Archives for posts with tag: sock

Sorry about the silence for a while there–I really needed that Thanksgiving break! I was drowning in work, and a week or two spent working into the wee hours of the morning paid off in allowing me to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend relatively work-free and relaxed.

On Thanksgiving day, we drove about 5 hours south to Rahul’s aunt and uncle’s house in rural central Illinois, and his parents drove up from Missouri to meet us there.  It’s deep in America’s flat, corn-filled heartland, the type of area where they show GM seed corn ads on prime time TV and you can listen to radio call-in shows dedicated to farm equipment classifieds (RFD Trading Post)–fascinating for an urban Californian! “Uh, hello, I’m interested in buying some billy goats, but I only want billy goats without horns. No horns. So if you have a billy goat with no horns, please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.” “I got some farm fresh eggs for sale. XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thanks.”

We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner–turkey with all the fixings–but some yummy Indian food the other days, too: tandoori chicken, shrimp curry, biryani, a coconut-rice vermicelli dish called shevia (the last half of the word should be pronounced in a sort of slurry of vowels and approximants, sort of like Ozzy Osborne in that Samsung commercial).

We went shopping in Springfield on Black Friday and the day after. I feel sort of ashamed to admit that I had any part of this celebration of gluttonous American consumerism, but we were fairly practical, buying useful, cold-weather things on sale like chapstick and flannel sheets and a fake-down comforter, instead of silly things like Bacon-Waves and talking football-shaped candy dishes. We did buy a semi-frivolous Roomba at a doorbuster sale but found upon opening it that it didn’t have all the features we wanted: you have to manually start it–it can’t be set up to run automatically, and it doesn’t “go home” to charge afterwards, you just have to stumble over it wherever it happened to stop vacuuming and take it back to recharge. So we returned it, and my dreams of an amazing robot maid will have to be deferred. (An aside: I think iRobot is a terrible name for a robot company, don’t you?)

We did see some good old-fashioned Black Friday douchebaggery: a woman asked Rahul to hold her place in line for a sec when we first lined up, then she came back 45 minutes later, when we were about 5 people from the front of the line, and said “Oh, there you are! Thanks for holding my place” and shamelessly ducked back into line, completely ignoring her mortified husband telling her they had to go to the end of the line. Amazingly, aside from some complaining from us, a manager, and the people directly behind her, there were essentially no consequences for her jerkface behavior: she got to check out pretty much right away. But that was the biggest drama we saw, no fistfights over Wiis or anything like that.

Aside from that, we spent lots of time vegetating and hanging out with Rahul’s family. We watched lots and lots and lots of news about Mumbai, and I saw The Godfather for the first time, and the The Last King of Scotland. Both fantastic, of course.

Plus, at the same time, I did lots and lots of knitting! I cast on for Eastlake just before we left, and knit for a total of 20+ hours over the course of 4 days during car rides and while we watched movies or TV. I was trying desperately to meet my NaKniSweMo goal of finishing Flicca plus making one more sweater during the month of November, but fell short last night, only getting a few inches into the sleeves before calling it quits for the night. Still, I made good progress, and the sweater is going to be cushy and delicious once I’m done–I’m making it in a velvety taupe worsted-weight cashmere from School Products (via Klosekraft’s destash sale), and knitting as much of it as possible in the round. The leaf motif is so addictive I think I might even make an Eastscarf.

Last but not least, I finished the Malabrigo socks that were giving me such fits before, and wrote up the pattern! It’s available as a free download, with the caveat that this is a sock pattern by a sock moron and thus is not at all guaranteed to be any good. Here they are, the Tyro Socks, knit in the lovely Indiecita colorway:

Toe-up socks written for beginners, using the yarn-over short-row toe and heel described by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts in Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy (photo tutorial included in the pattern, for sock morons like me), and a simple, softly curving lace pattern mirrored on the left and right feet. The lace pattern is easy to read and to memorize, and it’s mostly stockinette (every other row is plain knit stitches).

You may notice some visual similarities to other patterns: the Pomatomus socks and Spirogyra mitts in particular. (There may be others, too, but those are the only ones I know of.) However, despite the similarities, which only occurred to me after I’d started, I can assure you that these socks were designed the old-fashioned way, from scratch, futzing around with a stitch dictionary and doing some swatching and math to mirror the stitch pattern and make it work with the stitch count. Namely, the parent stitch pattern is the Overlapping Waves pattern in The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns.

