Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Short Row Success

Remember these?


Well, I’m still working on them, and I’m quite tickled with the different ways the colors are striping.


Wide bands on one sock and narrow ones on the other. Not only that, but it looks to me as though the wide stripes are actually reversing direction.

Working the legs has given me lots of time to contemplate heels. Let’s face it; the mind can wander quite a bit in the process of knitting two seven-inch legs with US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles. K3, P1, repeat ad nauseum… contemplate heels…

As I watched the way this yarn was working up, I resolved to use a short-row heel on them. I didn’t want to take a chance that working a heel and gusset would mess up the spiraling, what with all that extra fabric.

OK then, short rows it would be.

First attempt, using the Yarn-Over method here… epic fail. I must have been paying too much attention to the hockey game on TV, because my row count was off. The heel was sort of tilted to one side. And there were holes. Great big ole honkin’ ones.

Rip. Regroup.

Second attempt, using the conventional Wrap and Turn… epic fail. The heel was straight, but again with the great big honkin’ holes.

Hiss. Curse. Frighten Husband. Rip. Regroup.

Just for kicks, I tried the Yarn-Over method again. You guessed it… holes.

Then it occurred to me that if I was having issues with short row heels, it was just barely within the realm of possibility that one or two other people might have the same issues.

Off to Ravelry, where all the cool fiber-crafters hang out, waiting to answer questions. I did a quick forum search on short-row heels, and before too long I found a person whose problem was exactly like mine.

I realized that it wasn’t the K3tog that was giving me so much trouble, it was that ridiculous P3togTbl. No matter how careful I was, it was stretching out and getting ugly. Imagine my joy when I found a link to this post.

Her short-row method made sense to me. It involves picking up the wraps, working the stitch, and then lifting the wraps over.

On Christmas day, sitting in the living room with my aunt while she worked on her garter-stitch scarf, I attempted my fourth short-row heel on the same sock.

When I got done, I held the sock up at arms length and looked at it. Then I held it up close to my nose and inspected it. Then I danced around the living room, somehow managing to avoid knocking over both the tree and my beer.

No holes on this side.

No holes on that side

And the pretty spiral started right back up.

Life is good!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Round Head, Square Hat

Deadline knitting makes me crazy. I completely suck at it. I moan and flutter and procrastinate. As Douglas Adams once said:
I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.
I stand in awe of people who give tons of knitted Christmas gifts, and every year I laugh with the Yarn Harlot as she relates her personal Christmas marathons.

I will, however, make an exception for birthdays. Personally, I like birthdays better than Christmas anyway. So much less pressure, and all the focus is on one person.

My stepfather’s birthday was at the end of September. I gave him a gift certificate for a hand-knit hat, because the day had sort of snuck up on me. I know, I know, it’s the same day every year… did I mention that I suck at deadline knitting?

I made him a Turn A Square hat with two colors of Noro Silk Garden that my mother picked out. This is really a quick and easy knit, and the Silk Garden knits up into the most amazingly soft fabric.

I frogged my first start, because the join was just too ugly to ignore and I decided that one inch of ribbing just wasn’t enough. I nearly frogged it again when I realized how big it was turning out, but my mother assured me that it actually fit the intended head.

So I kept knitting, ignoring the little voice in my head.

Little Voice: “It’s big.”
Me: “I know… shut up, wouldja? This hat is late! Mom says it fits!”


Little Voice: “Look at that, it’s ginormous!”
Me: “La la la laaaaa… can’t hear you!”

I made it far longer than the pattern called for, going nearly seven inches before I started the decreases. Joe wanted a hat that would keep his ears covered, and I figured that a hat that nearly came past my nose would probably do the trick for him.


I cut it pretty close with the main color.


But oh, it was so pretty once I got it off the needles. Gave it a good long bath in some Soak, then a few whirls in the salad spinner. Then I stuffed it full of kitchen towels to dry.



I finally gifted the hat on Saturday, nearly three months to the day after Joe’s birthday.


When he first tried it on I said, “Oh no, it’s too big!” As if I'd been ignoring the little voice in my head or something.

He says it’s just right. It’s bigger and slouchier than I think Jared intended but it will certainly keep his ears covered.

And just look at that smile!


So, while it may be true that I completely suck at deadline knitting, at least I can say that it was worth the wait.

Happy [belated] Birthday Joe!

Project Details:
Pattern: Turn A Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, colorways 8 (main color, 122 yards) and 267 (contrasting color, 73 yards)
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) and US 6 (4.0 mm)
Embarrassing Time It Took To Finish: October-December 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


My mother, she can find anything.

