Archive for the ‘KAL’ Category

Just so you don’t think this is turning into a spinning blog, I do have an old FO to show you. It was started and completed within two days in the month of April. Behind a bit with my blog posting? Me?

I made it through three rounds of Sock Madness 2, and these are the last pair of socks I knit. By the way, I did make it through this round, I just chose not to continue with Round 4 since I was on vacation. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Pattern: Slippin’ Stripin’ Socks by Tina Lorin (Ravelry)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow: (1) skein Juniper, (1) skein Vineyard
Needles: Knit Picks Circular size 2.75 mm / US 2

Raveled Here

The yarn is laceweight. Yes, laceweight. There’s no cast on of 130 sts and size 00 needles because you are knitting with 2 strands of yarn held together, which in essence makes it fingering weight. The brilliance of the pattern is that you’re constantly changing the colorway of the 2nd strand of yarn. Not only does this give you great color variations, but will also hold your interest and attention. At least, it did mine.

For example, the ribbing is knit with 2 strands of colorway A, but for the next few rounds, you knit with one strand of colorway A and one strand of colorway B. After a few rounds of that, you drop the one strand of colorway A and add a second strand of colorway B. It goes on like this throughout the pattern and you have to pay attention to get the color sequences just right.

To make things easier on yourself, I recommend splitting your yarn skeins in half, although you can use the inside and outside strands of your skein to eliminate that extra step. Since I was knitting both socks at the same time (because I’m crazy like that), I had to split each of my skeins into these cute little yarn cakes. If you keep each socks yarn in its own plastic bag, it makes everything semi-manageable.

The designer was kind enough to release the pattern as a free Ravelry download, so I’m going to highly recommend you check it out. In fact, I may be knitting this again in the future and experiment a little with adding a 3rd or fourth color. I may even do it with handspun.

And before I forget, I’d recommend weaving your ends in as you go. I’d say trust me on this, but I think this photo speaks louder than words.

Even though I participated in Sock Madness for only 3 rounds, I must thank Carole and Hillary for putting together such a great competitive knit-along. Sock Madness 3 is scheduled to happen next year, so are any of you up to the challenge?


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I’d missed out on Sock Madness last year so when rumors of Sock Madness 2 started circulating, I signed up immediately. I thought that my sock knitting skills had vastly improved over the last year and that I knit socks fairly quickly and felt pretty comfortable with any difficulty level. One thing I’d recommend though to anyone who decides to take on something like Sock Madness is to arm yourself with lots of movies for entertainment and motrin for the inevitable pain.

Movies, Madness and Motrin

Pattern: Zombie Socks by Sheryl Giles designed for Sock Madness 2
Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock lightweight in Obsidian
Needles: 2.0 mm / US 1 Knit Picks Circular Nickel (2) 24″
Ravelry Links: GuiltyPleasures and Sock Madness
Started: 3/13 11:00 am; Finished: 3/15 8:30 am

Zombie's Rock

Thursday morning at 10am as I sipped my morning coffee, I did as I do most mornings at that time and checked my email. There it was. The sock madness email I had been anticipating. As I sprung from the sofa and into my office / craft room, I started up my office PC and printed out the sock pattern while searching for my swift and yarn. Normally there would be no searching, but the craft room is in the midst of a remodel and so things aren’t in their usual places. Hubby came into the room to see what all the bustle was about, and in my best panicky voice I said: “I can’t find my swift, I can’t find my swift.” As he holds his coffee in one hand, he reaches over to the top of my double wooden filing cabinet and calmly says: “It’s right here”. I gratefully smile at him as I grab the pattern from the printer, my needlecase, the yarn from its container, and rush to the dining room table to turn my yarn hank into a ball.

Zombie Madness (legs)

I quickly read through the pattern. Zombie Socks. Sounds interesting enough. I cast-on and after the necessity of the ribbing was completed, I excitedly began knitting the stitch pattern. I was definitely thankful that there were no jobs, or children to get in the way of my knitting time, and although I miss hubby while he’s at work, when he walked out the door at 2 pm I was anxious to knit all evening until he returned home at 1 am. I had the stitch pattern memorized immediately and since there are dropped stitches, I wondered why the instructions didn’t have me knit through the back loop (ktbl) of the stitches before and after the dropped stitch to reinforce them. Then I finally realized that since Zombies are a bit on the disheveled side (although I’ve not personally met one), and by not reinforcing the stitch, it makes it look less “neat”. Besides, I’ve already knit the “neat” version of this pattern before. It’s the Tangled Up In Blue pattern by Judy Becker. You know the one .. Judy of Judy’s Magic Cast On. There were a few minor differences, in Judy’s pattern but overall I kind of felt like I was knitting the same sock pattern twice.

