This post wraps up year 2009 for my blog. I'm looking forward to 2010 as a productive knitting year! Thanks to everyone who has commented on my posts during this first year. I don't always reply to the comments, but I read and am thankful for every one of them.
December 31, 2009
Inspired by a knit-along for the Socks From The Toe Up book at Ravelry, I combined a recently Kool-Aid dyed yarn with a basic toe-up pattern. The yarn is Kirjo-Pirkka from Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy, originally white, dyed with six bags of Grape and one bag of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade flavored Kool-Aid. I was originally going for a more solid color, but it didn't turn out that way, and I'm actually quite happy with how it turned out. I didn't want to combine it with a complicated sock pattern, though, so I thought this Gusset Heel Basic Socks pattern would be a good match. The needles were 2.0 mm. The socks are a pretty good fit, but due to the wider than usual toe cast on for me, the toe is a but too roomy.
December 25, 2009
These socks were a Christmas gift to my sister, so I can safely blog about them now that the gifts have been given out. Knit with Fleece Artist Sea Wool I got from a craft fair in November, and size 2.25 mm needles, these were a fun knit and something I will want to knit again. These were based on the Simple Master Coriolis pattern in New Pathways For Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi. It was also my first time using Sea Wool, as I've been experimenting with different sock yarns lately. I wouldn't mind using this yarn again. The socks were such a good fit for me I would not have minded keeping them myself!
December 19, 2009
Continuing with the comfort knitting theme, here's another pair of (mostly) easy socks that I actually finished a week ago. Based on the Riverbed Master Pattern from New Pathways For Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi, knit with Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock and 2.5 mm needles. It was the first pattern I finished from the book that I've had for a while now, and the heel turned out a bit too roomy. Setting up the heel had me confused and frustrated for a while, but, in any case, I prefer doing the flap heel this way, toe up, and not having to pick up stitches. I predict there will be several more pairs knit based on the patterns in this book in the near future. All the required math is a bit aggravating in the beginning, but once you figure it out, it gets much easier.
November 29, 2009
I keep forgetting to blog this yet another pair of socks based on Sensational Knitted Socks. For the past few weeks I've been going through a relaxing socks knitting phase, I think at least partially inspired by the otherwise stressful time in my life. Knitting easy socks with pretty yarn is therapeutic.
With these toe-up socks I wanted to try starting the stitch pattern from the tip of the toe, because I often wonder why the toe in knit socks is almost always the default stockinette stitch. I think I will be doing more of this in the future.
I used Araucania Ranco Solid for the yarn, and 2.25 mm circular needles by magic looping. As with other socks lately, I used Judy's Magic Cast-on and a short-row heel, my favorites. Knit with 64 stitches and a gauge of 8 stitches per inch.
November 22, 2009
I seem to be having a simple socks phase. After I finished the man-sized socks in the previous post, I wanted to knit a pair to fit my own feet, and use some of the yarn I bought from a craft fair a week ago. It was my first time using Fleece Artist Somoko, and I find it quite lovely to knit, and I love the fuzziness from the bit of mohair in it. I don't usually go for sock yarns with even this amount of variegation, but I was curious about the fiber content. I'd love to knit with this yarn again, just in a more solid colorway. The needles were 2.25 mm, and the pattern the same modified version of Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks as in the previous pair of socks, just with 64 stitches this time.
November 14, 2009
A toe-up, short-row heel version of the Garter Rib socks from Sensational Knitted Socks. I used 72 stitches to fit the husband's feet, and knit them on a 2.25 mm circular needle, magic-looped.
I find that toe-up socks are more comfortable to knit with a circular needle, while cuff-down socks seem to go better with DPNs (the toe-up cast on is awkward on DPNs, while the beginning of a cuff is almost equally awkward on a magic loop). The 80 cm long HiyaHiya circular needles I've been using seem pretty suitable for magic-looping. I would make the cord maybe slightly more flexible, but other than that, I have no complaints. They are so lightweight and yet sturdy.
I also found the yarn, Araucania Ranco Solid, very pleasant to knit. What's left to see is how the yarn holds up in use, since I've read some reports of it felting on feet.
