Graupel (plus giveaway)

You know how the right yarn and the right stitches can come together to make something that’s niftier than it has any right to be?  That’s totally what happens with Graupel, and I’m so excited to have them back out!

graupel main smallThe leg has a little sample of everything (a bit of cabling, a bit of lace, and a bit of ribbing), all in a four row repeat.  Yet somehow, it manages to feel calm, not busy.

graupel 6 smallThen when you get down to the foot, stitches come swooping in from the side to wrap your foot in soothing stockinette.  Now of course you could continue the pattern all the way down the foot, and that would be lovely (and the pattern does tell you how you would do it) but this way is much more fun!

graupel 2 smallI love how nice big areas of stockinette show off a gorgeous yarn.  You’ll want to pick a yarn with fairly subtle color variations for these.  The columns of purl stitches can be up to four stitches wide, and more heavily variegated yarns can look a bit unruly on the purl side.

graupel 5 smallThis Midsommar Sock from Solstice Yarn is just perfect.  The colors are varied enough to be interesting, but subtle enough to show off your fancy stitches.  I’ve got a skein of it in Catnip to send home with someone.  Just leave a comment telling me how you feel about variegated yarn to be entered to win.  (Pretty in the skein but not so much fun knit up? Love the challenge of finding the right pattern?  Better to stick with solids?  Unable to resist?  There’s no wrong answer, we’re just chatting!)

And while I can’t send yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  Just use the code SOOTHE to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Graupel in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code SOOTHE.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.

graupel 7 smallComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, October 30, 2015 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Kinked

Once I decided that the initial incarnation of the gray socks had to give way to a new version, the next step was to free the yarn.  Now this is actually surprisingly hard for me.  I loathe ripping.  I always feel like I’m throwing away all that time I spent knitting.  But in this case, there was absolutely no way I was ever going to use (or even finish) the socks, and the yarn was too pretty to waste.

So out came the darning needle and the swift.  I picked out my ends (why on earth am I so thorough at weaving those in) and started turning away.

taking apart a sockIt’s fast.  Fast and surprisingly satisfying.  And I really do recommend using a swift (or a niddy noddy, or something else to keep the yarn under tension like the back of a chair), because your yarn is going to be seriously kinked.  Think ramen noodles.  If you just pull it out and pile it up thinking you’ll wind it up later, you’ll get hideous tangles (go ahead, ask me how I know).

piles of yarnThat unkinked pile is the yarn leftover in the ball, reskeined on the same swift, just for comparison.  All four of them are off for a nice long soak and will then get hung to dry.  When they’re done, they’ll be good as new.

And, in other sock-related news, Graupel are coming back out tomorrow.  This is the traditional ‘hey, if you’re on the mailing list you get the bigger discount coupon’ reminder (because someone always comes along and says ‘but I didn’t know‘ and then I feel bad, so consider yourself officially informed).

graupel 4 small

Snow!

Apparently I’ve sunk to the level of using my blog to record the weather.  This is doubtless shameful.  But I’ve checked, and there are far more shameful things on the internet, so I’m letting it slide.  Because people…it snowed yesterday.  And I almost missed it.  I…erm…like snow. Especially the first snow of the  year.  It gets less charming some time around February, but for now it’s awesome.  This snow came while I was asleep and was almost melted by the time I woke up.  As such, I’ve made the executive decision that it’s not quite the first snow.  It’s more like proto snow.  It doesn’t count until there’s enough to put my hands on it.

And lest you think I’ve abandoned good sense and knitting all together, I’ll show you a sock.  There’s actually a bit more of the sock than is seen in this picture.  Thursday night The Boy and I went to a scotch tasting dinner at a local restaurant, Deagan’s.  I’m trying to learn to like the stuff…so far my efforts consist mostly of attending events like this, making faces at the substances in my glass, and handing said glass to The Boy.  He seems to be enjoying this program of study.  While I liked only one of the drinks, the food was delicious, and I made good progress on the sock during dinner.  It’s now almost to the end of the gusset decreases.  With any luck at all it should be done next week.  The pattern is all written, I just need pictures.  It seems likely I’ll be able to get snowy pictures, which I’m sure The Boy will love modeling for.  But standing about in socks in the snow in the interest of knitting promotion is something of a tradition around here, and it’s important to stick to tradition.

Graupel

As promised – Graupel.  Just in time for your Olympic knitting pleasure!

Graupel_side

I’m sure it’s terribly conceited of me to say it, but I’m awfully pleased with these.  I know, I like them all (I’m hardly going to put out a pattern I don’t like, now am I?), but these are really rather special.