This is a pattern of many knitting milestones for me. First pair of socks, first sock pattern, first short-row toe, and last but not least, first semi-creepy Flickr group request for photos of my feet. Ha! I’d read all kinds of tempest-in-a-teapot discussions on Ravelry about foot fetishists lurking on knitting websites to ogle sock FO photos, but this was the first direct encounter I’d had with them.




1 skein of Sundara Sock Yarn in Roasted Persimmon over Green Papaya, Seasons Sock Club, Autumn, October 2008 shipment: $25.

Average monthly per capita income in Cambodia: $24.16


Ashford Traditional single-drive, lacquered, single-treadle spinning wheel: $535

The gross national income per capita in Benin, 2006: $540

The theme of this year’s Blog Action Day is Poverty. All over the blogosphere, people are writing about poverty and how it relates to their little corner of the world.

I don’t hold a lot of illusions about people stopping their yarn stashing, eating out at restaurants, buying new clothes, going to the movies, or what have you, and donating all that money to charity instead while living a virtuous, ascetic life in the cheapest place they can afford. It’s just not the way things work in this day and age and place, for the vast majority of people. I’m certainly not saintly enough to live that simply. And despite their ideals, people have a strong tendency to want to spend their hard-earned money on fun stuff rather than donating it to someone they don’t know and will never meet.

Knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, let me suggest 3 simple actions that will change little about the way you live your happy, well-fed, yarn-filled life from day to day, but will make a difference (be it ever so slight) in fighting global poverty–and without making you feel guilty about spending your money as you please:
1) Download the AidMaker browser plugin and shop online as usual. When you shop from online stores like the Apple Store (or Ultimate Colon Cleanse, apparently!) while using this browser plugin, AGoodCause.com receives a commission, which (aside from operating costs) they then donate to the charity of your choice, at no extra cost to you. Let’s say you go to Amazon and buy Knitted Lace of Estonia or some Cascade 220 yarn–or even an Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel–they’ll donate 3% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice, without you spending an extra dime.
2) When you feel like you need a shopping fix, or decide you could use some retail therapy, consider going to a charity site instead and spending your money on a charitable donation. If you’re a stasher, you can just pretend you bought some yarn and it went straight into the stash, hidden under the bed or in a drawer out of sight somewhere. But instead, you can spend the money on a sheep, llama, or goat from Heifer International, a camel from Mercy Corps, or a loan to a textiles entrepreneur via Kiva.org (at the moment, one of the open loans seeking lenders is for a group of Peruvian weavers trying to start a textiles factory)
3) Or if you feel like you need something tangible as a result of your shopping spree, consider spending money on products that help the economies of developing countries. You could buy some yarns via The Hunger Site–that angora-cotton blend looks especially tempting, doesn’t it? In your LYS, a few yarn brands you can look at include the Snow Leopard Trust, Manos del Uruguay, Malabrigo, Shokay, Lantern Moon, and Mirasol. If you’re feeling indulgent, splurge on some qiviut from the Oomingmak cooperative. If you’re feeling even more indulgent than that, how about some vicuna at $300 per 28.5 grams? According to Peace of Yarn, after maintaining state control and protection of the wild vicuna herds since 1825, the Peruvian government “handed ownership of the animals back to the common villagers of the country, creating a viable and stable source of income for struggling villagers” by sponsoring traditional shearing days called chacus in which the vicunas are trapped using traditional methods, sheared, and released.

So in honor of today, I’m going to go install that plugin, lend some money via Kiva, and ogle qiviut on Ravelry for a while.

P.S. I just bought the Ashford Traditional used on Craigslist and it was actually closer to the GNI per capita of Afghanistan. I’m pretty excited about it–I’ll have enough bobbins to actually do a two-ply without having to wind off into centerpull balls! Lots of ratios! A nice big drive wheel! I can adjust twist and pull separately using the Scotch tension!–though I’m surprisingly feeling sort of anxious and attached about selling my old wheel. It’s prettier, and easier to treadle.

Bolstered by the success of my first Infinity Dress, I have gone on a huge sewing and fabric-buying rampage lately. (Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos in this post. They almost all came out very bright and overexposed. Just pretend it’s a halo of heavenly light and I am about to ascend into a hovering spacecraft, and you are an exclusive witness to this special moment.)

