Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scroll Lace Sock Pattern

You'll have to scroll down for the Scroll Lace Sock pattern (including those modeled photos some of you have been waiting for). Funny how that worked out. First are some notes on fairs and... unfairs?

This weekend marked the second annual "Drop precious, blood-and-sweat-soaked (figuratively) hand-knitted items off at county fair, cross fingers, and hope that none of them get trampled by goats or covered in award winning jam" Day. I'll find out this coming weekend not only if they survived the goats and jams and other mysterious, sticky county fair dangers, but also if they won me any ribbons. And of course there is the potential monetary windfall. Last year's winnings were enough to buy me one whole issue if Interweave Knits! Oh boy! (I poke fun at the minuscule amount of prize money given out, but in reality, I think they should give no money at all. I have a gut feeling that the prize money may be one of the barriers to getting them to revamp and massively expand the shamefully small number of categories for needlework. I don't need the money; I only need fame and glory and goat-free mittens!)

I submitted, as planned, my Komi Mittens, and decided at the very last minute to submit the Vertical Stripes Fair Isle, since I long ago gave up on the insanity of trying to finish the Autumn Color Cardigan in time for the fair.

Speaking of the Autumn Color Cardigan... no, don't get too excited. I'm not working on it again just quite yet. I have two designing projects to get out of the way first. (And wasn't that a lovely way for me to put it. "Get out of the way." I really do like both projects quite a lot, but both have been simmering for way too long, and it's time to eat the soup, already.) The second of the projects is an expanded version of my Komi bag, which will be appearing in the Stitch and Bitch calendar, whenever that comes out. (I thought it was June, but that's come and gone.) It will have more complete instructions, as well as 3 or 4 additional colorwork options. I just need to swatch up those other colorwork option samples and flesh out the pattern instructions.

The first project I'll be working on, which I just cast on for the other day, is a fabulous pair of socks. The good is they were rejected by IK. No, really! It's good because they considered them for a while, which to me is almost as good as being published there. It means they liked my pattern idea. The bad is that I've been trying to get my swatch back from them since May, it sounds like maybe they lost it, and are no longer even answering my emails. I think I'll be sticking to self-publishing and maybe submitting to Knitty from now on, because I do not appreciate being treated like that. (The first thing I did before submitting it was make sure they return swatches, which they do. I've been counting on that to help in the design/redesign process. I put a ton of work into it, and having to make the sock without it has been more difficult than it needed to be, even with my photographs and notes. And also, my time and energy is worth more than lost property without a reply or apology.)

And now that the venting portion of this entry is over (with apologies to the friends who have heard this venting before), how about a sock pattern that isn't tainted by anger and frustration? It's not as fancy or new as the one I have on the needles, but it's pretty and elegant, and I know a few of you have been waiting for it. I apologize that I don't have it in PDF format (I don't have a place online to store such things). If you have trouble printing it, or copying and pasting it into a Word document for easier printing, email me (bowerbirdknits AT gmail DOT com), and I'll try to get a Word document to you as soon as I can.

Scroll Lace Socks done and modeled
(Additional photos of the socks can be found in previous posts, or by clicking here.)

Scroll Lace Socks

100 grams of a thin fingering weight yarn, set of five 1.75mm (US size 00) doublepointed needles, yarn needle for grafting and finishing

gauge (in stockinette in the round)
11 stitches per inch (44 stitches per 4 inches / 10 centimeters)

Note On Sizing, Fit, and Gauge (read this!): I have relatively small feet and relatively skinny ankles. The stitch pattern I used in this sock does not have a lot of give to it. These socks fit me perfectly, but I do have to tug to get them on. Many (heck, most) of you have knit Jaywalkers -- it's the same kind of deal. My recommendation is that if you have ever had trouble with any socks ever being difficult (or impossible) to get over your heel, go up one needle size for the leg of this sock. If you have started them and are unsure about whether you'll be able to get them on, put them on scrap yarn and try them on now. If you have large, or maybe even medium sized ankles and feet, consider dropping to 9 or 10 stitches per inch for the entire sock. I think these are great socks, but they can only be great if you can wear them. Knit with these sizing and gauge issues in mind, please!

Scroll Lace Socks chart
(Click here for a downloadable version of the chart.)

casting on and hem
Loosely cast on 80 stitches (20 per needle). I prefer the Twisted German Cast On, but your preferred stretchy sock cast on will do.