October 27, 2009
Celebrating my 33rd birthday (hey, it's one third of a century!) with a sore arm from a swine flu vaccination, here is Rose Red that I've been planning to knit for a long time. I haven't had the right kind of yarn, because I wanted something with a halo, but yet not something that's mostly mohair, since I have mainly frustrating experiences with yarns like that in past past. (Angora would have been another choice, but I wasn't personally familiar with any angora yarns, either.) The great thing about Rowan Kid Classic, that I finally decided was to be the chosen yarn, is that it's mostly wool and therefore more pleasant to knit with. I knit the medium size but went down on the needle size to 3.5 mm since I expected to knit loosely. The size turned out perfect! No aggressive blocking, just laid it down on a flat surface after washing. The hat design itself is pretty genius, with all the shaping integrated into the cables and lace, and the brim being an organic part of the pattern.
October 24, 2009
I'm almost a week late blogging this, but here goes. I wanted to try out the new Novita Puro yarn, a sort of a Noro clone, and thought Baktus was the ideal project for such a variegated yarn. The scarf ended up a bit too short (I wanted to be able to wrap it around my neck twice and still tie it), but, other than that, I'm happy with it. I used 5 mm needles and knit the whole thing in two days. It's a very fast project.
October 17, 2009
For this hat pattern from the Fall 2009 issue from Vogue/Designer Knitting, I went down on needle size (3.5 and 4.5 mm) to compensate for my loose knitting, even though my head is bigger than the intended size of the hat. I think the size turned out OK, although I wouldn't mind it being slightly looser. I used the leftovers of Berroco Ultra Alpaca I had from the Dimishing Rib Cardigan project. This is clearly one of my favorite yarns, combining the softness of alpaca with the sturdiness of wool. Too bad I have not seen it available anywhere in Finland.
October 4, 2009
This mitten pattern by Ysolda was a conviniently small project after a couple of larger ones. The yarn I used was Paksu Pirkkalanka by Pirkanmaan kotityö Oy, something I've found well suited for mitten projects. The needle size I used was 3.5 mm, but the cuff is still almost too loose. If I knit these again, I'd use a smaller needle for the cabled section. We'll see if the button loop is going to be in the way in every day used when the tops are on. One use I can think of for these kind of mittens is outdoor photography in the winter time.
September 20, 2009
Knit as a gift for my mom, the Garter Yoke Cardigan from Fall/Winter 2008 Knit.1. I used the Cascade 220 Wool I bought last fall on our trip to Michigan, and size 4.0 mm circular needles (including the sleeves, which were magic looped). I think this will be a good size for mom, but if I knit another one for myself, I want it just a little bit bigger, especially in the chest area. On the other hand, this one flares up too much at the waist for me, so I'd leave out some of the increases after the waist shaping. I made the sleeves 3/4 instead of full. Part of the reason was that, for some reason, I found the sleeves tedious to knit, but, as you may have noticed, all the other cardigans I've knit have 3/4 sleeves, as well. It's just a practical length for a cardigan you wear at home.
September 6, 2009
Time for a less successful finished project. The Rosamund's Cardigan from the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits interested me due to the short sleeves and the neckline. I decided to knit it out of Novita Luxus Stone and used smaller needles than recommended (3.5 and 4 mm) because I was afraid of it growing too much during blocking. However, it didn't, and it ended up being too tight. It's also too short for my liking, and the increases after the waist shaping make it flare up too much for my body shape. It doesn't look very nice when held closed just by the buttons, but the hooks I bought for it didn't work out, so for the pictures it's held closed by safety needles. I was thinking of using some snaps instead of hooks, but since I have little desire to actually wear this thing, I will probably never get around to sewing them on.
August 26, 2009
I needed an easy, gratifying project to get me back into knitting mode after a break of more than two months, and Damson by Ysolda turned out to be perfect for that purpose. After playing the Sims 3 and reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series obessively during my break, I had some problems getting started (three various sock projects were cast on and then ripped). I love shawls for the fact that the gauge doesn't matter, so you can just jump right into it instead of trying to figure out if it's going to fit right or not.
The yarn I used was Filcolana Arwetta, acquired in an international yarn swap with Sofie from Denmark. The yarn is very splitty, which, especially for a sock yarn, seems strange to me. I also wouldn't use it on any demanding lace or cable work, because dealing with the splitting would be too frustrating for me. For this project, though, it seemed to be suitable, and I'm glad I found some use for it. It's very soft and has a nice drape. In some ways it feels like cotton yarn (which I'm not very fond of). The needles I used were 3.5 mm circulars.
