September Sockdown Challenge 2009 Completed // Yay For Yellow Socks

I am happy to say that my yellow socks for the September 2009 Sock Knitters  Anonymous Sockdown Challenge are complete.  It took me 27 days to complete this pair of socks, which I worked on in between school work, at resturants, Auburn football games, etc…  They actually fit.  One of my goals for doing these challenges this year is to figure out what tweaks I need to make to sock patterns to make them fit my feet.  The only way I can figure this out is to make them and wear them.  So, here is the first completed pair.

Seaweed Socks by Wendy Johnson

Seaweed Socks for SKA Sockdown

Seaweed Socks by Wendy Johnson

Seaweed Socks Close Up of Reversed Pattern by Me

Vitals:

Pattern: Seaweed Socks by Wendy Johnson

Technique: Toe Up on dpns

Needles: US #1

Yarn: Fingering Weight (from Susinok)

Cast On: September 1, 2009

Bind Off: September 27, 2009

Notes:

These socks were generally fun to do.  The pattern was easy to memorize and went fast.  I decided to reverse the waves on the second sock so they would lean the opposite way.  The notes on how I did this can be found here.  Short row heels with the w&t are not my thing, so I substituted a short row technique I found here to turn the heel.  It worked great!

Productivity And New Challenges // What I did this week…

I have been enjoying myself so much this week I haven’t had time to stop and tell you all about it.  My classwork has slowed considerably since I am down to one class and next week is the last week of the Summer semester.    So, I have been a knitting/sewing fool the past week and a half.  Here are some things I learned how to do this week and some other things that I have either started or finished…

First up, I learned to do fair isle this week.  I have only tried this on my own once (winging it) and it turned out nice, but this time I am working from someone else’s pattern and am actually going to produce a pair of socks to boot.  The pattern is Elika, by Heatherly Walker.  The yarn I am using is knitpicks essential and kroy socks.  The pattern is bare bones and basically assumes you already know a lot about knitting socks.  It also includes instructions for a short row heel, which I have learned that I DO NOT LIKE!  The fair isle, on the other hand, is great!!  I can see more fair isle in my future!

Elika

Next up is a pair of gloves/mittens.  I have never made gloves or mittens before, so I figured I would make both at once and learn both at the same time.  The pattern is easy enough, but contains errors.  Actually, I expected better instructions in a pattern from Knitty.com, but free is free.  The concept of the fingerless glove covered by a mitten cap is great!  If you want to make a pair of these I suggest these notes as they helped me out tremendously!  So, now I give you the left hand of a pair of Broad Street Mittens by Janis Cortese.

Left Hand Back

Left Hand Glove

Left Hand Mitten

Left Hand Mitten

About a week or two ago the secret knit a long that I put together for the Atlanta Knitting Guild ended.  I designed an original lace pattern for them to knit so they could enjoy the experience of a knit a long and have a pattern (free) to call their own.  The KAL was done exactly like the Secret of the Stole KAL’s, but exclusively for the guild members only.  Here is the resulting pattern.  This pattern will be for sale as soon as we get the photos done this weekend.  If you would like to be notified when the pattern is available please join the Nautical Knitter Designs Yahoo Group.

Blocked and ready for the photo shoot this weekend.

Blocked and ready for the photo shoot this weekend.

As if knitting wasn’t enough, I also did a bit of sewing this past weekend.  This top is from a Butterick pattern (#4684) and apparently I am a smaller size in Butterick than in Simplicity.  Who knew?  So, this top came out a size or two too big for me.  I do like the pattern though and the next one should fit just right.  This one is being gifted, if it fits and she likes it …

Butterick 4684

The mail held some wonderful goodies this week as well.  I received 3 new books on my newest interest, socks.  Remember the socks that I just finished that were too short?  Well, I traded them for some awesome hand dyed sock yarn which also came.  Unfortunately, the US Postal Service has not delivered the socks to her yet and I fear that all that hard work may be lost.  If so, I will have to do something to compensate for this lovely yarn she dyed for me.  Snail mail stinks!

Can you tell what is on my list?

Can you tell what is on my list?

Well, if you made it this far in the post you deserve a treat, so for those who have been patiently waiting I can officially say that I have begun test knitting the Secret of the Stole IV!  YAY!  It is probably the coolest pattern I have done to date and I can’t wait to share it with you all.  The yahoo group is not open yet, but you can join the Nautical Knitter Designs group to be notified when it is.  Until then, here is a teaser:

Could it be?  Why yes, it is, SOTS IV in progress!

Could it be? Why yes, it is, SOTS IV in progress!

There you have it, my last week or so in a blog post.  I hope your week was just as productive.  Until next time, Fair Winds

Are you an Innie or an Outie?

A question came up this week, regarding how you pull your yarn from a wound “cake”? This made me think about the way I do it and why.

