Socks

Why do we knit socks? Is it the challenge? Is it the reward? Is it the portability? Is it to impress? Is it to comfort?

Perhaps all of the above. I just read this lovely article in the Sydney Morning Herald about sock knitting on the home front during World War I.  It’s believed that Australians knit over a million pairs of socks for the troops during the war. Many of the knitters tucked hopeful notes into the socks before they were sent off.

“Wishing you all a quick victory and a speedy return,” wrote Bill O’Brien from the Shand Hotel in Newport, Victoria.

My family normally gets a pair of hand-knit socks in their Christmas stockings. I’m inspired this year to start a new tradition. I think they’ll get a skein of sock yarn and a note with the promise of a pair. Partly dictated by necessity (I’m very behind on my sock knitting schedule!), but partly because they’ll have some say in the socks. If they don’t like the colourway, I can swap it out for another.

Current socks underway: simple toe-ups using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for Zach (he of the long skinny feet):

ragg socks with flk heel

Only my fifth pair this year.  It has been busy …

year of scarves update #10

Tenth and final update on the Year of Scarves.  It worked out pretty well and the final count is twelve scarves (or shawlettes) for 2010.  Having a goal of getting one done each month (even if I didn’t actually stick to that timetable) really proved a good incentive.  Having graduation, birthday, and Christmas gifts ready to go was also an excellent carrot for this donkey.

The final contenders in the YoS were these two:

Un_Noro striped scarfUn-Noro striped scarf

Both done in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (discontinued) for fast, machine-washable, and warm winter scarves.  For the ungrateful one and the boyfriend for Christmas.  I love this pattern and I’d do it again in a heartbeat with the right yarn.

In the Christmas knitting stakes, I’m not doing too badly with my original, and somewhat unrealistic, list.  Here’s what is already done:

Cabled coffee coziesDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsHive striped mittsChunky knitted beret

Underway:

  • Jackson’s dead fish hat (just waiting for eyes) – pattern from Knitty
  • Miss Bella’s Arrrgyle dog coat – Bernat’s I-Matey Dog Coat pattern (more about this below)

Still on the crazy person goal items list:

  • Three hats (the architect, the boy, and the boyfriend)

Doing the three pairs of Dashing mitts gave me the time to ponder some modifications to the pattern.  I wanted the cables to twist in the direction of the hand worn (i.e. left-leaning cables for the left hand and right-leaning for the right), I wanted to add another cable round, but only on the top of the mitt – not on the palm, and I wanted a thumb gusset which grew out of one of the cables.  My mods are available on my Dashing page.  Doing this has been a spur to designing my own cabled mitts pattern.  I’m hoping to get these done for the ungrateful one for Christmas, but I probably will have to knit another pair after that to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I publish it.

The dog coat for Miss Bella is based on a Bernat pattern which is, by all accounts on Ravelry, atrociously written.  I’m going to nut it out somehow because I’d like to include something for that sweet and silly dog in the Christmas package, but I’m subbing in an Argyle pattern from Knitty (Mangyle) instead of the skull.  If I figure out the basic structure, I’ll be in good shape to rewrite the pattern next year and make her a custom Steelyard dog coat.  :)

I may do Mangyle down the track for the boy.  He’s hankering after an Argyle vest for some reason.

year of scarves update #9

Getting close to the end!

phoebe's un-Noro striped scarf
This is the ungrateful one’s (or her boyfriend’s) un-Noro scarf in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee. She wanted something in these colours and I was lucky enough to find plenty of each colour from two different Ravelers. One of them kindly sent an extra skein in a different colour and the girl has already knit herself a scarf out of it with some DIC Classy leftovers scavenged from my stash. All I have to do now is get her beyond garter stitch and she’ll be over on the dark side with the rest of us. ;)

That’s the second last scarf this year (I’ll knit another the same for Chris for Christmas), so the total will be 12 for the year.  Not exactly one each month as far as when they were knitted, but it averages out that way.  :)

As far as other knitting goes … well, it is the end of November so the manic Christmas knitting is in full swing.  Here’s what I plan to knit between now and December 24th (crazy person goal items are in italics):

Scarves:

  • Un-Noro for the ungrateful one: underway
  • Un-Noro for the boyfriend: next

Hats:

  • Jackson’s “Alive, alive-O!” fish hat; underway except that I apparently live in some kind of alternate reality where 0.2 of a skein of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in black is enough to do all the black stripes.  Alas, I’ve had to order more from KP, which necessitated buying just over $50 worth of stuff total to get the free shipping.  ;)
  • Botanic for Wright: done!
  • Super-simple fast & easy chunky hand-knit beret for the ungrateful one: I will have enough of the Moda Dea Tweedle Dee left to do one of these in gray, I think.
  • Botanic (I think) for the boyfriend
  • Botanic (again!) for the architect
  • Botanic (I should be able to knit this in my sleep by now) for the boy

Mitts:

  • Dashing in machine wash and dry Wool-Ease for the architect: underway
  • Hive Mitts for our stupendous student aide at work (yarn ordered as part of KP “must get just over $50″ shopping spree)
  • Dashing (ditto machine wash & dry) for the boyfriend
  • Dashing (ditto care and knitting in sleep) for the boy
  • As yet unknown pattern for the ungrateful one

Other:

So, that’s only 2 more scarves, 5 hats, 5 pairs of mitts, 1 dog coat, and 2 coffee cozies to go, right?

