School daze

While I’m not taking classes, I am subject to the nimiety of new students. The campus I work at has about 25,000 students that attend, so when fall starts, the somewhat quiet town gets quite an energetic onslaught. You might guess how I cope with this.

purl toes

Last night I cast on some new socks in a color sure to shock the system. I knitted them as I slowly walked to school, listening to knitting podcasts. I’m very careful and only have to look at the knitting for the toe increases. Socks are a perfect walking project since they are light in the hands, and if they are stockinette I don’t have to look. It takes me about 5-10 minutes longer to get to work if I’m walking and knitting at the same time, but I find it to be so much more peaceful. I think it’s worth it.

purl toes-2I’m using Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (say that 10 times really fast…) in color P140. I had two balls leftover from a baby pinwheel blanket a couple of years ago. Ok, ok. I kind of planned it so I might have a couple of balls leftover because I love this insanely vibrant color and it makes me really happy. I’m knitting them like these Koigu socks I made a few years ago, and I think I’m going to write up the pattern. It’s basically a plain toe-up sock with purled toes, easy to execute with only a tiny bit of extra thinking.

I’m also using my first pair of Addi Turbo Sock Rockets in the 2.25mm size. That’s between a US 0 and US 1. I LOVE them. They’re smooth, have a perfect point, and feel amazing in my hands. I thought they would feel a lot bigger than my usual 0′s, but they don’t, and they seem better suited to slightly thicker fingering weight yarns I love like Koigu and Colinette Jitterbug.

I was carting my Beatnik sleeves to work, but they were pretty large since I’m knitting from two balls, and I came across something in the pattern that I gave me pause. I mentioned before that I’m knitting the XS sleeves, since there are a lot of finished examples with excess fabric at the top. This seemed like it would only subtract some of the width, and I could do an extra two rows which would make up the difference in length. I added these rows, and according to the pattern I should only have 6 more to finish the cap. This seems nowhere near what would be needed to get close to the armscye length. Usually the bell shape of the sleeve is a little smaller and shorter than the armscye, but I’m about an inch or more off. I’m considering ripping and reworking some of the shaping to have 2 rows between decrease rows, rather than just 1. I will probably execute this tonight and hopefully cast on for the front!

Happy Tuesday!

Dressed up feet

I finished these on the 27th of July, two days before the move, and three days before I went into labor. Now that things have calmed slightly, Z is sleeping copiously and I am catching up on some sleep too. I had a second to coax Matt to take pictures for the blog.

The pattern is mine. It’s called Tuxedo because the lace pattern makes me think of ruffles on a tuxedo shirt from the 70s. It’s done from the toe up and the lace pattern is really easy to memorize. You could do it from the top down, but the lace would be pointed in the opposite direction. The yarn is Koigu. I can’t seem to find this colorway on their site anymore. I took a picture of the label on my Ravelry project page if that helps anyone to track it down. I think I may have purchased this yarn while in Toronto in 2009 at Lettuce Knit, but I really can’t be certain. Sorry for all the fuzzy yarn details.

These pics are taken in our new house. I’m happy to have wood floors. So little is unpacked. Our friend, Susan, unpacked the kitchen while we were in the hospital. That made a HUGE difference when we got home. We’ve also had friends bringing us meals nearly every night since Z arrived. The generosity of our friends has made this transition so much easier. We are tremendously grateful.

Sock yarn saved!

I would like to give a HUGE THANKS to Andrea from Life on Laffer for her amazing untangling skills. Remember this pic with the insanely tangled Koigu from my UFO drawers? She volunteered to untangle it for me. At first I thought she was some kind of crazy glutton for punishment and that there was no way she was going to be successful with this. I tried and gave up about a year ago, and before I sent off the skein my fiance tried for about two hours. We were both beyond frustrated. Well… she turned it into this:

Koigu, untangled, washed, and re-hanked.

The woman is a genius. Andrea, I’m truly grateful. She saved my Koigu sock yarn. That’s sacred in my book. I was originally using it for these socks, but I think it will become something more exciting now, since it’s been reborn anew with Andrea’s touch.

For the curious souls, I don’t have my original label for this yarn, after studying Koigu’s site, I strongly suspect this is color P327S. I have no idea if they’re still dyeing it, or where to get it, but since it’s still showing on their site, you might be able to find it somewhere.

Well, hello 2012.

My year started out in a pretty delightful way. While I was home on New Year’s Eve quite early (due to some massive fatigue), Matt managed to talk me into some hiking on the next day. He woke up energized and excited around 7:30. I was still grumbling and reluctant when he suggested going on an extensive day hike, but I went along with it, deciding I would probably enjoy it more than my 7:30 self believed. I was right. We went to a place called Hemmed in Hollow near the Buffalo River. It was a lovely day. The hike out of the waterfall area was STEEP and arduous, but it was all well worth it in the end. It was an excellent experience and I’m glad that Matt pushes me to spend more time in the outdoors.

I finished a second pair of socks for Matt. I also realized that I never posted about the first pair I made for him. We took pictures of them back in October, I think, and he still loves them.
This colorway is from the Opal Winter Fairy Tale collection. I don’t think it’s being manufactured anymore, but the color is 2150 if you feel like hunting for it. I love Opal sock yarns. I usually have some kind of plain stockinette pair on the needles and I love to see how the self-striping happens.It keeps me going. The yarn is also extremely durable. I have favorite sock yarns for softness (like Malabrigo, or Tosh sock, or Koigu), but for durability Opal and Regia are stellar.

