Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mamluke 1 revealed

Mamluke sock, March 27, 2006

Mamluke sock heel, March 27, 2006

Mamluke 1 - done!  March 30, 2006

The first Sockapaloooza sock is done! As a reminder, the pattern is the Mamluke socks, from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. I just finished it, and please note that it's not blocked yet. It will look a lot nicer after a good soak, and some manipulation to help stitch evenness. I don't think I'll need to block for size at all. And yeah, I realize that the photo isn't the greatest. I didn't realize how uneven the light was until after I uploaded the photos to my computer. I'll get better shots when I have the finished pair to show off.

preliminary notes:
  • Knit on size 1 and 2 DPNs. (All of the leg on size 2, heel on size 1, foot on size 2 through row 20 of the diamond pattern, then switched to size 1 for the remainder.)
  • I knew fewer repeats of the diamond pattern on the leg. The sock leg ended up being the length I wanted. It's just that, as written, the leg would be longer than I anticipated from the photos. I wanted to go for a short/medium length leg because I don't really know a lot about the size of my sock pal's leg. Stranded colorwork isn't extremely stretchy, so better safe than sorry.
  • The Yarn Harlot was really helpful when it came to the heel. I was unsure about the fit of the heel, and she reassured me that both pairs she knit fit both of their recipients perfectly, even in the heel. It's just a different sort of heel than we're used to. The heel is fine on these. I'll post a photo of how it fits on the foot when I finish the pair.

I've heard rumors that it could be considered inappropriate to Muslims to walk on "Allah", the script for which appears on both the ankle and foot of the sock. I'm a bit unsure about the verity and/or universality of this, as the original sock which the Mamlukes are based on (and almost identical to) have "Allah" on the foot, also. Why would that knitter, who was presumably of the Muslim faith, have knit them that way if it was considered offensive or wrong in their own religion? I actually contacted a couple of people who may have more insight into this from a cultural and religious perspective (one of whom knit a sock from the same original sample, for a museum, also with "Allah" on the foot), but since I didn't hear back from either of them, I went with my gut and knit the pattern as written. (I was raised Jewish, and worked on these during the Jewish Sabbath, so if I'm wrong I'm an equal opportunity religious offender!)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


  • Jayne has a photo of her Snow Sky. It's looking great, though I suspect it might be a lot larger now, as that post just missed making last week's KAL update. She also posted about things she's learned recently.

  • Becki is up to the neck shaping on her Crichton! I'm amazed at the speed of her progress.

  • Tipper's Crichton is looking great, at one finished pattern repeat.

  • Anne is continuing to make progress on her Shirt Tailed sweater. She also has photos of two arans she's working on. (I love the mod to the Spring Forward cardigan!)

  • Terri just received a big gray (or is that grey? ;) of J&S yarn!

  • Shirley is already up to the sleeves on her Traditional fair isle jumper! Love seeing those cut steeks. :-)

My KAL project is still in its drawer, having a break while I work on other projects. I'm starting to miss it a bit, so I know I'll be happy to work on it again when the time comes.

I am close to finishing the first Mamluke sock, and will try to post about it today or tomorrow. 27 rounds and grafting to go!

Friday, March 24, 2006

yes, I really am participating in Sockapaloooza

Thank you for all of the wonderfully kind comments about Ingeborg! I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of comments, since Ingeborg doesn't look all that different to me than before. But I suppose an entire finished sweater body is a bigger deal than a 3/4 finished sweater body.

I've finally begun knitting for Sockapaloooza. Here's the beginning of a Mamluke sock:

Mamluke 1 - March 24, 2006

I'm using the same Lanett fingering weight merino that I was using for the Komi socks. It was a bit of a struggle to knit the sock at the beginning, since there are only three rows of ribbing to help stabilize it before you start on the colorwork. But now that it's a bit longer, things are a lot easier.

Now to go look up the comments you guys left me about the heel of this sock. I seem to remember some warnings about it, so I suppose I should read up on it before I finish the leg.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ingeborg body

It's unblocked, and the steeks won't be cut for a while, but here's the Ingeborg body:

Ingeborg body, March 23, 2006

For the front neck, I cast off 11 stitches on either side of the steek, plus the steek, casting on for a new steek on the next round. Then I knit 12 rounds with single decreases on either side of the front neck steek. For the back neck, I mostly followed the directions in the book, except that I cast on for a back neck steek so I could knit in the round. The body ended up being exactly four pattern repeats tall, plus the bottom hem and a few rounds of solid colors on the shoulders. I think I'm going to eventually do a 3 needle bindoff, which is why I haven't cast off that last row.

