Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rainy Saturday Sky and New Book

Rainy Saturday Sky on September 30, 2006Another rainy weekend, the perfect excuse to sit and knit instead of working outdoors.

I do feel sorry for all the employed people who looked forward to a beautiful fall weekend and got this instead.

Knitting Ganseys bookThis wonderful book arrived in the mailbox today.

After seeing Dorothy's CIC sweaters (here and here) knit from two of the patterns in the back of the book, I knew I had to have it.

It's even way cooler than I imagined. There is a running tutorial on all the parts of a traditional gansey where you try out the techniques on an eight inch miniature sweater. Then, there is a well written lesson on how to do the techniques "full size".

The book ends with six patterns, three child size and three adult size. Five of the six are begging to get on my needles.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Peerie Brocade Update

Peerie Brocade with left front done and right front startedPattern: Peerie Brocade from Fall 1999 Knitter's Magazine. Designed by Charlie Hada.

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool

Color: Dusty Teal

Needles: US #4

Gauge: 23 stitches/4 inches in pattern

Little by little I've been knitting on the Peerie Brocade. It's knit in one piece, so what you're seeing here is 44 inches across. On the left is the finished left front. On the right is the partially knit right front. In the middle is the back.

I didn't have good light for these pictures. There will be better pictures in the future.

Closeup of Peerie BrocadeHere is a closer view of the Peerie Brocade pattern.

The pattern as written makes a thigh length sweater. Mine is only going to be lower hip length.

Comments on the Comments From My Previous Post
  • I do feel much better today. Thank you for the sympathy and prayers.

  • Not a single person mentioned that it was a bit dumb to start a blanket without having enough yarn to finish it. Knitters are so kind.

  • I want to finish the blanket. If the Patternworks order arrives with a different dyelot, I will check out the other yarn stores my readers so kindly mentioned.

  • I attribute the poor customer service at Patternworks to an inadequate computer system. An online order taker should be able to see what they have in stock by dyelot. When ordering from Elann, for example, the dye lot is listed with the color number. If there is more than one, they’re all listed. Now that is knowing what is important to the customer and having a good computer system to support it.

  • And, speaking of Elann, I happen to know that they still have over 50 skeins of my dye lot in the Dusty Teal Peruvian Highland Wool I'm using for Peerie Brocade. I don't think I'll need it, but it's comforting to know it's there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Singing the Blanket Blues

I'm having my annual September pity party. Why? I don't have a good reason.

There are what seems like an overwhelming number of chores that need to be done, summer is over, I don't feel as well as I would like, and the world isn't perfect. But that's life, and I don't normally react to it by getting cranky and unhappy.

Deep in my soul I know that I am blessed and this is a temporary mood without a cause. So, I zip my lips, keep my unpleasant thoughts to myself, and wait for it to pass.

Last weekend I cast on a knitting project to match my foul mood. Not the project itself, which is a nice thing, but my execution of the project which was destined to result in grumbling and possibly unusable results.

Patternworks is having a special contest to knit a blanket for Project Linus. To enter the contest, it's required you buy a kit with two 100 gram skeins of cream Utopia and then you're allowed to use other colors with the cream.

Acrylic blanket for Project LinusI bought the kit and started a blanket last Saturday. It soon became obvious that I was not going to have enough yarn, but I kept knitting. (Just a little bit dumb.)

Monday I called Patternworks and tried to order three more skeins in the same dye lot. The customer service lady told me I couldn't order by dyelot.

Short digression: What kind of yarn store service is that? Isn't dye lot an important thing to knitters? I could understand them being out of my dyelot, but I don't understand them not being able to sell it to me if they have it. And, while I'm complaining, I also think they could have mentioned the project was going to take five skeins which should all be ordered at once for a monotone blanket.

I'm still knitting on this blanket and plan to keep knitting until I run out of yarn. If they don't send a dyelot I can use, it's going to be totally wasted knitting. In that case I will have proven that being cranky and stubborn serves no useful purpose except to result in half of a blanket that can't be finished.

