Monthly Archives: October 2005

Portable knitting required

A long weekend in New Hampshire’s White Mountains screams of knitting (even though technically every minute of every day I was there was filled up with various activities).

But what to bring? Curlicue is in time-out (more about that later), and my secret sewing project is just as huge and unwieldy.

It’s sock time once again! A few weeks ago I purchased a lovely hank of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Indian Corn colorway (here’s a pretty good picture) for another pair of socks for Grandma.

This yarn is splitty as all hell.

Many people use this superwash blend (60% wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon) for socks, but I was warned in advance by Black Olive Paula, Smart Cookie Extraordinaire, to pay attention to the yarn’s lack of elasticity when choosing an appropriate pattern – that’s what a 40% mohair/nylon content will do for you.

Mohair feels like effing fiberglass.

A ribbed sock immediately comes to mind – it will have enough stored elasticity to slide over the foot easily and maintain its shape after wear.

The splittiness of this yarn is evident in the first stitch of each needle.
And also in the last. And the ones between.

Furthermore, one specific pattern sticks out in my mind – the Sockapal-2-za socks Carolyn knit for her pal. The pattern is Broken Cable Rib Socks from Interweave Knits WebKnits, and I think it’s just precious.

Seems like the perfect kind of thing for this hank of yarn!

The yarn especially likes to split when I’m
crossing cables, and that totally pisses me off.

With only 350 yards in each hank, and my Grandma’s huge feet, I knew I had to separate the yarn into two equally-sized balls and work from the toe up. And so I did! I am using the same toe-up resources as for my Candy footlets, and here’s what I’ve got so far:

Since I’m allergic to mohair, I can’t really wear and photograph the sock on my bare feets – keeps the socks clean, at least ;).

I am very happy with how the sock’s fit is coming out. I think I chose just the right number of stitches (74) and just the right needle size (US 1), and I can feel the stored elasticity – a sigh of relief!

I would rather rub my face in a pile of pine needles
than have it come in contact with mohair.

Oh, and you can see that I took some creative liberties with the cables on the instep – the pattern didn’t call for them, but I decided to put them in anyway.

Have I encountered a more splitty yarn than this one?
I don’t think so.

I know you’ve noticed the pooling. I must admit that of all the different pooling I’ve seen in my own knitting and in the knitting of others, this is one of the ugliest examples. However, just as with everything else, I have a firm opinion on the subject: if pooling really bothered me, I would not knit with variegated yarns. So, I’m not allowed to complain 🙂 – the result is interesting, how’s that?!?

As for the yarn… I’m still formulating my opinion.

Now, the Curlicue. Your comments were really interesting to me because I think you’re underestimating two things – first, I don’t think you realize how long it will take me to finish those remaining five sections. It’s very easy to say, finish it, block severely, and see how it turns out, but (to be perfectly blunt) you aren’t the one doing the knitting. Second, you’re underestimating the level of perfection that I consider my mundane, average, everyday existence. So, that’s that.

And there’s no doubt that an e-mail with supporting pictures has already been sent to the lovely folks at Oat Couture, although I haven’t received a response yet. Snail mail may be in order.

HOWEVER, the Curlicue story is not over. I think this particular pattern sucks (royally), but I have something else in mind along the same lines that may work much better. But first I need to do a lot of math and a protractor is most definitely required ;).

The return (and exit) of Miss Q

The Q is back!


Although I’ve been devoting a lot of my time to a secret sewing project, I have squeezed in a few repeats of the Curlicue here and there.

But I’m feeling really down. As more and more sections are attached to one another, the puckering along the middle “star” portion is impossible to ignore. I mean, impossible to ignore. Betty (en español) noticed it, too!

While you look at the following photo, keep in mind that pictures of handknits tend to flatten and smooth the fabric, okay?

GAH! I’m not sure what to do. It’s not pretty and I would be embarrassed to give this as a gift.

