Thursday, November 09, 2006

something out of the ordinary

Crocheted Beret

It's crocheted, and it's amazing. Made by Sage, who very generously sent it to me. When you're done being amazed at her art in hat form, check out her podcast, please. It's the one podcast I listen to as soon as it downloads, every day, without fail. Listen to her archives, send her stories and answers, and donate to her Donors Choose project if you can spare a couple of bucks.

And as if I didn't already want to learn to spin (thanks to bloggers everywhere) and weave (thanks to Syne), now I'm eyeing the crochet hooks in my accessories drawer in a new light. Crocheted colorwork. Hmm...

While on the topic of hats, here are my much less impressive hat offerings for the day:

baby hats

My first two baby hats, both in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock leftovers. As it happens, both in CTH leftovers from socks other people knit. (Somehow, their leftovers ended up in my sock yarn drawer. Imagine that!) One of them is a modified version of Grumperina's Odessa, knit on size 1 needles, without beads, and with 90 stitches to start instead of 110. It ended up slightly pointy (probably because of the stitch count), but as baby heads are often pointy, I don't consider this a flaw. Also notice the dye lot change at the top, when I ran out of Carol's yarn, and had to use a few yards of my own version of the same colorway. (We both independently chose the same colorway for our Jaywalkers. Mine was a billion times brighter than hers. Major dye lot differences!) I think I actually like the inside of the hat more, though both sides are pretty cool.

The other one is just 88 stitches of 2x2 ribbing (on size 3 needles), with a stockinette spiral on top. While the little Odessa will fit a smallish full term or a preemie head, the ribbed hat should stretch to fit a larger than average newborn head, if necessary. I can't wait to drop these in the baby hat box at my LYS tonight. If any of you are in the Keene area and have machine washable yarn scraps you want to use up, whip up some baby hats and drop them off. They're surprisingly satisfying little projects. Especially if you have a huge rubber duck to model them on.

EDIT: I got a couple of questions about the ribbed hat, and thought I'd edit this post to give more complete instructions on how to make one of your own. It doesn't take much yarn - no more than 20 grams of fingering weight according to my scale. For the hat pictured above, I cast on 88 stitches (on size 3 needles), knit in k2p2 ribbing until it was 3.5" - 4", knit a round of stockinette, and then started decreasing. To get that nice spiral, mentally break up your hat into 8 sections. It helps if your knitting is spread out over 4 DPNs, though that is of course not a necessity. If you cast on 88 stitches, your first decrease round will be (k9 k2tog) around. Follow that with a plain stockinette round, and then (k8 k2tog) around. Follow that with a plain stockinette round and... you probably get the picture. At the end, when there are only a few stitches left, just draw the yarn through and weave it in on the inside. I just knit a similar hat with only 80 stitches, and I think that is actually plenty big for a newborn hat, too. These things stretch a lot, so they should be good for a variety of new baby (and duck) heads.

While I'm at it, how about a SFCKAL update?
  • Becki has a finished a colorwork stocking in the yarn she salvaged from her dead SFCKAL sweater, and a photo of the Snow Sky she's started.

  • Helen has a photo of her Seaweed for Sheryl, which is exciting, because I think this is the first photo I've seen of this sweater in progress.

  • TJ has a photo of the progress on her Vertical Stripes sleeve, and discusses her design decisions for the sleeve.

  • Oh yeah, and I finished my Vertical Stripes pullover a little while ago. But you already knew that, right?

Monday, November 06, 2006


As I was finishing the second sock, I tried the first one on again and realized it was too short. Instead of picking out the woven in end, undoing the grafting, and frogging the entire toe, I had some fun with scissors.

toe surgery

It was so much fun to cut off that toe. I felt like I was doing something I was definitely not supposed to do, which added a bit of pleasant danger to the snipping. More danger than cutting a steek, because a steek is a planned thing. Cutting off toes is not. It reminded me of my work-study job in college, when I worked in preservation at our library. Taking a blade to an old book feels incredibly wrong and naughty at first, but once you get over the initial shock of mutilating something you've grown to worship, the thrill of feeling the materials moving under your instruments of destruction is intense and fulfilling. Of course, it helps that you know the slicing and dicing is a means to a good end.

fall flight socks

the specs:
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in the color Fall Flight
size 0 needles, 64 stitches, 3x1 rib, plain old top-down construction
edited to clarify: I just discarded the toe I cut off, attached new yarn (since I had plenty leftover), and re-knit the end of the foot and the toe. Marina asked if I grafted the old toe back on. No way! Not worth the trouble.

Next time I use size 0 needles with Lorna's Laces, I think I may use 68 stitches. I like snug socks, and since 64 stitches on size 1 worked so well with Lorna's Laces, I thought they'd be even better on size 0 needles. They're fine, but maybe a tad too snug to be absolutely perfect. I think I also realized why I always get different figures when I measure socks on and off my feet, when trying to calculate when to start the toe. I have fairly high arches, which means the socks have to be slightly longer than the flat measurement of my foot. I must have started the toe on the first sock based on a flat measurement. I won't make that mistake again.

I've started knitting the baby hats, which are easy and a bit boring, but not terribly so. It's an excuse to work with yarns I haven't touched for a while. I didn't realize how much I missed touching Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. Whoever gets that first hat will be a very lucky baby. There will also eventually be a baby born in Keene who gets a hat to match my Fall Flight socks. The thrill of knowing that babies around the area will have heads to match my feet is enough to get me through the rounds and rounds of 2x2 ribbing and stockinette.

Friday, November 03, 2006

must breathe

Komi Mitten 1 - thumbless

My thumb will remain naked for a while. I developed some arm pain that I'm pretty sure is related to the tension I held in my right arm and shoulder while knitting the mitten. Probably partially due to the teeny tiny needles (00), and partially due to me just tensing up for no good reason. I also noticed that I have just a smidgen over half a skein left of the red, and thought it would make sense to knit the entirety of the second mitten (minus thumb), before going back and doing thumbs. I have to reattach new yarn for the thumb, anyway, so might as well try to not have to do any joins in the body of the mitten. (I have 2 skeins of each color, and am already brainstorming fun things to do with the massive amounts of leftovers I didn't think I'd have. I might not even have to touch the second skein of cream for the mittens.)

Of course, my scale isn't exactly the most accurate thing. I got it at the grocery store for $6 or $7. For example, according to the scale I should have had just about enough yarn leftover from the first sock to finish the second, or at least get super close. Here is where I ran out:

how far I got with one skein

It's not really a problem, as I have a second skein. (It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, for the curious). My gauge hasn't changed, but my scale is just too cheap and blunt of an instrument to be accurate to within more than a few grams.

Looking at that sock photo, I've just noticed that the bottom of the heels on both socks match almost perfectly. Believe me, that's a complete coincidence. I can't be bothered to try to match things up perfectly with wildly striping yarn.

Between my arm (which is starting to feel better) and the upcoming move, I may retreat into the land of knitting simplicity for a little while. I want to finish this pair of socks, and might start using up a lot of my sock yarn leftovers to knit baby hats for our local hospital. They need hats, and while I plan to use my leftover solid colored sock yarn for swatching for pattern ideas, the striping and variegated stuff will be perfect for little baby heads.