Shoes? Look under the bed.
Book bag? Look in the coat closet.
Riding crop? Look in the utility room.

Elfin Hat? Not under the bed. Not in the coat closet. Not in the linen closet. Not in the utility room.

Have you looked in the spare room - library?

No mom, I haven't. To tell you the truth, I'm scared to go back there.

Well, not only can my mother find anything, she’s completely fearless. She marched right back there and dove in… without a lifeline or anything.

There’s a box down there. The green one with the snowman.

Disaster Area - Wear Protective Gear

There’s something inside.


Two somethings, unless my eyes are much deceived. My goodness, it appears to be two hats…

She looks a little smug in this shot.


While I look a little sheepish in this one.


Now that the hat and its friend have been found, the hiding place makes perfect sense. Those are nice warm cuddly hats. Designed to keep you dry and happy. So of course I put them in a box with a snowman on it.

See, it’s purple, with a pom-pom…


And it makes me very tall.

OK, nothing makes me very tall, but I like to pretend sometimes.

Thanks (again) mom!

What do you think, gang, should I think up some kind of reward?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Excuse me, have you seen my hat?

I knit it with my own hands. Out of this Berroco Ultra Alpaca.


It’s an Elfin Hat [Ravelry link] from Interweave Knits, Fall ’07. It’s got this cool spiral lace pattern, and I made the ribbing extra-long so I could double it over and cover my ears with it.

I did this really cool trick with the ribbing. I offset it by two stitches about halfway down, so that it would kind of lock in with itself when I folded it over

I used it to teach myself Magic Loop. It was a bit of a struggle, what with the cable needle seeming to be smarter than me, but I got the hang of it.

It’s got a pom-pom on the end. I’m not usually a pom-pom kind of woman, but this hat seemed to call for it, so I made one. I sewed it on the hat sometime this spring, and then I did a big ole happy-dance around the house.

It fit. It was warm. It was purple. It was perfect.

I put it someplace safe. Where it wouldn’t get dirty. Someplace where I wouldn’t lose it.

Except that the someplace is a little too safe, because now I can’t find it. I’ve looked in the coat closet. I’ve looked in the pockets of all my coats. I’ve looked in the stash containers under the bed. I’ve looked in the shoeboxes in the bedroom closet.

I have this terrible feeling that I’m going to have to clean my house.

Either that, or knit another one. I just know it’ll show up if I do that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Before I Forget How

Poor neglected blog, how lonely you must have been. Mea Culpa.

There are all kinds of reasons why I haven’t written in so long. Most of them are of the boring variety, and I will not tax you with them.

It finally occurred to me that I’d best break out of this slump and get back to writing before I forget how. So, here’s some randomness.

It’s my anniversary today. My husband and I have been together for 17 years. I love you sweetie, more than I can possibly say. Here’s to many more years of map reading and laughter, of motorcycle trips and good food, of snuggles on the couch and inside jokes.

My family celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday, with a wonderful meal, a bottle of wine and two pies. My absolute favorite holiday, and this year was one of the best. I’m thankful for my family, for my friends, for my knitting and for my health.

There is actual knitting going on around here. There’s also lots of rain and a serious shortage of good light. So it will be difficult to show you the knitting, but I’ll give it a shot.

I took myself to the LYS a couple of weeks after my birthday. I bought yarn, and for a wonder it was neither lace-weight nor sock-yarn. I know, shocking.

It was this:



Three skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino in the Indiecita colorway. I’m thinking of a cowl for this, something deep and luscious to snuggle down into. Or I could just tie the skeins together and wear them that way. It’d save time, at any rate.

My mother got me two balls of Knit Picks Essential in Jester Multi for my birthday. And a set of Harmonies sock needles. And a set of Harmonies interchangeables. And she sewed me needles carriers for all my DPNs. Am I spoiled, or what?




I cast on for a pair of socks almost immediately. Very basic: CO 64, work K3, P1 to desired length, do heel of choice, work foot to desired length, do toe of choice.




I must plead lack of good light and ask you to imagine that there’s another picture of the leg, which is now seven inches long. The first sock is on hold on spare needles for now while I work on the second sock leg. I’m so pleased with the way this yarn is creating ribbons of color, and I don’t want to mess that up with all the extra stitches of a gusset. So I’m going to do a short-row heel which I hope will vex me a bit less the second time around.

I’m still working on Mystery Stole 4 but progress is slow as it’s not the kind of mindless knitting that I can do when I’m tired. It goes in fits and starts, but it does go. Perhaps I should cast on a lace smoke-ring so I have something to show for the Long Lacy Summer.

OK, I think I remember how to write… I wonder if I can remember how to write more than once a month?