Knitting by Judy @ 8:21 AM

we have heel
we have heel

After a little knitting, a little frogging, a little more knitting, etc., I have a heel I’m happy with. The socks still look pretty strange off the needles, but you can see that this one, at least, fits my foot pretty well. I’m assuming that the other one will, too, since the socks are the same size and my feet are at least close. But one never knows, eh?

As soon as I get the heels finished, I’ll start adding in a few beads. I really didn’t want beads inside my shoes, as that didn’t sound too comfortable. So I decided to put beads only on the ankles. I tried a few bead placements yesterday. I think less is going to be more where these socks are concerned. Some socks I would bead all over the place. But these already have a lot going on. I think just a few beads worked into the lace band will be an ample sufficiency. I have some lovely square beads that will be perfect.

Thanks to those of you who commented on my Hat Theory. With our little totally unscientific study, the phenomenon seems widely enough known, even to our friends in the North, that it must be fairly common. Hopefully I will not have any Hats making me late today.

Today I will blame the rain.

Rain has returned in spades to the Pacific Northwest. And it’s cold. I’ve been wearing wool socks all week. Not that I mind doing that, you understand. But I’m not ready for winter. It seems like we barely had summer. My vines produced a bumper crop of grapes this year, but few of them have ripened. If it rains too hard, the remaining ones will just get knocked off. The local raccoons will appreciate that. But I will not.

Speaking of local wildlife, there were some stories on the local news last week about a family of coyotes not too far from my area. Apparently the reporters are surprised to learn that coyotes can be fairly urban animals. I wasn’t surprised, having had one run through my back yard last year when the fence was down, and having listened to their music for many years. I like sharing my world. The reporters tried to drum up some OMG our pets and children may be in danger!!!!! frenzy. But fortunately most of the people they interviewed seemed very live and let live and aware that the coyotes were not much danger to we civilized animals.

Lately I’ve been hearing an owl hoot at night. It’s a lonely but lovely sound in the wee hours.

I am not ready for winter.

Knitting by Judy @ 1:27 AM

as yet unnamed socks
as yet unnamed socks

Alas, the yarn fumes have dissipated, the stash enhancement has been… stashed… and it’s back to what passes for the real world around here.

This is the latest pair of socks. See… I have been knitting! I actually got quite a bit done on Saturday at OFFF, in between bouts of shopping and wandering and petting. The little magnetic acrobat dudes are happy to see how far I’ve progressed — almost to the heels.

I have no name for these, yet, and I am open to suggestions. They are based on the Coriolis pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One. I’ve widened the Coriolis band so that it can contain a bit of lace and cable pattern from a Japanese stitch book. There may be beads involved later on the leg. We shall see. The yarn is Fleece Artist Sea Wool. I have no idea what the colorway is. It isn’t noted on the ball band. It might be Stone.

They look a bit wonky on the needles. But on my feet, they smooth out and look like regular socks. As always, Cat’s pattern both charms and mystifies. I’m planning on working my own heel on this pair, as I did on the Cable & Corrugations socks. I’m not sure yet if the math is going to work out right so that my heel can be worked over the stitch count I will have when I get there.

Stay tuned. Film, as they say, at 11 — or whenever I get around to taking some. We’re not quite so scheduled here at chez PI.

And speaking of schedules…

Have you ever noticed that when you get behind someone who is wearing a hat while driving, that they drive really, really slowly and sort of incredibly cautiously — so cautiously that they become a hazard? Check it out! There may be exceptions, but in my experience this holds true more often than not.

Not that I have anything against cautious driving, you understand. I try to drive fairly defensively, although my nearest and dearest may have differing opinions as to how well I succeed. And certainly I have absolutely nothing against hats. There’s something just incredibly hot about a man in a hat — and I’m not talking a baseball cap, here, OK? I will forgive much when there’s a trilby involved, or an homburg, or even a panama. And wear a fedora and I’m yours, no questions asked. Fedoras are definitely best. Caps… meh.

But I digress.

