Monday, January 28, 2008

FOs and In the works

When last I wrote, I had just finished the last of my christmas knitting - socks for my Dad and his girlfriend. I'm happy to say they are off the needles, washed, blocked, photographed, posted and received. I used the smae zbeehive booklet that I did for the Grey Man Socks. This pattern is charmingly called 4 Ply Plain Sock under the title For Two Feet of Comfort. It's not quite as plain as the name suggests, but darn close. There is a panel of 1x1 ribbing down the leg of the sock to help it stay up. I thought that was a pretty good idea myself, who likes saggy socks? The rest is in plain ol' stockinette stitch. 2 balls of Phildar's Preference did the trick. I've given my opinion on this yarn when I finished off the Grey Man Socks and it hasn't changed. It's a basic, serviceable sock yarn that comes in a fairly basic colour range and holds little in the way of surprises. Good for guy socks, not something I'd choose for myself.

Trekking XXL was the choice for the Girlfriend's socks. I used the Yarrow Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. I often find knitting ribbed socks a bit tedious, but this one had enough going for it to keep me interested. I especially enjoyed the German heel / French toe combination. As always, the pattern was clearly written and easy to follow - thank you Nancy Bush. I'm not sure how I feel about the yarn itself. The colour I really liked, although it wasn't so popular with anyone else. It was the yarn itslef. I found it rather unevely spun - in places it was rather loose and fuzzy and in others it was very tightly spun and almost thread-like, making it knit up a little unevenly, especially worrisome in the high friction area of the heel. Now, this was my first experience with Trekking, perhaps it's an anomally? I have another ball in my stash and will have to knit that up sometime soon to see how it compares.

That's it for FOs, here's what's in the works : here in camp Through the Back Loop we've been suffering from a bout knitterly indecision and perhaps a mild case of castonitis. We beleive that this merely a temporary affliction resulting from an extended period of Knitting For Others and can be easily remedied by some seriously selfish knitting. After emerging from months of Knitting For Others, knitters often find themselves dazed and confused by the mere idea of having no projects in the queue that immediately demand their attention and come attached with Looming Deadlines. In this period of adjustment the knitter will often lose his/her mind and not know What to Knit Next. This can be troubling and lead to sensatiosn of being directionless and adrift in a never ending sea of free internet patterns. We at Through the Back Loop are not ashamed to admit that we have experienced this. We took a deep breath, frogged a sock cast on out of sheer panic and are once again in control of our knitting faculties.

Whilst browsing Ravelry (oh how I love you Ravelry!) for, well, everything, I came across this pattern for some facny mittens. I am a sucker for fancy mittens and it just so happens that my mom's birthday is coming up. Perfect! The yarn is alpaca - the natural colour is a score from a Pacafiesta booth and the other (which is actually more of a maroon/mulberry colour) is Frog Tree Alpaca. So far, the cuff is done. I've been distracted by some selfish knitting - socks for me!

I bought a skein of the Estelle Arequipa. Divine. I am in love. This stuff is fabulous. I want to take it out for dinner I like it so much. I had a hard time choosing a pattern - nothing to complicated, it would get lost in the colours, not a plain one, too boring. So, unable to find on that I liked, I made my own. It's a basic sock - 72 sts on 2mm needles, about 9st/inch. 2x2 Ribbing holds it up and a little cable runs down the inner and out leg. I ended the cable at the heel, but in retrospect, I would ahve continued it down the foot. Live and learn. The first sock is done and the second is well on it's way. There will definitely be more of this stuff in my future.

My final in the works item is a Fleece Artist hat kit. I can no longer deny that it is frickin' cold outside and I do not own a suitable hat. I'm not sure that this one will really do the trick either, but it's pretty and I like the way it looks.
I'm also not sure if I can sustain myself for the miles of stockingette that this hat requires. We shall have to see how well my stick-to-itness holds.
On that note, my toes are chilly so I must get to knitting. And laundry.
One quick note before I go: thank you to MissMe of Knit Me to The End of Time for posting a comment. I swear, getting those emails that let me know of a new comment make my day. If there are any lurkers out there, don't be shy!
Happy knitting!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stash Diving, the Attack by Jack and a New Sock.

