sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

impromptu socktoberfest contest

i'm taking the easy way out. happy socktoberfest! :)



impromptu off the cuff copycat contest time. the same and different.

same: contribute to the world's longest poem at choka on it by adding a 7-5 couplet *that flows* from the one preceding yours (HOWTO: here, please read if its new to you), and copy/paste your couplet in the comments to *this* post. if in doubt, check out my past choka contests here and here for what i mean.

[edit, 11/04: as always, winners to be picked at random via :)]

different: i don't have the prize. YET. lately i've been on a total kick supporting my LYS article pract, so i can kill two birds with one stone... winner will give me an idea of preferred colors and i'll send them 2 skeins of koigu i'll pick out for them from AP's koigu stock on hand. (or, 2 skeins of ryc cashcotton, 2 skeins of lorna's laces shepherd sock, louet gems pearl, cascade sassy stripes, regia silk or regia bamboo or regular ol' regia... those are the ones i can remember off the top of my head.) whatever. sock stuff though-- its socktoberfest! i don't know the colorways offhand so you'll have to trust me (but winner is welcome/encouraged to give me an idea of their likes/dislikes and pray i don't embarrass myself.) i *may* get over there sooner and take a pic of the koigu they have (yeah, all kinds of crazy over here!)... not sure if its in the cards or not though so you may just have to trust me.

i'm planning on scooching over there not this weekend (*nothing* can touch this weekend), but next (going to check out some cashcotton 4-ply for anne's new MANlace pattern, meow!)... so let's say we'll run the little contest til november 10 (friday) in the early afternoonish.

really different: all yall who liked the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy yarn? bat f*cking crazy. (i can say that, its halloween yall!) you want it? you got it. in your comments when you add your couplet, tell me you want to be entered in a seperate draw for the H2G2 yarn as well (you'll be entered for the koigu, too), and i'll draw a name from that much smaller pool for the crazy person i'll inflict it upon. no setting it on fire if you win though, i can do that here. don't feel obligated to take it/throw yourself in the hat for it... believe me, i UNDERSTAND.

i'll spin up the second bit of roving to complete the set, good practice for me (great advice kristin)! i'd GUESS there'll be enough for a pair of socks with 2 skeins, but! there's a bunch of knots in the 1st skein (like, at least 6. seriously. i'd be super po'd if i had that many knots in a 50gm skein!) and will be some in the 2nd ;) ... remember its superwash, no spit splicing! it may take me a bit to wrestle the time together to spin up the second hank too, but i'll have it done sometime soon for the winner of that little offshoot.

okay! have at it! happy socktober, the best month ever.

Monday, October 30, 2006

panel and spectrum

I think its usually better to start with the good.

Lizard Ridge afghan, 3rd panel
(about 4 squares, or 2/3 complete)

I was hoping to have this panel done this weekend, but I decided to spend my Saturday evening and Sunday morning with this instead...

Yarn spun from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" handpainted merino superwash roving
(rocking dave's basketcase socks in sandals... you weren't supposed to see that!)

At best, at the very very best, I am ambivalent about this yarn. At medium spin cycle I dislike it. And at the extreme end where I tend to spend my waking hours, I hate this with blind fury. Its... ugly. Garish. Its kinda like the H2G2 movie-- starts out like a good idea but when you get into it, its just a mess and you want to like it (really really want to), but oy. Kinda like that. The fact I "wasted" part of my weekend with it, instead of working on Lizard Ridge, chaps mah hide too.

I feel guilty almost, hating my own handspun. I can't imagine using it, except maybe to subject my son to a crazy hat or something that he wouldn't wear anyway.


Its about 240 yd, fingering-ish weight (pretty good for newbie me, I think!)... half of the 4 oz of roving I dyed. Yes, I have half of the roving left and I can't bear to spin it. At least I don't think I will. :) I split the roving widthwise (to split it for 2 socks worth), then lengthwise to fill 2 bobbins for a 2-ply barberpoled yarn. Everything was spun in long color sections, so (in order) the yellow & green was plied with black/blue (more blue showed up than I thought would), the red with the dark pink, and the orange with black. Pretty much anyway...

