Say You Love Me

I had some interesting yarn in my stash that I had purchased from Brynna at Draygone Yarnes some time ago in a color way called Say You Love Me.

Draygone Yarnes Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn, Say You Love Me, 70% superwash Merino, 30% silk

Draygone Yarnes Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn, Say You Love Me, 70% superwash Merino, 30% silk

Interesting is one of those descriptors that one uses when one doesn’t wish to be negative, but really cannot think of anything positive to say. This is not a colorway I would have chosen; I received it as part of a sock club based on Broadway musicals. The yarn sat in my stash for months, and I just didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, it’s hot pink and dusty grape, for cryin’ out loud!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, one of my Ravelry friends said she was working on the Simple Skyp Socks. I’m always looking for new simple sock patterns, so I clicked the link she had provided and found this pattern.

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It’s a free download, as you can see, and a lovely pattern. My first thought when I saw this pattern was, I have to knit these socks! My second thought was, I wonder how these socks would look in that pink and purple yarn I got from Brynna?

The answer to the question is, It looks marvelous, darling!

The answer to the question is, It looks marvelous, darling!

I should have trusted Brynna. She is a brilliant dyer, and I have never, ever gotten a clunker from her.

The pattern is written for sport weight yarn, and the yarn I decided to use is fingering weight yarn, but I figured it wouldn’t be difficult at all to adapt the pattern. I was wrong. I didn’t even need to adapt the pattern. It is written for a range of sizes, one of which uses 72 stitches, the magic number I use when knitting socks in fingering weight yarn on size 2.5mm needles at a gauge of 9 stitches per inch.

So I cast on 72 stitches, knit the called-for 10 rounds of 2 x 2 ribbing, then started the Skyp pattern. The pattern looks complicated, but it is as simple as can be. I worked round and round and in short time came to the end of the leg.

Here I modified the pattern a bit. I arranged the stitches as called for in the pattern, and I knitted the heel flap in heel stitch (row 1: *sl 1, k 1, repeat from *; row 2: sl 1, purl across), but instead of a chain selvedge edge, I use a 3-stitch garter edge. In other words, I started and ended each row with k 3.

I turned the heel in my usual fashion, picked up the gusset stitches, and then I tried something new to me. I did all my gusset decreases on the sole of the foot at the same place each time, on either side of the two center heel stitches. This is an idea I borrowed from Scullers Socks, and I wanted to compare this technique with the gusset decreases I used for the Reversible Ribs Socks.

The V-shaped gusset close upDSC02568_2

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Both are simple to do. Both are aesthetically pleasing. And both create a well-fitting heel that wraps itself gently around the contours of the foot’s anatomy. Both are winners. Both are keepers. But I must admit I have a preference for the looks of the slanted gusset decreases I used on the Reversible Ribs Socks. I like how it forms a diamond, and I think the heel fits just a skosh better than the straight-line decreases.

Say You Love Me Skyp Socks sock #1 is finished, and sock #2 is OTN.

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There is one more pattern modification I have to mention, this one unintentional. When I cast on sock #2 and finished knitting the ribbing, I discovered that I had missed something in the directions. There is supposed to be a round of purl stitches separating the 2 x 2 ribbing from the Skyp pattern. Somehow, I missed that the first time around. But I kind of like the way the ribbing flows into the leg pattern, so I’m not upset at all that I can’t read a pattern. 😀

Don’t forget to visit Tami’s WIP Wednesday site and see what other crafty folks are up to.

Sunshiny Day

Yes, another FO Friday is here, and in my world, the sun is shining, both literally and figuratively. Yes, the Sunshine Ribbed Socks are done.

Sunshine Ribbed Socks happily posing on the front porch

Sunshine Ribbed Socks happily posing on the front porch

Because the yarn that inspired these socks–Draygone Yarnes in Let The Sunshine In–is so freaking gorgeous, I went with a rather plain vanilla pattern. The leg and instep are done in a simple 4 x 2 ribbing (k4, p2) on 72 stitches using 2.5mm Chiao Goo 6-inch double-pointed needles. I worked a traditional heel-flap-and-gusset heel using EOP (eye of partridge) stitch for the heel with a 3-stitch garter edge on each side of the heel flap. The toe is a round toe. When a colorway is as beautiful as this one is, it is best to stick with a very simple pattern and let the yarn be the star of the sock. I prefer to use ribbing in some form on the leg and instep because it conforms to the shape of the leg and foot and makes for a better fitting sock.

This sock is my last one of 2012. My first sock of 2013 is already under way. In fact, I started it in 2012, but just barely, so I will be taking it up in earnest now that the Sunshine socks are done.