People wearing hats just seem to drive slowly and cautiously enough to be a menace. Even one can block traffic. Now… pretend for a second that you are late for work, and traffic seems to be just incredibly slow – much slower than is the wont of morning rush-hour traffic – with no explanation for the turtle-ish and slug-like pace. There just aren’t that many cars around (because, as we have established, you are running a little late). And then you realize that up ahead are not one, not two, but four hats driving slowly down the street, two in one lane and two in the adjoining lane, effectively acting as a cork in the traffic bottle. And they pace each other for miles and miles at a steady 10 MPH below the speed limit while the drivers behind them wail and gnash their collective teeth. You would be forced to give up any hope of actually being to work on time. And because you were driving, you couldn’t even knit.

Sometimes, gentle reader, the fates conspire against me.

Knitting by Judy @ 9:08 AM

PDX Knit Bloggers in their natural habitat
PDX Knit Bloggers in their natural habitat
(slideshow)

This is a picture-heavy post. I’ve put two groups into slideshows — a few pictures from the fair are in this one, and all of the animal shots are in one at the bottom. Click on the pictures to pop them up. The slideshow controls well be available in the biggy-size. Sorry to those of you who read me in a feedreader, but this probably only works in person on the PI site.

Ah….. Oregon Flock And Fiber Festival. I love this gathering. It’s not as big as Black Sheep or some of the other fiber festivals. But it’s big enough to keep a fiber addict happy for a long time. There are tons of stuff to see and animals to pet and fiber to stroke and yarn to drool over. And did I mention soap? Or hand-blown glass knitting needles? Or books? And if you are of the carnivorous persuasion, lamb sandwiches and shish kabobs and stew. There are two large building just crammed full of booths, with the overflow in the large open area between the main buildings and the barn. Fiber judging and a finished-objects gallery are upstairs. I didn’t even get that far. I was overwhelmed by yarn fumes.

It is the overwhelmingness of the fiber fumes that I blame for falling OFFF my strict intentions for buying. I had brought only a very carefully chosen amount of cash with me, and I was on a mission. I was searching for laceweight handspun in a silk blend. And I wanted to check out a couple of the new STR colorways. And I needed to see and probably acquire Butternut Woolens Supersock in Shelly’s new colorways. And of course I wanted to see all of my blogging and fiber friends.

yarn pr0n
yarn pr0n

That was the plan. I did pretty well. Sort of. OK… I only had to whip out my credit card once because I only went a little (ahem) over budget. And maybe I had to buy a basket to take my booty home in. But, really, I think I showed admirable restraint. So here, gentle reader, is the yarn pr0n portion of our tale:

on table: natural white cashmere/silk blend from Hokulani Farms in Bend

basket, front row, l-r: 2 skeins of Butternut Woolens Supersock in Shelly’s new colorways, one skein of Monarch Fly Dyed sport weight, two skeins of Abundant Yarns & Dyeworks plant dyed Trekking – Dirty Oxblood (actually a gorgeous berry/gray mix) and Dark Seafoam

basket, back row, l-r: all from Blue Moon — Seduction in Pirates Booty, Silkie STR in Count Cluckula, STR lightweight in Gingerbread Dude, a Rare Gems and Pirates Booty (yes, liked it so much I got two)

Yesterday I bought a new bin to keep it all in. I know, I know… but really, I’m saving for retirement!

kidnapped canopener
Mr. Pink visits OFFF

I had a wonderful, wonderful time. Monica rode down with me and was nice enough to agree to my little Canby Ferry jaunt that is sort of traditional with me when I go to OFFF. We arrived at about 8:30, to find the PDX Knitbloggers had already staked out a table. Bobbie brought our sign and placed it in a prominent location. All day people kept trying to figure out who we were and what we were doing, and were we a booth or something? Several people ventured over to ask about blogging. Many MOO cards were handed out and much fun was had.

I loved having a place to go back to and stash my stuff where I knew it would be safe and watched. And then take a turn watching while I resting my feet and chatted. Barbara spun on her really cute little wheel, and Duffy demoed a tiny little drop spindle that spun forever and ever. And there was much other spinning going on. Which made it tough to resist that particular lure. But if I started spinning I know what would happen — next thing you know I’d have a farm with sheep and goats and bunnies.