The second pair was made with Ty-Dy sock yarn in color 1364. I also enjoy the chaotic splashes of color and the ways they co-mingle. I did both pairs from the toe up, using all but maybe a 1/2 yard of the yarn. This time I did some ribbing and followed it with 3 rows of stockinette. I read somewhere that if you finish with a few rows of stockinette and bind off normally then the cuff should still be stretchy. When I was beginning to bind off it did not feel especially stretchy, so I did Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off like usual. I accidentally deleted the pics of these…so I’ll have to post some later when I get another chance to take a pic of his feet in daylight.

This almost ends my little sock parade. After I finished Matt’s socks, I realized that all I had left on the sock needles were a pair of Jaywalkers I started ages ago. So I finished them! I used Koigu (color 342) and they were a little shorter than I wanted with just two skeins. Koigu comes in 175 yard skeins. With Jaywalkers eating up a wee bit more yarn the patterning, I decided to pull some Shibui out of my stash and made a complimentary cuff. The Shibui color is called Blue Spruce. 

Damn, I love making socks.

Do the neighbors wonder why I hang socks from trees?

Lindsay's birthday socks

Most of the time I can photograph the socks on the foot of the actual recipient, but sometimes they live halfway across the country. This is the case with these socks.

They are birthday socks for my friend Lindsay’s upcoming birthday. She moved to Connecticut last January and I miss her dearly. She’s the kind of friend that will surprise you and show up at your birthday party, flying in just for the evening and the next day. I will get to see her soon, since I’ll be going to the East coast mid-October for some Rhinebeck fun and general city exploring, but I sent her these socks early because I’m usually really eager to give the gift once it’s done.

In the absence of her size 7.5′s I had to make do with photographing them on the blockers. The tree seemed like a natural backdrop…so I improvised. That tree is in my backyard, and seems completely dead, but it is covered with lovely vines. I thought it would bring out the green in the socks.

Purled toes

The yarn is Koigu KPPPM in color P115. It reminds me of a seasonal transition. Koigu is still one of my favorite yarns to knit. It makes soft, squishy socks, and it’s washable. They also have an amazing array of hand dyed colors. The pattern is my own. I do most socks from the toe-up two-at-a-time using magic loop. If you live in the Fayetteville, AR area and want to learn, I will start a class on this method October 8th, info here.

I purled the toes instead of knitting them so they would be roomier. I like this feature on a sock, but some might like the snugness of the knit toes. I also like the challenge of remembering to do the increases to lean the right way in purling rather than the long-ago memorized M1R & M1L for knitted toes. I think it’s good for my brain.

Happy Birthday Lindsay! (still way early).

Beginnings.

Koigu KPPPM is one of my favorite fibers to knit with. I fell in love with it the first time I saw the eye catching colorways, and the feel in your fingers as you knit with it is no less amazing.

Thus far, I have mostly used it for socks, and I have made a few blanket squares for a Barn Raising Quilt that will be a whole blanket someday. Most of the time I knit with this yarn on size 0 (2mm) needles for socks. I have a fairly loose tension, so I like to knit with smaller needles for more durable socks. This particular beginning is the start of a Pinwheel Blanket from Knitalong. Knitalong is one of my favorite knitting books. It’s filled with beautiful projects as well as heartwearming stories to go with them.

I’m making this blanket out of the colorway P140. This yarn had been sitting at Hand Held for over a year or so, waiting to become something. I’m knitting this on size 3 (3mm) needles. It’s lofty and lusciously squishy on this size needle. I think it will be perfect for a baby blanket. Koigu also happens to be superwash, so that lends it to easier care. The parents of this baby do not read my blog (I’m pretty sure) so I think it’s safe to post a preview. I love how the colors are developing as it gets larger. This pattern is very simple and makes a nice soothing knit. I could probably do it in the dark if I used stitch markers.

I can almost smell fall. It feels full of inspired beginnings.

The Girl with the Purl Toes

I like simple socks.  I like a quarter mile of stockinette sometimes to subtly soothe my restless fingers and quell my frantic mind.  I like take socks with me everywhere, and I usually am knitting at least two pairs at once.  These particular socks I engineered from the toe-up, both at once, using the magic loop method.  To make them more interesting, I gave them purled toes.  I’m working on writing up a pattern for these socks, even though they are ridiculously simple.  I think the purled toe gives a little more wiggle room and makes the socks just a wee bit more interesting.  These were made using Koigu KPPM. The yarn was a gift from my Canadian friend, Greg.  I’ve had these finished for over 4 months, but had yet to take a picture of them.  It seems I have a lot of projects like that these days.

I am currently in the knitting midst of a sweater, two pairs of socks, two headbands, and probably some other lurking woolen beasts I’ve forgotten about.  School begins next week.  I don’t know if a more rigid schedule or a more lax one makes for more frequent blogging, so we shall see.  I begin my second year as a PhD student in counselor education.  In some ways I’m looking forward to all the activity and people, and bustle, but in others I will miss my often too quiet summer.  I am looking forward to cooler days, outdoor adventures, and reasons to finish cardigans quickly.