Oh yeah. The best part? Knots. I had fewer of my singles breaking this time (a miracle happens when the lazy kate on the joy is cleaned & oiled!)... but still had floaty breaky bits of underspun singles and when they happened along and fell apart, I just tied them together with the yarn into a knot and kept spinning.

What *do* spinners do when you plies break? If this wasn't superwash I'd just join them and be on my merry way, but I couldn't think of what to do.

Ugh! Just talking about it makes me mad! :)


(deep breaths)

Okay :) Better now. Going to hopefully finish this third panel of LR... and figure out what to do for Socktoberfest! I know I've knit some socks, but I dunno. Need to do something else-- shoot the sock yarn stash (again?) I feel like I just did that! Maybe that's what I'll do... or a quick review of "Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose and Knickerbocker Stockings" (oop) by Veronica Gainsford? I wanted to write a review of that book but don't know if 2 days will do it justice. (Plus, I have some Fearless Fibers yarn just begging to be worked into some kilt hose for me, and it may be too much temptation...) Ergh. Something else? Advice? Of course "nothing" is a fun and valid answer, too ;)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

reading, roving, ridgemetic.

And then there were two.

Lizard Ridge afghan, 2 panels of 4
Noro Kureyon colorway 116
(newest panel on the right)

The scope and size of this project is near to impossible to shoot. Every time I see a lizard ridge square (or panel like mine), they just don't visually give you that, "my goodness is that huge" vibe. They're about 10.5" across, and come up to my neck from the floor. Even still, I need to figure a better way of taking these progress shots :) I tried photographing them inside, but my son *loves* these panels... runs on them, plays with the ridges between his toes, has decided he no longer needs train tracks and these will do kindly for the Thomas collection thankyouverymuch, etc... Pray for me when I have to seam this sucker together.

New panel.
(1st complete panel pics *here*)

Another reason to love the "weaving in ends while you knit" thing I just posted about? I did lay these panels side to side and the older panel, which has stranded yarn along the edge for the color changes in the rows, puckers. As lightly and as loosely as I stranded that yarn along the edge (with an eye to keep it "non-floppy"), compared to the panel where I wove in each end as I went it is puckery... so much so that when I laid them together, I thought I'd overknit the new panel since it was a few inches longer than the older panel. It will work out when I block it and seam it (I hope!), but its another reason to rejoice that I don't have to worry about weaving in ends anymore.

Second verse, same as the first.

Some have commented that I'm going quickly thru this project... to me, not quickly enough. I still have several gifts to start (at least I pretty much have all of the yarn for all of them on hand, but will show it as the projects get started), and I'm feeling a bit nervous. I would also like to be able to finish a few "personal" projects... my red herrring socks, sherwood for my kid (which I realized I was knitting incorrectly! oy... more on that later), and a new design project as well-- ergh. Need more hours in the day! :)

At least I still know how to have fun, even if I don't have the time for it...

Trees. Not just for yarn anymore.

The culprits of my stained fingers (and toes! yes, really)... Henry's Attic Superwash Merino roving, of course. I love this stuff, I love dying it. I got a little crazy with the squirt bottles but that's okay :) (Any recommendations for able-to-purchase-locally squirt bottles? Mine stunk!)

I took my colorway inspiration not from nature like some, but from books on my (dusty) shelves... (I've had this idea ever since I dyed for Dye O Rama and named my pal's colorway from "even cowgirls get the blues," the book I was reading around the time I was dyeing that yarn...)

"Ender's Dragon" colorway

From "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. I am on the last book of the entire Ender series (finished the Shadow series, finishing the Ender series with Children of the Mind as I type). I'd read them all before (except Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giant, both of which weren't released when I'd read the series before.) In the first book, Ender's child army was "Dragon"-- the colors? Grey orange grey.