Oh, and the Chiral cardigan I’ve done a gauge swatch and bought buttons for.  The buttons are just beautiful.

Argyle pattern pewter buttonsThey’re lead-free pewter in an Argyle pattern from Roosterick on etsy.  Not only are they lovely, but they come beautifully packaged, so they’d make great gifts for other knitters.

Oh, and finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st a few days after Christmas.  Thankfully, that’s nearly done.  I’m halfway around the i-cord edging and it moves along pretty quickly.
i-cord edging on blanketWe won’t even mention the work I have to do for the final hours of my internship and the paper yet to be written.

Or the Maryjanes booties I took an order for yesterday …

year of scarves update #8

Well, the year is winding down and I may actually make it (remember the goal?  A scarf for everyone as a gift this year?).

I got Mum’s done just in time and it turned out beautifully.  I really like the Moda Dea Bamboo Wool.  Too bad Moda Dea seems to have disappeared.

Pattern: Fishtail Lace Scarf (from Knit Picks)
Yarn: Moda Dea Bamboo Wool

The architect is still an “architect” – but that’s another long story for another day.  His scarf is underway.  He knows he’s getting it and is already bugging me about whether or not it’ll get done in time.  *sigh*  It’s in Malabrigo Worsted which is like knitting with butter.  :)

I got the yarn for the ungrateful one’s scarf through a couple of Ravelry people.  She saw Zach’s and decided that she wanted the same kind of thing.  I *hated* the yarn I did Zach’s in (and I’m worried about the time factor), so I’ve got some Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (super bulky) lined up in the kind of colours she wanted.  I’ve actually got so much of it that, if I have time, I’ll do one for her boyfriend too.  He missed out on the “year of scarves” as his birthday is in February and I didn’t know about it until after then.  If I get both scarves done, I’ll give them to them for Christmas.  The yarn is pretty and should stand up to hard wear and tear I hope.

The prototype versions of the  MaryJanes booties nearly killed me, but I think I’ve finally got the kinks wrestled out of the pattern.  I just need to finish the final pair I’m knitting now and remember to take some pics of the critical/tricky bits in the pattern.  I should be able to get that done by the end of next week.  They’re coming out well.  Pics to come in another post.

A couple of other things started – two are secrets until December (and may remain that way forever if they don’t get finished) and the other is a Chiral cardigan from Interweave Knits, Fall 2010.  I’m doing it in Patons Classic Wool Tweeds on a whim.  So far I’ve only managed the gauge swatch, so no pics on that either.

a quick update

And I’m determined to post this right away. ;)

The handknit librarian site is live, but only partially.  There’s much more work to do on that this week, but I’m looking forward to really getting some solid content uploaded and to getting started on the portfolio section.  Transferring this blog over there might be last on my list as I’m really not sure about that process.  Oh well, that’s what the Help and FAQ files are for, right?

Christmas has come and gone and was fairly low-key with no drama (just the way we like it!).  Knitting that did get finished included 4 hats, 4 pairs of mitts, and a market bag:

Still to finish, one more pair of fetchings and a wimple for Drake.  I’ll be seeing her for lunch later in the week (and for a tour of the partially renovated Steel Yard site) so I’m hoping to get them done.

Also finished to send before Christmas were the flower power booties and hat for Mandy in my Bama MLIS cohort.  Aren’t they too cute for words?

I’ve queued up a number of projects for 2010.  Wonder how many I’ll actually get done?

no-one to blame but myself

I can’t even blame javascript this time. :(

The following post was written in early December, and somehow, while I was waiting to take some pics to post, I lost track of it …

Take yourself back in time to December 6th …

What a bother grad school is sometimes ;)  Just when I have all this gift knitting to do I have these final projects to work on.  Juggling the two is going to be interesting.

My cataloging final is partially done.  I’ve created all the records for the items in Connexion browser, but I really need to check them over with a fine-toothed comb for errors and to see if any of them are missing anything.  My final project for Web Development is coming along swimmingly.  Knit one, find one (a knitting pathfinder) just needs some minor JavaScript tweaking - I love the way I say that in such a blasé fashion. ;)  I’m looking forward to moving it to a permanent home at the Handknit Librarian site and making some minor changes to it (some of the effects were really just for the class and might come out).  Eventually, this blog will migrate there as well.  I’m hoping to cover booties, blog, pathfinder, portfolio, etc. – all linked off the main page.

Despite all this, some knitting progress has been made.  Vivian is proceeding well.  Still not sure if I’ll get it finished in time, but there is hope.

One pair of fetchings is done:

And another pair of mitts is underway:

One hat is also done:

And several others are queued up.  I just need a little bit more yarn for those – story of my life, hah!