First, Rahul and I biked out to Wal-Mart the other day–a harrowing 4.5 mile ride along narrow, busy roads, on the west side of town, across a freeway. My bike nearly fell in a ditch and when I corrected to stay out of it, I nearly got hit by a truck. It was scary. But my reward was 4 yards of 1×1 ribbed black knit fabric for only $1 a yard. I went home and made another Infinity Dress, and then made a drape neck top with the leftovers. Because my fabric was only 45 inches wide, I made a gathered skirt instead of a circle skirt, so this one has a slimmer silhouette.

I also accidentally sewed the band on top of the straps instead of underneath, but I think it’s still OK.

Here’s the drape neck top. It is sewn together rather poorly. The rib knit was much stretchier than the jersey, so I ended up with a lot of lettuce edges where there shouldn’t have been any. The pattern is Simplicity New Look 6470, View B.

Here’s the new dress.

“Oh my god, that looks SO WEIRD,” said Rahul this morning, as I was going out to water my basil plants on the balcony, and took this picture of the back of the dress to demonstrate how weird it was that my dress had no back. I thought it looked fine, but the sleeves fell off when I was bent over my plants, so I retied it to cross over in the back.



Because the skirt has a pretty slim silhouette, I just wore it underneath my next two FOs instead of changing into a new top.

These are both made with quilting cotton I bought a while back at Shiisa Quilts, from their $4.99 bed sale.

This one is made with a dark purple fabric printed with white dragonflies. I made it into a circle skirt with ties and a zipper at the waist. Because I only had about a yard of 45″ fabric, it came out shorter than I would have liked and the overall silhouette is a little bit 80’s. A learning experience. I should have stuck with a plain A-line wrap skirt like I had originally planned.

This one I’m very proud of. The fabric is a Rowan/Westminster Martha Negley cotton, dark red, striped with tree trunks. I drafted my own pattern according to the A-line skirt, fitted waist directions in Sew What! Skirts, an excellent book for the beginning skirt-sewer like myself–highly recommended. I went on to cut the pieces on the bias to make chevron stripes, put in side pockets (these need some work–for some reason, I cut them so the pockets don’t really dip down, just go straight in, so I can’t put anything in them, though I can use them to warm my hands) and installed what I think is an invisible zipper in the back. I just need to put in some snaps to secure the waistband.


After all that, I went to Jo-Ann and back to Shiisa Quilts, where they’ve dropped the price of the bed sale fabrics to $3.99 a yard and are having a buy one yard, get one yard free offer through today, so I scored a bunch of nice fabric for just $2 a yard.

Here’s some of what I got:

Cloud fabric (not on sale, but I loved it. This is Moda fabric, named, puzzlingly, “Bears just wanna have fun”)

Gray fabric with chartreuse hydrangeas, Kaffe Fassett Lille Arbour. I loved this fabric last time I was in the store, but Rahul prevented me from buying it with his protestations of how hideous it was. So I went back without him and bought several yards of it for half price. I think I might make the Anna Dress with it.

Some other stuff: from Shiisa, some blue Rowan Martha Negley fabric with green plums, some blue striped fabric, the aforementioned Kaffe Fassett fabric, and blue fabric with delicate geometric traceries–this is Free Spirit Mendhi Lotus, and is much drapier and silkier than the other fabrics. I haven’t decided what to do with any of this yet, though the default is “knee-length skirt.”

The linen print with brown embroidered flowers is from Jo-Ann (was also on sale) and is destined for another simple A-line skirt.

This is my new favorite summer dress. It was so fast and easy it hardly counts as an FO, since it’s essentially putting together a kit. I saw the fabric on sale at Jo-Ann and bought it on impulse: they sell a big roll of cotton gauze pre-smocked with elastic thread, and you just buy a piece a couple of inches larger than your bust size, sew a tube, add straps as desired, and hem it. I made nice wide straps to cover up bra straps and this dress fits perfectly, aside from the fact that I didn’t pre-shrink my fabric so I ended up with a dress an inch or two shorter than what I had wanted.

Edited to add, since I had some comments about this: if you’re in the US and don’t have a Jo-Ann Fabrics nearby, it looks like you can get pre-smocked fabric online via Hancock Fabrics. I couldn’t find this specific fabric on the Jo-Ann website, but when I was in the store they also had the same stuff in pink and green, and some tropical Hawaiian-looking smocked fabrics.

I also have some brown jersey (not shown) for yet another Infinity Dress and another try at that drape-neck top. All I can say is that it’s a good thing sewing is so much faster than knitting.