I'm usually much more mellow and sensible than that. Really.

Maybe after posting this, I'll relent and pack the blanket away until the rest of the yarn arrives. That would be the smart thing to do.

Enchanted cottageI'm making this blanket up as I go along. That's why it's so much fun and why I want to keep knitting.

The center square is the Enchanted Cottage from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Does anyone have any worsted weight Utopia in color 111 cream, dyelot 626 they'd like to sell me?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Sky and Super Surgilator

An old wife's tale claims lots of rain this time of year results in beautiful autumn colors when the trees turn.

I'm looking forward to that.

I've owned this Whirlpool washer since we moved here in 1991 and I'm sure I've washed thousands of loads of laundry in it.**

Last week for the very first time I noticed that there are raised letters (they don't show in this picture) on top of the agitator spelling out

Imagine a conference room full of marketing types brainstorming names for their agitator and coming up with that. Hear the laughter?

As evidenced by the fact that Whirlpool washers are still being sold with Super Surgilators today, 15 years later (Yes really. I Googled it.), the name must be a marketing success story.

I give the Super Surgilator an A+. It gets the clothes clean in hard water, has an impressive repair record, and now that I've finally seen the writing on the agitator it's good for a chuckle every time I do a load of wash.

**Doubt the thousands? I thought it sounded a bit much, so I did the math.

15 years X 52 weeks = 780 weeks
780 weeks X 5 loads a week (average) = 3,900 loads of laundry

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fall in the Field

First frost on the ground in SeptemberWe beat the average by a week!

Average first frost date for the Kalamazoo area is September 29. We had our first frost this morning, September 21.

On the first dog walk of this chilly morning, I was blundering around the field just long enough for everyone to pee. As I thought about going inside and drinking my coffee, my bleary eyes spotted the white stuff on the ground.

We turned the heat on for the first time today. It's that time of year.

Goldenrod pathsThis is usually the last loop of one of our dog walks.

At the end of the path are two nest boxes, but not for much longer. They're too close to the trees in the background making them unattractive to the bluebirds I'm trying to attract.

For the last several years the tree swallows have used one of the boxes, so I've been slow to move them. This year they both housed wrens.

Nest box filled with a wren nestThis is a wren nest.

The wrens fill the house so full with sticks that I don't dare raise the door and monitor the nest during nesting season.

Even when I think the wrenlings have fledged, I can never be sure there aren't eggs or new little wrens in the box. After the wrens build their pile of sticks, the box is out of service for the rest of the year.

The wrens won't like the boxes once they're move to a more open location. The bluebirds and swallows can have the boxes back in the spring.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Knitting Basic Socks

Several readers asked for more details on the Basic Blue Socks, so here is (hopefully) everything you wanted to know about knitting basic socks.

Classic Socks for the FamilyYankee Knitter Designs Classic Socks for the Family
Eight years ago, I ordered this pattern. If one knows knit and purl, it is possible to learn everything you need to know about how to knit a basic sock from this leaflet, including how to use double points, turn a heel, pick up the gussets, and kitchener up the toe.

I know that is true, because this pattern was my one and only sock knitting teacher.

As well as being an excellent tutorial, it has numbers for fingering, sport, and worsted weight socks for the entire family, baby to daddy, done in stockinette, k1p1 rib, k2p2 rib, or k3p1 rib. Once you get the basics down, it's a great reference for the rest of your sock knitting years.

Yankee Knitter patterns are sold at many yarn stores, including Web's.

Bobs Boring Birthday Socks Finished Bob's Boring Birthday Socks, totally basic k1, p1 ribbing on cuff, are straight out of the men's worsted weight pattern in the Classic Socks Leaflet with only one small addition.

Instead of switching to solid stockinette for the top of the foot, I extended a few of the purl channels down to the toe. Totally optional.