I was playing with mottling the grey within the orange and it didn't stand out (obviously)... only tiny bits of grey stand on their own. Seeing it dry I was tempted to call it Dune, but I have another colorway in mind for that one (I've been devouring my scifi shelf lately!) I still love it, I really love this color. Later I will dye more roving using the same colors and try to allow the grey to stand on its own, but for now I love this quite a bit.

"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" colorway

How could I resist? :) I'm curious to see how this will spin, a good chunk is black with all of those bright colors dyed in sections. Even though I think I prefer spinning from the fold, I may try and attempt long draw next time to keep the colors together and 2-ply them for some crazy color barberpoling action.

This one turned out a little differently than expected, too... I was dyeing outide at night (yeah, uh...) and when I went over the blue section, I'm pretty sure I grabbed the black instead-- so there's more black than I anticipated, and no blue. (One blip of blue at the lower left corner-- that's it! Too bad since I think the blue is beautiful, and I'm not usually a blue fan.)


None of the colors overlap between colorways, so this was a pretty intensive dye session... but fun!! I was going to dye some matching Kona superwash dk as well (I even skeined up long hanks again for self striping), but was exausted and just shelved that for now :)

Oh, you want to braid your roving too? Pop on over to loribird's blog and check out her DIY braiding roving tutorial :)

Phew. Back to ridging...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How to weave in ends while knitting (VERY PIC INTENSIVE)

Okay! Here is where I attempt to show you the coolest.thing.ever that I learned from Jennifer "JP" Pett-Ridge during my colorwork class at my LYS Article Pract. The heavy pics are a necessity, and if you want to "get it" I'd suggest starting up a swatch and following along (I know as I look at these pics, they don't make sense... but as you go with needles and yarn in your hand, its a revelation fo sho.) These instructions are written for an English/right hand knitter, since I'm biased that way ;) (Seriously though, I don't know how to knit Continental so I can't show how to do it left handed.)

(edit, 10/07: Jen in KS has unvented the continental answer for those of pickers who want to weave in ends while knitting continental! go jen!! :))

Also, please excuse my colorful hands... I fought the dye and the dye won. (Pics later, too many today!) :)

First, begin with a new color. Knit the first stitch with your new color (black) as you would normally. Hold the end of the old color (purple) in your left hand, and hold your working/new color in your right as normal. You will not let go of the end yarn in order to keep it taut/tensioned-- it may feel awkward at first, but you don't want to drop and pick up the yarn. (I'm not holding the end/purple yarn in my hand in this pic, my timer went off too soon :))

While holding the yarn as described above, insert your working needle into the 2nd stitch on the needle as if to knit it normally.

Take the end of the old color (purple) and lay it across the top of your working needle (counterclockwise fashion, the OPPOSITE of how you would wrap your working yarn to make a stitch.) You're just laying it on top of the needle and holding it there w/ your left hand.

Another view of laying the end yarn over the working needle. Notice its just draped across.

Now, while holding the end yarn in place as described above, knit a stitch with your new color (black). Note that the knit stitch is wrapped the OPPOSITE way that the end yarn is wrapped.

Another view of knitting the 2nd stitch on the needle with the end yarn draped over the working needle.

Pull the working yarn (black) thru as knitting a stitch normally. Note that the stitch is not only being knit, but the working yarn is "catching" the end yarn and going under it to create the stitch. Only the working (black) yarn will be pulled thru and made into a stitch.

This is what the 2nd stitch on the needle looks like, as the end yarn is woven in behind.

While still holding the end yarn in the left hand, knit a stitch with the working yarn normally. (You don't have to do anything "special" on this step except for retaining the end yarn in your left hand.) The working (black) yarn will go over the end yarn to "hold" it down and make it point downwards.

(Second view.) How the 3rd stitch on the needle looks, as the stitch is worked normally as described above.

What 3 stitches look like with the end woven behind the latter 2 stitches.

Now, that's it. :) What I mean is, all you have to do is lay the end yarn over the working needle and knit, and then not lay the end yarn over the working needle and knit. Weaving in ends is just that 2-step process-- weaving in the end yarn and locking it down. Only the first stitch is knit normally, until you have enough of the end woven in as you prefer. (an inch? two? six stitches? twelve? up to you.)