I am not an expert on yarn, far from it. But, I figure that yarn is wound on a cone with a certain twist and is meant to be used straight off the cone. This means that when I wind some off on my ball winder, into a “cake”, I create a center pull “cake”.

Hanks of yarn, like the hand dyed varieties are another thing altogether. The lace weight yarn I purchase in large hanks and wind using my swift and ball winder doesn’t indicate which way to wind it. So, after winding them, I end up using these “cakes” of yarn as center pull also.

Having said that, if I was to purchase yarn already wound into “cakes” I would probably pull from the center as well. However, not having wound it myself, I would be slightly nervous about knots and such. Believe it or not, I don’t have but a handful of pre-wound yarn “cakes” in my stash, so I haven’t had to face this issue yet.

Conclusion, even though the “cake” of yarn tends to collapse from the outside, the assurance of no knots or bad spots in my yarn makes me a definite Innie. What are you? Why?

Charting the No Stitch

Why are “no stitches” charted? The answer to this, basically, is that if you are reading from a chart and you are also “reading” your knitting as you go, you want things to line up properly. Ok, so why doesn’t the chart reduce in size from the outside like my knitting does? The answer is that your knitting is not really decreasing from the outside edges. But, rather, it is reducing from where there is a decrease without a corresponding increase. Let me try to demonstrate. Below are two sample charts. The first is a chart drawn without the “no stitches” charted.

uncharted_no_stitch

The knitting chart above is drawn without the “no stitch” squares. If you were to knit this sample, (please feel free to do so) this is an accurate depiction of how your finished knitted sample would “look”. However, if you were to try to knit from this chart, when you got to row 7 you would knit 2, knit 2 together, and yarn over exactly in the same place you had been before. These four stitches and the yarn over on your knitted piece do not actually move one stitch toward the center. So why do the rows get smaller and smaller toward the point of the sample?

Beginning with row seven, do you see the decrease symbols toward the center? These decreases do not have increases that go along with them. Therefore, this is actually where your pattern is “coming together” or decreasing toward the center.

Now take a look at the chart below.

charted_no_stitch

This chart is drawn with the decreasing of stitches where they actually occur. In this chart, the beginning four stitches we discussed above all line up, as they should, on every row. They should also “line up” on your knitted piece. The decreases are happening within the knitted piece itself. To accommodate for the reduced number of stitches on each row as you move up the chart the stitches are charted as “no stitches”. Each row as you go up the chart has two less stitches in it, therefore the “no stitch” space gets larger toward the top of the chart.

So the conclusion to all of this is that a “no stitch” on a knitting chart means exactly what it sounds like. Where you see a No Stitch charted, skip over it and move on down the row, knitting only the stitches that are actually there.

Try it on the sample above. Cast on 25 stitches. Knit three rows of garter stitch and then begin the chart. On the even rows knit 5, purl 15, knit 5. Follow the charts and see if you can “read” what is happening in your knitted piece as you progress.

Legend

Enjoy.

Technical Knitting Tuesday

Sarah, of the Front Porch Swing, has come up with a an interesting “new” technique for knitting in the round and still being able to place additional colors within your knitted piece. Somewhat like intarsia, but not… It is an interesting technique and although I haven’t tried it yet, it looks like it has loads of possibilities. Check it out and let me know what you think.

How to Use Beads in Your Knitting

The fact that I am a self professed enabler of the highest caliper is once again proven by this Secret of the Stole inspired video. Some of the members of the group needed a visual demonstration of how beads are placed on a knitted piece using the crochet hook method. Thanks to another member, Ivy, we now have a super video to show us all how it is done. My favorite part of enabling is watching others develop their talents that are just waiting to come out of the box. Thanks, Ivy!

Technical Knitting

Has anyone noticed that the Knitting Daily emails lately are beginning to look a lot like the Lion Brand emails? Basically not like blog posts anymore and more like ADVERTISEMENTS! What happened to the interaction with the subscribers that was going on in the beginning. Knitting Daily, in my opinion, started out as a really interesting list that was offering tips and a free pattern every so often, along with long commentary from the host, Sandi Wiseheart, on new techniques. Now it has become just another way for Interweave Knits to fill my inbox with advertisements for their magazines, most of which I already subscribe to anyway.

A site that does offer fantastic, practical and ad-free technical knitting instruction is TECHknitting . This blog is amazing to me. In the spirit of Elizabeth Zimmerman, Techknitter (I don’t know her/his real name) is a virtual encyclopedia of tips and tricks for your knitting process and offers all this knowledge to the reader for free. The explanations are in depth and the graphics are fantastic. If you haven’t checked this site out, I recommend that you do it when you have time to spend reading and taking notes (or at least printing).

Ever wonder how to do bust darts in your knitting? I found this blog post a while back and thought I would share it with you. Enjoy.