Sometimes a girl just needs to brag. Pictured is the beautiful (and capacious) cedar chest that my Beloved designed and built for me as a christmas gift. I love it. I want to hug it. He may notknit or understand my obsession with knitting and all things yarn related, but he made me a cedar chest for my yarn. It makes me love him extra. It's curently the repository for the sweater - sized amounts of yarn, my alpaca collection (because alpaca is like crack to me, I can never have enough), my umbrella swift and skein winder. The last two items are also courtesy of the Beloved. He rocks.

Stash diving was kind of fun - I spent a lovely afternoon rooting around in there, rediscovering what I had. For instance, I reacquainted myself with some Briggs & Little single-ply sport weight in a nice marled green and some in a natural cream - perfect for a pair of fancy mittens. I also discovered 2 balls of Rowan Soft Baby - where that came from I have no idea, nor do I know what to do with it. I'll let it marinate in the collection until something suitable comes along.

I also found a bag with an assorted collection of left over sock yarn - you know you have on e too, a little stash of leftovers that are too big to throw away and too small to use. I'm going to keep collecting until I have enough obb bits left to make The Ugliest Socks on Earth. They will be fabulous I'm sure.

Jack the cat also enjoyed stash diving, particularly when I relented and tossed him a ball of leftover something. He enjoyed himself thoroughly.

In my last post I wrote about some Lorna's Laces that had just arrived in the mail and said that I had some plans to make a fancy sock. And so I did. Throwing all other projects aside (sorry Dad, sorry Ruth), I cast on for a pair of 9-to-5 Socks by Nicole of What a great pattern. It satisfied my hankering for a fancy sock without being too complicated.

The pattern is well written and well thought out and introduced me to a new stitch. I realy enjoyed how the spiral rib flowed out of the ribbing and continued down either side of the heel.
The heel flap pattern was a nice change from the usual standby and really complemented the overall design of the sock. The sock is pretty, patterned and stretchy, as well as fun to knit. A keeper I say, now let's hope Nicole os nice enough to share any of her future sock designs with us.
I liked the yarn almost as much as I liked the pattern. It was my first project with Lorna's Laces and I'm looking forward to working with it again. It feels delicious, almost silky, and seems to knit up nicely. I haven't washed these yet (okay, this one, as I just finished this sock this afternoon and cast on for it's mate this evening), so I can't comment on how it holds up in the wash. I'm holding the Cranberry in reserve for a pair of Roza's Socks - thanks to Deb for the suggestion! [Everyone should check out Deb's blog - that woman is a sock knitting machine. The way I look at it is, if Deb recommends a particular pattern for a particular
sock yarn, do what she says, she knows socks. She knit 79 (!!!!!) pairs of socks last year. I am both awed, inspired and kind of intimidated. Plus she's very nice. Go check it out.].
Knowing that I have not knit 79 pairs of socks last year, or ever, I feel compelled to go finish my Dad's christmas socks (don't look at me like that, he and his girlfriend have been in South America for the last 4 weeks, they didn't need woolly socks down there). I will post pics when they're done. Happy knitting!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yarn in the mail!

I love getting things in the mail. I'm like a small child - counting down the days until my package arrives. This package of yarny deliciousness is my very first eBay purchase. I bought this from emtnestr Linda. I'm very pleased with my first eBay encounter - fast service,quick delivery and candy! Plus this woman has a fabulous selection of sock yarn. I will definitely order from her in the future.
As for the yarn - that's right, Lorna's Laces. I've been wanting to try this stuff for ages. I've read the rave reviews and had to check it out for myself. It literally arrived in my hot little hands about 25 minutes ago and I'm going to cast on tonight just as soon as I get home. This stuff feels so nice and the colours are very pretty. Here you see displayed in all their wooly glory is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in Cranberry and China Blue. I'm very excited to try this stuff out. I've already got a pattern in mind for the China Blue - I won't say just yet what it is, just in case I change my mind, but it'll be a fancy sock for certain.
That said, I must tackle the lunch dishes and prepare to brave the elements - happy knitting!