Gritty and Gray

Gray with a chance of graupel.  Yeah that’s right graupel.  According to Wikipedia, graupel is “precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime.”  Yup, you can guess what the weather is like around here.  However, it is an excellent incentive to find some super soft, super warm gray yarn and make something cozy.  I’m only an inch or two in but I love these already and I will be naming them Graupel.


Good Riddance…

Cherry_SockTo be honest, 2009 had more than its fair share of rough spots. Lets just say that it presented an exciting array of character building experiences.  However, I can now say with certainty that 2009 is gone and I am still here.

That means I won.

To celebrate this victory and to start the new year on a better note, we took a wee jaunt to see one of our favorite bands, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.  (If you know them only from that late 90’s swing resurgence you’re missing a treat.  Go hear the rest of their stuff right now.  I’ll wait.)  They were playing in Hershey, PA, which is about a 6 hour drive from home.  It should come as no surprise that I took a sock along with me.  I can’t offer too many details about the sock just yet (hence the small, rather dark, and slightly blurred out photos), but I can tell you that it came to the show with us.

The next day, since we were in Hershey already, it seemed a crime not to investigate the chocolate empire.  We went to the Hershey Museum.  As the sock was color coordinated we decided to take it along too.  See?  Note the Hershey kiss shaped street light in the background.  This town is rather, erm, dedicated to the whole chocolate thing.  It might be just a tiny bit disturbing, even to fans of chocolate.Chocolate_Sock

We also happened (totally accidental I assure you, no planning at all) to stumble into Yarn Love, a delightful store in Hummelstown.  I exercised great self restraint and bought only one skein of yarn (Dream in Color Smooshy) and one set of needles (size 2 Kollage DPNs).  Toss in visits to two delightful breweries for delicious dinners and you have a lovely way to ring in the new year.

Now we’re back home and just waiting for a break in the snowstorm so we can go outside and get some official pictures of two pairs of finished socks.

Blue Around the Edges

bluemittSo way back when, I mentioned that I had cast on two socks and a pair of mitts in a fit of unexpected productivity (or is that promiscuity).  One of the socks you’ve seen, and the other has been ruthlessly ripped and is waiting for me to rework it into something that will fit a human foot.  The mitts, however, have been hiding in the shadows.  No more.  Here they are in all their winter-y glory.

Now you may recall that I said that I started this project in large part because the yarn (the sadly defunct Sheep Number Three by the company Sheep Shop Yarn) perfectly matches my spring coat.  Until this week, I’d been wearing my spring coat, despite the calendar.  It just wasn’t that cold.  We had gotten only an inch of snow all season.  Alas, the weather gods heard me and decided to taunt me.  The snowy background seen in this picture is a good seven inches deep, and it’s still coming down fast.

I still plan to finish the second mitt and wear them cheerfully.  I just won’t match quite as well I had planned.  Knitters are exempt from the requirement to have matching coats/hats/scarves/gloves though, right?  Surely there’s a special exception for hand knit things.

Yarn Love

All of my suspicions about Happy Feet DK have been proven correct!   I am in love.  It is just the right thickness for my preferred needle/tension/foot combination.  It’s just thick enough to feel fast.  Now knitting is not and will never be the quickest way to get socks.  Speed is not the point.  But I’m willing to bet that most of us wouldn’t mind too terribly much if the process took just a tiny bit less time.  This yarn takes care of it.  I need about 10% fewer stitches around the circumference of the sock, which makes quite a lot of difference over the course of the whole sock.  I’ve got a second color of the yarn hanging out in the stash, and I have a feeling it will be making an appearance on the needles soon.  The yardage on this yarn is such that I might even have enough leftovers from these two pairs to make a third pair.

As for the knitting, I’ve been zipping along on the as-of-yet-unnamed purple socks from a few posts ago.  I finished the first one in 4 days (nearly unheard of) and have about 2 days of knitting left to do on the second one.  These are now firmly and forever cast as the 2009 holiday socks, as I started them on The Boy’s birthday, cast on the second on my birthday, and worked on them all through the Christmas holiday.  With any luck they’ll be done before the new year and might even be photographed on our upcoming New Year’s Eve excursion.  Testers have the pattern, and it should be out in January or February.

Abominable Snowman Found

purplesnowDo you see that fluffy white stuff over there?  That’s snow.  Those pink things dangling out in the cold with no protective covering?  Those are my toes.  Yup, I went outside barefoot in the snow to get a sock picture for you.  Well, half barefoot, there seemed no reason for the other foot to suffer too.  And just for the record, the white speckles on the leg of the sock up by the cuff are snowflakes, not lint.  I keep a lint roller by the camera and am fairly good at de-linting before I take photos.  I am, however, not cool enough to pick off individual snowflakes while hopping one-footed in the snow.  The neighbors already have concerns, and I see no need to confirm their suspicions.

If you’re feeling particularly observant, you may have noticed that these socks are on my shiny new Signature double points (size 1, 8″, stiletto points in case you’re keeping track).  They were a birthday present this weekend and were immediately pressed into service.  As soon as I opened them, I started knitting the ribbon the package had been decorated with (you know, just to be sure they worked and all).

