Category Archives: knitting

Shur’tugal Socks

I’ve admired the sock pattern “Shur’tugal” by Alice Yu for sometime now and finally knit them this past January.  The pattern is a free download that can be obtained on Ravelry or on Alice’s website “Socktopus” in the left sidebar.  She’s a Canadian expat living in the UK and she has an online store (also called Socktopus) specializing in artisan sock yarns.

I used Dreams in Colors Smooshy sock yarn in the dark blue colorway of “Midnight Watch” using US1.5/2.5mm needles.  I have friends that are constantly raving about Smooshy, so I just had to try it for myself.  The dyeing is such that all the colors are semi-solids, with subtle color variations that will not overpower the knit pattern in socks, even the most delicate pattern.  I have to say that since Smooshy is spun with Merino wool, they are smooshy soft on the feet.

The charted pattern is medium is difficulty and knit up very quickly — I think I set myself a new speed record and knit this pair of socks in two week flat.  The diamond pattern is created by either knitting a right or left twist, but no cable needle is involved.  The twist is made by knitting two stitches together but leaving them on the needle, then going between the two stitches and knitting the second stitch, then pulling both new stitches off the needle.  Very nifty.  It does make me cranky that my old eyes don’t see tiny print the way they did in my whipper-snapper years.  You can see in the picture below that I enlarged the pattern chart up around 200%!  Well, you do what you’ve got to do.

While I was knitting these in the evening, Louis would come over and lay his furry little head on my lap.  **sigh**   It just doesn’t get much better than that . . .

Thank you Sugaroni for taking the first two pictures!

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Filed under Cardigan Welsh Corgi, dogs, knitting, socks, Yarn

One persons trash is another persons treasure

During the swap and shop evening at the Fall 2008 Yarn School, my friend Grasshopper was selling several of her “not so favorite” fibers that she had dyed. One in particular caught my eye — it was BFL (or as another friend calls it: biffle) in shades of blue with greens and magenta — oh, baby, those are my colors!! Grasshopper said she liked it “okay”, but she wasn’t crazy about it and would probably never spin it. Enough said. I snatched it up! It spun like a dream and I made approximately 590 yards of 2-ply worsted weight yarn.

Now the hunt was on for pattern — it would need to be a shrug or short sweater since I had limited yardage. I settled on a pattern from the Drops website, a short jacket with short leaves (pattern 117-43) that is knit side to side in garter stitch with short rows for shaping and absolutely NO seams.

Drops is a Norwegian company that produces lovely yarn and has hundreds of free patterns available on their website. The patterns are originally written in Norwegian and the majority of them have been translated into English. Because the instructions have been translated, they can sometimes be a bit quirky in their phrasing and I had to reread them MANY times to make sure that I understood everything correctly. A few times I know I was cocking my head to the side the way Louis does when he doesn’t understand what I’m asking him to do! All that said, the pattern is very clever in its use of short rows to create its shaping and I’m really pleased with the outcome.

By the time I was ready to cast off, I only had about two feet of my handspun left so I use some Harrisville Highland yarn in a teal/blue colorway to cast off and then used the same yarn to add a single crochet edging. Since the yarn was handspun and the garment was knit side to side, the edges ended up not being consistently even, so the crochet edging totally evened things up, plus it tied together with the cast-off edges.

I’m so glad that Grasshopper didn’t want that fiber because I feel like I scored big time!!

Thanks to Sugaroni for taking the pictures!

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Filed under dyed fiber, knitting, spinning

BIG knitting

Oh, my, I saw these on Christien Meindertsma’s website and my mouth just flew open and then I got a big grin on my face!  I love these giant garter stitch cushions that are called urchin pouf’s.  I so want to see these being made — wait, what am I saying?!  I want to try making these!

As you can see, the needle size is definitely off the charts.  Meindertsma is a young Dutch designer that has an innovative and humorous approach to knitting.  She has a product line called FLOCKS, that as the website says is “a knitwearbrand in the broadest sense of the word.”  She was also a part of an exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum called “Design for a Living World” that highlighted items made from sustainable materials from around the globe.  Go to YouTube and you can hear her thoughts on her work.

(photos from Dezeen and Christien Meindertsma)

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Gaia Shawlette/Shoulder Hug

It has been snowing and bone chillingly cold this holiday and that’s made it difficult to get out and do much of anything. Luckily the gym we go to is only about two miles from our house and I’ve bundled up and gotten there most days so I won’t dissolve into a total glob. But I have to admit that I love this time of year when it comes to knitting and crocheting. One of my favorite things to do is curl up with a good movie, Sam & Louis tucked in tightly beside me and a great knitting project. The Gaia Shawlette/Shoulder Hug by Anne Carroll Gilmour was knit in just that situation.

Gaia is available as a free down-load both on Ravelry and on the Wildwest Woolies website. The pattern is very easy and consists of stockinette, reverse stockinette and 2tog/YO, making the shawlette reversible.

