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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hub of Fashion

Hub of Fashion is the pattern I chose for June's challenge. The pattern is by Stephanie van der Linden from Around The World In Knitted Socks. This was the first sock I wanted to knit as soon as I saw this book. It fit in with three challenges from SKA:- Stephanie van der Linden designs, unusual construction and I finally got around to it in self-striping month.

The separate post for these socks is so that I can comment on the pattern and, hopefully, help others who wish to make it. I was concerned as many of the projects on Ravelry said the socks were too big. I didn't want to start knitting a sock that wasn't going to fit, on the other hand, these comments didn't make sense as Stephanie has designed many many sock patterns and I hadn't had any problems with the two designs of hers that I had knitted. Also, looking at the pictures in the book, the socks didn't appear to be baggy. Then reading a Raveler's comments about the socks being too big despite having a smaller stitch gauge, I realised why so many were having problems. This pattern is worked from side to side so the important gauge is the row gauge. I matched the row gauge, followed the pattern and my socks fit perfectly. The stitch gauge will make a difference to the length of the sock.

Row Gauge Is Important There I've put it in bold so no more complaining if your socks don't fit.

I changed the way I worked a couple of the techniques. I did not fancy a provisional cast on of 111 stitches including putting the stitches on a spare needle at the end for grafting. I worked a Turkish cast on over two circular needles and carried on knitting off one of them. The spare needles holding the "provisional" stitches was a size smaller to avoid any stretching of the stitches. This meant the stitches were ready when the sock was completed and the two sides had to be grafted.

The edge stitches are held to be used for toe and the cuff. Stephanie suggests using a length of waste yarn with one end bound with tape to hold the stitches. On the first sock I tried two different methods for holding the stitches. At one end I used Super Dental Floss and the other end I used locking stitch markers. The dental floss was a good way to hold the stitches but I had to be very careful not to tighten the held stitch when knitting the next row. I didn't have that problem with the stitch markers but with a number of stitches on each marker the edge gathered in. For the second sock I combined these two methods. An edge stitch was put onto the stitch marker and then floss threaded through. Every 5 stitches or so I took the marker out and left the stitches on the floss. This way stitches were not tightened up and the work was not gathered in.

The yarn is Sockenklecks Edition Tausendschön by Schoppel-Wolle, purchased during the South Calgary yarn crawl. This is a fun yarn knitted up into a long rib scarf and then dyed. You can tell that it was dyed after being knit as where there are colour changes, the stitches are made up of both colours. This looks fine in its original state but I have ended up with different colour stitches in odd places. The yarn was very easy to knit with. It unknitted easily and I didn't notice the curl when knitting but I certainly noticed it when I had ends to sew in especially as each sock had a side seam of 111 stitches that had to be grafted.

How the yarn looked in its original purchase and after being unwound.

The completed sock before being kitchenered.

And the completed pair of socks.

I love these socks. (Although I am disgusted with my ribbing, which won't show in wear, thank goodness.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

June's Achievements in Pictures

Here are the photos of the items I completed in June.

These socks were started at the end of March and finished at the beginning of June.

I used the other yarn hubby purchased in Finland. It is a thick sock yarn but I didn't want to make a plain sock so I was pleased when I found this pattern as it is Finnish. The pattern is for the leg and foot and lets you insert your own heel and toe. As the yarn is thick, I didn't want the standard heel flap and wasn't too sure about a short row heel. I opted for the type of heel used for this pattern and this pattern. I couldn't find anything on the internet to describe this heel so I used the two patterns as a starting point and ended up with this.

I am very pleased with how it came out and it is the right heel for thicker yarn.

The other old pair of socks finished were the pink socks shown at the end of this post. I didn't like the cast off as it was too loose plus I had yarn left and as they were knitted toe up I decided to lengthen them. I unpicked the cuff and knit another pattern repeat, worked the cuff and then cast off in the normal manner with a size larger needle. I still had yarn left but I wasn't going to unpick again. I didn't take another photo as there is not much difference from the original.

The other socks finished in June were the mystery sock, designed by Janel Laidman. The technique for May was texture other than ribbing and she certainly cam up with that for the leg of the sock. Also there are beads added. this is the first time I have knitted with beads that have been pre-thread onto the yarn. I used clear beads that were left over from a long ago crochet project.