Speaking of which, here is the current progress on the Loquat Shawl:


Apparently, as maid of honor, I’m going to have to make a toast at this wedding, which fills me with a deep sense of terror and anxiety (I would rather eat bugs than do any kind of public speaking). If only they were traditionalists and left all the public speaking to the best man and all the fussy lady’s maid duties to the maid of honor. I’m sure I can carry bobby pins and straighten hairdos like nobody’s business.

I must soothe myself with admiring my newest yarn acquisition, the first shipment of the Sundara Seasons club, June 2008, the Autumn season. This is Sundara Sock yarn in Arabian Nights, a rich, warm brown shot through with henna highlights. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have a pattern idea in my head for this already, but can’t start anything new till I’m done with the shawl.

And a knitter’s PSA: Knit Picks is having their annual 40% off book sale, and they’ve just posted a bunch of new yarns for sale: delicious-looking semi-solid kettle dyes, new colors of many yarns, Imagination hand-painted sock yarn, Swish Bulky superwash, and more.

So after too many wordy, pictureless posts, here’s some shiny eye candy. This post fits into the latest Project Spectrum theme quite neatly: “pinks, reds, and oranges.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold myself to participating in Project Spectrum all year, but I’m off to a good start…

First off, some nice red yarn on ice: my Sundara Sock yarn in Black over Wine. The color is actually a little bit darker than these pictures show, but Photoshop only made matters worse, so I left the photos in their original state. The yarn is really a mixture of deeply saturated blackened reds, like Bing cherries. The interesting icy backdrop is the result of our recent rain collecting on our fabric deck chairs and freezing.

And next up, a shawl in lovely pinks and oranges, knit from a single skein of sock yarn. A few years ago, I bought this peach silk dress in Thailand. It shines gold in the sun where the fabric drapes and folds, and glows peach in the shadows. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for this shawl, knit in a similarly shimmering mixture of merino and tencel, dyed in similarly peachy-gold colors. (I have another peach-colored Thai silk scarf I bought recently at a thrift store but didn’t photograph. It was getting kind of ridiculous)

Pattern: Shetland Triangle, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Wrap Style

Size: I knit one more body repeat than specified in the pattern (9 repeats total) and ended the pointed edging early. The edging chart goes through 14 rows and I knit only 10, plus the ending row written out in the text. The finished dimensions pre-blocking, in lightly flattened egg-carton state: 40” across top, 18” long. The finished dimensions post-blocking: 56” across top, 26” long. On the small side, but it works well as a decorative garment when pinned shut, not so well when left to drape by itself.

Yarn used: Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October,” a merino-tencel sock yarn. The color looks nothing like it does on the website. I found this yarn at Imagiknit in San Francisco, back when I visited around Thanksgiving–you may remember the photos of it in the skein. The yarn is pretty, but feels fairly hard and high-twist (that’s good for a sock yarn, I guess, but it was a little surprising, and less desirable for lace). There were a few disappointingly pale spots–not exactly pure white, but a very pale apple-blossom pink that stood out against the mostly darker shades of old gold, tangerine-peach, and damask rose in the rest of the skein.

In these photos, the colors are truest in the sunny balcony pictures and the close-up photos of the shawl draped on a rock. Warm, shimmery, nice.

The colors are off on these indoor photos, but the light gives the pictures a pleasing Victorian quality (exacerbated, I’m sure, by the old-fashioned bow tied in the back of my dress):

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm Addi Turbos for most of the body, US size 8/5.0 mm Denise circulars for the bindoff.

Started: 1/27/08

Finished: 1/31/08

Mods: As I mentioned above, I altered the number of lace body chart repeats and worked only part of the edging chart. I used a p2tog bindoff, with larger needles, on the wrong side of the work:
p1, *p1, slip 2 sts back to left needle, p2tog* to end.

I took some photos of the shawl pre-blocking, all bumpy and crumpled:

and post-blocking, all smooth and flat:

I love the transformation in texture that comes from stretching a knit to within an inch of its life. I wet-blocked this shawl, as I do most pieces–soaked it in the sink in Eucalan, squeezed it out, then pinned it down on the floor on an old towel.

The sun came out this weekend, thankfully, though the weather was still a little chilly and blustery. Look at the way the wind blew the points of the shawl up, casting all these pleasing shadow-lace patterns on my dress:

I have to say this colorway still doesn’t say “October” to me, but I have trouble pinning down what seasonal references it makes me think of instead. I’d say spring off the top of my head, because of the pastel tones, but the real-life referents for me would be dahlias, peaches, apricots–late summer?

