March 27, 2009

Hourglass Eyelet Socks

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

Porom #3

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

The "Apple" Shoulder Warmer

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

Gentleman's Half Hose

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

Baby Cable Socks

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

Spindling Away

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.