Duffy was also there to meet up with Mr. Pink, the Kidnapped Canopener, who is going to visit her for awhile. 😉

I was wonderful to meet everyone. I tried to get around to see all of the people I know, but I’m sure I missed a few. I got a wonderful hug from Shelly, who I’ve been hoping to meet for a couple of years. You must go to her website and see her lovely new colorways in subtle grays. Gorgeous.

rasta sheep
rasta sheep
(slideshow)

Although the weatherman had threatened us with rain, the day was perfect: warm in the sun, cool in the shade, no rain. I’ve been to OFFF in the rain, and this was much, much nicer.

And the animals… Camels and yaks and llamas and alpacas and sheep and goats and bunnies. And probably some other that I forgot. If it makes fiber on the hoof, it was mostly likely represented somewhere in the barn.

I especially liked this little sheep wearing dreds. And several of the babies who really wanted to go home with me. But, really, the cats would have been quite surprised, I think. And my yard is so small.

I will resist the spinning virus. I will.

Monica and Bobbie rode home with me. We took the ferry again.

I arrived home yarn-dazed and fiber-high and happy.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:43 AM

Cables And Corrugations socks
Cables And Corrugations socks

The Cables & Corrugations Socks are finished! Yea! Here they are, doing the toe dance on my favorite rocking chair, because it was a gloomy day with bad light, and I didn’t get home while there was still any light at all. So sorry for the flash pic. But the colors are fairly true.

There is a story about the fabric that’s on my chair. But we won’t go into it today, gentle reader, because it involves things like former spouses and such, and today is too good a day to be delving into that particular past. Maybe some gloomy, rainy January weekend. But not today when the grapes are nearing ripeness and the sun might actually make an appearance.

The tops of the socks look a little ruffly. You can especially see this in the one that’s on the left. That would be because, instead of using the suggested EZ sewn bind-off, I used a crochet bind-off. I didn’t really have a good reason for doing so. The crochet version is a bit stretchier than the sewn bind-off, but either would have worked. The ruffliness is not apparent when I have these on my feet.

close up
close up

This is a close-up of the heel and the lovely braided cables up the side and back. My camera struggles with this red (although not as much as it struggles with purple). I’ve moved to the dining room table, where the light is a little better for close-ups. But the shine from the bamboo content doesn’t help. Hopefully you can see how pretty the braids turned out.

Note the gusset. It’s actually one big gusset instead of two smaller ones, and it starts smack dab in the middle of the bottom of the foot. Isn’t that cool?

There are reasons that Cat Bordhi is called the mad scientist of knitting. I tell you, gentle reader, the woman is a genius.

Someone else likes these socks, too. The last picture shows what happened about 10 seconds after I snapped the close-up. For a bit there I was not quite sure whether Moo Cow was going to give my socks back.

I can haz sox!  kthxbai
I can haz sox! kthxbai

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Pagewood Farm Hand Dyed Sock Yarn (70% merino, 20% bamboo, 10% nylon / 4oz, 450yd per skein) in colorway Really Red — one skein with a goodly bit left over. This would be plenty of yarn for larger feet in this pattern.
  • Needles: two 24″ Addi Lace circulars, US#1 (2.5mm).
  • Pattern: Cables & Corrugations from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi
  • Modification to pattern:
    • I used my own standard heel pattern, which is visually similar to Cat’s but narrower.
    • Crochet bind-off substituted for EZ sewn bind-off.
  • I followed Cat’s instructions for the pontoon toe, which I switched to a moccasin toe because that was what is shown in the picture.
  • Techniques used:
    • Knit toe-up, two at a time, on double circulars.
    • The pontoon toe turned out to be pretty fiddly, requiring the addition of 4 DPNs as well as the 2 circs to execute on two socks at once. I love the way it looks, but not my favorite toe to knit.

Knitting by Judy @ 1:01 AM

cable crossed incorrectly
cable crossed incorrectly

Ah… the best laid plans of knitters knitting away over and over again on recalcitrant heels. I would think that those heels were trying to tell me something, except this little issue cropped up only on the third heel iteration — the successful one.

If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

You can see it. Right there where the blue arrow is. I crossed the middle three stitches over the right-hand three stitches instead of under them. In fact, you can see it in the final picture from my last post — the I have a happy heel and red toes and I’m oh so smart post. It’s right there. I didn’t even notice.