The following pics are a repeat of the process above as I work across the row.

Again, lay the end yarn over the working needle in a counterclockwise direction, and knit the stitch with the working yarn as normal.

The end is woven in as the working yarn makes its stitch.

The working yarn makes a stitch as normal, and in the process "locks down" the end yarn that's being held in the left hand (but isn't being draped across the needle now).

2nd locking stitch complete.

Here I've woven in the end of the yarn over 10 stitches + 1 (5 pairs of weaving & locking, plus the original 1st knit stitch). After the end is woven in to your desired length (and after a pair of weaving/locking stitches), you just drop the end and knit across as normal. This pic is of the WS after knitting/weaving across one row.

If you look *super* close, you may be able to see where the end yarn (purple) is doubled-- every other "purl" bump on the WS will have a "double" bump where the end yarn has been locked down after being woven in. Its easiest to see this where the purple end is hanging-- the bump above is a doubled bump with the end woven in, and every other stitch preceding it also is doubled.

Purl back as normal. All of the weaving happens on the wrong side (WS), so you have to have the right side (RS) facing you as you weave in your ends so that they end up on the WS. No work happens on the purl back/WS row.

Here you repeat the weaving steps, this time with the end of the new yarn (the black end that was left from when you added the new color).

New RS with new color. Note you can't see the purple end woven in thru the RS (and its pretty tough to see it on the WS, too!) :)

Knit 1st stitch on needle.

Holding end of yarn in left hand, lay it over the working needle in a counterclockwise dx.

Knit stitch with end yarn draped over (sliding the working yarn under and catching the end yarn).

Knit 2nd "locking" stitch as normal.

Proceed across row, alternating weaving & locking til end is woven in to your satisfaction. As above, drop end and knit across as normal. (WS after knitting across row & weaving in the end yarn.) Near to impossible to see the black yarn end woven in, but its there.

This is the RS after a few normal (non-locking/weaving) rows have been knit. Note that you can't see the purple yarn thru the RS where it has been woven in.

This is the WS after a few normal (non-locking/weaving rows). Again, you can't see the woven in ends, but you can tell where they are from where the ends hang. You can trim these to your heart's desire too.


I am super grateful to JP for allowing me to share this technique I learned from her. It has made a huge difference to me (and will in the future too!)... but my immediate gratification came from the Lizard Ridge project. I had been carrying up the working/alternating yarns up the side of the afghan as directed in the pattern. If I didn't, I would have to have 96 ends to weave in for each panel (not including the ends when starting a new ball, or the cast on/bind off rows-- there are 48 short rows to work and 2 ends each to weave in.) It would be mind numbing to weave in 384 ends over 4 panels, so I just carried the yarn up the side...

1st Lizard Ridge panel with stranded yarn up the side

I didn't care for the look, and was terrified of finishing the afghan with all of these strands to contend with (and, one end of the afghan may have strands off of the side edge!). Again though, there's no way I was going to weave in those ends after... but this new weaving in ends as you knit is just the best.thing.ever...

Nice, neat edge with ends woven in as I knit. Not sure how close I'll trim those ends once done.

It may feel awkward at first to do, but you really get a hang of it and it doesn't take that long (and doesn't make me recoil like a darning needle does). I can see this technique opening up worlds to me-- I won't be afraid of stripes anymore, and as I am letting my fear of colorwork go, it will make the process more enjoyable as I won't dread the finishing.

Good luck! Thanks again to JP for teaching me this AND allowing me to share it with yall... she teaches various knitting classes across the bay area-- jump at the chance to learn something from her! :)

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Monday, October 23, 2006

of carrots, horses, needles and yarn.

I am shocked at my devotion to Lizard Ridge over the past few weeks...

Lizard Ridge, 2nd panel
(about 3 squares, 1/2way thru) I made a deal with myself that I could satiate myself on some selfish socks if I had finished up a few projects that woefully only needed finishing.