My Boring 6 ply Socks FinishedMy blue socks were knit on 38 stitches. I've knit so many socks, I don't need a pattern, but I know these socks vary little from my old standby, the Classic Socks Leaflet.

After the k1p1 ribbing, I switched to a wider ribbing for the rest of the cuff.

Back: k3, p1, k3, p1, k3, p1, k3, p1, k3 (19 stitches)

Front: k2, p1, k3, p1, k5, p1, k3, p1, k2 (19 stitches)

That is basically k3, p1 ribbing except there is a 5 stitch stockinette panel down the center of the front and down each side.

Monday, September 18, 2006

S is for Solidago

ABC Along Button

Field full of goldenrodSolidago: genus for the many species of goldenrod. In Latin, Solidago means "to make whole" because it was/is believed that goldenrod has healing properties.

In September the goldenrod grows above all the other numerous wildflowers and weeds in our back three acres and boldly pronounces itself ruler of the field with waves of bright yellow.

Goldenrod close upThe tallest is about five feet high. I aimed the camera straight forward at my eye level for this picture.

Because Solidago is so showy, it is often blamed for autumn allergies actually caused by the green, unobvious ragweed.

According to botanists, Solidago pollen is too heavy to go airborne and be an allergen. They claim the only way to get goldenrod pollen on the nasal passages is to stick the flower up one's nose.

Bee on goldenrod with heavy pollen sacsThe late summer Solidago pollen is important winter food for many species of bees, hornets, and wasps. It is high quality, protein rich, sticky, and easy to collect.

The field is one big buzzing. There are so many bees, I had no problem getting this nice picture of one with bulging pollen sacs. (The pollen sacs are the orange things just behind and under the wings.)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blue Sky and Blue Socks

Blue Sky, September 16, 2006Although I'm not an official member of the Saturday Sky gang, I keep taking sky pictures and wondering why I never though of doing it before I read about it.

Sometimes it isn't even Saturday when I'm clicking pictures of the blue, or not so blue, sky. And I love looking at everyone else's sky pictures, even though most of them look like sky I could see here in Michigan. There's just something about the sky.

This was our SW Michigan sky this morning. Although we had sun today, there is an autumn chill in the air. No doubt it won't be long and the leaves will be on the ground and the snow will be flying.

Bobs Boring Birthday Socks FinishedPattern: Bob's Boring Birthday Socks - Totally basic k1, p1 ribbing on cuff

Yarn: Opal 6-Ply #1253 stranded with Knitpicks Essential Dusk to make a worsted weight gauge

Needles: Addi Turbo 5

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch

What's to say about these socks?

They are just what Bob likes and he is going to love them and wear them often. That was my mantra as I knit them. When I wasn't chanting the mantra, I was wondering if there would be enough yarn left to make myself a pair. . . .

My Boring 6 ply Socks Finished. . . and there was - almost.

I had to finish the toe of the last sock with the gray from a different 6-Ply colorway. Since I wasn't trying to get the socks to match, it was OK.

These socks are an experiment to see if I like wearing socks this heavy in the winter. I'm wondering how they will feel in my boots and if they will be noticeably warmer than my fingering weight wool socks.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

R is for Red Juice

ABC Along ButtonOops, I'm late with the Letter R.

Red Juice concentrate and squirt bottleThis is going to sound like an ad, but I have no affiliation other than being a very satisfied Red Juice user for the last five years.

I found the Clean Team while doing an internet search for something to help my pathetic housekeeping skills.

Red Juice is a powerful all purpose cleaner made from all natural ingredients such as soybean extract, palm kernels, seaweed, and palm oil. It is pH neutral, non-toxic, odor-free, and completely biodegradable. Safe for use around food.

Spray it on, wipe it off, no rinsing.

We use it for almost everything including muddy pawprints, floors, walls, woodwork, laundry pre-treating, greasy stove tops, and killing ants.

Red Juice comes in a 32 ounce bottle of concentrate which makes 20 bottles of heavy duty spray cleaner. The spray bottle has lines on it for measuring the ten to one dilution of the concentrate.

