Book Yarn, Part IX

And finally, Vice.

I got to know Lizzy, the brain behind Vice, on Ravelry.  She’s been helping me test my patterns for approximately forever.  She even knit both of the sample shawls for the first volume of Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet (which is a lot of knitting).  When I heard she had started her own yarn line (and isn’t that every knitter’s dream), I was thrilled.  I’m so excited to have two of her lovely yarns in the next book

On the right is Chubbie in the color Lauren.  This is my kind of sock yarn.  It’s got 8 tiny plies, paired off in 4 sets of 2, which are then all twisted together.  The resulting yarn is dense and round and feels marvelous under foot.  And of course, if you’re feeling like you want to knit something other than socks (if you lie down and wait, the feeling may pass), it’s versatile enough to play nicely with all sorts of patterns.

On the left is Liquid Sliver in the color Stacy.  This proves, yet again, that my fascination with 50/50 wool silk blends is not misplaced.  And these yarns both show that my suspicion of pinky/peachy colors can be overcome if only you hand me off to a color genius and get her to spend inordinate amounts of time coming up with just the right color for me.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you’re all having a lovely day. Our plans include procuring the traditional Thanksgiving pizza, playing lots of board games, petting kittens, and generally just chilling.

Sometime over the weekend, The Boy will be doing some funky footwork to spiff up the blog (what, you say you’re supposed to update this stuff more than once every three years, oops).  I will be playing with this lovely wool felt I picked up and concocting some sort of festive holiday decoration (an odd urge, since we don’t actually decorate for the holidays, but one I’m giving in to anyways).  I’ll report back if they’re cute, and deny all knowledge of this post if they’re not.

I hope your day is a lovely one.  And, if you’re feeling the need to add some knitting to your holiday plans, be sure you check out the details of the Thanksgiving sale from yesterday’s post.

Ready, Set, Pack

The books come tomorrow.  These are some (some I tell you, some…not all, some) of the envelopes destined to bring the books to you.  All envelopes are addressed.  Many have had postage affixed.  I have a feeling the next few days will be something of a blur.  Do pardon me if it takes me a day or two to recover.

Oh, and Douglas kitten back there in the window…he’s one year old today.  I’ll give him some extra stinky cat food and lots of belly scritches for you.

Quints

I really don’t know how this happened.  Whatever it was, something has to be done.  This needs to stop.  I somehow accidentally tripped and fell and obtained a set of 5 matching hat forms.  This is actually handy, as Alphonse and Esmeralda are sized for my/The Boy’s head (more or less), but most human heads are rather smaller than mine.  This gives me access to a wider range of sizes, which is good because most of the book hats and most of the hats I make for other people are intended for more standard-sized heads.

Now of course this does raise the delicate issue of names.  I love naming my props.  But, I fear my ability to distinguish among these five will leave something to be desired.  I feel the obvious solution is to name them all Quentin and call it good.  It may not work for real live quintuplets, but I’m pretty sure these guys are the obliging sort and won’t mind.

Helper Cat, Part III

Douglas apparently didn’t want to be left out of the helper cat parade.  To this end, he decided to assist me with my mitt blocking.

You will never meet a more water-loving cat.  He sits on the edge of the tub when we shower, he plays with the faucet when we wash our hands or brush our teeth, and he’s in the sink up to his elbows for a splash party every time we fill the sink.  Put something (say…knitwear) in there at the same time and it’s more or less a Douglas theme park.  Which is why my faucet looks a mess.  He’d been at it for at least 10 minutes when I took this and everything in a 3-foot radius is covered in splashes.  But it was too cute not to share, so you’ll just have to pardon my poor housekeeping.

Presto Chango

Someone linked to this on pinterest and we’ve had a lot of folks stopping by asking about it (hi, welcome). If you’re looking for the book that has this pattern in it, it’s called Rabble Rousers and it’s available on ravelry.

I swear this yarn (it’s Arroyo by Malabrigo in the color archangel) changes color every five minutes.  It goes from purple to pink whenever you blink.  Even more confusingly, it looks downright blue at night under florescent lights.  If you look at the yarn itself, there are tiny specks of just about every color imaginable.  More or less magic as far as I can tell, if challenging to photograph.

And the stitch itself is also a wee bit magic.  I’m completely undecided as to which side I like best.  What do you guys think, the one on the left or the one on the right?  Or just give in and embrace the reversible aspect of it?

I do know that I have started to come to terms with the long straight needles.  It takes an age to finish each row, but each row adds dramatically to the progress towards completion, which provides me with the necessary motivation.

 

Progress

I get a fair number of people asking me how I learned to design socks or asking if I’ve been knitting for ages.  This is very flattering, but I feel the need to confess.  I’ve only been knitting seriously for about two years.  I’ll explain.

About seven or eight years ago, I decided to learn to knit.  I cobbled together something resembling the knit stitch and made a large and very ugly rectangle.

Having never been very good at taking small steps, I then decided that I was destined to create intricate cables.  I got Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting, picked out the most complicated cable pattern in the thing, and decided to whack it on a scarf.

Alas, I had no real concept of gauge or yarn selection.  I picked out some nubbly blue acrylic stuff from Walmart and proceeded to successfully execute the cable pattern (more or less figuring out how to purl and wield a cable needle along the way).  The nubbly bits hid the cable almost completely, and the yarn/needle combo resulted in a fabric so dense it could be used to hold up a sagging porch.  But I did make cables.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to add on more yarn, so I was stymied about 6 inches in.  I stopped knitting for a while after that.

A few years later I decided to try again, this time with lace.  I thought that a skein of laceweight was long enough that I wouldn’t ever have to worry about joining on new yarn.  So the third attempt (after the ugly rectangle and the unexpectedly structural cables) was Knitty’s Branching Out scarf knit in some Knit Picks laceweight.

Along the way, I learned to do increases and decreases.  Unfortunately I did not learn about winding my yarn into a ball.  Instead I would open up the loop, wind off ten rounds or so, twist the loop closed, and knit that yarn.  I did that for the whole scarf.  I did learn rather a lot about picking knots out of laceweight yarn.  I also found that you can use up that seemingly endless skein of yarn long before you’ve reached the hoped for length of scarf.  I’ve still got this (rather short) scarf tucked away in the bottom of a drawer somewhere.  I took another break.

Just over two years ago I decided that socks were obviously the answer.  Each sock took only one ball of yarn (no joining on) and the yarn came in tidy balls (no terrible tangled loops).  I found a free pattern (Mock Crock Socks, again on Knit Picks).  I bought the yarn and needles called for and just followed the instructions.  Two months later, I had learned to work on dpns, had some sort of notion of how you turn a heel, and had socks.  They even looked more or less like socks meant for an adult human.  I found another pattern and did it again.  All seemed to be going well.

Then I got cocky.  I’ll tell you that story next time.

 

Popped

I made socks. I make a lot of socks, and I am inordinately pleased with these particular ones. They’re actually mine, not taken from a pattern or inspired by a stitch in a stitch dictionary. They’re kind of nifty (I’m biased though). See?

Popped

But wait, there’s more. More of my feet that is. They go on for miles.

popped_2

I’m fairly smug and full of myself, but on the off chance you like them, you can make them too. Download the pattern here. Aren’t I keen? Actually, I may sort of suck. In addition to being my first solo attempt at making socks, it’s also my first attempt at writing a pattern. There are likely errors. You might accidentally knit a poncho or a hat or a llama saddle. Pay attention.