Work 8 rounds of plain stockinette (knit every stitch)

Next round create the picot edge by work [yo, k2tog] around

Work 8 rounds of plain stockinette

On the next round knit the cast on edge together with your live stitches. I do this by taking a loop from the cast on edge, placing it on the left needle, and knitting it with the next live stitch on the needle as if I were doing a k2tog. Simply proceed around the cast on edge, picking up a loop from the next cast on stitch each time.

Work 2 rounds of plain stockinette

Note: If you are knitting the leg on larger needles, but are worried about droop, consider enclosing a band of elastic inside the picot hem. I've never actually tried this, but I bet it would help with droopiness.

Work the chart (18 row repeat) 5 times, or to length desired. Each row of the chart will be repeated 8 times around the circumference of the sock leg.

heel flap
After completing the desired number of leg repeats, turn the sock, slip 1, and purl 39. There will now be 40 pattern stitches being held on 2 needles, and 40 heel flap stitches on one needle.

Turn, [slip 1, knit 1] across the heel flap

Repeat the above two rows (1. slip 1, purl 39; 2. [slip 1, knit 1] across) 22 more times, for a total of 23 repeats of the heel pattern (46 rows total)

heel turn
Slip 1, purl 22, p2tog, purl 1, turn
slip 1, knit 7, ssk, k1, turn

Continue in pattern, always decreasing (p2tog or ssk) across the gap and working one plain stitch (purl or knit) after the decrease, so that you incorporate 2 more stitches into the heel cup with each short row worked. You will end on a knit row, and should have 24 stitches on the needle.

Continuing in a clockwise manner, pick up 25 stitches along one side of the gusset -- one stitch per every 2 rows of the heel flap, plus 2 extras before the instep, to avoid holes. This will be needle 1

Work across the instep in the chart pattern, starting on row 1. There will be 4 repeats of the chart pattern across every row of instep. These needles will be needles 2 and 3.

Pick up 25 stitches for the other side of the gusset. This will be needle 4.

Knit across the heel flap, and arrange the stitches so that half (12) are on needle 4 and half are on needle 1.

On the next round, knit across needle 1, twisting the gusset stitches as you knit them (this is done by knitting through the back loop, if you knit the traditional way), continue the instep pattern on needles 2 and 3 with row 2 of the chart, knit across needle 4, twisting the second half of the gusset stitches as you knit them.

(On all following rounds, the gusset and heel/sole stitches on needles 1 and 4 will all be knit plain, and all of the instep stitches on needles 2 and 3 will be knit according to the chart, as you have been doing.)

On the next round, start the gusset decreases. Knit to 3 stitches from the end of needle 1, k2tog, k1, work the instep stitches across needles 2 and 3, k1, ssk, and knit to the end of the needle 4.

Work the next round "plain" - stockinette with no decreases for the gusset stitches (needles 1 and 4), and the next round of the chart as written for the instep stitches (needles 2 and 3).

Alternate decrease and "plain" rounds until there are 20 stitches on needle 4 and 20 stitches on needle 1, for a total of 80 stitches around all 4 needles.

Continue work in pattern until the sock is about 2" shorter than your foot. For me that was 5 pattern repeats. My feet are slightly smaller than average, so you may need more repeats than that. Try to end on a full or half repeat -- on row 9 or 18 of the chart pattern.

Knit one round (including the instep stitches) in stockinette.

Work one decrease round: Knit to the last three stitches on needle 1, k2tog, knit 1; start needle 2 with knit 1, ssk, knit to the end of needle 2; knit to the last three stitches on needle 3, k2tog, knit 1, start needle 4 with knit 1, ssk, knit to the end of needle 4 (round completed)

Work one plain stockinette round (all knit)

Alternate decrease and plain stockinette rounds 6 times more (7 times total), until there are 13 stitches left on each needle.

Work the decrease round 7 times more, with no intervening plain stockinette rounds, until there are 6 stitches left on each needle.

Knit the stitches from needle 1 onto needle 4. Slip the stitches from needle 3 onto needle 2.

Cut the working yarn, and graft the toe closed with kitchener stitch.

Weave in ends and block as desired.

The original line by line instructions for this stitch pattern can be found in Barbara Walker's 2nd Treasury. Please let me know if you catch any errors or typos in the pattern. Happy Knitting!

Next time: Tales from sock designing? Teaser photos? More handspun? Colorwork bag swatches? I honestly don't know. Any requests?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

temporary ramblings of a knitter returned

I'm back, saw more bears than I knit inches of sock (I'll leave you guessing on the details of that one), only got lost in the woods once (at dusk), and am working on two massive projects -- editing/uploading photos, and reading Harry Potter.