When I have a big job like wiping down cupboard doors or washing a wall, I mix up a batch of Red Juice in a bucket and throw in a wad of cheap, thin, white terry washcloths to moisten them with the Red Juice. After using each washcloth until it is too dirty to use anymore, I toss it in a pile and take the next washcloth from the bucket. I use a separate, dry rag to dry where I've washed. When done, I admire the cleanliness and throw the rags in the washer.

If you go to the Clean Team web site and are tempted to order more than the Red Juice, you won't be sorry. I especially love:

  • Blue Juice, the concentrate to replace your window cleaner.

  • Sh-Mop, rather like a Swiffer only the handle is longer, the pad is much larger, and you wash and reuse the pads over and over again. Before putting a pad on, I soak it in Red Juice for a greasy, very dirty job or Blue juice for a quick wet mop.

  • Toothbrush, so extra heavy bristled that you would never use it in your mouth but perfect for around faucets and any other place you have little groves to clean.

  • Heavy Duty Scraper, looks like a putty knife but is made of plastic so it doesn't scratch. I keep one in each room. Especially handy in the kitchen for removing baked on food. I keep the kitchen scraper handy in the dish drainer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Grumble Grumble

5th day of gray skiesGrumble 1, The Weather
We in Michigan are not accustomed to having day after day of dark clouds and drizzle. I've lost count of the dreary days, but I know the weekend was this way so we're at least on Day 5. Therefore, we're in grumble mode.

Sunny sleeping on the sofa in the back roomSunny doesn't like to be wet.

Since she can't talk, her frequent naps are her method of grumbling about the weather.

Grumble 2, My Knitting
I would like to be knitting some Christmas socks for dog trainer Gail. My plan is to use Opal Magic and see if I can get something that looks like a paw print in the wide color band.

Instead, I'm knitting on Bob's Boring Birthday Socks, given that name because the yarn is boring and the pattern is boring.

I would like to be playing with my new yarn and trying to come up with a new toddler sweater pattern for CIC.

Instead, I still have two sleeves to knit on my second Lopi Cozy in Cables Sweater.

Also, I really need to take some knitting time and use it to sew Grasshopper together. Sewing is not my favorite thing, but it would be fun to wear it now that it's cool outside.

And, then there is Peerie Brocade. After twelve inches on 248 stitches, I haven't touched it in several weeks and I'm not looking forward to getting back to it. I'm not sure if it's the project or my current mood, but there have been occasional thoughts of frogging it and using the yarn for CIC knitting.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sleepy Weekend

Overcast sky September 10, 2006This Sunday afternoon sky shot tells the tale of the weekend. Overcast and chilly. Good napping weather.

In March, 58 degrees (14 C) would have us Michiganders throwing off our jackets and hunting for our shorts. In September - like today - a high of 58 degrees just feels cold.

Even though the sky has looked like rain for the past two days, we've only had a few very light, quick sprinkles. The ground is dry.

According to the National Weather Service, it's going to warm up a bit tomorrow and rain. We won't be seeing the sun until Wednesday.

Bob's boring birthday sock in progressPattern: Bob's Boring Birthday Socks - Totally basic k1,p1 rib with flap heel

Yarn: Opal 6-Ply #1253 stranded with Knitpicks Essential in Dusk

Needles: Addi Turbo 5

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch

My plan to knit worsted weight socks for Bob's birthday using 6-ply Opal and a strand of fingering weight sock yarn is working great. The socks are cushiony and soft but hopefully will wear as well as my Opals - which seems to be forever.

I spent most of this dreary afternoon knitting on them instead of taking a nap. Even though the knitting is totally boring, the thought of warm feet this winter is making me think I need a pair of these, too.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Stay Away Kitty Kitty

Generic cougar pictureIn recent years there have been cougar sightings in Michigan, some with DNA species verification of hair or scat.