The other frustrating thing is that I can see exactly what’s wrong with the pattern, what needs to be changed to make it flatter. However, this is a 100% inflexible pattern, there’s no wiggle room whatsoever, so changing it would involve completely and totally reworking the directions, from the first row to the last, and test-knitting a few big-ass blankets in the process (and no one is paying me the big bucks to stay home and do that).

I’m THIS close to switching to a different pattern while the baby is still in the mommy’s belly.

What a disappointment and waste of time.

Edited to add: Since the yarn is cotton/acrylic, and since I don’t expect the mom to do anything other than throw the blankie in the washer and dryer, I have no hopes for any sort of blocking miracle. Also, there is no hope of additional sections helping matters because the puckered sections (5, for example) already have all the other sections around them attached.

Well, I’m off for a long weekend sans internet access – see you all on Monday!

A meme makes its way here?

I was just thinking the other day that although memes are fun, I haven’t seen any that are specific to knitting.

Lo and behold, Carolyn creates a knitting meme! Oh, I’m SO psyched! Not only do I have strong opinions about the topics the meme addresses, I can plaster my answers right here!

Carolyn, thanks for creating this meme, I am gladly answering it!

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?

Oh, there’s no hesitation about this one: Louet Gems Merino. I’ve only used sportweight (Opal) so far, but it comes in all kinds of thicknesses, as well as colors. What do I love about Louet? Let’s just say that there’s nothing I don’t love about it. I am not much of a yarn hoarder, but at the moment I do have a sweet little stashette of Louet ;).

Your favorite needles?

This one is harder to answer because I’m a needle whore. You see, some people are yarn whores, and some people are project whores, but nothing brings me more joy than having one of each kind of needle. In every style/brand, size (smaller than 8), and color.

Here are some of my favorites:

As an alternative to the blunt-tipped Addis, I use INOX/Prym Express, and if I want something even more pointy, I reach for my trusty Boye or Susan Bates Silvalume. I’m also a big fan of Bryspun needles, all the different varieties – straights, dpns, and circs. When I want to use metal dpns, I like INOX/Prym aluminum, although the way the sizes are marked on the packages is weird.

The worst thing you’ve ever knit?

This little baby sweater. Simply, I didn’t know any finishing techniques back then and put a whopping two stitches into the seams. I would do a much better job with that pattern now ;).

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don’t like wearing it…but it was the most fun to knit)

Carolyn, I’m with you – it has to be Forbes Forest from Scarf Style that I knit for Meg. What a fabulous pattern!

Most valuable knitting technique?

Willingness to try anything – the more challenging, the better.

Best knit book or magazine?

Without a doubt, Montse Stanley’s The Knitter’s Handbook. Talk about comprehensive! If you’re passing up this book only because of its affiliation with Reader’s Digest, well… good for you.

Your favorite knit-a-long?

I enjoyed Stitch Ya Neck Out because almost everyone seemed to be a great knitter and photographer. It was a joy to read everyone’s updates!

Your favorite knitblogs?

Purly Whites and Black Olive are easy answers because I know the girls behind the blogs and their writing style just speaks to me. The things common to all the other blogs I love are nice projects, great photos, posts and projects which don’t drag, and good writing. There are SO many blogs which fit this description, but let me list two which always keep me coming back: cosmicpluto knits! (fab projects despite a busy school season), and Misocrafty (her sewing turns me green with envy!).

Your favorite knitwear designer?

I don’t think I really have one. The thing is that I get overcritical about the patterns themselves, specifically the sizing, and so I eventually stop thinking of them as a design, a look, a sentiment, an idea, and start thinking of them as math problems. And that’s asking for trouble when I’m thinking of a favorite knitwear designer, since I can’t even remember the designer’s style.

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)

I don’t wear my handknits that much because I find them very hot. However, nowadays I can be spotted wearing the Lace Leaf Scarf Polly knit for me almost every day ;).

Tag time! I know Miss Paula, Laura, Joelene, and another Laura will all have insightful things to say! Can’t wait to read all about it!