I used US #5/3.75mm 24″ circular needles and Araucania Ranco Multy fingering weight yarn in colorway *318. The shawlette took almost the entire 376 yards

I still get a bit excited when I finish a project like this because I know that the tiny, wrinkled piece that comes off the needles is going to bloom into a light and airy garment.

Several years ago I invested in a blocking board that I ordered from Webs (this is a thick 3/4″ board with a preprinted grid on it making it so much easier to wet block garments) and then last fall I invested in a set of lace blocking wires. The blocking wires help to make the edges of the lace straight and consistent. I also pinned the picot edged points and this also opened up the YO’s.

I didn’t wet block this shawlette fiercely, but I stretched it enough to fully open up the simple lace patterning. The finished size is a width of 52″ and 35″ to the middle point.

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Afghan from the Past

Long before I ever dreamed that I would be spinning and dyeing fiber, I had (and still have) a family friend named Donna that raised sheep. Donna (as a little fyi, she was also my 8th grade softball coach and her husband worked with my father for some thirty years) invited me to her yearly sheep shearing party and being the admitted knitting addict, I thought this sounded like great fun. It was so cold out in her barn, but the hired shearer was quick and accurate with the sheep and the barn was filled with fiber enthusiasts. Over in one corner was the skirting table where women were taking the newly shorn fleeces and nimbly pulling off the veggie matter, mud and sheep “stuff”. I was amazed at the color and feel of the fleeces — under the outer, bleached coat was this rich, lanolin filled wool with such a beautiful crimp to it. Oh, and did I say there were two new little lambs in the barn too? I was in heaven!!! From time to time I would slip into the house for either a bowl of chili or a mug of hot chocolate and warm up a bit, but then it was back to the barn. As a fleece would come off a sheep, someone in the group would claim it, it would get skirted, weighted, priced and then bagged. The owner of Ozark Carding Mill was there and most of the fleeces were sent with her to be processed. Being caught up in it all I bought the fleeces of two young sheep of a moorit (brownish/black) coloring. I talked to women in the group and found someone that would spin my fiber, after it came back from processing, into a worsted 3-ply yarn. Not being a spinner at the time, I had no idea what I was asking! If someone asked me to spin a consistent 3-ply worsted yarn now that I do spin, I would absolutely faint!! But, my hired spinner (I’m embarrassed to say that so much time has passed that I can no longer remember her name, but she was a saint!), took on the task and gave me the loveliest yarn.

I ended up with enough yarn to make two afghans, one for myself and one for my parents 50th wedding anniversary present. The pattern is called “Endearing” (#15) from an old Leisure Arts book titled “Big Book of Quick Knit Afghans“. It was knit using US#15/10mm 36″ circular needles holding two strands of yarn together. The finished measurements are 58″x80”.

Because it was knit holding two strands of yarn on such big needles, it was a fast project and the pattern work stands out against the natural brown color of the yarn.

Everytime I use this afghan it brings back fond memories and a smile to my face because this was my first exposure to the world of sheep and fiber. Hmmm, I had no idea what the future held for me!!

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Filed under knitting, spinning

“My Sweet Little Nothing Shrug”, er, Cardigan

little sweater

This is my version of the “Sweet Little Nothing Shrug” pattern by Kay Meador, a free Ravelry pattern. I decided to make this little sweater using my own handspun that I had spun from fiber I had bought from The Arts at Eagles Find in the “Under the Sea” colorway. I spun it in a worsted weight and knit with US#8 needles.  The sweater is knit top down with raglan sleeves and I love that there were no seams to sew up.  I modified it by adding length and decreases for shaping to both the sleeves and body and changed it from a single snap closing at the neck to nine button and button holes.  Whew, I was a bit worried about having enough yarn during the final stages of knitting, but, I had JUST enough yarn, with maybe six inches left when all was said and done!  It’s just right for the crisp weather of fall, yet not too warm to wear in my office.

blue & green

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October Socks

I’ve been a very, very bad blogger!! Knee surgery (ouch), jury duty (grumble, grumble, civic duty and all that), SOLD MY HONKIN’ BIG LOOM, lay-offs at work, Nikol and I finished our new dye book (more on that later), Yarn School, bronchitis, knitting, LIFE! Ok, there are the Cliff Notes for my summer . . .

Now for my knitting. I finished my “Wollmeise socks“, a pattern by Monica Jines that’s FREE at The Loopy Ewe. I knit using 2 pairs of 16 inch #1/2.25mm circular needles used Miss Babs “Yummy” sock yarn in the Iris colorway of greens and purples.

iris_2ply

socks done

The pattern is very subtle, with staggered k2tog’s and yo ktb. A very easy knit from the top down pattern that goes together quickly.

close up

A little side line, I was so impressed when my friend Rachel saw me knitting these socks and without hesitation, she stated (paraphrased), “oh, I love that “Yummy” sock yarn from Miss Babs, and that “Iris” color is great.” The girl knows hers yarns!!

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Filed under knitting, socks