A group knitting blog.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sock knit-along update

How goes the sock knitting for the knit-along?

I have one sock down and am cranking away at another. Don't worry if you aren't that far along. I had a head start. Now my desire to finish a pair is pushing me to zip through this second one.

I began sock knitting as a doubter. It seemed awfully difficult. Although some people swear by it, I wasn't so sure that it would hold much interest for me, especially since the knitted socks I was seeing on blogs were all sorts of crazy colors or had frou-frou accoutrements that I would never make or wear.

By no means have I become a member of the sock knitting cult, but I can say that I like making them, just not as a primary knitting project. Socks have provided a good challenge for me, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I've been able to meet it.

I had no preconceptions of what I could or couldn't do when I started knitting, but if pressed for an answer, I probably would have limited my abilities to basic squares or long rectangles--scarves and dishcloths, in other words. I'm still pretty green when it comes to knitting, but one of the most satisfying things is discovering that I can do things like socks that would have seemed impossible to me a month or two ago.

If you're working on yours, hang in there. If you haven't tried, why not give it a shot?

Addendum: My progress just took a major hit.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Secret Summer Swap

I mentioned earlier that I was participating in a Yarn Swap this summer with the wonderful people at the KnittingHelp Forums. Here is the stash that my secret pal spoiled me with:

My camera did not at all do justice to the amazing colors of these yarns. The Wool of the Andes is an incredibly deep purple (Hyacinth). It is very regal. I love it! The Shadow is a fantastic burnt orange (Campfire) that is going to be a beautiful accent that pulls out the red in my strawberry hair. (I'm thinking in maybe a shawl). And the Andean Treasure is a strong earthy green (Moss). Not only do red heads love green, but this is so soft that the best idea that I've got for it right now is to knit a swatch to lay on my pillow and rub my cheek on every night before bed. I really would like to make something with it that I can wear near my head. I know that sounds a little weird but it would really bring out my eyes. Do you guys have any pattern ideas that only take 110yrds of sport weight? I haven't found anything yet. I may end up doing a pattern with two or more colors and buying some more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knitter Coffee Swap

The Secret Knitter convinced me to participate in a color swap ages ago. That inducted me into the world of knitting swaps, and one of the most recent ones that I joined/completed was the Knitter Coffee Swap. I had a great pal, and she sent me a wonderful package!

It was all somehow crammed into a shoebox (albeit, a big shoe box). Here's it all laid out on the kitchen table:

Yarn, yarn, coffee, the project bag in the upper right hand corner is awesome (I think it's handmade), books, sock knitting pattern--everything she got me was wonderful. So if you're looking for something new and fun for knitting, try swaps. I've just finished up the scarf exchange swap, which was also tons of fun--I'm still waiting for my scarf from my pal, but she's been in touch, so I'll see it soon!

Monday, June 18, 2007


So...I've been knitting and purling wrong this whole time. You know, since I started knitting several years ago. I know it's not technically wrong since it worked and the things I made looked nice, but...I had some misunderstandings.

First I learned the way I was knitting was actually incorrect--I was knitting to back of loops (ktbl) instead of inserting my needle from front to back (left to right). Whoops.

Then this weekend, I figured out that I was wrapping the yarn wrong when I was purling--instead of wrapping it counterclockwise (over and around) I was wrapping it clockwise (under and around). Whoops.

The result was that my stitches were slightly twisted and not laying as flat as they are supposed to. Now that I've figured out the proper technique, they lay much better. Yay!

It's a humbling experience, really, to realize the errors you've been making (and teaching to others) while all right, are not the proper method.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Impromptu Scarf

I've been itching to knit ever since we got back from Europe, so I ordered some Vacation and Get Away from KnitPicks to make a couple toddler ponchos. When I knit up the Get Away, I didn't like it as much. The colors didn't seem to pop and it just looked kinda muddy so I decided to scrap that project and use both the yarns to make Dawn's Scarf. I couldn't figure out the Twisted Drop Stitch so I just ended up doing 2 YO, because I knew they would give me what I was looking for. Here is my finished scarf:

I can't yet decide if it is absolutely adorable, or absolutely hideous. I just can't decide how I feel about the colors.