Next up? Probably the Mamlukes for Sockapaloooza. Or maybe an Ingeborg sleeve. Or the second GWTF sock. I feel a bit knitted out right now, so choosing what to do next feels a bit like going to the grocery store after eating a 10 course meal.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

SFCKAL Week 6; a very pretty toe

  • Becki has made excellent progress on Crichton. She's already up to the armhole steeks!

  • Morgan reports that she's cast on for her sweater.

  • TJ is a couple of pattern repeats in on her vertical stripes cardigan, complete with polymer chains!

  • Me? If you look at my entries from last week, you'll see that I finished the fourth pattern repeat on my Vertical Stripes pullover, and am temporarily setting it aside to work on other things.

    Other things include finishing up Ingeborg, and working on lots of socks. In fact, I finished a sock last night. But since it's just a single sock, I'll only give you a peek:

    Koigu Go With The Flow sock 1 - March 22
    I have to say, I'm pretty proud of this photo.

    Thanks to some help from Sydney and Wendy, I think I'm finally prepared to start working the neck steeks on my Ingeborg. I'm a lot closer than I realized, since I remembered that I'm going to want to block the sweater for length as well as width. I asked both Sydney and Wendy a bunch of questions, then promptly figured out most of the answers on my own. Murphy's law, I suppose, as I'd probably still be puzzling over a bunch of those things if I hadn't taken the time to write out the emails and sleep on the issues. Life is again crazy (and mostly in very icky ways) right now, so it's hard to predict when I'll have that done. Crazy, icky life might just mean that I spend more time working on soothing knitting projects. It might also mean that I can't concentrate on stuff as well. I'm taking it day by day. But I'll show you the finished (well, except for blocking and steeking...) Ingeborg body when she's ready.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday quickie

Vertical Stripes is done up through the fourth pattern repeat. As Jessica and I joked about a while ago, I've resorted to taking photos of it on the donkey.

Vertical Stripes Sweater - March 16, 2006

(fun donkey trivia: the donkey wears a blindfold made of a gold fun fur scarf, made for me by A's mom. The furry blindfold is on the donkey, under the sweater. Yes, there is novelty yarn in my blog!)

The sweater is now sitting in a drawer. I pulled out Ingeborg last night, and knit a row. It felt amazing to do that. Remember how burned out I was getting on Ingeborg a few weeks ago? That feeling is totally gone. I'm starting to feel burned out on Vertical Stripes, but I'm confident that I'll be very eager to pick it up again in a few weeks.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

the best song in the world; Koigu socks

1. Thank you so much to the people who gave me suggestions for what to do with my Koigu. I decided to follow my gut , and cast on for Go With the Flows. I got some great suggestions, but didn't use any of them. (sorry!) There's a reveal of the sock (with photo) later on in the post.

2. I have the most awesome sock pal, ever. (Well, along with Ms. Swim, who sent me the perfect Koigu socks last Autumn.) She sent me a link to a bowerbird song! And believe me, this song is wonderful. It's amazing. It made me laugh and dance, and brightened up what is an otherwise icky week. Please listen. It's worth it, I swear. And listen all the way through. There is a dance in there. I'm going to learn it, and be the class of the next party I attend. (This will make you laugh after you listen to the song.)

But back to the (co-)best sock pal ever thing, this song is so wonderful that she could send me ill-fitting burlap socks, and I wouldn't care. But please don't. ;-)

3. To add some context to the above, beyond the fact that I assume you're aware of the name of this blog, it might be nice for you to read my first post. It's the one linked in the sidebar, so if you've already read that, then you probably know enough about bowerbirds.

4. By the way, the episode of Nova about bowerbirds ("Flying Casanovas") has been in reruns lately. In fact, my TiVo recorded it as a suggestion yesterday! I just might have to watch it again. I meant to mention this earlier, but it slipped my mind. But check your local PBS stations, to see if there are still any upcoming reruns. It's worth a watch.

5. Oh yeah. The sock. I went with my gut and am knitting Go With the Flows again. (It's from an '05 issue of IK. I'll dig that up, along with the designer's name, eventually.) It's going to be a very busy sock, but in a good kind of way. Even in plain stockinette this would have been a busy sock, so I might as well go for something stretchy and fun, right? Here's a photo at 6 pattern repeats:

Koigu GWTF - March 16, 2006

That's my arm, not my leg. (I'm not freakishly skinny, though I am that freakishly pale.) I didn't bother to swatch, because the pair I made before fit just fine. I'm finding that Koigu on size 1 needles gets me a looser gauge than Kroy on the same needles. That's fine, as ribbing is forgiving. But I think I'm going to switch to size 0 needles fairly soon, so the bottom of the leg has a snugger fit. Depending on how much of a change that makes, I may keep going with the smaller needles down the foot.