May 29, 2009
The Diminishing Rib Cardigan from the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. Based on other knitters' comments on their finished cardigans, I decided to knit at a tighter gauge than recommended and expected it to grow signifigantly during blocking. It didn't though, so it's a bit smaller than I expected. My stitch count is from the 35 1/4" size, but the dimensions are smaller due to the gauge difference. Sideways, I was able to stretch it somewhat, but the tightness of the slip-stitch I-cord edge puts a limit on how much you can stretch it lengthwise. I do like how neat the edging looks, though. And even though the tubular cast on was a bit tedious, and the tubular bind off didn't feel so much fun at first, either, I like how they look and will probably use them on future projects. Unlike many other knitters, I do not feel the need for any kind of closure for the front (possibly because mine is smaller than the cardigans that stretched too much).
Edited to add: Last night in bed I suddenly realized I forgot to mention the yarn and needles used. The yarn was Berroco Ultra Alpaca (in a shade called Gordoba Grape) and the needles 3.5 mm circulars.
May 22, 2009
My second time knitting Ishbel by Ysolda (the smaller version both times). I liked the previous orange version so much I wanted another one in green, to match more of my clothing. I've been using the orange one as a scarf, and it's been very warm regardless of being so thin and lacy. I've been working on this intermittently in between different sock projects, so it took a lot longer to finish than it would have otherwise, since it really is a quick knit.
I used the same yarn as last time, Ohut Pirkkalanka by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy, and, for needles, 4 mm Addi lace circulars.
May 13, 2009
Finally I have a finished pair of socks to blog about! I've been working on two pairs at the same time, so I've been slower than normal about having one ready. These are knit from Cookie A's new book Sock Innovation, the pattern is called Kai-Mei, and it's my second finished pattern from that book so far. I knit these as a part of a knit-along in the Sock Innovation group on Ravelry. The yarn I used was Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 that I got in a yarn swap with Chris in Canada. I like the yarn a lot, it's just the right amount of semi-solid, and it feels like velvet. The needles I used were some 2.25 mm HiyaHiya DPNs I bought recently. I liked them a lot, too, they are light-weight.
April 29, 2009
I've knit this pattern, Porom by Jared Flood, four times in the past four months. This time was inspired by Denise, an internet friend from Seattle, who saw a picture of my Porom #3 and wished she had a similar hat. I offered to knit her one in her chosen color, and so emerged Porom #4. The yarn is the same as in the previous one, Alpakka by Sandnes Garn, and the needles I used were 3.0 and 4.0 mm. I was a bit conservative with the blocking, so that it wouldn't get too slouchy for her taste. She can always block it a bit bigger if she wants to.
April 25, 2009
They are finally done! The Delicous Knee Socks by Laura Chau, the over-the-knee version. The yarn I used was Kirjo-Pirkka by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy, and the needles 2.0 mm Addi steel DPNs. I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out. Knitting plain stockinette was enjoyable for a change, but the nearly two weeks they took to make was, I think, the maximum I want to spend on a pair of socks. I might do this pattern again, with some different colored yarn. The next time I'm going to continue the stockinette a little longer before starting the ribbing, but still make the ribbing the same length (they are knit toe-up).
April 21, 2009
Since these socks are taking a bit longer than your regular pair of socks to complete, I thought I'd do a mid-way post. I was inspired to knit them after seeing the original pair and pattern by Laura Chau, to go with the April Sockdown at the Sock Knitters Anonymous group at Ravelry. For the yarn I chose, again, Kirjo-Pirkka, this time in dark blue. I'm quite happy with the first sock, and I'm about 20% done with the second one, I'm hoping to finish it by the end of this week.
April 12, 2009
This was not originally the first pattern I planned to knit from Cookie A's new book Sock Innovation, possibly because the peachy color of the sample in the book didn't appeal to me at all. After I took a closer look at the patterns, though, in search of something that wouldn't be too stressful to knit, but not too boring, either, I was attracted to the relatively simple pattern repeat of Sunshine. It was a good choice, an enjoyable and fairly fast knit.
There is a mistake in the first sock which I only noticed after it was finished, one extra row in the pattern between the leg and the foot parts, but I don't think it's too obvious. With the second sock I made a few mistakes which I noticed early on and was able to fix by frogging a couple of rows.
The yarn I used was Kirjo-Pirkka by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy. For the needles, I used 2.0 mm metal DPNs.
