Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heliotrope Errata

Over the holiday weekend, a fellow Raveler knitting my Heliotrope Stockings kindly pointed out an error in the stitch count for the largest size.  As a designer who is still learning the ropes, I can't stress enough how much I appreciate everyone's feedback - and I REALLY appreciate it when they're super-cool and do so in a polite, respectful manner (so thanks again to ContinentalKim for being both helpful AND rad!) .  It's always disappointing to find out a mistake or two escaped your notice, but unfortunately, these things happen - and the mathematical side of things has never been my favorite aspect when designing and writing patterns...though I do recognize it's arguably one of the most important areas, and it would be nice if someday we could all be friends. 

So with that long-winded introduction in mind, I'd like to formally announce that I goofed - and that anyone who is knitting the largest size of the Heliotrope Stockings needs to be aware that there is an additional increase row to work on the cuff BEFORE beginning Cable Pattern A.  Below you will find the last few rows to be worked before beginning Cable Pattern A, with the new increase row and stitch count to be worked for the largest size ONLY in bold:
Rnds 14 & 15: P all sts.
Next rnd: increase for cable panel as follows: (K1, kf&b) to end of rnd – 96 (96, 120) sts.
For 9" size only: increase 8 more stitches in the next round as follows: (k14, kf&b) to end of rnd – 128 sts.

This also means that after completing Cable Pattern A, an additional decrease round needs to be inserted prior to decreasing in the pattern as written:

Work Cable Panel A rnds 1-16, then repeat rnds 1-8.
Next round:  For 9" size only:  [k14, k2tog] to end of rnd - 120 sts.
Next round:  For 7” and 9” sizes:  [K1, k2tog] to end of rnd – 64 (80) sts. For 8” size ONLY:  [K2, k2tog] to end of rnd – 72 sts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making Socks With Hand-Dyed Yarn

Hand-dyed variegated yarns can sometimes be difficult to use in the context of a knitting project - what looks beautiful in a skein can sometimes become a regretsy of a sweater, if not used properly.   Same goes for multicolored, hand-dyed sock yarn - though crazy-colored socks are easier to "get away with," it is a challenge (at least for me!) to find a pattern that is interesting to knit that doesn't overpower the colors in the skein, and vice versa. 

A few years ago, I designed a sock pattern that was exclusive to the Chewy Spaghetti Sock-of-The-Month Club.  The design challenge?  Come up with something that will minimize undesirable pooling (i.e. large chunks of color collecting in one section of the sock).  There are two things that will almost always accomplish this when knitting with hand-dyed yarns:

1.  Alternating skeins every few rows (not super-practical to do with socks, especially when most sock yarns come in one giant skein - but I've had great success using this technique in the context of sweater-making, especially when I had two different dye lots in the mix!)

2.  Using increases and decreases to create chevrons and ripples.

Needless to say, I opted for #2 in this case!  I am officially re-releasing this pattern, now that a safe two-plus years have passed since it came out as a club exclusive. 

Just the facts, ma'am:

Plumage Socks, $6

Yarn:  320 yards of fingering-weight yarn (model uses Chewy Spaghetti II 100% Merino yarn)
Needles:  US #1 DPNs
Gauge:  28 stitches and 48 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch

Details:  Top-down sock is sized to fit women's size 8-9; pattern includes written instructions and a chart, if you fancy.

buy now | add to cart | show cart

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On the subject of frogging

Well, there's no other way to say it, so I'll just come out with it:  I lost my velocity on the oscilloscope shawl. Once I hit the halfway point - which is actually where things get easier, since you begin decreasing - I lost interest. It's a rare day indeed when I contemplate frogging a project when it's halfway done, but I have my reasons:

1. It became apparent that I wouldn't finish it in time for the wedding I wanted to wear it to.
2. The weather report for that particular weekend said it would be far too warm for anything woolen....which ended up being the complete opposite, and I ended up having to buy jeans at Forever 21 because I was freezing to death in the summer skirts that I'd packed.
3. I messed up the first few rows of the decrease chart.
4. Though I could fix those mistakes fairly easily, I am too lazy to do so.