Oh, and I'm 3 rows away from putting Vertical Stripes in hibernation. I'll pull out Ingeborg this weekend, and should have an updated photo of that early next week. Oh the excitement! (I'm looking forward to rows with slightly fewer stitches, even if pattern repeats are 15 rounds longer.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sweaters From Camp KAL - week 5 update

I think the knitalong participants have collectively hit "the wall". There are relatively few updates this week, which is fine by me, as last week's dual update felt like it took forever to do. So thanks for the break. ;-)
  • Jayne restarted her Snow Sky sweater in new colors, and has a photo update. She also writes about things she's learned so far, while working on this project.

  • Becki is unsure of whether she likes how her Crichton looks, but her roommates won't let her rip it out. (If you decide you don't like how the colors look on you, give it to one of them, and make sure they knit you a sweater that's just as intricate and time consuming!)

  • Donna W. announced that she cast on for her Vertical Stripes sweater. yay!

As for me, nothing exciting to report. You can see my progress in my post from this past Friday. I'm getting close to the armholes, and will probably put the sweater in hibernation when I get to the end of the 4th pattern repeat. That's a bit before the armholes, but as I'm still unsure of how long I want to make the sweater, it seems like a good place to stop. I'll probably be working on Ingeborg for a while, starting this weekend.

Monday, March 13, 2006

in which she actually makes a decision

I got back from the library. My nose was stuck in the book (Folk Socks) for the entire half hour walk home. (Except when crossing streets, of course. I'm one of those dorks who always looks both ways. You'd never guess I grew up in NYC.) I decided that it's only fitting if I try colorwork socks again, if I'm going to use the leftovers from the dead Komi sock. So I'm officially declaring that I'm going to try knitting the Mamluke socks.

I should have plenty of yarn leftover from the Komi socks, without having to frog. I don't want to frog for 2 reasons: I don't want to undo any of the Komi sock (even though it doesn't really matter anymore), and I don't want to use "used" yarn for Sockapaloooza. It would be fine for me, but I figure that if I'm knitting a gift, I want to make sure I use yarn that is in new condition. I have about a skein and a half of each color left. The Mamlukes are relatively short, and will be even shorter in the foot because of the size of my sock pal's foot. Perfect.

(Anybody want to take bets on when this shows up on Bloglines? hah!)

striped feet

A rare finished project! Okay, it's just socks, and not a fancy colorwork sweater. But since I've been working on such huge-scale, slow-going projects, it feels good to finish something.

Lorna's Laces socks - March 13, 2006

yarn: Lorna's Laces (can't find the label to give you the colorway)
pattern: 64 stitches, size 1 needles, 3x1 ribbing, basic leg-down heelflap and gusset construction, details made up as I knit it

I can't get over how cool the inside of the sock looks. 3x1 ribbing in a striping yarn is really nice. It reminds me of someone pulling a knife through multicolored frosting.

inside of Lorna's Laces socks

And of course, the modeled shot:

Lorna's Laces socks and Koigu - March 13, 2006

Notice the Koigu. I decided to hand-ball it this weekend. I just had an urge to do it. I lent my swift to a friend, and even though it would have been really easy to use the ball winder with my knees acting as a swift, I realized it had been a really long time since I wound a ball by hand. I really enjoyed doing so with the Koigu. It's obviously wonderful to touch, but the colors are also so gorgeous that it was worth it to see them slipping through my hand in slow motion, instead of the blur you get with a ball winder.

I cast on for Diagonal Rib socks (from a subscriber-only IK pattern) last night, but that didn't last long. I was inspired by this lovely rendition of the pattern, but it just wasn't going to happen with the Koigu. I think the shade I have is too busy for that pattern. Also, the pattern, while not difficult, was just too fiddly for what I'm in the mood for right now. It doesn't divide nicely onto 4 needles (I despise the DPN triangle, and always go for a 4 needle square), and doesn't seem like it's the type of pattern that will be easy to read by looking at my knitting. I'm in the mood for something that I can put down for a few days, and pick up without having to consult a pattern to find my place. I'm in the mood for a pattern that shows mistakes easily - if I screw up, I want it to be immediately noticeable. And I just want something that jives with my fingers right away, and that wasn't happening with this one. There wasn't a rhythm that was easy for me to get into. I want rhythmic socks.