Aside from finished the Sunshine socks, I’ve been swatching for some sweaters. For many knitters, swatching is a dirty word, but I think it is essential when knitting an item that really needs to fit properly. I know the heartbreak of finishing a sweater, only to discover that it is either too small or too big for its intended recipient. I think that it is important to knit a generous swatch and then launder it the way the sweater will be laundered. That way, you will know how the yarn and any pattern stitches will behave in real life. This is especially important when knitting cables or when using a yarn you have never knitted with before or a fiber that changes dramatically when washed. I blogged about this back when I was knitting St. Enda for my son, so I won’t go on about it now. If you want to read my old blog post, click here. Anyway, you are bound to be hearing more about my sweater knitting in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned. 😀

 

WIP Wednesday

It’s another beautiful, mild December Wednesday here in southcentral Pennsylvania, and I have three works-in-progress to share.

My current WIP

My current WIP

Clockwise from the left, I present for your viewing pleasure:

The Sunshine Ribbed Socks, sock #1, a simple 4 x 2 rib in Draygone Yarnes Merino/Nylon fingering weight in the colorway Hair: Let the Sun Shine In (from Bryanna’s Broadway Sock Club). Unfortunately, Draygone Yarnes has been on hiatus ever since Bryanna moved cross-country and I don’t know when or even whether she plans to start up again. She is my favorite indie dyer of sock yarn and I really miss her Etsy shop even though I need more sock yarn like I need a hole in my head.

Unwind Yarn Company’s Falkland in the O-Negative colorway being spun very, very fine on a Golding Ringspindle

Sparkly Garter Ribs Socks, sock #1 (almost completed), which is being knitted from my very own 3-ply handspun of BFL and Sparkle.

Be sure to visit Tami’s site to see who else is participating in WIP Wednesday.

Bobble Bobble

When I was a very little girl, my dad asked me at Thanksgiving, “How does a turkey go?” My reply was, “Bobble bobble.” So it became a standard part of our Thanksgiving celebration that my dad would ask me how a turkey goes and I would answer, “Bobble, Bobble.” Last Thursday marked the 5th Thanksgiving that has passed since my dad died. I miss him very much. And my DH continues the tradition of asking me how a turkey goes.

This Thanksgiving was one of the best ever. The boy and his sock-worthy GF drove in from the Burgh on Wednesday and didn’t leave until Sunday, although they did go with the DH to Morgantown on Friday to watch the Mighty Mountaineers of WVU beat the Pitt Panthers in the Backyard Brawl. The GF is currently a grad student at Pitt, but she’s a WVU fan all the way, which is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

I didn’t go to the game. There was just too much football to watch on TV, and hockey, too. And you know what watching football and hockey on TV means. That’s right. KNITTING!

I have some progress to report. First, I finished the Froot Loop Socks. This is a great pattern that is a lot of fun to knit. It never gets boring; at least, I never got bored with it. YMMV. I did adjust the pattern to suit me and knitted it on 84 stitches with 2.5mm needles. When I was ready to start the toes, I decreased to 80 stitches by leaving out 4 of the increases in the close loop toe pattern. Then I worked a round toe. The yarn is Sparkle from Draygone Yarnes in the Prom Dress color way. Unfortunately for us sock knitters, Draygone Yarnes is on hiatus at the moment.

Froot Loop Socks

Froot Loop Socks

The pictures always make the socks look redder than they are. They are pink. Very, very pink.

I have been trying to finish up some WIP, but I’m an abject failure at this point. I just cannot motivate myself to start working on St. Moritz again or to restart the knitted-on edging of my Stonington Shawl. I managed to work a couple of rounds on St. Moritz before setting it aside. I guess I have to be in the proper mood to do stranded color work from complicated charts. For the St. Moritz, I have to work from two different charts, and it’s a royal pain in the you-know-what.  And I’m just not in the mood for knitting that’s complicated.

As for the Stonington, I have tried two different edging patterns so far, and I don’t like either of them. So I have been searching for just the right pattern. I don’t know whether I’ll find it. I’m not very enamored of the Stonington technique. My shawl is going to be really small, and because of the way the borders are knitted, I cannot enlarge it by simply continuing to knit the borders. I’m considering ripping the borders back and reknitting them in the round, but that might be a little too drastic. Besides, the yarn I’m using is very sticky and ripping out is an even bigger pain than the St. Moritz charts. I’m mulling over the idea of picking up stitches around the edge of the shawl and knitting a second border, then doing an edging. But to be honest, I’m just not feeling this yarn or this shawl. At this point, I’m perfectly happy to let it marinate in its project bag and hope it improves with age.