April 7, 2009
The March sockdown at the Sock Knitters Anonymous group at Ravelry inspired me to knit a pair of lace socks, for which I chose this pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. This is my third finished pattern from that book.
The yarn (ONline linie 3 Supersocke 100) I'd had in my stash for over a year now, but never used. Turns out I like this yarn a lot: It has just the right amount of softness and thickness, and the yarn doesn't split very easily and yet doesn't feel as overspun as something like Jitterbug. I also like this color a lot.
I went with smaller needles than suggested, because I figured I would be getting nowhere near the desired gauge with 2.5 mm needles. So, I picked 2.0 mm DPNs instead, and that turned out to be the right choice. I'm going to give these to my mom for Mother's Day.
March 27, 2009
It does look like it's Socktober in March, because here's yet another pair of socks. It's the hourglass eyelets pattern in More Sensational Knitted Socks, with a short-row heel and a round toe, knit with Colinette Jitterbug and 2.5 mm DPNs.
I have to say that the instructions for the short-row heel in that book are lacking, and caused me one very frustrated evening. I have come to the conclusion there are several errors in it, even though that page is not listed in the official errata for the book. In any case, I prefer the look of a short-row heel to a heel flap, so I didn't give up. The round toe I knit according to instructions from another sock pattern completely, and I have to say it's my favorite toe finishing technique. The only downside is that it takes up a large portion of the foot.
I haven't made up my mind about this yarn. The colors are gorgeous, but it's slightly too thick for my taste, especially if I try to incorporate it to patterns written for fingering weight yarn. That's why I'm using it on More Sensational Knitted Socks patterns, so that I can more easily choose a formula with fewer stitches. I've also learned from another pair of socks that it tends to stretch after washing, so I have to be extra careful about not knitting the sock too large.
March 19, 2009
It has taken me three goes at Porom by Jared Flood to get what I want; with the right yarn, correct needle size, successful marker movement in chart B, and, most important of all, the right amount of blocking I think I finally perfected it.
My first try was a complete failure, too much blocking ending up in a stretched out end result which I then, frustrated, completely felted in the washer. The second try was more successful, but I still blocked it slightly too much. Now it's finally the right size.
After more than ten years of knitting experience behind me, I'm finally starting to learn that I'm a loose knitter, and I had to go down a full millimeter in needle size to get my desired gauge, especially for the rim. I also learned not to stretch the rim while wet, so what I did was pull the hat over the blocking balloon while it was dry, and only then moisten the hat.
The yarn I used is Alpakka by Sandnes Garn.
March 16, 2009
I wanted a project to use the Rowan Scottish Tweed DK I bought a year ago, and I've also been looking for a nice shoulder warmer pattern for a while now, so this pattern and yarn seemed like a good combination. But no matter how nice the colors and the "tweediness" of this yarn, there is just something about it I don't enjoy. It always knits looser than intended, and ribbing knit with it doesn't do what ribbing is usually supposed to do: pull the fabric together. It also feels quite harsh on the skin, although washing made it a bit softer. The pattern was written for worsted weight yarn, which I thought this DK weight yarn could substitute, knowing it's "looseness". Well, knit with the suggested needle, my gauge was still way off: 17 instead of 20 stitches per 10 cm. I had cast on for size S, but noticing my gauge on the way (naturally I didn't swatch), I knit the rest of the garment based on the XS instructions, and it still turned out a bit too large, at least the sleeves did. I'm not totally unhappy with the result, though: It's something I'm perfectly content with to wear around the apartment. And it's surprisingly warm for its size. The pattern is Top-Down Shoulder Warmer by Laura Chau.
March 12, 2009
This is my second pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern is actually a pattern for men's socks, as you might gather from the name, but at least with this yarn and needles they are a perfect fit for my medium sized woman's feet (and the length of the foot is not fixed in the pattern, anyway). Knit with 2.25 mm needles, surprisingly fast. I can't believe how close I came to running out of yarn: I really had only about 20 cm of extra yarn in the end. Knitting this pattern was fun, at least after I was done fixing some mistakes in the beginning. The yarn I used was the new solid color version of Kirjo-Pirkka by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy (its multicolor versions make me nauseous).