They start out with a lovely crisp ribbing.  It’s a ridiculously simple 4 row repeat that you’ll have memorized in no time at all.  Once you’re done with that, you make a nice neat heel flap with a tiny little decoration down each side to keep things interesting.  A basic gusset is next.  Then comes my favorite part – the nifty arch shaping.  I promise it’s easier than it looks, and it produces a really marvelous effect.  After all that excitement you’re due for a quiet spell, so after the shaping you just knit straight until you’re ready for the toes.

Graupel_square

These work for men or women (really, if you do them in a dark color, they look textured not lacy and will pass muster with most guys).  They’re written for 2 sizes, and by using either thick or thin sock yarn, you can create them in most any size from a women’s small through a men’s large.  The pattern also includes instructions for continuing the ribbing straight down the foot without the arch shaping, just in case you want some more conservative socks.

Graupel_main

If you need to make some yourself, just click here!

Sunshine

It seems you all did an excellent job of sending the sun my way this weekend.  While the coast was getting their exciting wee blizzard, we got 2 inches on Saturday and lovely bright sunshine on Sunday.  See?  I’m overly amused by how well the socks and the fence match.  I’m sure this speaks poorly of my character, but that’s just the way it is.

fence

The People Have Spoken!

You want Graupel, Graupel you shall have.  I will release it later this month and then release Caprice in March.  A few people have mentioned that they’d like to have the pattern for some of the various Olympic themed knitting events they’re participating in.  The pattern is done, so I can totally do that.  I’ll plan to put it up Thursday the eleventh.  Of course this does mean I absolutely positively must get pictures taken this weekend.  If you see the sun, send it this way.

For any of you dedicated athletes out there who want to start training (ie swatching) now, I should offer a note about size and gauge.  This sock is stretchy – astonishingly stretchy.  It’s also written in 2 sizes.  There are also a whole lot of sock yarn thicknesses floating around out there.  Stretchy design + 2 sizes + variety of sock yarns means you can likely get these to fit just about anyone.  In general, I suggest that you aim for a gauge of about 8.5 stitches per inch in thin sock yarn and about 7.5 stitches per inch in thick sock yarn.  At those gauges, the small size in a thin sock yarn will fit a small woman’s foot, the small size in a thick sock yarn will fit a medium/large woman’s foot, the large size in a thin sock yarn will fit a large/extra large woman’s or medium man’s foot, and the large size in a thick sock yarn will fit a large/extra large man’s foot.  I’m pretty darn confident you can make this fit.

Now go find a fetching track suit and don’t forget to stretch.

Choose Your Own

I am a child of the 80s.  As such, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books play an alarming role my memories of my distant youth.  The writing was contrived, the illustrations dreadful, and yet they still filled me with an unreasonable fascination.  In honor of their (doubtless unsavory) influence, I’m letting you choose your next knitting adventure.

I have two patterns ready to go, Graupel (on the left) and Caprice (on the right).  Click on either to see gigantic versions if you’re so inclined.  One will be released in February and the other in March.  You pick.  I will take it as a given that they are both lovely and eagerly anticipated.  I promise I won’t feel slighted on behalf of the one that doesn’t win.  Leave a comment saying which you prefer, and the one with the most votes by Friday or so will be the next pattern I release.

graupel_paircaprice


Proof of Concept

So the weekend bit didn’t work out.  It was cold and rainy.  I am valiant enough to hang about in the snow to get pictures, but not the rain.  The snow came back today, so I dashed out for a quick snap, just to prove that they really are done.  Alas, this is not a pattern-worthy photo, so I still have to wait a bit before I can start wearing them full time.  It is, however, enough to tease you with.  See?

graupel_pair

Taunting

Graupel are done, and they are taunting me.  There they lay…finished…blocked…totally ready to go.  And yet, they are not on my feet.  That’s because I don’t have good pictures of them, and the rule is ‘no wearing the socks till they’re photographed.’  At least it’s a weekend, which increases the number of people around during daylight hours, and thus dramatically increases the chances of getting photos.  With any luck at all I’ll be wearing them tomorrow and I’ll have finished sock photos to post some time shortly after that.

One Down

graupel_fenceOne to go.  I’m fairly madly in love with these.  They started out as something calm and quiet and soothing and have transformed into something bordering on obsession.  I haven’t actually knit on anything else since I cast these on.  The second one is now on the needles and I’ve got the pattern mostly written up.

I’m writing this pattern in two different sizes and including instructions to either do that fancy instep swirly bit or do straight ribbing all the way down the foot.  If you’ve fallen in love too and are itching to test them, keep an eye out on the Ravelry testing forum over the next few days.