***click link for pics and details***
Baby sweater for Kristi's babies in waiting (via: Warm Up the Dutchicans triplets' virtual baby shower)
Started: September 25, 2006
Finished: October 21, 2006
more details re: yarn & needles on the flickr link
(keeping pics off in case its supposed ot be a secret :))

Its really silly, this sweater didn't need anything but seaming, blocking and buttons (still need buttons!) from the last (and only) time I posted about it, but its just sat here staring at me til this weekend and those babies aren't going to wait forever! (woohoo for +28 weeks, Kristi! :))

The babies and the virtual baby shower (can I say TRIPLETS again? the idea gets my bioclock going crazy!) can use more handknits-- check out the virtual baby shower link for ideas and inspiration if you're inclined :)

One seamed baby sweater wasn't quite enough to let me off the lizard hook, so...

Knucks from Knitty Summer 2006
Started: September 11, 2006
Finished: October 19, 2006
Handspun, handdyed superwash merino
US 2.5 (3.0mm) dpns, 4 (Holz & Stein 7" and Suzannes 4")

Terrible pic, I know. Better ones found in lower links-- its hard holding a camera with your chin! :) Again, another "just needed finishing project." I ran out of the orange handspun to do a proper cuff with, so I knit one round in a black handspun of mine and did a regular bindoff for the little black edge at the cuff. I've decided to not embroider them, at least not right now, my skilz are sorely lacking and I kinda like the plain. As I wear them more as the weather cools, I may decide otherwise.

They're very thick and hurt my hands a bit to knit-- pushing a heavy dk/light worsted yarn with the sock-ish sized needles was a bit of a pain. I'm happy though, how tightly knit they are-- and surprised the cuff doesn't roll as I've omitted any ribbing or anything to keep it taut. I started them early on the morning to see the yarn harlot's talk (I vacillated between writing "stephanie's" & "tyh" here! such a dork) @ Full Thread Ahead, and finished them the same day-- again minus the finishing! I think they're great and hold a nice memory of the day in my head when I look at them. Great, fun pattern and I'm not afraid of glove fingers anymore (though the 4" needles were a godsend to me)... thinking if I will knit a pair as a holiday gift. These are MINE though! :)

Previous post on Knucks:
September 8, 2006
September 11, 2006

After the finishing fest, I was going to knit (another??!) pair of Pomatomus socks from the regia bamboo Kristen sent me for her Vintage Knitalong pics project (thanks again Kristen!!)...

Regia Bamboo color 1065

...but I still had a bit of the colorwork bug from my class last week so...

Red Herring from Knitty Fall 2006
(thanks again for a cool pattern, Cookie!)
Started: October 21, 2006
Knit Picks Gloss in Dusk & Pumpkin
US 1.5 (2.5mm) 32" Holtz & Stein ebony circular for magic loop

Can I be in love with colorwork? Over, under, round & round... where I'll stop, nobody knows.

The magic loop isn't my favorite (the loops bug me as they "hit" the palms of my hands, I greatly prefer 2 socks on 2 circular needles, but I also started/learned that way so its not too surprising), but the joins on the Holz & Stein circulars is quite nice-- not as slide-y as the Addis, but I think that's quite a tough bar to meet. I'm not nearly good enough to know why Wendy and others prefer ebony for colorwork, but hey! it works for me so I can't complain too much. (I will try it on Addis, sometime.)

I do wish the "turns" weren't as pocky as they are; they're not bad, but I can definitely see the "fold" where one needle ends and my latest goal is to figure out how to lessen it. Other than that, I think I'm the most surprised of all how nice and non-oddball the colorwork looks... like I said, I've tried it before and it was SO uneven because I thought it was "easier" to knit one color, drop it, and pick up another. Now that I'm getting the hang of 2 colors in one hand and consistent in the over/under (pattern color goes under, background color goes over according to The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson), its greatly improved the tensioning.

For all yall that like the up the skirt shots (admit it!)...


