax, jojoba oil, St. John's Wort oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, emu oil (very good for the skin!) and a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil. It's a very healthy alternative to the store bought lip balms, most of which use a mineral oil base. As my daughters are "addicted" to the stuff, I'd rather they use something I know is good for their skin and don't mind keeping them supplied.

In addition to the lip balm, I also make all of my own face and body creams and lotions and even make some shower gel for myself. It's been a long time since I've spent money of store bought lotions of any kind. There's even one product I make that is a facial soap substitue, made with a variety of ground flowers (rose, lavender, chamomile), ground oatmeal and white clay. It can be used as a cleanser or as a facial masque. It's fun stuff! And at least I know exactly what goes on my skin.

Soap Fibre Gal and Stricken Madchen, thank you so much for your input into the kids' socks. Both of you were very helpful. The second pair of socks in almost finished and I'll be typing up the pattern either later this morning or tomorrow (I'm working this afternoon). If you'd like to test knit it for me, or even read through it to make sure it all makes sense, I'd be most appreciative!

Now, off to finish the toe of the second larger sized kids sock. I'll post a picture later.

Monday, March 20, 2006

FO's... more of them!

The smaller of the kid's socks are done! I'm very grateful for those of you with children who've taken the time to give me some input. It helped! I also got some input from a young mom who just happened to come into the store with her three year old daughter (almost three). We tried the socks on her and they fit fine; that is, all except the cast on. It was a little snug around her leg, so I'm thinking the pattern will definitely recommend casting on with larger needles and a very elastic cast on. Other than that, it's looking like the small size will fit a 2-3 year old child.

I've been working on the larger size (this time making sure I use an elastic cast on). One sock is completed and the second is well under way. I'll post pictures of it when the second one is finished. The pattern is now ready for me to type up. That's one of my projects for today.

Speaking of today, it is now approximately 10:15 a.m. and I've already gotten a lot accomplished. We had my sister and brother-in-law here for dinner last night (they live four hours away and were in town for a romantic weekend getaway), and by the time we left, neither of us had the energy or desire to do the dishes. There are a lot of dishes involved in a traditional roast beef dinner!! I got all that done this morning. I've tidied up and have the third load of laundry on the go. I've even baked a batch of yorkshire pudding (HAD to try the recipe and it's WOW!) for tonight's dinner. I know, they should be served hot, but yorkshire pudding's almost as good cold. And with the leftover gravy from last night... well... just... yum! When I looked at the clock and realized it was just past 10:00 a.m., I was amazed! I've gotten almost everything done that I wanted to get done today. And I still have the rest of the day to myself.

Anyway, back to knitting. When my sister told my daughters that they were going to be here this weekend, the girls put in their orders. Lip balm! I make it for them and any time we drive to the coast or they come here, or they know someone who will be here, that's what they request. They like it better than anything they can buy. Then, when I spoke to my younger daughter, she also requested a healing balm I make, as well as another top knot hat for Oceanna. When my sister and her husband left last night, they took all of that, and Trinity's birthday present (the Jester Tentacles Bag) with them for the girls. Can't wait to hear how Trinity likes her bag. I even tucked a loonie (a Canadian $1.00 coin) into one of the tentacles.

The hat...

I didn't expect the hat to come out in stripes like it did. I expected it to be a simple variegated hat, but I like it! I hope Alaina does, too. She specifically requested one just like the one I made when Oceanna was born, but that yarn has been discontinued. This was the closest I could find to that yarn. Would you have thought it would come out in stripes like it did?

Now, what am I going to do with the rest of my day? It's a beautiful, sunny day here in the Okanagan. The birds are singing; the lake is like glass; the sunshine is warm. I have sheets and pillow cases drying in the sunshine, laundry in the machine that will also be drying outdoors. I've done last night's mega load of dishes. The pattern needs typing up, so I'll do that. And then? Well, I guess I'll have some knitting time! (May even knit outside for a while)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So... What do you think?

At work the other day, we were talking about the need for a very basic kid's sock pattern. Naturally, since I made a very basic adult sock pattern, I figured it would be no big deal to write a kid's version as well. There's just one small problem. When it comes to adult socks, there are two adults in this house I can use as guinea pigs. There are no little people around me to try kid socks on. I can write the pattern (and have)... no problem there. But, will they actually fit a real kid??

