Friday, August 22, 2008

On my feet (Or, my accomplishments look very impressive when I only post a few times a year!)

Here a sock

Bellatrix socks

There a sock

basic socks

Everywhere a sock,

Spring grass socks


Monkey socks

From top to bottom (also in chronological order of when I knit them):
1) Bellatrix socks (by Monkey Toes, RIP), knit toe-up in Koigu KPPPM US size 1.5 dpns
2) Basic stockinette toe-up socks, knit in Vesper sock yarn in Tartan, US size 1.5 dpns
3) Springrass socks (by Craftoholic), knit toe-up in Dream in Color Smooshy in Beach Fog, US size 1.5 dpns (sensing a theme?)
4) Monkey Socks (by Cookie A.), knit toe-up and knit the purl stitches, in Sophie Toe's yarn in Harvest, US size 1.5 dpns.


I've had a delightful 35 minute train ride back and forth every day to work this summer and have gotten lots of sock knitting done.

Next time, neck wear! I'll try not to make it several months from now.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I have this vague idea about catching up to my WIPs on this blog. But it's clearly not going to happen any time soon. I apparently need to start a really complicated project, then maybe I'll catch up.

Anyway, here's a little cutsie little baby sweater I made, for some good friends who are going to pop in the next month or so. And their offspring is to be named after J., so really, how could I not knit something for them? (Actually, maybe J. should have been the one to knit something for them, come to think of it.)


Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket, by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, in Moss (sent to me by Colinette as a replacement for this crap skein - I must say, aside from all the dye lot, knotting, and fading issues, this yarn is pretty awesome. Of course those are some pretty major asides. I certainly won't be spending actual money on this stuff again. This replacement skein was knot free, and therefore (I'm assuming) all one dye lot. And I think it's light enough that there shouldn't be severe fading issues.)
Needles: I forget.
Completed in a few days on a trip to NY. This is one awesome pattern.


I used snap tape instead of buttons, in case li'l J. is a button chewer. Snap tape rocks. I want it on my clothes too.

I gave the sweater to my friends at their baby shower last weekend and it seemed to have been well received.

So, the other giftsy.

I have this friend, that I met this year. She saw me knitting these socks a few months ago and apparently really liked them. Anyway she has not stopped harassing me about knitting her a pair of socks ever since. She keeps telling me I can make them for her birthday, which is coming up in a few days (well, when she first started bringing the issue up, it was coming up in several months). Needless to say, this drove me crazy. I told her how long it takes me to finish a pair of socks, thinking that would shut her up. I told her I only knit for myself and immediate family, thinking that would shut her up. I told her to shut up, thinking that would shut her up. But nothing shut her up.

So I gave in and knit her a pair of socks.


It's leftovers from the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Happy Stripe from the socks she liked.

Think they'll fit her?
(Hint, she's not a doll.)


The thing is, I thought these socks o'spite were hilarious when I first knit them, especially since I was planning to wrap them so they looked like an actual pair of socks, with a card that said something like "I finally gave in and knitted you a pair of socks, but I had to guess at your shoe size." But since then I've felt kind of guilty about it. I haven't given them to her yet. I'm thinking I might accompany them with a gift certificate for an actual pair of knit socks, in the yarn of her choosing (to be rescinded upon any harassment on her part and with no deadline on my part). I mean, she is a sweet person. And it is kind of rare to gift a non-knitter with a knitted object that you know they'll really appreciate.

And, I'm going to be taking a 30 minute train ride for my commute this summer, which I think will be the perfect place to finish at least one pair of socks.

P.S. We are moving back to San Francisco in June, albeit probably temporarily. I can't believe this year is almost over! Especially given that it's only included what, like four blog posts? Bad, bad blogger.

P.P.S. Guess whose else's birthday is coming up in about a week! Yours truly! I will be turning the big three-O, yikes.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dems ma calves

Last time, I hinted at the question to which the answer is, about 15 inches.

This is a question that has been haunting me for a while:

How much basic sock can you get out of your average amount of sock yarn? Sock yarn generally comes in 100g skeins of approximately, or slightly more than, 400 yards. Sometimes you have to buy it in 50g skeins of approximately, or slightly more than, 200 yards. The notable exceptions being rebels such as Colinette Jitterbug and Koigu, who shortchange you on the yardage, but we forgive them, especially the Koigu.

So, I set out to knit a pair of toe-up stockinette socks with 1 skein each of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, and I knit until I couldna knit nae more (that's my fake scottish for ya).


