Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Updates

Time to take "inventory" of all the projects I am working on right now. Pictured is my latest quilt project. I finished the blocks up and have put them on my design wall with the sashing fabric behind them. I wanted to see how the colors would play together. Pretty nice, I think.  :.) I've also pulled out a blue/green hand-dye for the outer border and am toying with the idea of using either a dark blue or dark green hand-dye for the inner border.

For those that are interested, the pattern is Tide Pool by NWQuilt Design (http://www.nwquiltdesign.com ). It is a continuous line applique pattern. Lots of fun to do. So what is your quilting project??

Onto knitting:  Current project is one from the book "Knitted Comfort for the Sole". I'm making the "Diamond Delight" socks. Although I did spend some time last night re-working the pattern so it will fit the yarn and needles I'm using. The yarn I'm using is one of my own handspuns and is a lighter weight than the yarn the pattern calls for. I've also opted to go with a K2, P2 cuff instead of the K1, P1 cuff the pattern uses. I just like the K2, P2 pattern better. So far it's looking good.....although I'm only ten rows into the cuff.

My previous sock project didn't work out so well though. I had attempted to make the "Movie Sock" from the book "Joy of Sox". Just didn't have the right combination of yarn, needles, or pattern for this one. I did get the first sock knitted.....to the point to where only the toe was left to do. Thought I would try it on to see how it looked only to find out that the sock was too big. Too big in the leg and foot. The heel flap was over an inch too long. Just not a good fit at all! So the sock was undone and the yarn reskeined. Someday the perfect pattern for this yarn (shetland/soy silk blend - mine) will come along. So, what's on your needles??

And, finally...spinning!! On my wheel is a lovely blend of gray shetland, black alpaca, and soy silk. It's spinning up into a lovely tweedy looking single that I'm hoping will finish out to about a fingering weight sock yarn. I would love to make my hubby a pair of socks from this lovely blend for Christmas. He asked for something made from fiber from our own animals....which this is with the exception of the soy silk (which I added to give the finished yarn a bit of strength). So what's on your wheel??

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Road to Oslo

This is my latest completed sock project. I've been wanting to knit these socks up for quite some time....and always had another project either in the works....or one that just had to be done first. I've even had the yarn sitting there waiting. Finally got the chance to knit them. Boy, they were fun!!!

The pattern can be found in "Knitting on the Road" by Nancy Bush. I used a hand-spun Targhee/Merino two-ply yarn. The lighter color is natural color...the darker I dyed. I did these on a size 3 circular (Hiya-Hiya 9" circular). For the most part I did follow the pattern. The changes I made were small. I didn't use a larger size needle on the cuff (per the pattern) simply because I didn't have one. And I didn't decrease from 54 sts to 48 sts (per the pattern) after the cuff was done because I wanted to make sure the completed sock would fit (which it does). Now, when I make another pair (which I will) the only other change I will make to the sock is to knit the leg portion just a touch longer. That, I think, will make the sock absolutely perfect.  :.)

This was a wonderful learning experience for me. With this sock, I learned how to do the picot edging on the cuff. I also learned how to knit a sock to where the inside of the cuff meets the outside of the sock leg. I got to practice doing colorwork.....which I simply adore, but don't do enough of. This simple sock has given me the confidence to tackle those more challenging (to me anyway) sock patterns.

Speaking of more challenging sock patterns.....remember the saying, "When at first you don't suceed, try, try, again." Well, that saying definitely applies to my current sock project. It has taken me three tries to finally get it right. I'm knitting up the "Movie Sock" from the book "Joy of Sox". I'm using a lovely hand-spun, two-ply pink Shetland/Soy Silk blend yarn (mine!) on size 1 circular (Hiya- Hiya....gotta love it, love it!). The yarn is knitting up beautifully. I can honestly say I got gauge both on sts/inch and rows/inch...which thrilled me beyond belief. Where I ran into problems was with the actual knitting.

On my first try, I couldn't figure out how to join the cast one edge with the live stitches. The sock has a picot cuff edging which the Oslo sock had as well. The only difference is that the Oslo sock had you hem it by hand. With this one you're not. Anyway, after several tries, I finally decided to simply stitch it in place and continue on. Things went well until I got into the first row of the bobble and lace pattern. Forgot to place markers after each pattern repeat (there are four around the sock) which meant that I ended up getting totally lost. Decided to simply start all over.

Try #2: Managed the picot edging just fine. Even figured out how to stitch the cast on stitches to the live stitches (like binding off without dropping stitches). Got to the bobble and lace pattern. Was real careful about counting stitches and placing a marker after each pattern repeat. The first few rows went well....and then I ran into a problem. No matter how much I counted or how carefully I followed the chart I kept coming up with an extra stitch. Kept telling my hubby that there was a mistake in the pattern. Then I noticed that somehow I had dropped a stitch in the eyelet row way up high in the cuff.....and things just got incredibly frustrating for me at that point. Ended up tearing it all out and looking for another, easier sock pattern to do. Didn't find anything that spoke to me, so I called it a night.

Try #3: Went onto the publishing site to see if there were any misprints in the book (can you tell this sock was screaming to be made). None were listed. So I decided to go onto Ravelry and see how others did with this same pattern. There I discovered that there is a mistake in the pattern.....which made me feel better. This meant that it wasn't all me. Went back, wrote the correction in my book, then cast on again. Have to say the sock is going much better. The cuff is done....looks great.....and I'm nearly finished with the first repeat of the bobble and lace pattern (this needs to be repeated two more times.....16 rows per repeat). I have all the stitches I'm supposed to have and things look good.  :.) I have to admit that these socks are fun to knit....once I got past all the frustration and mistake making that is. Oh, I almost forgot to add...on top of the knitting challenges, I was also using metal needles for the very first time. I normally prefer bamboo, but after having one of my Hiya-Hiya's snap in my hand (while I was knitting a sock) I decided to purchase metal needles instead. Still, things are going well and I'm adjusting to the metal needles.  :.)

I think I will end this post with a picture from the Buggy Barn show which was held a couple of weekends ago. It was a lovely show. Lots of amazing quilts to see. The highlight for me was meeting Cherly Wall, author of the book "Country Comforts"....and then getting to see the quilts from the book up close and personal. Her quilts were beautiful and she was so sweet!! The weather was perfect. Couldn't have asked for a better day.