More Tools of the Trade

So the other day you met Alphonse.  He’s quite dapper, and makes a perfect house guest. Today I’m showing off some truly funky sock blockers.

Now you know we’ve got some big feet in this house.  I wear a ladies’ size 11, and The Boy wears a men’s size 13.  These are big feet.  I decline to feel bad about this, as the size of a person’s feet is more or less out of their control.  The only thing I felt bad about was the difficulty in vigorously blocking socks in these sizes.  I had a pair of wire blockers in what they called extra large.  They more or less worked for most of my socks, but they didn’t really make much of a dent in The Boy’s socks.  Enter these guys:

My parents found them at an antique store, so alas I can’t tell you where to find your own.  They are labeled with the number 11.  I have no idea how, or even if, this correlates with a current shoe size.  They are just a bit big for my socks and the perfect size for The Boy’s.  I’m completely taken with the pointy toes.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, this parade of tools is a way of hiding that my knitting isn’t terribly earth shattering at the moment.  The louche socks are taller.  The secret socks are taller.  The pile of swatches for cough book two cough is growing.  With any luck at all, the pattern for truckle should be out early next week.

Have any of you guys used ‘antique’ knitting tools or put non-knitting supplies to work for you on the dark woolly side?

Take Two

The green mitt from the other day was destined for a rip.  It was just a wee bit too baggy, and I wanted the lace a the cuff to be a bit deeper.  I went down a needle size, which snugged the mitt up just enough.  I also added one more lace row to the cuff, which worked much better with the cowl.  I’m pleased to report that I didn’t repeat the blocking mistakes I made on the cowl.  I knew that the secret to maintaining the all important curled edge was to put the pins a few rows in, not all the way on the edge.  I sort of hate pins though, so I improvised using my mitt blockers and some little dpns.  A few small spring clamps from the hardware store completed the process.  It looked a bit silly, but worked perfectly.

The mitts and the cowl are up for testing on ravelry now, if anyone is interested.

Remember, today is the last day to enter to win the Dream in Color Everlasting yarn.  Just go back to the February 5 post for details.

Knit Along Patterns

The official thread for the February knit along is up on Ravelry.  The individual patterns for these two socks are also now available on Ravelry, in case you prefer to get the patterns one by one.  Some time between now and the start of February, Shannon and I will come up with official rules and post them in the group.  For now, the general idea is: cast on after it gets to be February, finish a pair by the end of March, be entered to win prizes.  Use whatever yarn you like, use whatever color you like, make whichever sock you like, make whatever changes you need for fit.  Something more official will be coming soon, but we’re not going to go crazy with rules!

Oh, and because I know someone will ask, the sock blockers are from The Loopy Ewe and they are made of awesome!

Snippets

I had a really annoying amount of yarn left when I finished the Rochester hat.  It was too much to just toss in the scraps basket (used to be a jar, then it was a vase, now it’s moved onto large basket status…something may soon have to be done about that), but it wasn’t nearly enough for another hat.  I didn’t have another skein (it’s Aslan Trends Bariloche in Tango Reds).  I had added it to a Webs order to bring my total up to the magical free shipping/nice shiny discount level.  It was purchased on a whim, and I didn’t want more enough to make a special order just for it.  My local yarn store didn’t have any on hand.

I decided to just wing it.  What I really wanted was wrist warmers, but I knew whatever I made would have to be small.  I have an unreasonable fondness for wrist warmers.  They actually seem to keep me warmer (no idea how, as they’re just little scraps of fabric, but they do).  I divided the yarn in half.  A moment’s work with the scale and calculator suggested that I had about 30 yards for each one.  I know that my head is about 3 times as big around as my wrist, so I cast on 1/3 as many stitches as I used for the hat, and went to town.  An hour later I had a tiny but unreasonably amusing little wrist warmer. It’s only about 4 inches high, but I’m completely smitten.  The little leaf leaning off toward my thumb fills me with glee.  I had all of a yard of yarn left when I was done, which is also marvelously satisfying.  I’ll likely be making the other tonight.  It might be the best thing thing I’ve ever done with 30 yards of yarn.

And you may note I took the lazy (or is that cold) way out when it came time for this photo.  I tried going outside, but quickly decided that was a terrible mistake.  Instead I opened the window and leaned way out.  It’s a compromise between getting decent light and not getting frostbite.  And because someone will likely ask, the mitt is on the marvelous blocker made by the multi-talented Lizzy.  If you make mitts or mittens you owe it to yourself to get a set.  They’re as useful as they are lovely.