Turns out, 215 yards of fingering weight yarn will get you quite a lot of sock, even on a tallish, big calfish gal such as myself. For someone short or with skinny legs, I'm betting you could get a good pair of knee socks out of two skeins of this stuff no problem.


See? It's about 15 inches from ankle to cuff (of course, your mileage will vary based on gauge, pattern, and yarn). Now that's alotta sock!

Pattern: Basically following Ann Budd's On your Toes socks from IK Summer 2007
Mods: Used magic cast-on instead of Eastern, and stockinette instead of ribbing
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Happy Stripe (happy indeed!)
Needles: US 1.5 DPNs
Verdict: I love lorna's laces. This yarn is so squishy and nice, and a pleasure to knit with. My other lorna's laces socks have also held up remarkably well.
Drawbacks: They end at the fattest part of my calf, so they don't stay up so good. If I ever get around to it, I might put some elastic in there.

More pics:


I'll spare you a close-up of my calves.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

For reals this time

I think I'm feeling intimidated by the fact that I have such a backlog of FOs to photograph. But instead of being all wishy washy, I should just get off my ass and show y'all something, right?

Two knucks

Yarn: Alpaca/silk, handspun by J's mom.
Needles: size 3
Made: in like, January I think.
Usage: tons
Pleasure at having warm hands but usable fingers: loads
Times a pen got wrapped in the gloves' fuzz when trying to write with Knucks on: about a million.

Me hand:

Twisty ribby:
Ribbed cuff

These are my knuckles:
Knucks knuckles

Next time, the age old question to which the answer is, about 15 inches (no pervvies, I'm not THAT lucky a young bride! Actually, that sounds pretty unlucky)
15" mystery

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Not quite knitting, but less whiny

Man, yesterday's post was pretty whiny, wasn't it? Well, this blog is called Sticks and Thread, not Fingers and Keyboard, so enough about my homework.
J. and I went to his folks' house (isn't it cool that their place can be linked to?) for Christmas, where I once again tried my hand at spinning.

You may recall my last attempt:
handspun #1

This time went a little better:
My first real handspun!

I even plied! Go me! The white is merino, the gray wool. I did the white one first. I think the gray looks much better, personally. I think I have about 30 yards of the white, and about 80 of the gray. I can say with confidence that they probably range from laceweight to superbulky. Hey, at least I avoided cobweb!
I'magonna make me a hat, with a hemmed brim out of the white part.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Alternating between panic and avoidance

I have some major deadlines this week and I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of panic, procrastination, more panic, exhaustion, and denial.
I don't usually participate in blogging-things, like KALs and color themes and memes and what-all have you. Nothing against them, I just usually either don't remember to do them when I'm supposed to, or in the case of the KALs, I'll start something and then get distracted.
But I like the idea of the Silent Poetry Reading.
Here's one that captures a lot about my current state of mind:

Against Pleasure
by Robin Becker

Worry stole the kayaks and soured the milk.
Now, it's jelly fish for the rest of the summer
and the ozone layer full of holes.
Worry beats me to the phone.
Worry beats me to the kitchen,
and all the food is sorry. Worry calcifies
my ears against music; it stoppers my nose
against barbecue. All films end badly.
Paintings taunt with their smug convictions.
In the dark, Worry wraps her long legs
around me, promises to be mine forever.

Thugs hijacked all the good parking spaces.
There's never a good time for lunch.
And why, my mother asks, must you track
beach sand into the apartment?
No, don't bother with books,
not reading much these days.
And who wants to walk the boardwalk anyway,
with scam artists who steal your home and savings?
Watch out for talk that sounds too good to be true.
You, she says pointing at me,
don't worry so much.

Ps. There will be knitting pictures at some point. Promise.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Breaking the ice

Young lady, do you have any idea what time it is?
I've been away so long I couldn't remember how to sign in to my blogger account.
Funny, because I've certainly been reading tons of blogs, but apparently I haven't left any comments in the last five months either.
I miss you, blog.
I miss you, blog readers, if any of you are still out there!
I've been thinking about my "re-entry" blog post for MONTHS now. But as I'm sure many of you know, the more you put it off, the more stuff piles up until it seems like you're going to need an entire weekend just to photograph and chronicle everything you've been doing. Not to mention the fact that it seems like months since I've been home during daylight hours where I could take a picture.
So this re-entry will be photoless.
But cheer-full.
I've been doing so much writing over the last 5 months, but dang I miss writing a) about knitting and b) for a non-critical audience.
So, details to come*. I have been knitting plenty since I last saw you, no fears. Unfortunately much of it was given away during the holidays. But I might have a scrap of knitting here or there to show off.