It's a big decision to abandon ship halfway through the ride, but I'm not really enjoying the ride, so why spend the time working on something I'm no longer psyched about? I used to finish every book I started reading, no matter how much I hated it.  There are so many terrible books I finished reading, and I still don't know why I felt compelled to finish them. As my free time (see also: knitting time) keeps getting whittled away, it becomes more important to me to finish things I like rather than finishing for the sake of finishing. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trip Knittin' + Some Incoherent Rambling

So much to catch up on!  Between going out of town and working some really weird hours to make up for the time I was gone (such is life when you work in the service industry - there are no paid vacations - or apparently, even unpaid ones!), I've barely been able to catch my breath since we got back to Chicago on Sunday night.  The trip was fun - quite relaxing for most of the time, and I did manage to squeeze in a LOT of knitting time.  We had a good time at my cousin's wedding, and I think her and her new husband did too.  She looked fantastic, and the entire affair was well-done and unique, even despite having to scramble at the last minute to find someone else to make the wedding cake, when the first one (a relative, no less) flaked less than two months out. 

The drive down to KC went much faster than the drive back, which seemed to take FOREVER.  Even photographing (or attempting to, as the case may be) decomposing barns of rural america and knitting couldn't make the hours fly instead of crawl.  Here's what a I did manage to accomplish during the trip:

 1.  Keyhole scarf!  More on this later - but I wanted to get this off the needles.
 2.  Tyler's sweater, v2.0 - Took off the sleeves and joined for knitting the body in the round!  Miles and miles of stockinette to go before I sleep....but I've got all summer!
3.  Stalagmite Socks - I turned the heel on sock #2 and I'm working on the gusset decreases now!

In other news, Tyler showed up to work on Monday morning, only to be told he was fired.  It's a long story, full of pettiness and stupidity.  Basically, the reasons they gave him were things he'd a) not actually done (such as avoiding work by leaving the counter - something I've seen his coworkers AND boss do countless times, sometimes in the middle of a lunch rush, leaving him and maybe one other unlucky person stranded at the counter) and/or b) never been mentioned to him.  Not only that, they forced him to sign some bogus piece of paper before they would hand over his paycheck.  Nice, right?  To top it all off, it was the day before his birthday.  Tyler was actually relieved that he didn't have to deal with such crappy people anymore -they'd been making his life hell these past months.  A few hours later, he even had a job interview!  Even though he had to file for unemployment on his birthday, Tyler still managed to enjoy his day - we went to Hot Doug's, drank some beer, and had band practice for our upcoming show this Saturday night.  Last night, Tyler was offered a job and will probably start sometime next week - so when they say that the best revenge is living well - perhaps this is what that means.  Sure, I'd love to punch a few key people in the face who really, REALLY deserve it, but instead, I think we'll just be glad we don't have to deal with them ever again.  It's kind of a shame, back in the day, Beans and Bagels was my safe haven - when I was having a crappy day at work, I'd walk there for a sandwich or some coffee, and in the mornings I'd meet up with my friend Sam and we'd knit together before we had to report for duty.  I miss those days, but they're definitely gone.  It's not the same place it used to be - the place Tyler and I both would make a point to go to while the Montrose Brown Line Station was closed for renovation (the then-manager Susan, who now owns her own coffee shop in Logan Square, claimed we kept them open during that time), before he ever worked there.   He was a barista there for three years, and a hard-working, loyal employee at that, but I guess that doesn't matter much to some people. 

I'm excited for this new phase for us, though - it sounds like Tyler will actually have some benefits, which in our world is quite the concept! Also, I never want to eat another bagel ever again - for a while, I was eating bagels every day - yes, multiple meals (I had to impose a two-a-day limit).  I'm so glad we don't have to subsist on unsold bagels any more.

I think 2011 can still be salvaged...Tyler is right, this is the year of rebuilding.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Objective: Completion

Room for a few more?
Tomorrow morning, Tyler and I will be driving back to our hometown of Kansas City for my cousin's wedding - and since it's the closest thing we'll be getting to a vacation for at least another year, we decided to turn it into a leisurely little road trip! 

While I'm looking forward to many things about this trip, of course one of the major ones is getting tons and tons of knitting time.  I have way too many things on the needles right now - and if I want to start mustache-making, I've gotta finish some stuff first!