Since a few of these sightings have been in my county/township, I'm very interested in following the ongoing battle between honest, credible citizens who are reporting the sightings and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) who are reluctant to admit such thing is possible.

When the MDNR says "Though the information indicates the presence of a cougar it still does not confirm the presence of a breeding population in Michigan.", do they think the public is so stupid they think the cougars just roam here and don't mate here?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mom's Cast is Off

FireworksThe cast is off!

We celebrated with lunch out.

Mom celebrated with a nice wet shower.

Cast being removed

This morning we arrived at the orthopedic surgeon's office very anxious to get the blue cast removed and move on to the next step in returning to normal.

First the Fiberglas was cut top and bottom with a sound wave saw. Then pried open with a special pliers and gently removed. Once again she could see her arm.

The doctor was happy with the x-rays. The arm is mending and no surgery is required. The break that he suspected might be a problem is looking better than he expected. All good news.

New splint and view of swollen fingers

For the next month, she has a removable splint.

Check out the finger swelling. They hurt, but not as much now that the cast is off. I'm hoping the swelling goes down this weekend and the pain decreases enough so she can get a good night's sleep.

The hand is not functional, but she'll be working on that problem.

Monday is her first appointment with Holly at "Hand Therapy". This should be interesting. Or, as Mom says on her blog,
"I look upon life as an ongoing adventure."
I think this is one adventure she doesn't want to repeat.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cozy In Cables Toddler Sweater Pattern

Cozy In Cables Sweater in red lopi

Sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up. The sleeves are picked up at the armhole edge and knit down in the round.

No seams. No sewing required.

The back and front are the same.

Yarn: 250 yards of bulky weight wool. Sweater in picture was knit with Reynold's Lopi.

Needles: Size 10.5, 24 inch circular plus your preferred needles for knitting sleeves in the round: 10.5 double points, second 10.5 circular (for 2 circular method), or long 10.5 circular for Magic Loop.

Other needs:
cable needle
2 stitch markers
A second circular of same or smaller size OR a large stitch holder
tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge: 3 stitches per inch. 4.5 rows per inch. (Approximate gauge is OK for CIC. It will fit some child who needs it.)

Finished Size: Toddler size 2. 24 inches at chest, 13 to 14 inches in length.

k - knit
p - purl
C4F - cable 4 to the front. Put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in front of work (toward you). Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches off the cable needle.
C4B - cable 4 to the back. Put 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold in back of work (away from you). Knit the next two stitches, then knit the two stitches off the cable needle.
k2tog - knit two stitches together (right slanting decrease)
ssk - slip knitwise, slip knitwise, return slipped stitches to left needle and knit them together (left slanting decrease)
RS - right side
WS - wrong side

Body of sweater from ribbing to underarm
Cast on 74 stitches, loosely.

Join and place marker (left side marker).

k1, p1 ribbing for 37 stitches.
Place marker. (right side marker)

Continue k1, p1 ribbing in the round for 2 inches.
End at the left side marker.

Circular Cozy In Cables Pattern:
Round 1: (k6, p2, k4, p2, (k1, p1) 4 times, k1, p2, k4, p2, k6) twice, once across front and once across back.
Round 2: (k6, p2, C4B, p2, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times, k2, p2, C4F, p2, k6) twice.
Round 3: (k6, p2, k4, p2, (k1, p1) 4 times, k1, p2, k4, p2, k6) twice.
Round 4: (k6, p2, k4, p2, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times, k2, p2, k4, p2, k6) twice.

Work Circular Cozy In Cables pattern for approximately 5 inches, ending at the left side marker after Row 3. (Total length, ~7 inches.)

Knit Row 4 of Circular Cozy in Cables Pattern across 37 stitches of sweater front.

Put the 37 front stitches on holder or slip onto a second circular needle, removing markers.

Upper Back
Continue around working Row 4 of Circular Cozy in Cables Pattern across 37 stitches of sweater back.

Turn work.