Is there something that I should do to keep the tassels from fraying?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Insider sock tips

I know, the gall of me--ME!--providing tips on knitting socks, but what is the point of doing the sock knit-along without sharing the knowledge we glean in the process? It's more valuable if we're all making the exact same thing, I suppose, but I've made a few observations that will be helpful if you're new to this as I am. So, three tips:

1. Make a baby-sized practice sock.

With it you can get all of your mistakes out of the way as you figure out what the devil you're supposed to do. My first wasn't fantastic, but it primed my skills for a better, albeit still flawed, second baby sock. Don't knit a second if you don't want to. It was necessary for me to do. That's when the techniques clicked in my brain.

2. Picking up stitches is easier with an empty needle than a working needle.

The instructions I've seen have recommended picking up the first set of the stitches from the heel flap with the working needle. I've found that to add an extra degree of difficulty. Instead I use a spare needle and then slide the stitches onto the other needle.

3. For ssk, slip stitches knitwise.

Perhaps you already know this. I didn't until I saw directions in a sock pattern that specified how to slip in ssk. (I'd been slipping purlwise, which left an unsightly little pattern.)

My sock is coming along nicely. Don't worry, I'm not that fast. I had a head start.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Summer Knitty!

The new summer Knitty is here!

Kathy and I were thinking of using this sock pattern for the Sock KAL.

Great stuff!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kathryn's new project

New shawl project

Starting a new project....a beautiful shawl that I'm knitting from a kit from kpixie (adding a link to the blog for anyone interested).


Tried to find a picture of the pattern (I bought a whole kit so the pattern & yarn came with it...because I'm too lazy to actually pick out yarn colors for myself) but it looks like it's sold out so it's not on the website anymore. Oh well....I suppose I shall just have to post a picture once I make some progress.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the "oyster" color. Should be really pretty if I ever finish.

Lighted needles?!?

Kpixie.com also sells lighted knitting needles. It looks like they're clear hollow knitting needles with led lights in them. Sweet! I can't really think of a reason to buy them....but they're so cool that I find myself wanting a pair just to have them. But....then I look at the price (around $40) and think of better ways to spend my money.

But....aren't they cool!?!

Sock Knit-Along!

I've been fumbling my way through the sock knitting process, and I could use some company as I attempt to make adult-sized socks. Jenn suggested a knit-along, so what better people to do that than with you all? (Can I get away using that colloquialism as someone north of the Mason-Dixon line?)

I don't really know how KALs work. I assume that individuals agree to knit something at the same time and share their progress, questions, and results. Sounds easy enough.

Jenn has provided some helpful links in the sidebar if sock knitting is new to you too. I used a baby sock pattern to make practice socks. Although my first had some issues, it had a definite sock-ness. The second practice sock came much more easily to me. (From casting on to sewing in the ends, I completed it in about three and a half hours.)

I struggled to understand how to pick up stitches until I went here. The page also links to a video that cleared up my questions and should be beneficial for other new sock knitters.

I'm using this pattern for the socks I'm making myself. Unless you're already well stocked with needles and know the gauge of your yarn, I recommend picking your pattern first. Trust me, it's easier matching the materials to the pattern than vice versa.

I'll be posting updates here and at my blog. If I can do it, so can you. Are you ready to join in the fun?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

How to Block

How Jenn blocked her Branching Out scarf (see previous post):

Step One--start out with wrinkled mess
Step Two--dunk in water (not hot)
Step Three--stretch out on flat surface (I used a big towel--something to soak up the water
Step Four--pin, stretching out to appropriate width, etc.
Step Five--Let dry and unpin.

(close up detail)

Enjoy scarf.

I've had lots of people ask me how I could bear to give away my lovely new scarf. I guess since I set out to knit this for someone else, I never got too attached to it. Okay, I lie--but then I figure I can knit myself one too. It may be a scarf I knit again for gifts (plus I want to try my hand at the pattern with different yarn). It was lovely and soft.

The blocking wasn't that hard for the scarf. I've seen on Knit Picks some things called "blocking wires" (for lace), but I think the easy method of blocking (items in stockinette, for example) is just to pin it down damp, or mist it with a water bottle after pinning. Obviously if the lace is more complex or has fancy edges, the blocking process won't be quite so simple. Here's a lace blocking tutorial that I found on Knit Picks (Warning: PDF file).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hey Look...an FO!

I finally finished that scarf. The one I've been whining about for several posts...well, it's finished. And I just want to post pictures of it now.

And just so you know it's me...
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