And actually, have any of you read the Darkangel trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce? It’s a bizarre and wonderful YA trilogy, with a definite feel of medieval fantasy but in fact set on the moon in the distant future. I keep thinking of the apricok, a heart-shaped fruit the protagonist, Aeriel, eats in the second book, A Gathering of Gargoyles. Thanks to Amazon’s Search Inside feature, I can quote the description for you here:

It was only half the size of her doubled fist, and made in lobes so that it looked almost heart-shaped. Rose gold in color, very dark, it shone like amber in the morning light.

The fruit was warm to her touch; Solstar had baked it. Its smooth skin was covered with fine hairs, like bees’ fur. It came away easily from the stem when she pulled on it. The crystal leaves tinkled. The gnarled branches swayed. Its aroma was like honey browned in cinnamon.

Aeriel felt weak. She brushed the fuzz; it fell away like reddish dust. Beneath, the skin was gold. She bit into the fruit. Its nectar was warm and sweet, the flesh tender and tasting of spice.

Just a quick preview of my Leaf Lace pullover from Loop-D-Loop–better pictures to come later, since unfortunately, most of my photos came out terribly overexposed or fuzzy. I love it, though the front of the neck really rides up and wrinkles (as you can see in these photos) since the back neck is at the same height as the front. The armholes are still a bit tight, but blocking improved the fit.

Oh, and as you can see, I got a haircut. Kind of a terrible and cheap haircut from Master Cuts in the mall, but it’s a relief to get all that hair chopped off. I lost patience over the weekend and decided to go to the first place I could find that would take walk-ins, despite having carefully compiled a list of salons to try. (One of my friends says Boomerang, next to the Bike Project, is good. I’ve been getting my hair cut at Hi-Tek Hair and it’s pretty good too. Any other suggestions, Bloomingtonians? I am not a stylist-monogamous type of person)

I really like the sweater despite the fit issues around the neck and the shoulders. The merino/acrylic blend is soft and cozy, and I think the cabled construction gives it nice stitch definition for the leaves and will help it resist pilling:

You can’t see it too well in this photo, but I made a Sculpey button printed with a swallow to close the neckline. It looks like a Mentos. The color is a bit too light for the sweater, I think, but it’s quite pleasing anyway.

I also took a picture of the Shetland Triangle I cast on yesterday. The yarn is Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes, a merino-tencel sock yarn, in the “October” colorway:

And since the Black over Wine Sundara sock yarn I talked about in my last entry is now sold out, here’s a copy of the photo taken from her website (hope this is not bad etiquette… Sundara, if you see this and you want me to take it down, please let me know):

Or something, anyway. You’d think all the yarn in the world had been discontinued. Here’s one installment of the stashy goodness I picked up in California:

Classic Elite Tapestry

6 skeins of Classic Elite Tapestry, part of a Marvelous Mukluks kit (also including a pattern, a postcard with pictures of mukluks, a basket, and a crusty, ancient single-use package of wool wash). Grand total: $5! Found in a thrift store on California Avenue in Palo Alto. I think I’m going to use this for mittens, like maybe a pair of Elli’s herringbone Pom mittens. Not sure how much yarn it will really take, but I’ll find out the hard way, I guess.

(Speaking of which, here’s a picture of how far I got on my second Selbuvotter mitten before running out of CC yarn.

selbuvotter

Now I have to place another Knit Picks order so I can get my $2 skein of Telemark!)

Here’s a whole slew of pictures of a skein of Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October.” I don’t even want to knit with this yarn, it’s so beautiful. It looks much paler than the online pictures I’ve seen of this colorway. So many lovely, warm colors in the skein, and that great Tencel shine. I would have called this Nectarine or Rose Gold rather than October. I associate October with stronger, darker reds and browns and brighter yellows and oranges than this.

I bought it at Imagiknit in San Francisco, and I think, if I can bear to, I’ll make a small lace shawl out of it.

I picked up this tiny bundle of Habu XS-45 20/3 bamboo laceweight at Stash Yarns. It looks like pure spun silver:

I plan to make a Swallowtail shawl out of it.

(I’m having a hard time thinking of casting on for either of these right now because I have this terrible, greedy fear of giving away the finished object.)

One more thing. Meet You Bastard.

you bastard scarf

Also, this is Sasha, the cat I helped cat-sit. Look how flat his teary-eyed face is! Awww. He’s the most beautiful of all. Sasha