Flat Cozy in Cables Pattern:
Row 1: (WS) p6, k2, p4, k2, p1, (k1, p1) 4 times, k2, p4, k2, p6
Row 2: (RS) k6, p2, C4B, p2, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times, k2, p2, C4F, p2, k6
Row 3: (WS) p6, k2, p4, k2, p1, (k1, p1) 4 times, k2, p4, k2, p6
Row 4: (RS) k6, p2, k4, p2, k1, (k1, p1) 3 times, k2, p2, k4, p2, k6

Knit Flat Cozy in Cables Pattern until measurement from underarm to top measures 6 inches, ending after Row 3.

Neck Ribbing
Row 1: (RS) k6, (k1, p1) 12 times, k7
Row 2: (WS) p6, (p1, k1) 12 times, p7

Work a total of 4 rows of neck ribbing ending after Row 2.

Leave stitches on needle or place on holder if you need the needle to work the front.
Do not bind off.
Cut yarn, leaving 6 feet of yarn attached to sweater for later use in binding off.

Upper Front and Neck Ribbing
Join yarn to start a WS row.
Work same as upper back and neck ribbing.

Shoulder Seam and Bindoff
With right sides together, bind off 6 stitches on the first shoulder using 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off VERY LOOSELY across the outside (away from you) neck edge, stopping with 7 stitches remaining on needle.

Turn vest and bind off 6 stitches on the second shoulder using 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off VERY LOOSELY across the remaining neck edge and weave yarn into first shoulder bind off.

Turn vest again and finish binding off the first edge weaving yarn into second shoulder bind off.

Make sure the neck opening will pull over your head before you cut and weave in the ends.

Sleeve of Cozy in Cables SweaterSleeves
Starting at underarm, pick up 24 stitches before the shoulder seam and 24 stitches after the shoulder seam.

The four stitches centered on the shoulder seam will be the cable and need to be on the same needle. (The entire cable pattern with the purl stitch border is 8 stitches, but only the actual cables stitches need to be together on the same needle.)

Place first marker 4 stitches before the shoulder seam to mark the start of the cable. Place an underarm marker at the center underarm.

The Sleeve Rounds start at the underarm marker.

Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases
Round 1: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 2: knit to first/cable marker, p2, C4F, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 3: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 4: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker

Sleeve Rounds With Decreases
Round 1: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 2: k1, k2tog, knit to first/cable marker, p2, C4F, p2, knit to three stitches before underarm marker, ssk, k1
Round 3: knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to underarm marker
Round 4: k1, k2tog, knit to first/cable marker, p2, k4, p2, knit to three stitches before underarm marker, ssk, k1

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases one time.

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds With Decreases until 20 stitches remain.

Knit the 4 rounds of Sleeve Rounds Without Decreases until sleeve measures 8 inches, ending after Round 3.

Sleeve Ribbing
k1, p1 for 4 rounds.
Bind off.

Knit second sleeve same as first, substituting C4B for C4F.

Wash the sweater in mild soap (I use baby shampoo).
Lay out flat to block and dry.

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2006.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Yarn in the Mail

It's been a while since there has been yarn in the mail, but the maillady delivered this week.

Knitpicks Bulky Wool of the Andes in Grape and SkyKnitpicks has a new, bulky weight Wool of the Andes. I bought 5 skeins of Grape and 5 skeins of Sky.

CIC knitters are always looking for reasonably priced wool yarn to knit up for the kids and this qualifies at the good price of 3.99 for 100g/137 yards. The Knitpicks free shipping on orders over $40 makes it a super price.

Task one is to knit a few swatches and pick a good gauge. The label says 3-3.75 sts=1" on #10-11 needles. Knitter's intuition tells me to start with the #10s. I'll report on my results.

Task two, after determining a good gauge, is to write a CIC toddler sweater pattern for this yarn. Please don't get too anxious, we're probably looking at October for the pattern to be published - still in plenty of time for the September/October/November sweater and vest challenge.