I'm looking for suggestions of patterns that will work well with my Koigu. I want something along the lines of Retro Ribs or Go With the Flow - patterns that have a definite rhythm, and which are interesting to knit, but might also work with fairly busy sock yarn. My ideal sock pattern (at the moment):
  • incorporates some sort of ribbing (fit above fashion - ribbing just fits better than anything else)
  • something I can memorize after a few repeats
  • easily divides onto 4 DPNs
  • more interesting than plain ribbing
  • works well with very variegated yarn (no dominant color, as far as I can tell)

Maybe I'll just end up going with Retro Ribs or GWTF. I've knit both before (Retro Ribs 3 times - twice for me), but that's okay, I suppose. I know from reading other blogs that both patterns work surprisingly well with a variegated yarn. GWTF could be really pretty in this yarn with sandals and a Spring-y skirt. Then again, Spring is also known as "mud season" in New Hampshire, and that pattern eats yarn really quickly. It may not be practical to even think of wearing nice sandals this Spring, or to think of knitting a yarn hungry sock in Koigu, which is relatively skimpy on yardage.

Do any of you have suggestions that meet my picky detailed criteria?

I'm heading down to the library to pick up Folks Socks, so maybe there will be something in there. I don't remember the patterns in it very well, and have been trying to get my hands on it for a while. I may decide to start knitting my Sockapalooza socks, instead. I really can't buy any yarn right now, but I think that the blue and white merino I started using for the Komi socks would be perfect for my sock pal's requests. She has pretty small feet, so I should be able to get a pair of socks out of what I have left, without having to frog any of the unfinished Komi sock. I'm thinking blue as the main color, with white toes and heels. Whatever I decide, I really need to get new socks on the needles soon.

(Word to the wise: don't try to use the spell check in the Google toolbar in Blogger. Sorry if you saw a weird version of this post earlier. Hopefully I fixed all the problems the spell checker caused. bah.)

and another edit, since Bloglines hasn't yet picked up this post: I just found this blog post. I think she knit those Go With The Flow socks in the same colorway of Koigu that I have. It looks a tiny bit different, but is still quite similar, and the colorway code sounds familiar. They're gorgeous socks. I'm even more tempted, now, to use that pattern. My pair of GWTF socks are currently at the LYS, participating in the sock contest. I miss them. (Not that I won't get them back before I would finish my next pair of socks, anyway...)

Maybe I'll ponder things as I brave the icky weather to go to the library.

Friday, March 10, 2006

more than a foot, less than a foot

If it were a sock, it would be done!

Vertical Stripes sweater - March 10

Vertical Stripes, at almost 3 pattern repeats. The color here is a bit more realistic than the past couple of photos, which appear really washed out. Ironically, I needed to use the "enhance" function in iPhoto to get something fairly realistic looking.

I haven't measured the sweater lately, but my foot is about 8.5" long, for reference. I think I'm going to make it 13.5 - 14" before the armholes. When I get to that point, I may set aside VS for a while, and pick up Ingeborg. I'm more likely to wear a cardigan this Spring, and thought it might be nice to finish Ingeborg sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sweaters From Camp KAL - Weeks 3 and 4 update

The update is back! I'm really excited to get this up, because there is so much to report. You guys are so creative, and so patient with your sometimes problematic projects. I'm really impressed.