Here's the 2-4 year sock I just finished... hot off the needles, you might say. And, to avoid the dreaded second sock syndrome, the second sock is on the needles already.

So that you can give me some input (those of you with little people in your lives), here are some of the stats. The sock is made with Online Supersocke 100 Caribe on 2.5mm (US 1) needles. I cast on 44 stitches. The cuff is 4.5" long and the total foot length is 6.25". Does that sound about right?

If you knit socks for kids using sock weight yarn, please give me some input. What age do you knit for? How many stitches do you cast on? What's the total foot length you knit? How much do you allow for the toe? (In my socks, for me, I knit to 2" less than the total length required, then start the toe shaping.) I'm also looking to write this pattern for 5-6 years, so, those of you with children in that age range can be a real help. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pattern posted!

I took the day off today. My body feels like it needed a day off. I have the house entirely to myself and I intend to spoil myself... think hot bath with lovely scented oils, a facial, manicure, pedicure... all with products I've made myself. (I've started to get back into my creams and lotions again, finally.) It's time for me to spoil me.

But before I do that, I have a pattern to share with you. The Mop Top Toque. It's in the sidebar. Just cuz I appreciate all of you. I've written it for three sizes, Small, Medium (fits me) and Large. You can use any double knitting (DK) weight yarn for the body of the hat and pretty much any furry, fuzzy novelty yarn (most knit up to DK gauge) for the top. Have fun with it! Go crazy! Send me pictures! I'd LOVE to see what kind of combinations you come up with.

And if you have any questions regarding the pattern, please don't hesitate to ask me. Now, on to spoiling me....

Sunday, March 05, 2006

FO and other things

The Jester Tentacles Bag is done! It's felted and is resting comfortably at the store, where it will reside until it's time for me to send it to Trinity, my soon-to-be-two-years-old granddaughter. Here are a couple of pictures of the bag. The first shows the bag as you would normally see it and the second shows the inner pouch, which really makes the bag look like a funkily painted octopus.

I hope she'll like it; I know I had fun making it, even if there WERE a lot of waste yarn openings to pick up.

I've started (yes, yes, another round of start-itis, I know) a moebius bag for myself. I'll post pictures when it actually starts to look like something. In the meantime...

The stocking stitch vest is moving along swimmingly. Because it's stocking stitch and it's long, it makes perfect TV knitting. I'm hoping to have it done by the weekend but I'm not setting myself any hard and fast goals because I'm notorious at not meeting them. Suffice it to say, it's coming along, boring, but coming along.

Today, I've spent time off and on with a good book, one that you don't have to sit down and read from cover to cover; the kind you can pick up and put down at will. John wondered what all the chuckling was about. This week, a customer came in with a copy of the Yarn Harlot's book "At Knit's End". She told me her daughter had given it to her but didn't want it back. The daughter instructed her mother, my customer, to pass it along to another knitter. My customer knew exactly where to drop off the book and it is now in my custody. The intention is that this book will be passed from one knitter to another, presumably until the book falls apart. I'm going to write a brief note inside the cover instructing each "owner" to pass the book along. Neat idea, don't you think? I wonder where the book will end up?

I must say, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a gift. I've gotten about halfway through the book and have had to share quite a few of her "thoughts" with John. I was laughing out loud more than a few times. If you have the chance (or if this copy finds it way into your hands), read it. I promise, you'll enjoy it; especially if you knit!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bad Hair Day??

I've been having fun! I know, there are a few projects I MUST get finished; I have time limits on one of them. But... but... I just HAD to do this one!

I think I mentioned, didn't I, that I was inspired by something I saw during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics? Well.... without further ado... may I present the Mop Top Toque?

This one is sized to fit an average woman. It fits me perfectly, but then, I'm just an average woman apparently. I'm presently working on a child-sized version and have plans for a man's sized version as well. The yarns used in the woman's version are Schachenmayr's Extra, 100% superwash virgin wool and SRK's Baby Monkey, a gorgeously (is that a word?) soft furry yarn.

I'm planning on making the pattern available... if anyone's interested, that is. I had this hat on display at the store yesterday and the general concensus was that it's a fun hat. Everybody giggled when they saw it.