Zombie Madness

During that day I was able to complete the leg of both socks, and at bedtime I was grateful that I had a bottle of muscle relaxants in my medicine cabinet. The next morning as I worked on the heel flaps, my body told me that it needed a day off to rest. As I opened the bottle of Motrin I told my body to be quiet since there was no time for rest and things would be fine. As I continued to knit, I noticed my knitting was quite labored and slow. I also noticed that the pain had not been helped by the Motrin and when I finished the heel flap on the second sock, I noticed that things weren’t lining up. Riiiiiiippppp. I recounted, I repositioned stitches, and started again. I then realized my problem was that I was trying to watch new tv programming, and new-to-me movies, so my concentration wasn’t focused enough on the socks.

Zombie Madness (heel & leg)

I glanced over at the 100+ DVD’s in their dilapidated shelving unit and figured that this is the ideal time to re-watch movies I know and love so that I can more fully concentrate on the project at hand. I knit and knit and knit and when hubby arrived home at 1 am, he found me in the same position as when he had left that same afternoon. He could tell I was in pain since non-stop knitting and fibromyalgia are not a great combination, and he highly recommended I go to bed. I assured him I wouldn’t be up much longer, and whether he believed me or not, he must have been too tired to argue with me and put himself to bed. I doubt he was surprised much when he woke up at 7 am and found a completely exhausted wife sitting on the sofa with socks in hand working on the toes.

Zombie Madness (toe)

By 8:30am hubby was off to work and I had finished knitting, photographing, and uploading my sock photos to Flickr. I sent off my email to notify the Sock Madness maidens that I had completed my socks, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I gathered up my finished socks, the bottle of Motrin and the strewn about movies, put them in a pile on the table and went to bed.

Zombie Madness

One final note, it’s now 4 days later and in my division only 23 people have completed their socks. Since the top 40 people continue on to the second round, I was obviously a little over-zealous with pulling an all-nighter to complete my socks. Damnit.

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Do you charity knit for the holidays?

Last year I participated in Knit Unto Others, which is hosted yearly by Carole & Margene. The concept is to charity knit during the last two weeks of November. At the end of the month, you send them an email stating what you knit & where you donated it to, and your name is entered into a drawing to win a prize from either Carole or Margene. Last year, I did win a prize from Margene, but honestly, just knowing that someones head was kept warm because of hats I knit, was gift enough.One of the charities I’ll be knitting for again this year is Christmas Knits to help One at a Time Ministries, and Lynda just reminded me on her blog post that it’s that time of year again. I’m sure there’s a hat pattern or two I’ve been wanting to try that would be perfect for this charity. How about you?
On the health front, my doctor asked me to try some medication for the FMS and after being on it for 2 weeks, my pain levels have dropped by about 40%. YEAH! I’ve had a “bad” day here & there, but my overall daily pain is much improved. I’ve had no side effects from the medication (that I’ve noticed) so that’s great, and DH has especially noticed a change in me since he can now give me a squeeze now & then without me screeching in pain.

The other good thing is that the NutriSystem diet is working. My body resisted for the first 10 days though, but now that it knows I’m sticking with it and not cheating, it finally gave up some pounds and as of today, day 15, I’ve lost 5.5 pounds. Some of the food is great and some of it is not so great, but I’m sorting through it so I can customize my next order. The best part is that I’m not ever hungry. That is definitely a first for me. I’ve never been on a diet where I haven’t been completely miserable, and honestly it barely feels like I’m on a diet right now.

In actual knitting project news, there is actually quite a bit going on.

Recently Completed:

  • Cable Wave Scarf (my own design)
  • Thuja anklets originally knit for DH are now Thuja anklets for me
  • Exact same hat as I knit last year for my nephew, but now in a larger size
  • Practice baby booties from Cat Bordhi’s latest book

In process:

After seeing this list, I think it’s time to buckle down and get things blocked, felted, and photographed. Sheesh.

