Swatches…so many swatches

It’s high time I start showing off some of the bits and pieces for the upcoming book!  And for me, that means swatches.  So Many Swatches.

Now, if I were cooler, I’d have this pinned out and under tension for you.  Because this is one of those stitches that just absolutely pops when it’s stretched a bit (always a good choice for sock patterns, where you generally have a bit of negative ease).  But instead you’ll just have to imagine me stretching it just a tiny bit and making cooing noises as I revel in the tiny twisted stitches and perfect lines.⁠

Yarn is Meridian by Seven Sisters Arts in the color White Buffalo.⁠⠀And you will always always always be glad to have Karen’s yarn in your stash!

What comes next? More swatches!  Because really, that’s how projects start around here.  And this…this is quite possibly the prettiest swatch I ever did swatch.

I swear the yarn pooled so perfectly (and it did on the final sock too…what till you see it).  And this is a perfect example of just how different a color can look in the skein and on the swatch.  You can hardly even find that sort of teal color in the top right of the swatch if you look at the skein…but then you knit it up and there it is, flirting with you in the very nicest way.  You are going to flip when you see these!⁠

Yarn is Caper Sock by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn in the color Blue Hill.  And it is the closest thing to that gorgeous iridescent sheen you get on wet pavement I’ve ever seen (yeah yeah, I know, gross thing to think about, but good gracious but it’s lovely to behold).

These are both swatches for socks in this year’s book.  The book that comes out next month (yes, that does indeed mean I’m going to have a busy next few weeks. Feel free to send tea and chocolate).  If you are super cool and want to be sure to hear when the preorder opens, the mailing list is the best way to make that happen.  You probably already knew that, but apparently it’s the sort of thing I’m supposed to actually say out loud, so I’m trying to be a Responsible Business Bot and do those things!

Behold…an actual slipper

So first came a few decreases.

Then everything got all joined up.

And then it really started looking properly slipper-like!

Now I just have to remind myself (firmly) that my foot is a wee bit longer than the foot form and do one more repeat than I think I need to, and we should be done.  And really, the toes on these are going to be unspeakably adorable.  Promise.

Oh, and this seems like a good post to point out that the blog happens on a bit of a time delay (one post is often a few days of knitting).  If you want these updates in something closer to real time (because I’m sure you’re sitting up nights wondering what I’m up to…), you can always follow me on instagram.  Things tend to go up a little sooner there!

 

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Round and round or back and forth

So the way these slippers go together, you work flat for a while and then you work in the round (they’re built a lot like Quiescent if you played with those).  And whenever you go from working flat to working in the round, you need to pay a bit of attention.

The first thing to watch is your gauge.  Many people have a different gauge in one or the other, and you’ll want to do what you can to make it match.  (How do you know if you do?  Your swatch…it’s always your swatch!)  That can mean using a different size needle, or even using the same size but a different material/shape.  Like for me, I get a slightly tighter gauge on square needles than on round ones, and a slightly tighter gauge on wooden needles than on metal ones.  And I knit a tiny bit tighter when I’m working in the round than when I’m working flat.  So if it were a problem for a given project, I might switch from square needles to round ones or from wooden needles to metal ones when I move from flat to in the round to keep my gauge consistent.

The other thing to watch is your yarn, especially with multi color yarn.  And this is more of a ‘gee, yarn is nifty’ than a ‘watch out for it and correct for it’ sort of thing.  But take a look at how the colors on the yarn look in the top and bottom part of the slipper.

The top two thirds or so is was where I was knitting flat.  The bottom third or so is where I was knitting in the round.  It’s subtle (and shockingly hard to photograph), but look at how the colors sort of stack up in blocks on the top part and are more blended together on the bottom part (you can also see how much more even my knitting is when I’m working in the round, but hat will block out).

The color change is because of how the colors in the yarn stack up when you’re folding the yarn back and forth, row after row versus how they stack up when you’re spinning it in a spiral as you work round after round.  And it’s totally not a problem here (and it’s not at all something wrong with the yarn…that’s just how yarn/knitting works).  But it is something to be aware of so you’re not surprised by it (it can do funny things on like a sock heel or on a sweater when you divide for the arms).

Plus it gives us an excuse to stare at that gorgeous yarn (Opulence DK from String Theory in Tourmaline, if you missed it before and are wondering)!

Leaves are sneaky

Leaf patterns are sneaky.  Usually (not always of course, knitting offers very few cases of always) leaf patterns have you closing off the last leaf at the same time you’re starting up the next one.  That means when you’ve knit one repeat, you have two half leaves…and absolutely zero whole leaves.  It also means it looks like nothing much to write home about…

It’s not until you finish the second repeat of the stitch pattern that you actually have one whole leaf.

And it’s often not until you’ve done two or three more repeats that you can really start to see what’s going on.

All of which is a long way to say, don’t worry if your leaf pattern looks a bit indistinct at first…give it a a few repeats before you expect it to really shine! But you totally did a few repeats on your swatch, right?  So you weren’t worried…

 

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Well heeled

So the heel flap is done (this one is taller than usual, a full 56 rows, because I wanted the slipper to come up a bit higher on my ankle).

And the heel turn is done…and reminding me of nothing so much as a tiny pirate flag at the moment.

But I’m sure that’s just the yarn fumes talking!

Next I pick up a bunch of stitches and start doing the fancy bit…and then at some point not too long from now, it will actually start looking like a slipper.