Sunday, May 30, 2010

Very Simple

When I take a good look at it, my stash contains a very high proportion of oddballs. Not goofy yarns (though there are some of those), but one or two balls of this and one or two balls/skeins of that.

Now one skein of laceweight is not an oddball, it's a potential shawl. And one or two balls of sock yarn are a potential pair of socks. But what about 2 1/2 balls of Reynolds "Lopi" in three different colors?

I used one of them for a pair of extremely basic mittens.

Sometimes simplicity is satisfying, and I'm satisfied with these.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Short Attention Span

Along about the ankle of the first sock, I started to get a little, well, bored. So I switched pattern stitches.

Up close, you can see that the transition is not particularly graceful.

With all the color busyness, this really won't matter from three feet away. And heck, that part is going to be covered by my jeans 90% of the time. But if I do something like these again (and I may), I'll want to work on a smoother merge.

Some projects are attempts at perfection; some are more in the nature of extended swatches. These fall on the swatch side of the equation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I mentioned that the little stitch pattern in the last post is fairly dense. I probably should have been explicit that it pulls in significantly. So if you use it for socks you may want to 1) go up a needle size from your regular sock needles or 2) cast on more stitches than you normally would.

The one's I'm working on will go over my heel with my regular needles and standard stitch count (I tried them on), but it's a pretty tight stretch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Somewhat More Subtle

I've started another pair of socks with yarn from the depths of the stash, this with a somewhat more subdued color scheme. I picked this up several years ago at a little yarn store in Red Wing, MN. The owner had dyed it herself, and if I recall correctly the base yarn is Louet Merino Gems. The store was a cute, tiny place and the young proprietor was charming. Alas, I can't remember the name. I tried to Google for a yarn store in Red Wing, but came up with nothing, so perhaps she is no longer in business, or has moved.

The yarn was forming pretty definite stripes in the top ribbing, so I decided to break it up with a stitch pattern that combines slipped stitches and twists (really little tiny cables).

This is something I came up with myself, though it's entirely possible it exists in one stitch dictionary, or several. It would be a bit of a pain to work flat, because you would end up having to work twists on the wrong side some of the time, but it's quite simple in the round. It's a fairly dense stitch and eats up the yarn, so I'll probably make the legs a bit shorter than I usually do.

For what it's worth, here's how it goes with chart above and written directions below:

(Worked on a multiple of six stitches}

Rnds 1 & 2: k2, *sl 1, k5; rep from *, end sl1, k3.

Rnd 3: *1/2 RC, k3; rep from *.

Rnds 4 & 5: k3, *sl1, k5; rep from *, end sl1, k2.

Rnd 6: *k3, 1/2 LC; rep from *.

sl 1 = slip 1 st purlwise

1/2 RC = 1 over 2 Right Cross: Slip 2 sts from the left needle onto the right needle. Drop the next st toward the front of the work. Slip 2 sts from the right needle back onto the left needle. With the tip of the right needle, pick up the dropped st and place in on the left needle. Knit all 3 sts.

1/2 LC = 1 over 2 Left Cross: Drop the first st on the left needle toward the front of the work. Slip the next 2 sts onto the right needle. With the tip of the left needle, pick up the dropped st. Slip 2 sts from the right needle back onto the left needle. Knit all 3 sts.

These crossings take longer to describe than to actually work. The dropped stitches really don't run down, at least with a yarn that isn't downright slippery; I think because they have been stretched upward in the process of slipping them on the previous rounds.

Still, one could employ a cable needle if preferred.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shield Your Eyes

Hide the pets and children. The Very Bright Socks are now stalking the earth.

And I absolutely love them. (Hey, you want good taste? Go see Martha Stewart.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I finished the very simple handwarmers, and decided that they were, well, too simple. So in a fit of whimsy I added a tassel to the back of each hand.

The yarn "bloomed" nicely when washed, and feels very soft indeed.