The yarn is Aspen by Red Rocks Fiber Works, purchased on my trip to Denver. I loved working with this yarn. It has a "beaded" texture and feels really soft.

And then there were the obligatory dishcloths.

For this one I used yarn left over from another dishcloth Bernat Cotn'Corn. I hated it the first time and don't know why I kept it. So when I finished this cloth I threw away the left overs.

The next cloth was made from Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Denim. I wonder if it will fade.

I can't post a photo of the last project I completed in June as it is a gift and the recipient might read this blog!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June's Achievements

My goal for June was to finish all the small projects on the needles. How do I end up with so many unfinished projects?

There is the grab and go project. This is a super easy project to take anywhere because you don't really need to look at the pattern and it is small enough to tote. Unfortunately socks don't fit this category any more. Sometimes a project starts off in this category and then becomes too big to easily carry round or the pattern changes.

At the other end of the spectrum is the super concentrate pattern. Lace and colourwork can fall into this category. I don't usually classify a pattern as hard but the attention that is required. How much you have to look at the pattern and the knitting. These projects are on the go for ever as I can't do anything else while knitting them so I don't work on them very often.

Mystery patterns. If I start these on time and the "clue" is short, I have finished knitting before the next "clue". Obviously I am not going to not knit anything else while waiting for more rows.

Not sure about the pattern. I start a project and am not sure if I like it. Maybe the yarn and pattern do not go together or the size is not right. Rather than make a decision straight away I will let the project sit awhile before going back to it and making a decision. As above I have to knit something else while waiting.

Finishing. Most patterns, even the super easy require concentration at finishing. Exception being those where your last row is knit 2 together and thread cut yarn through the last stitch. So now I have to plan time to complete a project.

I am pleased with my achievements in June. I finished two old pairs of socks and the mystery sock started in May. I didn't finish the scarf as I am trying to decide if it is too long. I had reached a length I liked decided to add a few more rows just in case and before I knew it I had finished the ball of yarn.

Cast ons in June were an item made from this yarn (and finished in June); a pair of socks finished on 1 July; and a pair of socks made from the blue and orange yarn in this post. And two mystery dishcloths started and completed in June. Not too bad.

My goals for July? To cast on lots of socks as there is no SKA challenge in August!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adventure on the High Seas

(OK so we live inland but it was a little bit of an adventure on water.)

Friday 1 July was Canada Day. The weather was very nice all weekend so Sunday we decided to go out on the lake. Hubby and I set out early afternoon in a canoe and rowed up the lake and back. We saw dark clouds coming in over the boathouse and hubby asked if I wanted to go in; not wanting to be the usual nervous nellie and not having had much of a work out I said no. Ha! this turned out to be not the time to change one's nature.

We were roughly in the middle of the lake when the wind started to kick up and we tried to turn the canoe around to head back but the wind really kicked up and we weren't getting anywhere battling the wind and the waves that were surprisingly large. Not that large but bigger than you would have expected on a community lake, almost white caps - large enough to nearly capsize us when we turned the canoe.

I was none too happy being in the middle of the lake at the mercy of the elements so we headed for the shore in the safest way which just so happened to be at the opposite end from the boat house. After hanging on to a (private) dock for a bit to see if the wind would die down, we beached the canoe. We could either portage it through gardens, abandon it and walk back to base, sit it out and hope we weren't in for a long storm.

There were two other boats out, a couple in a kayak who were at right angles to the wind and not far out so were able to return and a pedalo who were not far out but couldn't get back. (It's hard work pedaling those things on a normal day I'd hate to think what it would be like pedaling into the wind.) While we were at the private dock the motor boat set out and towed the pedalo back in. I knew there was little hope they would see us but I also knew I would have been far from happy if we had stayed in the middle of the lake waiting to be picked up.

We had started to carry the canoe so that we could put back in at a more sheltered spot and follow the shore back to the boathouse when a home owner called to us. She had just seen us and was concerned that we had been there a while. She said it happens all the time people getting stuck because of the wind and to just leave the canoe and she'd drive us back. We declined her offer of a lift as we were not far from the boathouse but we did thank her. (The houses on the shore are large and priced accordingly and we would have thought wouldn't have been happy to have the hoi polloi invading their back yard.)

All's well that ends well but the morale is that sometimes being a nervous nellie is a good thing.