Jillknits. . .and talks about other stuff, too.
I used Heritage Hand Painted Sock Yard (by Cascade Yarns). The skein contained 437 yards and I used most of it. There's a small ball left. I think it's interesting that both socks show a bit of pooling across the instep at the exact same spot. Now that's matching!
It's been awhile since I last did a post here because ... well, just because. Before I even did my very first post on this blog, I made the decision not to write about my personal life because it's, ummmm, personal, and I wanted this blog to be just about knitting. So, if I haven't knit anything worth talking about, it's rather pointless to write a blog post.
Okay, so now I do have something related to knitting to write about. I mentioned some time before that I would be leading a workshop on Knitting Paradise about how to knit my pattern for lace socks using magic loop. The date has been set for February 25. The workshop actually opens on the 23rd, but the teaching aspect doesn't start until the 25th. Go here and look for this: D-UPCOMING CONFIRMED CLASSES.as of Jan.1/13. Once you get there, you'll see this: (K)Fancy lace knitted socks. original pattern by Patchworkcat (Jill) Feb.25 workshop opens on Feb. 23.
The pattern I'll be teaching is really just a basic top-down heel flap sock worked using the magic loop technique. What makes this particular pattern special is that, because I wrote it for the new sock knitter, every step is written out in full detail accompanied by photos, a chart for the lace is included, plus there are several spreadsheet type charts to help read the charts. I know that sounds weird, but if you attend the workshop, download the pattern, and follow along, you'll understand what I'm trying to say here. During the workshop, I'll be available to answer questions and help knitters over any rough patches as they might occur. I'm really looking forward to it.
Three Leaf Clover Rib Socks
If you follow this link, it will take you to the place within Knitting Paradise where you can find other workshops that will help you knit all kinds of things like, socks using double pointed needles, lace, how to read charts, how to knit with color, toe up socks using magic loop, help knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman's baby and adult surprise jackets, and lots more. The workshops that are closed still have all the information available, and if you have a question you can send a private message (PM) to the instructor.
As a side note, I did say the lace socks were knit using a basic pattern. Here's the proof:
I used the same pattern (with a few minor adjustments) to knit this ribbed sock. Yes, I know that sounds like it's only one sock. I'll cast on for its mate as soon as I post this. Promise.
So, what are you knitting today?
I realize it’s been a long time (the end of March) since I last wrote a post for this blog, but there have been what I consider to be really good reasons. Yep, more than one thing has been happening to make this a year or two to remember. The details are matters that I prefer remain private, but I will relate enough to give my readers the general feel of events.
The downhill slide began when my husband’s employers put him on “stand by” status. What that meant was that not only did they not have to pay his salary, but he could not apply for unemployment benefits. Therefore, we were suddenly without an income of any kind, as I have not been gainfully employed for many years and am now disabled to the point of not being able to work outside the home. We managed to survive on our savings for a short time, but are now living on social security and a small military retirement income. Our total income has been cut down to less than a quarter of what it once was. Many people are going through similar situations so we know we are not alone. (No, knowing that doesn't really help or make us feel any better. It's just a fact.)
Then we decided to move from the outrageously expensive Northern Virginia area to a small town near Tampa, Florida. We not only have family here, but the overall cost of living is less. We decided to keep expenses down by having our kids help us move using two rental trucks. We originally thought that we could manage with just one truck, but actually needed two. The trip that should have taken no more than 14 hours, ended up taking 25 hours. My husband and I had expected to share the driving, but each ended up driving a separate vehicle: he drove one of the two rental trucks, our son drove the other truck, while I drove the car.
We also now know the devastation wrought by being the victims of fraud and identity theft. It is an experience I wish on no one. We have been very fortunate in that our financial institutions are familiar with the steps required, and that they act quickly to safeguard their patrons once a breach has been discovered. Other appropriate steps have also been taken, but recovery is going to be a very long process.
Okay, enough doom and gloom. Life goes on.
I forced myself to thin out my stash to make it easier to move, and while I haven’t been able to do any replenishing, I did discover a small yarn shop less than 10 minutes from our house. It’s called Brandon Yarn Boutique. The shop is small, but the owner is very friendly, knowledgeable, and carries a nice selection of reasonably priced yarns. I think I’m going to like shopping there
if and when funds permit.
I have found a few good uses for my leftover sock yarn.
I saw (on Pinterest, I think) where someone had done this to her own headphones and it struck me as an incredibly good idea. It’s so irritating to grab your headphones only to find them snarled into a knot. By covering the cords in knitted i-cord, the tangles are gone. I started at the plug end and worked my way up to each ear piece. The entire length took a surprisingly little amount of leftover sock yarn.
One thing I’ve always found to be a problem is the condensation that forms on the outside of cold glasses and cans in the summer. I dislike having wet hands (especially when knitting) and have an equal dislike for the rings left on the tables. These little quick-to-knit cozies nicely deal with both problems.
I knit these as I would the leg of a top down sock. To form the bottom, I knit 2 together across one row, knit one row plain, decreased around again, and bound off the remaining stitches. Quick and easy. The knitted fabric gives a secure grip when picking up the glass or can, and because they cover the edges of the bottom, there are no rings left on the furniture.