Oops.

Monday at knit night – a knit night that I rarely get to attend but which is always tons of fun – I finished the second heel and turned blithely to the instep and knit across the first sock, turning cables as I went. I reached the second sock. I went to turn the cable.

I am sorry to report that I may have said a few rather unladylike words even though there was a baby present. I’m not sure. I really don’t remember. I only remember sitting there in horror and frustration and saying I will not rip those heels out yet again!

Can’t you just fix it without ripping? Asked Bobbie.

I admitted that I could. But not in Bella Espresso, where the lighting is coffee-house dim. So I went over to Macy’s to look for a new handbag. A little retail therapy, dontcha know. (I didn’t find one. Payback for oaths spoken where wee ears might hear.)

cable tinked back to cross
cable tinked back to cross

Once at home, I stationed myself in my brightly-lit kitchen. Now brightly lit, anyway. Gentle reader, have you ever noticed how all of your kitchen lights (assuming you have more than one) burn out at the same time? A couple of weeks ago (three? four?), one of the 7 spotlights in my kitchen burned out. Soon after, another one followed. I started thinking that I really needed to remember to pick up bulbs when next I was at the store. But, somehow although I could remember kitty litter and coffee and bananas, light bulbs totally escaped me at every store visit. Until I got home and turned on the kitchen light and another bulb went pop-sizzle-snap and the kitchen got a little darker. And then I’d think to myself, I really must remember to pick up some bulbs when next I’m at the store. I was down to the bulb over the sink and was cooking mostly by feel when I finally remembered. My kitchen is now a brightly-lit place, but not a place really conducive to taking pictures of shiny knit objects. But I don’t think I did too badly.

At any rate, while waiting for dinner to cook, I stationed myself in the kitchen – now the most brightly lit room in chez PI – and began surgery on the mis-crossed cable.

The first step is to carefully tink just the three mis-crossed stitches back a few rows to the row where the cable was actually crossed. Note that I could have tinked back either the three stitches wrongly crossed over the top, or the three stitches wrongly crossed underneath. I chose to tink on top because those were the first three stitches I came to when working across the instep of this sock.

cable crossed correctly
cable crossed correctly

Once the stitches were tinked back and I was back to where I started, so to speak, I could cross the cable the correct way. All I needed to do was poke the stitches through the little hole that the crossing makes and pick them back up on the back side.

Well, it was a little tricky. Because this is a sock and my gauge is fairly small, I kept the stitches on a spare needle end with the point towards the right. Then I poked the stitches through to the back side, and transfered the stitches to a spare needle end with the point toward the left.

Now I had the cable crossed correctly, and the only thing left to do was to re-knit those stitches up the rows that I had tinked out. The strands of yarn for those rows were just sitting there waiting for me, so it wasn’t too tough to get those stitches reknit. Then I used the tip of my needle to adjust the gauge a little so that everything was nice and even and crossed the right way and the scarring was so minimal that you couldn’t even tell that surgery had been performed.

re-knit and all is well
re-knit and all is well

Ah…. all better. The cable is crossed the right direction and the order of the universe is restored and I can go ahead and start knitting away on the ankles, around and around and around.

I could show you what happens when one picks up the wrong needle end and starts knitting with it. But maybe I’ll leave that story for another day. Because nothing like that would ever happen around here. Nope. 🙄

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. You gave me much to think about. Most of you talked about knitting socks. Which is no surprise because we talk about socks a lot here. Like, obsessively. Every year I make a resolution to knit fewer socks and more other objects. You can look at the sidebar to see how well I’ve done this year. Yeah. Not a pretty site.

Are you as likely to frog a sweater or scarf or hat as you are to frog a pair of socks? Or do socks somehow seem different or special?

Knitting by Judy @ 8:33 PM

too long
too long

Once upon a time there was a knitter named Frizzylocks who loved Cat Bordhi’s Cables & Corrugations Socks and wanted to knit them more than anything in the whole, wide world.

Now Frizzylocks was one of those knitters who never follows patterns. She always changed something, or tweaked something else, or just plain threw the pattern away and did her own thing. But because Frizzylocks loved the Cables & Corrugations Socks so much, she really wanted to knit them just exactly the way the pattern said to.