Jillian shared this on her blog and I’m passing along to all of you as well. There’s a Veterans Day yarn sale going on over at Sonny & Shear. Use the coupon code VETERAN to save 20% off of your yarn purchases now through November 17, 2007 and all orders over $40 have free shipping. There are a lot of wonderful things that are unfortunately sold out, but I did snag some Lorna’s Laces & Dream in Color. How could I not?

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I’m Twisted

I know why this is called the Twisted Flower sock … you have to be a bit “twisted” to attempt it! After much anticipation (mainly by me), I’d like to present:

Twisted Flowering Eggplants
(click photo for bigger)

Pattern: Twisted Flower by Cookie A.
Source: Cookie A Knitwear Designs
Yarn: Louet Gems Pearl in Eggplant
Needles: Knit Picks 24″ circular size 1.5 US (2.5mm)
Notes: The only modification I did to this pattern was to knit it on two circular needles. I didn’t attempt for a moment to convert this to toe-up, but I feel fairly confident that if I knit this again, I could convert it successfully.

WHEW! This pattern was by far the most time-consuming as far as sock patterns go, but look at the results! I’ve decided to be selfish and keep these for myself. I love the yarn, the color, the pattern and the fit. How often does *that* happen?

The pattern is worth every single penny and more, but ssshhhh, don’t tell Cookie. I’d hate to see her pattern prices jump up because of that comment. The yarn was less desirable though. Although I’ve previously loved knitting with it and only had minor problems with yarn slubs and knots, these skeins were horrible! I think I had 12 ends on each sock to weave in … ICK! I’m hoping it was just a fluke because I really do like the yarn (and there’s more in my stash).

If you decide to purchase this beautiful pattern, a couple of things I would suggest:

  • Pointy-tipped needles — this makes cabling that much easier
  • Chart reading experience — trust me on this one
  • Solid color sock yarn — to show off the beauty of the pattern
  • Experience in cabling without a cable needle — really, you’ll thank me later
  • Full concentration while knitting — I wasn’t able to successful watch television without ripping back
  • Complete trust in the pattern — everything about it is brilliant.

September Sock A Month 4 KAL socks are complete … what’s up next? I think maybe something plain and simple!

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Shall I say last, but not least, … or are there still a few of you knitting this?

(click for bigger)

Swan Lake by Melanie Gibbons
KAL: Mystery Stole 3 (Yahoo Groups)
Source: Pink Lemon Twist (pattern to be released soon to anyone not in the KAL)
Yarn: Baruffa Cashwool; colorway 11 (black)
Needles: Addi Turbo Lace circular Size 3 (3.25 mm)
Finished Dimensions: 60″ x 17″

I love that I decided to jump in with both feet and join this KAL. I’ve never done anything like this before because frankly, I’m a control freak. I want to know what, when, where and how with what I’m knitting, so this was a complete change for me.

There are a few things I would do differently if I were to knit this again:

  • Pay attention to the blocking instructions. For those of you who have knit and blocked this stole, you’ll notice in the photos that I obviously blocked this incorrectly. I forgot to make the points on the wing side. Please don’t remind me though, I’m hoping I forget about it so I don’t feel the need to re-block it.
  • Use a different yarn. I like the yarn, but I don’t love it. I wish I would’ve chosen a wool/silk blend (like the yarn she recommended) because I think I would’ve liked the drape better.
  • Use a size 4 (3.5mm) or 5 (3.75mm) knitting needle. Although I think the Addi Turbo Lace needles are amazingly perfect for lace knitting, the size 3 (3.25mm) needles I used didn’t create a fabric that was the overall size I wanted.
  • Include the beads. Since I didn’t know what the beads would look like in the stole, and since I was afraid it may look tacky, I wimped out and didn’t include them. If I were to only change one thing about my stole, it would be to add the beads.

Overall, I’m quite happy with my Swan Lake Stole and I’m looking forward to wearing it on my cruise next month for our four year anniversary. I’ll try to get modeled shots of it then.