Packed in my knitting bag will be: 

1.  Tyler's sweater - I'm about ready to take off for the sleeves.  I wound off another hank of yarn for the trip! 

My next FO....I hope!
2.  The languishing Cookie A Stalagmite socks - I'm getting close the the heel turn on sock #2....this one has been on the needles for so long, it's embarassing.  I'll probably be focusing much of my efforts on this! 

3.  The wedding present for the happy couple - I have no delusions that it will be finished in time for the wedding - there's no way!

4.  A model for one of my patterns that's already published (the BFL Forever Keyhole Scarf), but I wanted to knit a version with commercially-available yarn instead of handspun. 

I'm tempted to take my Malabrigo March (ha ha!) project, which you may or may not recall is the Koukla Cardigan, using some lovely skeins of Glazed Carrot Malabrigo Rios....I just finished one of the front pieces last night and cast on for the second, but there's miles to go on that one...and it might turn out to be a huge distraction from projects that are much closer to being completed. 

I'm also having a hard time deciding if I should bring along the half-knit scarf/shawlette - Kate Gagnon Osborn's Oscilloscope Shawl -  I started last week, thinking I would wear it to the wedding (then I checked the weather for KC and realized I probably wouldn't need it.)  I screwed up the last row I knit on it and haven't picked it up since - but it would be nice to get that off the needles as well, because otherwise I fear it will hibernate for the summer.  Perhaps the best course of action on that one is to put it in the suitcase and only allow myself to work on it during the return trip! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mustachio May, you say??

Remember yesterday when I said there would be KALs in my Ravelry Group?  That was not a bluff....it's really happening!

I have officially dubbed this month "Mustachio May."  What does that mean for your weekend?  Clearly, that you need to find some mustache-worthy yarn and a quiet afternoon during which to carry on the tradition of our ancestors, who not only knew how to really rock a ‘stache, but did so UNironically.  Therefore,  we must knit as many mustachio nosewarmers as possible and then run around our neighborhoods, libraries, places of work, and so forth, wearing them with pride and snapping several photos to share with the world at large.  Not a member of Ravelry?  You can still knit-a-long with the rest of the gang!  The pattern you need is available here on this very blog (for free!), and you can email your photos to me at honeybee21 at juno dot com - just be sure to write something involving the word "mustache" in the subject line, or I'll assume it's junk mail and delete it!  I'll post your photos of mustachios in the wild on this little bloggy-blog all month long.

Go forth and 'stache.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

File Under: Shameless Self-Promotion

...but it needed to happen.  I would like to cordially - no, personally invite you to be a charter member of The H.B.S. Appreciation Society, my brand-new group on Ravelry.  There's going to be awesome KALs all summer long, special deals for card-carrying members, sneak previews, test-knitting opportunities,  a place to share your fabulous FO photos, and ample opportunities to tell me you love me.  Just kidding about that last part - though I wouldn't stop you if you did, of course. I know, I know - the nerve!  The ego!  Honestly, starting a group essentially for myself seemed more than a tad on the ridiculous side.  But as people have begun knitting some of my patterns from Malabrigo Book 3, it got me thinking how fun it would be to have a  place to organize some official KALs, and the idea mushroomed from there.  Stop by and say hello! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fifteen Minutes

lettuce & grapes
Since I have no FO's of my own to share this week, and most of my WIPs cannot be posted about (at least for a while), I'd like to share the latest crop of Kitchy Pleated Bag FO's I've come across on Ravelry! 

Rav user Purselover used Malabrigo Worsted in Lettuce and Velvet Grapes to make this bright, springy bag.  She also mentioned that she was thinking of making a larger version using Malabrigo Rasta - an idea so brilliant, I really hope she does it so I can see what such an animal would look like! 

rowan & lion
Rav user Ladymay hopped on the destashing bandwagon, using some Rowan Big Wool Fusion (MC) and some leftover Lion Brand Thick & Quick (CC).  The substitutions worked out well together (the CC ended up not felting much, due to it being a mix of wool and acrylic), and she says that she's made another version of this bag (FO photos forthcoming!) and was amazed by how roomy it is.  Ladymay also has an interesting blog about finding awesome food in NYC that is worth checking out!