Yet another use for leftover sock yarn: a cell phone cozy knit from the bottom up to the flap. I found a leftover button to close the flap. Now I don't have to worry about the face of my phone getting scratched when I toss it into my puse.
Since we arrived in Florida, I also finished knitting a pair of socks for my daughter (I’ll mail them off to her soon), and knit a pair of short socks for my husband.
Something I wasn’t expecting to find on our front door side window was this little guy:
A tiny tree frog. Apparently, they are quite common in Florida.
We also have a wide variety of small lizards and toads keeping our yard as bug-free as they possibly can. There’s even a family of armadillos outside our back fence that have discovered that our dogs aren’t about to allow them easy access to our yard. They were too busy scrambling back under the fence to pose for pictures.
I’m unfamiliar with Florida weather in general, so I’ve no idea how cool it gets here in the winter. Is it worth my time to knit a fingering weight wool cardigan? I’ll have to wait and see. A shawl might be a good idea now, however, for when the air conditioning is set too high for my comfort or a cool night breeze stirs up. I’ve got enough KnitPicks Palette on hand for that. I’m ready to have something besides socks on the needles.
What are you knitting today?
The lace body needs to be more fully blocked so that the pattern shows up better, including the cable down the middle of the back. Of course, the color doesn't lend itself to clear definition, but still the lace will benefit from a decent blocking attempt.
The sweater shape is a modified drop shoulder, but I still managed to get the armholes too big. I could remove some of the yoke to make them smaller, but that would raise the point at which the garter stitch dividing lines (between the yoke and the body) crosses the body. I'm not sure I want garter stripes across my bust...no, I'm sure I don't. I can live with deep armholes. Better too deep than not deep enough, I guess.
I'm thinking of finishing off the neck opening with i-cord. That will give a nice firm edge that will discourage stretching. I rarely, if ever, button or zip my sweaters or coats closed, so I decided to forego adding buttons or a zipper. The front looks fine to me with just garter stitch bands.
Once I get the sleeves done and have the whole sweater blocked, I'll post the finished pictures.
Back to knitting...and packing (sigh).
What are you knitting today?
I might have mentioned before that I like to knit socks. They’re the perfect portable project, meaning everything needed to knit them up doesn’t take up much space. I use sock knitting as my mindless knitting; I knit them while watching TV, while talking on the phone, while waiting...for anything from doctor’s appointments to being in the car (not behind the wheel, of course). Most of the socks I knit end up being for my husband, but my daughter gets a pair every year on her birthday, and a few end up in my sock drawer, as well.
I confess that my husband’s socks were the ones I used for honing my sock knitting skills. (Those first few were experiments that turned out well enough to be worn, but weren’t perfect by any description.) I use the socks I knit for my daughter to try out new stitch patterns in lace or a different cuff method. Socks I knit for myself I use to try out different stitch gauges using smaller needles.
I’ve pretty much got the sock knitting down now, so I’m always a bit surprised by people who say they could never knit something as complicated as a pair of socks. There is nothing complicated about knitting socks that I can see. Each sock has a cuff, a leg, a heel, an instep, a foot, and a toe. Getting from one part to the next is not difficult, though the journey might take a tiny bit of extra attention.
But then, I do remember my very first sock. Not a pair of socks, just a single sock. I wanted to learn how to knit using double pointed needles and socks were the only thing I could think of to try. I bought skinny little needles and a ball of self-striping sock yarn that included a sock pattern on the inside of the ball band. It wasn’t extremely difficult, but not exactly easy either, to follow the directions of the pattern while keeping all those needles under control. The finished sock actually fit, but I didn’t like it enough to knit the second one. (It’s actually hanging on the wall of my craft room now as a reminder of how far I’ve progressed in the knitting of socks.)
To prove to myself that sock knitting is simple, I decided to write down everything I did while knitting my daughter’s last pair of birthday socks. I wrote out (and took photos) of each step. I ended up with a 12-page pattern filled with 24 photos and everything written out in excruciating detail. And, then I sent everything to my daughter for her opinion. Here’s what she had to say:
The multi-page pattern – LOVE IT! The pictures are fantastic. The explanations are exactly what a new-to-knitting knitter would need to make this sock. The only thing I would add is a description of what a magic loop is and how to knit with it (or a link to the information). The chart (with the line #s) is a god-send. I WISH I had had that type of thing on the last socks I attempted.
While she is probably just a little bit prejudiced, she knows I want her honest opinion and not just a simple "very nice, thanks." I can get the 2-3 word response from my husband any time when it comes to knitting. It’s not his thing, but he does appreciate my efforts, I believe.
Since I went to all the trouble of writing out the sock pattern, I thought I would offer it to others who might be interested in giving it a try. Anyone who doesn’t already understand how to knit using the Magic Loop method can find plenty of videos on Youtube that will demonstrate the technique. I think I’ve explained everything else needed within the pattern itself. I am not a professional photographer, nor do I have the equipment required to take photos like a pro. But, the photos I include with the pattern are clear enough to show the details needed. They were taken at all different times of day and night so the colors appear slightly different at times. Still, they do the job.