Color's much more true on this one, but I couldn't resist the mag pic above :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Vintage Capelet pics

New Vintage Capelet
Spun Mag, Issue 1
Started: October 5, 2006
Finished: October 10, 2006
Noro Silk Garden, color 224 lot a
US 8 (5mm), Addi
Size S/M (2nd size)
3 skeins (almost all), with mods to shorten/use less yarn

I'm pretty pleased with this knit, its not quite a scarf but simple and fast and not really reliant on knowing measurements (great gift knit, destined as part of my sister's holiday gift). The lace is easy to memorize (despite the fact I almost knit the entire lace panel incorrectly and had to rip and restart...) and once you get past the lace, the stockinette just flies.


I knit the s/m size (2nd size for the pattern), and used barely BARELY under 3 skeins of yarn. I did do some mods to keep it the length pictured in the pattern/shorter than the pattern for this size indicated, so I'd say if you were knitting it as written you'll definitely need 4 sk (and also makes me think that the pattern's yarn estimate is incorrect-- the Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed is the same weight & yardage as the Noro Silk Garden (DB: 109 yd/50 gm, Noro: 110yd/50gm).

I knit the pattern as written til the first decrease row. After the first decrease, I knit the next 2 decreases every 6 rows (instead of every 8). Then for the 4th, 5th & 6th (final) decreases, I knit the decrease row every 4 rows. The final length I came up with was 13" before I started the k1p1 collar, which was knit as written (and which I should have folded over more in the wearing-pics). As written, the pattern would have had an extra 18 rows of stockinette (6.5sts/column inch), it would have been about 3" longer (and used more yarn).


The Noro Silk Garden is amazing... Knitting it I was worried it wouldn't be soft enough for next to the neck wear, but after washing & blocking (I blocked this to the size in the pattern, it could have been blocked/stretched even wider; didn't stretch it vertically) it is so soft and has a wonderful drape. A heads up about the Noro Silk Garden, this colorway in particular... Little Knits has it on sale for 43-50% off-- if I wasn't already knitting Lizard Ridge in the Kureyon, I'd consider picking up 2 bags of the silk garden for the afghan, it would be so soft! (y cheaper than kureyon at retail, too!) :)


I don't think the thin striping of the Silk Garden detracts from the lace panel, but to be honest the lace isn't the attraction of the pattern for me (its nice...) but the whole "victorian" look of it, and how its sorta an anti-scarf. Not saying other family members aren't getting scarves this year, but this is a little different and I think will look great on my statuesque sister.

Previous posts on New Vintage Capelet:

October 5, 2006
October 6, 2006
October 10, 2006
October 12, 2006

...and speaking of Lizard Ridge...

Lizard Ridge panel, 6 squares worth
Noro Kureyon color 116

Uh, yeah. For some reason (and why I would not survive in the wild) I had it in my head I needed 8 squares/32 pattern repeats (64 short row rows) per panel, instead of 6/24 (48 short row rows). I finished up the eight and was perplexed by the fact I just used almost 6 skeins; I knew I needed about 20 sk for the afghan, and 6 * 4 != 20. My mistake didn't hit me til the next day, and I didn't frog til today. The pics from last time actually includes a bit of the frogging done today :(

Not much knitting on it, as I attended the Colorwork class at Article Pract last nite...


My to-be-felted colorwork sampler bag! Knit with, get this, 2 colors held in my right hand! Pleased as punch, and it wasn't nearly as frightening as I had made it to be in my mind. I'd done a little colorwork before, but always dropping yarn and picking it up-- this way is SO much faster, and more even too.

Not only that, I learned a way to weave in ends as I go... which just is the coolest thing ever and worth the price of admission in itself. Next week we're doing an intarsia flap for the bag, yay :) I almost cast on for red herring after I finished the bag because I just wanted to knit more in color... I know I'll cave soon, but I'm trying to get in as much Lizard Ridge as I can til I absolutely get sick of it and have to abandon it for a few days (its been the only thing I've been working on lately, shocker!)

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

I Took The Handmade Pledge!