So she started knitting, and she knit and she knit and she knit. She followed all of the directions until she was ready to turn the heel, and then she tried the socks on. And, although the gusset seemed a bit wide at the top, for the most part they fit pretty well and the length was great. Smiling happily, she began knitting again, following the heel instructions.

What Frizzylocks hadn’t realized when she tired the socks on was that the heel portion of the pattern would add an entire stitch-pattern repeat, making the socks longer, and the set-up for the sock would add quite a few more increases and make the heel even wider.

When the heel was finished, Frizzylocks tried the sock on again. It was too long. It was way, way too long. And the heel was way wide because Frizzylocks has skinny heels. And Frizzylocks was no longer smiling.

too short
too short

So that’s enough third person fairytale. Because this, unfortunately is most decidedly not a fairytale of any kind. The sock was way too long. The heel was way too wide. There was just no getting around it. You can see it in the first picture up there. It was huge.

The width through the foot was OK, though. And that was certainly nice. You will recall that when I first knit the toes I did not trust the pattern and added extra increases and the toes ended up way, way too wide. I think these socks hate me. And really, I like them a lot and I am trying not to take it personally!

So, anyway, I frogged the heel.

I frogged the heel at knit night at Tangle, and there were gasps all around as I took them off the needles. But it doesn’t fit, I explained. Alice tried the glass slipper red sock on. It fit her. Alice offered to take them off my hands (or feet, as the case may be) once completed. I politely declined. Alice started knitting on a gorgeous basketweave sweater that’s been a UFO for a couple of years now because she’s not feeling the love. I suggested that sweater might be swapped for socks. Alice politely declined.

So I frogged the heel and ripped back two pattern repeats — the one created during the heel set-up, and one extra for good measure. My plan was to knit my standard heel, which is narrower. I really like Cat’s heel – I think it’s lovely and brililant – but it doesn’t fit well on my skinny heels. 😥 So I felt forced – forced, I say – to deviate from the pattern. (I think Cat would understand.)

There’s something about the phrase for good measure that does not bode well when my pursuits are concerned. You will, perhaps, remember the never-ending moebius? The one that 11 knitters fit into? Yeah. I cast on just a few extra stitches for good measure.

You can see from the second picture above that the heel is not too wide. But the sock is also now too short. Way too short. I should have only ripped out one pattern repeat, not two. < sigh >

just right
just right

Third times a charm, gentle reader.

I knit one more pattern repeat. Then I stopped and worked my standard heel. It’s not exactly like Cat’s heel, but it’s visually similar. Actually, the flap is pretty much the same, but the turn is different.

And, as you can see from the third picture, this one is just right! The heel fits, it’s the right length. And Frizzylocks is very happy.

Now to do the same thing on the other sock, and I will be back in business heading up the legs. I may need a few extra stitches on the ankles once I get the cable going up the back. But I’m not worried about that at all since I know from experience that increases are really easy to hide in the purls along the edges of cables.

I almost titled this post Why I Don’t Follow Patterns, but then I went into my little fairytale instead.

But that did send me off on a little navel-gazing tangent — Why don’t I follow patterns? Is it just that I’m a rebel? Or is it fit? Or process? Or maybe all of these? Probably the last. But following the Cables & Corrugations pattern has been difficult, even though I fully intended to follow it. I just keep wanting to stray, and the heels gave me the perfect excuse.

What about you, gentle reader? Do you follow patterns? Why or why not?

Are you more enamored of the process of knitting itself, or is it the finished objects that you create that keep you coming back for more?

Would you prefer to knit objects similar to those you have knit before, or would you rather knit something completely different?

When things go wrong — patterns have errors, the swatch lied, you loath the way the yarn is knitting up, the thing looks sucky on you — what is your reaction? Are you angry at the time lost or the pattern author? Are you discouraged or invigorated? Do you want to fix it at any cost and make it work, or bury it 20 feet deep and never see it again?

As I said, I seem to be in a period of thoughtful introspection, so I would love to hear what you think. There are no right answers or wrong answers – and there are probably different answers for every knitter. If you don’t want to answer in comments, email me at Judy at persistentillusion dot com. I really would like to hear from you…



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