The red is worsted weight Wool of the Andes in heathered Firecracker. It looked like an irresistible color online, but the actual skeins are disappointing. The heathering is hardly noticeable and the red is not bright. It's more like a barn red.

Instead of looking at these skeins and saying WOW, I just said OK. It will make nice CIC socks. And maybe I'll be more impressed with the color when it's knit up.

Opal 6 PlyTime for some autumn birthday socks. DH Bob likes his socks worsted weight.

Years ago Patternworks carried a worsted weight wool sock yarn with 20% nylon that wears like iron. Bob still has all his socks knit with that yarn and he wears them daily. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name or manufacturer of the yarn, but I've done enough searching to assume it is no longer available.

My yet untried Plan A is to run solid color fingering weight sock yarn along with this 6 ply Opal from Simply Socks Yarn Company to make a worsted weight sock.

They need to be done by October 2 and I don't have a Plan B. The pressure is on.

Cozy in Cables SweaterSpeaking of pressure, there are CIC knitters chomping at the bit to use the new Cozy in Cables sweater pattern.

It won't be much longer. The pattern is in draft mode and the second test sweater is almost done.

With all the new yarn to play with and the birthday sock deadline, I'm highly motivated to get it finished. If the evening goes smoothly, the pattern MIGHT be posted tomorrow. I'm trying to hurry. Honest.

Fancy TwoOnly two more days until Mom's cast comes off. 10:00 on Friday morning, so that's less than 48 hours away.

We're not expecting life to instantly return to normal. There will be stiffness, soreness, and weakness to deal with. But there can be a real long, hot shower, an end to the itching and finger swelling, and the beginning of being comfortable. Maybe even a good night's sleep for her.

Mom and I are both looking forward to Friday.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sleeve and Sky

Cozy in Cables Sweater with one sleeve donePattern: Cozy in Cables Toddler Sweater

Yarn: Reynold's Lopi, 100% Icelandic Wool

Color: 738 - Red with multi flecks

Needles: Addi Turbo 10.5

Gauge: 12 stitches/4 inches in SS

This is the pattern I'm knitting and writing for the CIC_Knit List sweater/vest challenge. Very simple. The body is knit in the round from the bottom up. There is a three needle bind-off at the shoulders. The sleeves are worked in the round from the top down after picking up stitches along the edge of the armhole.

At three stitches/inch, the Lopi knits up thick and quick. Many yarns called "bulky weight" would be way to loose and limp at this gauge. Once the Lopi gets washed and blooms, it will be warm and fluffy - ready to keep a cold child warm and cozy.

That little, innocent looking sleeve took three tries before it turned out the way I wanted it.

The first time I knit it, the decreases ended a little too soon. Just a little. I thought the sleeve would be better if the decreases shifted four rows toward the cuff. But it really was acceptable the way it was. If I wasn't knitting this to write up as a pattern for others to use, I never would have frogged the sleeve and started over.

When I was almost done with the sleeve the second time, I noticed the stitch count was not equal on both sides of the cable. I had carelessly worked the decreases one stitch off center of the underarm. When things that are supposed to be symmetric are not symmetric, I frog. So the almost finished sleeve got ripped out a second time and I vowed to pay closer attention.

Third time was the charm. One sleeve done, the instructions written down, ready for the second sleeve. I WILL NOT think about the fact that I have already knit three sleeves for this sweater and it should be done.

Once the sweater is finished, I will write up the pattern, print it off for myself, and knit a second identical sweater in blue to proof the pattern as accurately as anyone can proof their own writing.

Although I hoped to have the pattern posted before the long weekend is over, it isn't looking likely. However I do plan to keep my other knitting in the bag and only work on the sweater pattern until it's done.

Blue sky on September 2, 2006This corner of SW Michigan is having a beautiful, sunny, cool weekend. When I took the dogs out for their early morning walk it was only 52 degrees. Now, in the middle of the afternoon, it's 72 degrees. Beautiful.