March 7, 2009
I took two weeks to knit these simple socks. I made a point not to stress about finishing them (still trying to learn to knit for fun without deadlines). They were pretty fun to knit, but seemed to turn out a bit too large. I thought I'd knit socks out of this yarn, Sisu from Sandnes Garn, with a similar amount of stitches before and having the socks turn out almost too small, but either a slightly different needles size made a huge difference, or I remember the amount of stitches wrong. I used 2.5 mm KnitPro nickle-plated brass needles, and I enjoyed them a lot. Only the length is almost too small when you have more stitches on the needles with the heel flap. I prefer longer DPNs, but I haven't been able to find any other nickle-plated needles that don't weigh a ton (Addi has nickle-plated steel needles that in the 2.5 mm size are way too heavy.) The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.
March 3, 2009
The reason it's been somewhat slow in the knitting front is that I've been learning to spin. It was inevitable that at some point I would try it, and now was the time. The first try felt quite awkward and laborious, but quite quickly it got easier and faster. My first finished yarn (the single in the above picture) wasn't exactly a success, being way too over-spun. I'm now working on a 2-ply, but haven't got to the plying part yet. It's quite fun. So far, I've only used spindles, I have no experience on a spinning wheel yet, but I'm sure at some point a spinning wheel will be inevitable, as well.
February 16, 2009
Continuing with the slow knitting phase, trying to avoid setting random deadlines and then getting stressed for not reaching them, I knit Ishbel at a relaxed pace. It was a perfect project for that kind of a purpose, being medium-sized, and easy while not boring. I knit the smaller version, which I'm planning to use as a scarf, but it may have to wait a bit further into the spring to be used, since the current weather requires more heavy-weighted neck wear.
Once again, I knit with Ohut Pirkkalanka, which is quickly establishing itself as one of my favorite yarns. I used 4 mm Addi lace circulars, which were a total joy to work with (only maybe something slightly shorter than 100 cm would have been more appropriate).
February 9, 2009
My second try at Porom, and more successful than the first one, for sure, if not just for the fact that this one didn't felt into a baby sized beret. It's slightly slouchier than I'd like, and makes my head look even bigger than it already does, but I think it will get some use. Knit with 3.5 mm and 4.5 mm needles and two strands of Ohut Pirkkalanka (by Pirkanmaan Kotityö Oy), one of my favorite yarns, and blocked on a pink balloon.
February 7, 2009
Knitting has still been slow, but steady. I've been working on my second try at Porom, and it's looking more promising this time. I also cast on for a pair of Twisted Flower Socks, which is going to be a bit of challenge, but, compared to Girasole, they shouldn't be any more impossible to complete.
I've also been experimenting with different types of needles lately. I was dying to get nickle-plated DPNs, because they look so pretty, only to be disappointed by how heavy they are: even the 2.5 mm Addis are too heavy for sock knitting. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them. I also ordered a pair of Susanne's DPNs in ebony. They are certainly lighter than the nickle-plated ones, although it's kind of hard to tell they are wood; their texture is very homogenous, almost like rubber.
What I've mostly been doing this past week or so is making stitch markers. I got inspired by Suzana's stitch markers and wanted to make some myself. I've now completed about 20 sets of 5 markers, and the huge majority of them have been sent out to other people, because I'm never going to need so many myself, especially with the pretty stitch markers I already got from Suzana.
January 31, 2009
After I'd worked my ass off to finish the Girasole in under two weeks, I managed to spend almost a week on something as simple as Thermis! Knitting with Novita Wool, I cast on the amount of stitches for the larger size, thinking my thinner yarn would give me a smaller gauge than in the pattern, but it did turn out slightly too loose for me. In any case, it was a relaxing, easy knit.
January 26, 2009
It's finally finished! The Girasole by Jared Flood. For the most part, it was a joy to knit, but by the end I started getting anxious to just finish it already! The edging took a bit longer than I expected; The last three days out of the thirteen total were spent on the edging alone. Had I not been on vacation last week, I think it might have taken me three to four weeks to complete this project.
Before blocking, the shawl measured 95 cm/ 37" in diameter, and the crumpled up outer part had me a bit worried it would not look very nice, but blocking did wonders, and it ended up being 140 cm/ 55" (slightly bigger than I expected) and nicely flat. I'm very happy with the result, and I think I see another Girasole in my future, but right now I need one or two small and fast projects before I can handle another huge one again.
The Ravelry project page with a couple more pictures and some more information.