*Did you know that in journalism-speak, there are all these specific words that are deliberately spelled wrong? "To come" is abbreviated TK (I guess for "to kome"?). A lead, the beginning of your story, is spelled lede, and the "head" (title) and "deck" (subtitle) are spelled "hed" and "dek." Isn't that byzarr?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

le sigh

I've finished/started a bunch of things and just don't seem to have the energy to blog about them. I've even finished some things I never told you about. Well, you'll just have to wait a little longer, because I've got the end of summer blahs.
This summer was awesome and a much-needed respite, I did a TON of knitting and some writing but not a whole lot else. I guess that was sort of the point. Less than 3 weeks and we're moving to Santa Cruz. I will really miss San Francisco.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I've got the blues

blue fuzzy toes
Eek! Giant blue fuzzy toes!

I don't know how noticeable it is to other people besides me, but I am sort of limited in my color choices. I own clothes in plenty of colors, but most days I clad myself in some combination of blue and green. My wedding ring has blue and green stones in it, and I always laugh when I put it on in the morning because it looks like I planned to match my ring to my outfit, but I really just like blue and green.

Anyway, I made some blue things:
embossed leaves socks

Pattern: Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt, from IK Winter 2005 (and from Interweave favorite socks, which is where I got it)
Yarn: KP Gloss in Dusk, less than 2 skeins
Needles: size 2 DPNs
Dates: 7/20/2007 - 8/20/2007 (?)
Modifications: I did a long-tail cast-on instead of the totally weird cast-on in the pattern, added a pattern repeat to the cuffs to make them longer, and reversed things on one of them to make them mirror image of each other:
embossed leaves socks

This was kind of an accident. My one complaint about this pattern (well, besides the unnecessarily confusing cast-on) is that the foot is supposed to be exactly X pattern repeats long (I can't remember exactly how many). I must have had a much looser row gauge than the designer, because I was making bigger socks than the designer and mine were the right size half a pattern repeat short of hers. So I had to futz with the star toe to get those purls to line up with my leaves. Then when I started the second sock I thought I would just start with the second half of the repeat so I could do the toe as written, and then they would be reversed.

embossed leaves closeup
I am a big fan of both the garter stitch border of the heel flap and the purl edging of the instep pattern. The garter stitch border nicely hides where all the stitches are picked up, which to my eye always looks icky on plain stockinette. And the purl stitches on the instep nicely hide how parts of the foot are always a little stretched out looking.

Verdict: love these socks. The toe was a bit uncomfy at first but I'm used to it now. The gloss started out deliciously soft and has softened up even more with a bit of wearing. I haven't tried washing it yet, so far I haven't noticed any stretching out, and there is some pilling on the bottom of my foot but doesn't seem any worse than any of my other socks. (I feel like ALL my socks pill at the ball of my foot. Maybe I'm just using wimpy yarns.) Anyway part of the point of these socks was to see if I like Gloss enough to make a Thermal out of it. I'm kind of thinking not. I'm still a little wary of the pilling and stretching that other people have talked about, not such a big deal in a pair of socks, but that sweater looks like it will take a lot of effort. I'm not so sure I want to make it anymore, period.

Here's blue thing number two:
hourglass sweater
P.S., I have short(er) hair now!
P.P.S., I always think I'm smiling, but clearly my pictures prove me wrong. What am I so pissed about?

Pattern: Hourglass sweater by Joelle Hoverson, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Size: the one that claims to be 37" bust, it really came out more like a 40" bust - about 2" positive ease, exactly what I wanted. Thank goodness I have learned to wash my swatches.
Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha, less than 10 skeins, plus some nameless wool/silk blend for the edging - I had made some very ill-advised wrist warmers out of this stuff and don't have the band anymore, I was only too happy to frog them when I thought of using the yarn for the trim.
Dates: 6/2007 - 8/2007 (I need to get better at keeping track of my dates.)
Modifications: You may realize that I am once again a total copycat. I loved the contrast trim and rounded yoke neck of Diana's version, so that's what I did. I also made both the body and sleeves a titch longer than the pattern called for, and added more increases on the upper arms because I really wanted to make sure this sweater was baggy and comfy, no negative ease anywhere.

Here's a better look at the rounded yoke and contrast trim:
hourglass neck

Verdict: Love. It. Have worn it every day since I finished it about a week ago. Has FAR surpassed the cabled turtleneck as the best sweater I've ever made. This is due to several factors: the delicious cash iroha is much softer than Cascade 220, the sweater is looser and comfier, and those dang cables are HOT. I forgot about how cables were originally designed for warmth, they weren't kidding! I think the cabled turtleneck is in the closet until the coldest days of winter (which, around here, means in the low 50s).