I have to say that I now have a whole new appreciation for pattern writers. It's not easy trying to explain in words how to do something. Showing is much, much easier.
I’ve put the pattern up for sale on Ravelry and you can get it there by clicking here. You don’t need to be a member of Ravelry, but registering is free (and I highly recommend it for all knitters). I'd love to know what you think about the pattern: ease of use, clarity, layout, etc., so let me hear from you. Also, I've written up a much shorter (one page) version of this sock pattern. It's for very experienced sock knitters as the only information provided is very basic: materials needed, gauge, stitch count, stitch chart, etc.) I haven't put it on Ravelry yet, so if you're interested in buying it, let me know and I'll get it up there asap.
What are you knitting today?
November 17, 2011
Hello, my name is Jill. It’s been two months since my last post here. Remember me? I’m the knitter who was christened with one name, but answers to another; who knit a big pile of squares and finally made them all into an afghan; who can’t get another designer’s gauge because she knits too tightly; who knits so slowly it can take years just to finish a single project; who has more knitting slumps than a new cook has lumps in the gravy; who tried to give away two books that nobody wanted; who is not giving up...yet.
I honestly haven’t done much knitting lately. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have UFOs scattered everywhere. On the needles are multiple projects:
1. Cardigan using Knit Picks discontinued Essential fingering weight yarn in Carbon Twist. (This is being knit in the round top down, my own design. I’m not loving the design right now, but still knit a round or two now and again. And, yes, you have seen this picture before, but it hasn't grown enough to warrant taking another photo.)
2. A pair of socks in Knit Picks discontinued Essential in Buckskin. (Do you sense a trend here with Knit Picks? I apparently hang onto their yarn until it’s discontinued and then hope I have enough to complete a given project. Makes one think I enjoy living on the edge, but actually I think I might have mentioned that I’m a really slow knitter.)
3. A pair of mitts using some leftover sock yarns. (Yep, that’s plural because I’m using different colors and brands, but same weight.)
4. A pair of gloves using worsted weight yarn.
5. A bright red (really, it's not pink; just a horrible photo) sweater for our Dobermann. (She’s a really big girl, so she needs a really big
6. A raglan top knit using two strands of laceweight (Knit Picks, again) held together knit top down, my own design. (It's been over two years since I started and I'm almost done with the yoke.)
7. A pair of herringbone socks. (These are in indefinite timeout. The stitch pattern and I just don’t get along very well.)
8. A pair of mitts that I can’t describe because I knitting them as a gift for a family member. (She doesn’t know about them, which is good, because I’m designing them as I knit, and I’ve been working on them for over a year and a half.)
9. An alpaca cardigan that is a story in itself. It’s my own design and one thing I’ve learned while knitting on it is that I either really suck as a designer or I should really concentrate more.
It started out as this:
Which became this:
But, there's a problem. I knit the yoke after deciding that I would worry about the front edging later, since I thought maybe I'd insert a zipper closure. The yoke is finished, sewn together, and blocked. Then I started the bottom portion using a combination of lace and cable stitches with a garter stitch front border. See the problem yet?
First, I made a chart showing the 4 row stitch pattern. Then, I got so confident that I thought I didn't need the chart and could just knit it from memory. Old age, memory. Those two things don't work well together in my world. After knitting five or six inches, it dawned on me that the pattern didn't look quite as I had envisioned it. I had been knitting two rows of the pattern, completely ignoring the other two. So I ripped it back to the beginning and tried again. Now I've got about 11 inches of the bottom portion done. To get ideas for how to join the yoke to the bottom, I pinned the two together. And, discovered the problem. I knit the yoke opening plain to allow for a zipper and knit the bottom portion with a garter stitch border. Two completely different front opening edges.
There any number of different ways I could deal with this anomaly. I've already tried closing my eyes and wishing the problem away. Didn't work. That yoke will have to be reknit with garter stitch edges. No way around it. It has to be done...later.
Those are the in-the-works projects. I also have a fair number of still-in-my-head, but not-on-the-needles-yet projects.
So, what have I been doing, since I’ve obviously not been knitting all that much? So glad you asked.
My husband and I have an online business called Tymely Moments. We recently switched to a new host and decided to let them design a new look for us, as well. The new site required that we re-enter all of our inventory, and while my husband did most of the actual product descriptions, etc., I took on the job of importing and posting some of the photos. Boring, boring, boring work that was and time consuming, but it had to be done. And, now it is done...mostly. I also create the monthly newsletters. If you would, take a tymely moment and check it out. Even knitters need a stylish way to tell time.
From now until December 15th, my blog readers can get free shipping, plus a 20% discount on any watch in our newest line, Classique. Just enter the code JK1112 in your shopping cart. Christmas is coming, people!
This is just one of the beautiful Classique watches that we offer. This particular watch is model 28-11R which features an 18 caret rose gold plated stainless steel case and bracelet, as well as having 18 caret gold Roman numerals on the face. It is part of the Slimline collection which are some of the thinnest watches available today. This watch compares with any of the most expensive watches on the market for quality and workmanship.
So, how are you marking time and what are you knitting today?