Monday, December 18, 2006

I *heart* the mailman

The new STR Rockin' Sock Club shipment arrived at my house safe and sound this afternoon (huge relief after the mail theft problems I'd been having). I may or may not have spent the day compulsively checking the KAL for pics of other people's kits, counting the number of days it took past shipments to arrive, and running to the door to stare out of the peephole at the slightest sound.

I am ecstatic about the red skein (click to big-ify). I love, love, love red and have been wondering all along when it would show its yummy primary goodness. As for the Rare Gem, I'm still not convinced, and find myself wavering between loving it and HoHum-ing it. I suppose I won't be able to tell until it becomes socks. Perhaps it will become a pair of these depending on what happens during swatching.

I tried to get a good picture of the finished sock on the pattern but it was not meant to be (if you supersize the photo and squint you can almost see part of it). For those of you who are dying to know, it is a stunning beaded cable-rib pattern by Sivia Harding who designed these. The pattern itself reminds me of a simpler/easier, non-knee sock version, of these in that there is a fancy design at the top, that morphs into a simple cable to the heel, and then becomes pretty heel and front ankle detailing.

The good news is that it's here and I can focus on more urgent matters (like that pesky 100% final tomorrow). For now it's back to studying. I promise more regular postings with actual knitting content after it's done. Methinks a trip to the bead store is in order tomorrow, on the way home from the beastie!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Moebius Caplet

If nothing else, studying for exams has meant significant progress is made on my knitting. I use knitting to cope with stress, procrastinate, and as bribery for a chapter well learnt. Enter The Handmaiden's gorgeous Moebius Caplet kit. Cat Bordhi's Moebius Cast-On is genius, pure genius. It is also very simple if you just don't try to understand what is happening until you get going and follow the instructions. Exactly.

If you look carefully at the in-progress photo you can see the way that the cable spirals around to create the moebius. This is the second one of these caplets that I've made and both times it has been fun, fast, and interesting. This particular project came home with me from my LYS on Saturday and was finished by Sunday evening! A great last minute Christmas gift if I do say so myself.

Yarn: Handmaiden Grande Godiva (2 skeins) 50% silk/50% wool
Pattern: Moebius Caplet
Needles: Denise US 15 with 40" cable

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cheating decreases

Feast your eyes on these puppies. Four months of committed sock knitting to produce an exquisite lacey (subtle mesh patterned) anklet. Both yarn and pattern came to me in my July Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club kit.

Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight in Peaseblossom (1 skein)
Pattern: Hippy Crunchy
Needles: 2.25mm Clover Takumi DPNs

Perhaps the only reason I ever finished these socks was that I found a way to cheat the K3tog and SSSK decreases about 10 rounds in. To encourage other knitters that feel a little woozy when see they a pattern with muti-stitch decreases, I thought I'd put a quick tutorial together on how to accomplish the aforementioned without breaking a sweat or a dpn. Note that basic information on these two decreases can be found here.

The Majestic SSSK

First you need to slip 3 stitches as if to knit from the left to the right-hand needle, just like you were doing a regular SSK.

Next you SSK the two stitches closest to the tip of your right hand needle as you normally would (if you're really struggling you can just SSK the first stitch, and use the leap-frog technique described below to deal with the other two later.)

Here's the cheating part. Lift or leap-frog the unworked-but-previously-slipped-stitch on the right-hand needle (now the second one from the tip) over the SSK that you just worked.

Et Voila! A lovely, angst-free, and slightly blurry SSSK.

The Regal K3tog

This one follows the same principles as the SSSK but with one extra (easy) step. First you'll knit the first two stitches on the left hand needle together (K2tog) same as always (again if worst comes to worse you can just knit the first stitch and repeat the leap-frogging described below twice for the same effect.)

Now you have your worked decrease on the right-hand needle and your left over stitch on the left-hand needle (see picture).

Here's the extra step part. Slip the worked K2tog decrease purlwise from the right to left-hand needle so that it looks like this.

Then you just lift or leap-frog the remaining stitch to be worked over your decrease.

Now slip the whole thing purlwise back onto to the right-hand needle and you're done another beautiful decrease.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lesson learned

A few months ago I was perusing (onlookers might have described it as ravaging) the fiber stock at the yarn behemoth down the street, in desperate search of some Fleece Artist wool/silk roving to try out on my new Lendrum DT. There was only one lonely little braid. Its very bright, high-contrast primary colours were not at all to my taste but I was desperate and I somehow convinced myself that I needed to take it home. My mistake became clear after the yarn buzz wore off. Ashamed of my lack of restraint, I buried the fiber in my stash, never to be seen again. Alone it waited, encased in a plastic prison, while I gave it names like "clown paint" and "circus horror."

Needing some instant gratification, I reluctantly pulled it out and began to draft. Nothing like a quick night of spinning to teach me the error of my ways as the mistake turned into this

and then into this

I am smitten, a woman obsessed. This is quite possibly the most lovely yarn I've ever spun. It's perfect: the colours, the blending, the squishiness, the sheen, everything! It is 105 yards of worsted weight, 2-ply, silky woolly goodness.

New rules to live by: trust your yarny instincts and never judge a roving unspun.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I have long toyed with the idea of contributing my thoughts to the online knitting community. For many reasons, I never actually followed through with it before now. My status as a hit-or-miss knitter and my closeted lack of project monogamy held me back.

Ultimately, my newfound desire to clog the internet with my musings found its basis in the motivational power of guilt. The guilt coming from a responsibility owed to you, the casual reader, to follow through and get things done.

Like any true blossoming knitter, I am drowning in projects. Every time I walk into my LYS (which is often) I walk out with lofty goals and more yarn. Currently I have a whopping 67 pretties waiting for my love and attention, 14 of which are currently on the needles (I'll introduce you to those later).

It is my hope that the pressure to produce fodder for this charming little side-project will have one important side effect: hold me accountable to the stash. The blog, the perfect why-didn't-I-think-of-this-before blog, will be the solution to my knitterly ways (don't laugh). A solution that will force me to accumulate less yarn and start whittling down The List before I begin to adopt the Yarn Harlot's patented nook and cranny stash storage strategy and stop having room for things like groceries in my kitchen cupboards.

In the belly of the beast: a sampling of the yarn stash. It's both depressing and exciting that all of these gorgeous skeins sit waiting for their turn. We'll save the fiber stash for another day when I can collect the necessary courage.