  • Jayne was having some problems with her Snow Sky sweater, but was persevering, anyway. Eventually, she decided that she wasn't happy with the colors, and is starting again, with a darker background color, for more contrast. (A painful decision to rip out all that knitting, but it will be worth it in the end!)
  • After an adventure in premature steek cutting, due to a twisted cast on, Becki's Crichton cardigan is going strong. She is creating her own colorway, and it will be fun to see how that develops. (I think it looks great so far. )
  • Natalie's Above the Treeline sweater is tiny (so far), but gorgeous. I think that sweater may be the biggest surprise of the knitalong for me. I didn't think much of the pattern from the photos in the book, but the colors in Natalie's photos are so gorgeous. She's also learned how to knit two handed fair isle, which has sped up her progress. Yay!
  • Bobby wins the prize for the most impressive do-over. He didn't like how the Celtic Raglan was turning out, so he's dying the yarn, and knitting the Afghanistan Rug Jacket instead. A very ambitious project. I can't wait to see the rest of the hand dyed colors.
  • Helen reports that she's about three inches into Seaweed for Sheryl, using a colorway her husband helped her choose. She doesn't have photos of it yet, but check out her blog for photos of another colorwork project she's finishing up. (And she's planning to knit Henry VIII, too. I can't wait to see that!)
  • Tipper has received her replacement yarn, and is almost done with a full pattern repeat on Crichton. I love the colors. (And uff da, indeed. I lived in MN for 5 years, and love that phrase. Especially since I've heard people saying it earnestly, and not as a joke.)
  • Linda's Northwest Sunset vest is looking great, about a pattern repeat in. And kudos on the new mac! I'm so jealous of both you and Natalie, with your shiny new computers. :-)
  • Anne's Shirt Tail fair isle looks gorgeous, and has a finished hem! She has a closeup of the colorwork here, along with a list of lessons she's learned so far by knitting this project. Definitely worth a read.
  • Terri had gauge problems with her Northwest Sunset vest. So she ripped it out, and is knitting the next larger size. She's a quick knitter, and you wouldn't guess that she started over based on the progress she's made. Great job!
  • Lola's vest is growing, even though she had to rip out a little bit because she used the wrong color. (I find it handy to put the skeins in sandwich baggies, with color labels included, so I don't have to rely on my eyes to pick them out.) The shaping on this one is really interesting, and it's nice to see it in progress.
  • Donna W. is swatching! Unfortunately, I don't know what sweater she's knitting, and can't tell yet from her swatch. So please let us know, and I'll update your info in the sidebar. (By the way, I spit splice now with spit, but don't actively spit on my yarn. I stick it in my mouth. A lot less gross that spewing gobs of saliva onto my sweater, though I admit it's still a bit icky compared to just using a glass of water.)
  • Junieann posted photos of her Sunset vest progress. She added a vent in the back, and played around with the motifs to fit it in. I like the alteration, and it's worth a look!
  • Kilsharion had a problem with stitch count, and is starting over. I know this has been a frustrating project so far, but imagine how good it will feel once everything is in place, and it's going right. You can do it!
  • Helen B. doesn't have KAL progress to report yet, but look at the photos of crocheting a steek for the Oregon vest.
  • Sydney's Shirt Tail fairisle is looking beautiful, even if it laughs at her and refuses to grow. She said she might try doing the hem this past weekend. I hope it went well!
  • TJ looks like she's about a pattern repeat in on her Vertical Stripes cardigan. I love the colors! (By the way, the permalink thing doesn't seem to be working correctly on your blog. I linked to the main blog page here, but couldn't get a link to that specific post.)
As for me, the sweater is a few rows longer than it was when I posted this weekend. My most exciting new development is that I started my second ball of the main cream color. I'm only about 8" in, and am wondering if I miscalculated how many skeins of that I'd need. But I'm not going to start worrying, yet, as I have better things to fret about. I'll try to have an update photo later this week, or maybe early next week.

I hope to have a regular KAL update next Wednesday, instead of this business of having to miss a week, and then doing it a day early the next week. Please let me know if you're not on the list, and I'll add you, so you can be included in updates.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

more than halfway to the armholes

It's been a slow week for knitting, but the Vertical Strips fair isle has made progress. Okay, it's about where I thought I'd be a week ago. But it's still progress, and it's finally starting to feel like a sweater, instead of a thin strip of fabric. Here it is, a little bit into the third pattern repeat, measuring about 7":

Vertical Stripes fair isle - March 5, 2006

There will be a knitalong update this week. I'd do it today, but I'd rather wait and make it a true 2 week update, instead of doing an inbetween update. (Yes, my anal side coming through.) Look for it most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I don't know how much knitting time I'll have this week. My life is kind of unpredictable right now. I might finish the second Lorna's Laces sock, in which case I think I'm going to cast on for the IK Diagonal Rib socks, in my Koigu. (I haven't forgotten about Sockapalooza. But I'm undecided on a pattern, and really shouldn't be spending any money on yarn right now. I might use something already in my stash, but as those socks don't need to be done until May 1, I'm not rushing to make a decision.)

I might also have time this week to re-block the blue lace scarf. C. very kindly lent me a blocking wire set, so I can do things right this time. She also just gave me a skein of gorgeous turquoise yarn that she picked up at the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool festival last year. It's about DK weight, and while I don't think it matches anything in my stash weight-wise for a colorwork project, I think it might make a nice hat. Or pair of mittens. Or hot water bottle cover. Oh, the choices!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

life goes boom

Major life drama will mean no knitalong update this week. I'm so sorry, but other things need to take priority over blogging right now. I do have all of your blog posts set to "keep new" in Bloglines, so nothing will be missed.

In the meantime, if you're longing for updates, feel free to go through the blog links in the sidebar. Some people have also been doing updates on the Yahoo group. I can't promise that next week's update will be on Wednesday, but there will be an update next week, at some point. Life drama or not, I don't want to let you guys down.

This obviously means that it may be a little while until my next regular me-post. I promise I'll be back, and hopefully very soon.