I used to think the Signature needles were a ridiculous extravagance.  Who in their right mind would spend that much on five little sticks?  Then I went to Sock Summit and got to see them in person.  I wandered past the booth half a dozen times before I finally sat down and tried them.  I’m fairly convinced they must dust their tester needles with a light sprinkle of crack.  It’s the only way to explain the dazed looks and empty wallets of the people staggering away from the booth.  I happily joined the ranks of the addicted and haven’t looked back.

Perfectly Normal

I think I’m running out of yarn.  Not in general (perish the thought) but for this particular sock.

In this situation, it would be perfectly normal to:  knit 1 full round, rip it out, carefully measure the amount of yarn used, and do the math to determine how much yarn each stitch takes.  Then calculate the remaining number of stitches in the sock, measure the amount of yarn remaining in the skein, and do more math to see if you have enough yarn.  Entirely reasonable.

According to my measurements, I should have about 26 inches of yarn left over.  I’m confident in the math, but I’m not sure how good my measurements are as yarn is a bit stretchy (though I did measure 3 times and take the average).  We’ll know soon.  Even having measured and calculated, I know I’ll be eyeing the remaining ball with great suspicion the whole time.

Not Empty

Now for some actual knitting.  That empty box over there, the one under “On the Needles?”  It’s a lie.  The needles are not empty.  They are, in fact, quite full.  Alas, almost all the current knitting is secret, so I can’t show you pictures.  I’m realizing now that this was poor planning.  I can’t show you pretty pictures, but I can let you know a bit about the schedule and what you can expect to see over the next little while.

The next pattern you will see is part of Penny Rose’s Wicked Women yarn club.  While only club members will be able to get the particular yarn I used, everyone will be able to buy the pattern.  This one comes with its own fairy tale and a bonus history lesson.  It will be out in early to mid January.  I’ve finished my knitting, my marvelous testers have worked their magic, and The Boy spent a very amusing hour taking pictures of my feet yesterday, so this one is officially finished.  Now I just have to wait to show them off.  In the meantime, I’ll console myself by wearing them.

In February, you’ll see another sock club pattern, this time with Gaia’s Colours.  These will be exclusive to the club for a while, but I’ll torment you with photos and try and try to talk you into putting the public release on your calendars.  One sock is done, and the second is waiting for a few more yards of yarn.  Testers have the pattern, and I’m lovingly fondling the existing sock (it’s a super thick and wonderfully warm) while I wait to finish its mate.

There are two more secret projects on the needles, one for publication (yay) and one for another sock club, but they’re for a bit later in the year and must remain unmentionable for a while longer.  Some time very soon now (this week with any luck) the combined pattern for Crenellation will be available.  It was up in pieces for the KAL, but I wanted to redo it as a single download with pictures.

Nope, no empty needles around here.

Almost Sunny

dicentraYou’ll note I said almost.  It’s been raining every day, and we still haven’t had a day that would qualify as actually sunny.  Despite these meteorological impediments, I still managed to get outside, sock and camera in hand, and get a picture of the newest socks.  In addition to being cloudy and rainy, it is also perilously close to cold.  We haven’t turned on the heat yet, and it was 48 degrees in the house this morning.  I feel I deserve some sort of  medal for hiking up my pants outside to get the shot.  Ah the perils faced by knitters.

But I digress, you’re not here for my goosebumps, you’re here for the socks, and here they are.  These are a lovely frilly feminine confection with a wavy scalloped top and a deceptively simple lace pattern.  I’m putting them up for testers over on Ravelry now, and hope to have the pattern out in about 2 weeks.  Head on over if you want to test.

Not Socks

slalomHeresy I know, but very occasionally I do knit something other than socks.  Don’t worry, I’m not straying too far afield this time.

Often, when knitting socks, there is a little nugget of yarn leftover when you’re finished.  It’s not really enough to make another sock, but it’s far too much to throw away.  Eventually (surprisingly quickly if we’re being honest), you can amass quite a collection of these little balls of color.  Some people turn them into marvelous blankets or other gigantic projects.  I haven’t the patience.  Some people turn them into seriously colorful socks.  I’m too lazy to weave in all the ends.  I wanted something else, so I made these.

They are simple and quick little fingerless gloves.  They are heavily ribbed, so they stretch dramatically.  They are also very open and airy, so they take a surprisingly tiny amount of yarn.  The first of the pair weighed in at a mere 16 grams.  The second is on the needles, the pattern is about to go out to testers, and the gloves themselves are destined to be a birthday present.

Now for a question.  I was thinking of releasing the pattern for a very small cost, maybe $2.50, but also as a freebie if you buy another pattern.  Good idea, or terrible in some secret unexpected way I can’t see?

Clickity Click

3694272248_99c60d0bd3Propitiate is almost done.  They need a few more hours of knitting, Wednesday is the goal.  The real question is how much does having them finished matter?  Is it ok to release a pattern that just shows one finished sock, or do you prefer to see both of the socks finished in the pictures included in a pattern?  They have been finished by a whole slew of test knitters, so I am confident that the pattern works.  It’s just a matter of finding the time to finish my own pair and then getting them on The Boy’s feet for a photo shot while the sun still shines.

The Pedigreed pattern has been revamped and is back out with testers.  It should hopefully be out some time in August.  Thanks for being patient while they got reworked, and for the continued interest in them.  I’ll let you know how they’re coming along.