The Wavy Wimple has been started and will be quick work if I can ever get to it!

In non-Christmas knitting, the flower power hat is done and the booties are underway.  These are a gift for Mandy from my Bama cohort.  I thought the baby wasn’t due until the end of the month, but I found out last week that she’s having a C-section on the 14th.  Should have the booties done by tonight or tomorrow and get it all in the mail this week :)

The tuxedo booties, after languishing on the needles on the needles for a while, are done but not seamed.  Still, they’re done enough to have finished the rewrite of the pattern and that’s posted for sale on Ravelry.

The French flag booties are done and are très cute:

javascript zombie

So, I apparently wrote that last post, saved it, but never published it.  I’m definitely blaming javascript for having eaten most of my brain in the last few weeks.

Fortunately, the section of my brain that deals with the actual knitting (as opposed to writing about knitting) has survived the semester intact so far.

Vivian is underway, thanks mostly to my innate need to create order out of chaos translated into a nifty spreadsheet:

One hat, Felicity, is done:

One pair of mitts, in left over Dream in Color Classy, Fetching for Monica/Mum (haven’t decided who yet) is underway:

And the yarn for one thing that wasn’t on the list, a Wavy Feathers Wimple, has been ordered from LotusYarns on etsy, was dyed this weekend, and has been shipped.  It’s going to be beautiful.  Photo of yarn to follow when it gets here.

Somehow, in spite of the extensive Christmas knitting list, I have to knit a pair of French flag booties for a friend at work, a pair of tuxedo booties, so that I can rewrite the pattern to put up on Ravelry, and a pair, or two, of pretty, girly booties for a member of my MLIS cohort whose baby is due around New Years.  I’m thinking of trying to do an applique knitted flower on a pale pink or white pair for a “cherry blossom” effect.  Updates to follow.

on the first day of Christmas (knitting) …

my conscience prodded me ….

Let’s see, I apparently need to knit five easy hats, four pairs of fingerless mitts, … two cabled ornaments, and  one Vivian (which may kill me).

I may need to revise this.

I do have two pairs of socks stashed (one with a definite recipient in mind and one as a fallback – provided the recipient is female and wears size 8 or so shoes).  Three of the hats are really necessary, plus all the mitts, and Vivian.  The ornaments could be a victim of holiday knitting attrition.

I’ll start one hat this weekend.  I started Vivian (three times) this week, and I think I finally have it right.  I’ve made up a spreadsheet for the first two rows in the first two sizes (as I was undecided about what size to knit for the ungrateful one).  I’ll upload it here and link it once I’ve established that it really works.  I’m glad I’m not alone in struggling with the first couple of rows.

all work and no play

makes the handknit librarian a very dull girl indeed.

I’m on day six of what is scheduled to be thirteen straight days of work and in combination with a lot to do for both classes it really isn’t very good for my mental health.  Oh, and factor in the architect ripping up half the kitchen floor with the consequent dirt and chaos and I’m really crazy in the head.  Stepping in wet concrete while wearing suede shoes yesterday was almost the final straw.

Sanity may be saved by sneaking a day off work next week and going into NYC with the architect.  While he goes to some boring IT thingy at the Hilton mid-town, I’ll be hanging out at the NYPL, getting fish & chips for lunch at A Salt & Battery, then walking down to Purl in SoHo to drool over yarn.  I have to buy some sock yarn for a swap for the blankie, but I know it’s going to be hard to restrain myself …

Progress is slow on In Vino Wisteria.  I’m finally down to the cabled section at the bottom of the body, but it’s just going to get slower and slower as I go along because there are more and more cables.  Still, it does look great, and hopefully the sleeves will move along more quickly when I get to them.

I did manage to finish’s Grant’s (giant) CMU toe-up socks and he likes them (shown here with a “normal” sized sock for comparison):

I also made a nice hat for Alexandra (A Slouch for All Seasons) in Moda Dea Bamboo Wool which was really nice to knit with:

What is most likely only the first Meret I’ll make is finished (and I don’t think Phoebe has taken it off yet):

I’ve managed to start a little bit more holiday knitting too.  A Calorimetry for the girl in some luscious Malabrigo Dos (it really feels like butter) supplemented with some Woolen Rabbit laceweight.  The colour combination looks great:

Free time winding down now …

Rats!  The summer semester starts in just over a week and I feel like I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.  However, I did finally block the River Rapids 2 socks (finished for ages, but not blocked).  They are probably for me, but would make a good emergency Christmas present, so I might just stash them ;)

river rapids socks

river rapids socks

The Harris Tweed socks for Chris are done and look great.  Just his colours :)

The Bamboo Clapotis is nearly done, although somehow in my head that got finished last weekend and something else (a heavily modified Bob?) was started.  Oh well, maybe this week.

I did manage to get hooked up as a designer at Ravelry, so I certainly accomplished one of the big to-dos off my semester break list.  I put the headset ear cover pattern up as a free pdf download, and I have one bootie pattern written up, but I need to test it, or find someone else to do so, before I make it available for sale.  I also need to check some other bootie pattern prices.