Here's the back:
hourglass back
Yes, my jeans have sparkles on the back pockets. Quit looking at my butt.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Learning new things

The summer of Rachel has been going swimmingly for the last month or so, but I think I'm starting to get a little antsy. Knitting is so slooooow. It doesn't help when you have a jillion things on the needles, a deadline of a few months after which you will be extraordinarily busy, and the view of making Christmas presents for everyone you know in these few months - yes, OK, almost everything that is currently on my needles is intended for myself. Shut up. I'm not very logical in my casting-on choices. Anyway, it seemed like high time for some instant gratification:


I made some jewelry! Talk about instant gratification, these guys only took me a few hours total, and most of that time was because I was really trying to cram things into places they were too small to go, or using the wrong tools. The shells I found in Costa Rica. These will all be various holiday presents, I'm not saying for who just in case they are reading this so there will be some modicum of surprise.

Then it was time for some semi-instant gratification:

first babette squares

I taught myself crochet! Well, Debbie Stoller and interweave crochet taught me. I had absolutely no interest in crossing over to the other side of fiber arts until I saw this. The Babette Blanket. And it was like the clouds had parted and angel voices were singing from the heavens. I had to have it. (If you're still not convinced, check out these bad boys.) I brazenly strode into my LYS and bought the spring 06 issue of Interweave Crochet and the called-for hook (when I got home, it turned out that the one crochet hook I own for weaving in ends was the same size too, now I own 2 size E hooks and nothing else. Oops.)

Incidentally, while I was there, I heard this other girl setting up a crochet lesson with the clerk. She was saying that she wanted to make the babette blanket but had only crocheted a few things before. I interrupted their conversation to inform them that I had never crocheted a thing in my life, but I was going to make babette too and I didn't need no stinkin lesson! I think I sounded a little crazy. (And I probably could have benefited from a lesson too, I had an hour or two of cursing and chaining things that looked like the cat spit them out before I finally got the hang of it.) Anyway it turned out the girl was Nicole whose blog I read occasionally, I saw her picture later on Ravelry and wrote her a sort of psycho-sounding message. It's a small knitty world!

Anyway, back to my babette. I was initially drawn to it because of its chaotic, colorful, haphazard kind of look. But it turns out it is all carefully planned and choreographed chaos. There are color codes, and charts, and more charts, all just to assign colors to their correct places. Phooey on that, I said. Also phooey on buying $300 worth of Koigu for a single project. So initially I thought it would be a good leftover yarn project. But there were still some decisions to be made. Should I use solely machine washable sock yarn leftovers? It seems like a good idea, but in practice I would have to wait eons before I accumulated enough. Ditto all fingering leftovers:
sock yarn scraps for babette?
Kind of pitiful.

Should I use all my yarn leftovers, gauge be damned? It's a blanket, after all, that would be OK. Or, another thought, I could use all my non-machine washable sock yarn. I wasn't sure I wanted any more hand-wash only socks anyway.

possible babette colors

These four are particularly nice together (I have a ton more of that peach stuff too).

possible babette colors

A final option could be to put out a plea on knittyboard for everyone's sock yarn scraps. By the way, don't you wish that designers of colorwork patterns would tell you how much of each skein you really need? At least approximately? I think babette calls for 23 different colors of Koigu, most of those in single skein amounts. But say you wanted to make it in 10 colors, would you still need all 20-something skeins or what? Maybe I can ask someone with a finished babette to weigh theirs.

Mind you, I didn't start thinking about all this until after I had already made those first squares. So, I don't know. I'm starting to see how spending $300 on koigu could make the nicest, most color-coordinated blanket (imagine one that was all different shades of green and blue! ooooohh!). But that is not feasible right now (yarn diet, yarn diet, yarn diet!), and even if it were, come on. That's ridiculous. If I did happen to have that much koigu, I don't think I'd want to blow it all on one blanket. I'm thinking mine is going to end up being pretty haphazard, because I can't really see a good way to make a conscious decision about which yarns to use.

ETA: There is a little interview with Kathy Merrick, the designer of Babette, over here, where she admits she made up not only the color sequence as she went along, but the square/size sequence too. Aha! Hege, you were right. Well, I don't trust myself to make up the whole thing from scratch, I think I will still follow the recommended number of squares, but will just wing it with the colors.