Speaking of embellishments:

One of the very fun things about Ravelry is seeing other people's finished projects. The flowers on Elizbo's Mother's Day Felted Posy Bag are absolutely adorable. The Patons pattern she used is very nice on it's own, but her touches of embroidery really set this version off. She blogs about the project here.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I like to look at the "friend's activity" tab in Ravelry, so many interesting things come up. Recently, a couple of sock patterns left me awestruck (both highlighted by Magnusmog - thanks Jen!)

I'm tempted to steal the photos, but will resist temptation and just provide links:

OMG these are so cute, and that looks just like Bob(cat)!

What an elegant integration of pattern and form. (Scroll down to check out the heel).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yesterday Afternoon Was Sunny & Warm

so I planted the large pot by the front door. I should probably pinch back those double impatiens, to encourage them to fill out. But the flowers now look so pretty that I don't have the heart. There's a little lavender plant just in front of them that will probably be towering over them by the end of the summer, but if that happens I'll just swivel the pot so it's in back.

Today is cloudy and not so warm (though Mr S put his tomatoes in). I stayed in and worked on the handwarmers.

There has been some ripping back. I started out intending to do separate fingers, got through the little fingers on both hands, and changed my mind. These have a decidedly rustic aesthetic, but I like them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

About Those Needles

Kmkat asked about the double points shown in the post below. They are Swallow Casein Needles, made in Australia and purchased so long ago that I don't remember where, though I'm pretty sure it was from a catalog or online.

They are warm to use, not slippery, and the tips are rather on the blunt side. I don't use them often, mostly because I like sharper tips for most purposes, but for the right project (like almost complete stockinette) they are very nice. And they are pretty.

Some cats want to chew on them. Casein is a milk protein. Maybe the cats can tell.

Out of curiosity, I Googled to see if I could locate an online source. Didn't come up with much of anything, though the company website shows up.

Keep It Simple

For the past two years I have had a skein in my stash that I couldn't decide what to do with, mostly because I couldn't thing of a project that I thought would be worthy. It's handspun 50/50 merino and mohair from Puff (the Magic Rabbit). It's a subtle lavender and softest green color combination, thick and thin in texture. And I kept thinking that I should come up with some really fancy, complicated design for it. But nothing came to mind. I swatched a couple of stitch patterns, but didn't really like any of them. So the yarn sat there.

A couple of days ago I finally thought "What the heck, what small item would I like to have for myself?" And I answered, "Some new handwarmers"; and I decided that I would make them extremely simply and just let the yarn speak for itself.

The lavender looks kind of grey in this picture, it's prettier than it shows here. Once I got going I almost wished I had opted for socks. They would have been cozy. But I'm just not into hand washing socks any more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For a Non-Knitter

my girl has very good taste in yarn.

This was my Mother's Day present, and it's lovely. A skein of superwash merino from Honeypot Yarns. This is a local indy dyer I was not even aware of. The colorway is called Shitake. I'm not sure whether to use it for socks, which would be so soft and warm, or mittens. I'm kind of leaning to the latter, because they would show more.

Due to scheduling complications on Sunday, we celebrated Alternate Mother's Day yesterday, and it worked out very well. Wonderful Daughter brought equally Wonderful Mom down here and we had lunch at the new coffee shop, a very cute place, than went out to The Salad Garden, an extremely good local plant nursery. It was a fun, relaxed and relaxing time together.

I came home with plants to go in the big pot by the front door. It's too cold and damp today to enjoy putting them in, but tomorrow looks more promising.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Not Totally Abandoned

The Really Bright Socks have been sort of pushed to the back burner, but not completely forgotten. I made it as far as the heel on both, and decided on red.

Both heels have been completed and I'm through the gusset deceases on this one. Home stretch.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


They're everywhere.

I did get out yesterday afternoon and grubbed out most of the front flowerbed. That only leaves the side bed and all of the back yard. (Sigh!)

Fortunately, the Bleeding Heart is also in bloom.

As are the last groups of tulips.

Guess I'd better get out for a bit and tackle the rest of the Dandelion legions.