Also, look what came in the mail! It’s my Loopy Ewe order! (click for bigger)

From Left to Right:

  • Panda Cotton in College Prep (freebie)
  • Louet Gems Pearl in Burgandy
  • All Things Heather Sock in Raspberry
  • Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett in Mirage Storm
  • ShiBuiKnits Sock in Midnight
  • Addi Turbo Lace needles (to add to my growing collection)

This is the second time I’ve ordered All Things Heather and I’m still in love with it! The photo of the Kaffe Fassett yarn from Regia does not do it justice because this colorway is stunning! Also, if you get the chance to order ShiBuiKnits Sock, definitely do! It’s a smooshy, squishy delight, and the color is stunning. This was my 6th order, so I’m now a Loopy Groupie. This is a great thing since now I should be getting notified before she does her sneak-ups. Maybe now I can get my hands on that Wollmeise. I’m coveting the Granatapfel and Gewitterhimmel colorways.

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I realize that I was absent from blogging for weeks on end, and then in the span of two days I posted my completed Thelonious socks and now the Waving Lace socks, but it’s only because I want to get another “credit” for SAM4.

Pattern: Waving Lace by Evelyn A. Clark
Source: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Risata in Dusk
Needles: Knit Picks 24″ circular size 1.5 US (2.5 mm)

This is the first pattern I’ve knit from Favorite Socks, and I am more than pleased with the pattern. There’s two options for the cuff, either a basic rib, or the designers scalloped edge. I obviously chose the later and I’m very pleased with the result. The waving lace pattern is comprised of 8 stitches over 20 rows, but it’s very easy to memorize.

I ordered the Risata yarn the first week it was introduced by Knit Picks. I’m such a sucker for “new” yarn. The jury’s still out on whether I like it or not though. It’s not super squishy, or super soft, but I’m sure the nylon content will help these wear a lot better than my squishy soft socks too. I absolutely adore the color and this was a pleasant surprise because in my opinion, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Knit Picks colorways. After seeing their fall yarn lines though, I think they may have figured it out.

I lucked out and caught the Loopy Ewe sneak-up on Wednesday, so I was able to acquire a few new items for my stash, but you’ll have to wait until they arrive for the details. I also decided to hop on over to Amazon.com and pick up Cat’s latest book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I blame this purchase solely on the influence of Judy‘s blog posts taunting me with the fabulous-ness of the book.

I’m halfway through the Twisted Flower socks and I must admit that if you cannot devote full concentration to this pattern, do not purchase it. I’ll go into more details why when I post the finished socks, but I will say this … I love them!

My mystery stole is completely finished and a blog post will come soon regarding that. Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions for what cardi to knit with my new Skye Tweed yarn. For now, I’ve purchased the ChicKnits Ariann pattern and will be swatching soon to see if it will work. I think my biggest problem is I didn’t purchase enough skeins to knit most of the patterns I wanted, but I have been eyeing Ariann for awhile now, so maybe it was meant to be.

Have any of you signed up for the Secret of the Stole KAL? I loved the Mystery Stole KAL, but am unsure of signing up for a secret stole KAL when I’ve not seen any previous stole designs from the designer. What do you think?

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Does anyone have any idea why Cookie named this sock pattern Thelonious? Does it have something to do with Thelonious Monk?

Pattern: Thelonious by Cookie A.
Pattern Source: www.cookiea.com
Yarn: Louet Gems Pearl in Sage
Needles: Knit Picks 24″ circular size 1.5 US (2.5 mm)

Thelonious is one of the patterns I purchased when I took the sock design class from Cookie in July and it’s one of the few patterns I didn’t convert from cuff down to toe up. I figured I’d knit a pattern as written (for once) mainly because she designed them cuff down and I wanted to knit it as she designed it.

I made a few errors and had to tink back here and there, but overall, things went smoothly. The yarn was wonderful to work with, and I’m glad I chose a solid colorway yarn so that it shows off all the details of Cookie’s design. I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who loves knitting socks, but be forewarned, you need to be able to knit from a chart.

These socks are being mailed to mom for her birthday, although I must admit, I’m almost a week late in sending them to her. I’m sure she’ll forgive me though since her gift to me was a few weeks late also.

I’ve already cast on for the next Cookie pattern, Twisted Flower, and it’s taking my full attention, although I’m starting to itch to make something other than socks.

In yarn collecting news (because I can’t not), I picked up 13 skeins of this Classic Elite Skye Tweed for a future cardigan for myself. I’m not sure what pattern to use, so I’m wondering … does anyone have any recommendations?

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