But I do have the lace shawl itch, and it’s an itch I just have to scratch. I haven’t made a lace shawl in a while (Stonington doesn’t count), so I decided to start one. In black. Much to my surprise, I’m not finding the black yarn difficult to work with, even at night. Having settled on a yarn, Knit Picks Gloss in lace weight, I had to find a pattern. After searching through dozens of shawl patterns, I decided to try the Magickal Earth Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I planned to substitute a different pattern for the unicorn section. I’m not a big fan of unicorns. I charted out my substitute pattern and even bought beads for it. I got out the yarn and needle and went to work.

The Magickal Earth Shawl is a square shawl that is is knitted from the outside in, that is, you knit the edging first, then pick up stitches along the edging and knit the rest of the shawl towards the center, decreasing as you go along. I’ve never knitted a square shawl this way; I have always started in the center or with a center square. It’s fun to try new-to-me techniques; this technique is actually an old one that was and still is used by knitters of traditional Shetland shawls.

I started to work on the edging, but I was having a difficult time following the chart. Normally I prefer knitting lace from charts, but this chart was giving me fits for some reason. The edging consists of two separate patterns, one of which is repeated four time, the other three times, combined into one chart. And maybe that’s what was throwing me off. But I think the main problem is that the chart is in really small type, and I was too lazy to scan it and enlarge it. Instead, I got out Gladys Amedro’s book Shetland Lace

Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro

Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro

because I knew she used the same edging on one of the shawls in that book. No, I don’t have a super-great memory. Shetland Lace was one of the books I looked through when I was trying to decided on a lace shawl to start. The directions in Shetland Lace are written, not charted, but they are written in a type of knitter’s shorthand that is very similar to how I break down row repeats in lace patterns. I have found Amedro’s pattern much easier to follow than the chart in AGOL.

The Magikal Earth Shawl edging happens to be identical to Amedro’s Sheelagh Shawl. And the Sheelagh Shawl

Sheelagh Shawl

Sheelagh Shawl

is one that I have been wanting to knit for many years. So my Magickal Earth Shawl has morphed into Sheelagh.

I am close to having 3/4s of the edging done.

Sheelagh edging

It’s always surprising how long it takes to knit the edging of a shawl, whether it is the first part knitted or the last, but I have been progressing rapidly. Once the edging is done and I have picked up all the stitches, the rest of the shawl will go quickly because it will be getting smaller and smaller.

Sheelagh edging up close

Sheelagh edging up close

So far I am loving the Knit Picks Gloss lace weight yarn. I made a sweater in Gloss fingering weight a couple of years ago and liked working with it. The sweater still looks good although the yarn has fuzzed a little. The Gloss is not quite as nice as Zephyr, but it’s definitely one of the better yarns in Knit Picks’ arsenal. The pattern calls for cobweb yarn on 3.0mm needles. I’m using 3.0mm needles, but my yarn is lace weight. This size needle results in a solid-looking stocking stitch, which is what I prefer. If the pattern were garter-stitch, I would use a larger needle. But only a small part of the edging is garter stitch. The rest of the pattern is stocking stitch. The edging is very stretchy, so I think I will end up with a large shawl even though I’m using lace weight yarn instead of cobweb. When I get the edging finished, I will definitely do the happy dance, but knitting it is quite enjoyable.

There’s a lot more going on, both in knitting and in football and hockey, so stay tuned. 🙂

The Burgh, Froot Loops, and Pink Chocolate

Five years ago the boy moved to Pittsburgh. I was devastated to have him leave, but I knew that it was time for him to strike out on his own. And I was happy he had chosen Pittsburgh over Philly, even though Philly is a bit closer. Pittsburgh is just a much nicer city. Period. Much more livable, and beautiful to boot.

The DH and I enjoy visiting the boy and his lovely GF in the Burgh. It’s a pretty easy day trip for us and both the boy’s apartment and his GF’s place are very easy to get to.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and the boy and his GF had invited us to visit, so we hit the PA Turnpike and fought the trucks all the way to Pittsburgh to spend the day. We got to see the adorable GF’s new digs, meet her equally adorable mother, and see her beautiful but shy kitty (but only for a flash). The five of us enjoyed a delicious meal at Mad Mex on Highland in Shadyside. No, the kitty didn’t come along. She was hiding. 🙂

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the view from the GF’s balcony. Notice the mountains in the background. What a city!

A view of Pittsburgh from a balcony in Shadyside

On the drive over, I got a little knitting done on my latest sock project, Froot Loop Socks.

Froot Loop Sock

The yarn is from the wonderful Brynna at Draygone Yarnes. It’s Sparkle, which has real silver threads in it. The color way is Prom Dress.

Yes, this means that I finally finished Pink Chocolate Shadow Rib Socks. 🙂