If anyone is interested, the trip photos are being uploaded to my Flickr account, and will eventually all be found at this link. Right now there are only a few days up, with minimal descriptions, but I hope to have them all up by the end of the weekend. I'll delete this post when I have actual fiber content to share, but will re-post the link.

So, anything exciting happen in the fiber world while I was gone? The birth of Alice Starmore and Franklin Habit's love child? (See, I can post things like this because I will be deleting this placeholder post. Oh the freedom!) Fill me in, folks! I still have hundreds of bloglines posts to go through, and I have to admit, the process has been going something like this:

"Hmm, no photos. No time to read text. Next!"
"Damn, all photos! That's going to take forever to load while I'm trying to download 200 podcasts and upload photos to flickr. Next!"

So if you finished knitting something absolutely amazing, or wrote a blog post that will have me peeing my pants with laughter, shamelessly link to it in the comments. I know I'll miss stuff. You guys posted way too much while I was gone. The nerve.

Back to knitting next week. Hopefully with the (free) scroll lace sock pattern.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

no beer or butter

One week from now I will be strolling the streets of San Francisco. A week and a day from now I will be out on the trail, beginning my first of 13 days worth of hikes. At an average of 8.6 miles and 1,543 ft. of elevation gain per day (assuming we stick to our itinerary), combined with camping every night, I don't plan on getting much knitting done. I also don't plan on seeing a computer, much less having internet access during those 2 or so weeks. There will obviously be no blogging, but I also want to make it clear that if you want to buy the Smoke Signals Hat pattern, buy it by Thursday afternoon of this week, or wait until after July 22 or 23 for delivery. Let me repeat that in bold, so my butt is covered, and I don't have people pay for a pattern they won't get for 2 weeks:

If you are thinking of buying the Smoke Signals hat pattern in the near future, please send your paypal payment by noon (Eastern Time) on Thursday, July 5. If you wait longer than that, I cannot promise delivery until the evening of Monday, July 23, as I will be surrounded by trees and mountains and bears, but no computers.

So no knitting for over 2 weeks? Okay, I will be bringing some. I probably won't bring it on the plane, because I'll want to bring something on metal DPNs, and I don't want to play the guessing game about whether the will or won't be allowed through security. I have plenty of things to keep me occupied on the flight out, and plan to sleep on the overnight flight back, so I am in prime condition to devour Harry Potter upon my return. (Said pointy DPNs will be impaled into the flesh of those who would dare utter one sentence from the book before I am able to pick up my copy on the 22nd and finish reading it, at my own preferred leisurely pace, the following week. I refuse to waste the book on 6 hours of ravenous, rushed reading. You have been warned.)

Excuse the digression. It took all my strength to squelch a squeal when I saw the countdown sign at the bookstore yesterday, when I went to pick up my beautiful new trip journal. I have been eyeing the notebook selection at my bookstore for months, plotting out the perfect new journal to splurge on for the trip. I plan to use it partially for regular journaling of the events of our trip, partially for other writing projects I've been working on or thinking about recently, and partially for sketching and working out some knitting design ideas that are floating around in my head.

my trip journal

Isn't it beautiful? The cover art is by thirteenth century artist Ma Lin, and perfect for a trip that will involve many mountains. The book lies flat, has a pocket in the back to hold a few reference pages I'll want to print out for various writing projects (the submissions guidelines for the current series of Cast-On being key), has lightly lined pages that will make writing easy without distracting from my attempts at design sketches, and has the most charming binding. I worked in book preservation at the library when I was in college, and have wanted to learn how to bind books ever since. The simple beauty of this notebook's binding strengthens that urge.

trip reading

In addition to writing, I have some exciting reading materials. I just finished listening to Jane Eyre from Librivox in preparation for reading The Eyre Affair. (I admit that I've started it prematurely, and may finish it before the trip. But I just had to take a peek inside, and by page 4 there was absolutely no turning back.) Great Expectations is in preparation for the next book in Fforde's series, and Cold Comfort Farm is there because Brenda has convinced me that my world is not complete without it. And of course I opted for the version with the cartoons on the cover. It was only $1 more than the printing with the characterless cover, and I find it reassuring to be reminded that "There'll be no butter in hell!" I'll take that to mean that, like in the polka song about the beer, I should better eat my fill while I'm still here! (Wait, I suppose that means I think I'm going to hell. No beer in heaven, no butter in hell. Hmm. What a decision. I wonder where they serve fresh strawberries and chocolate truffles...)

I have faith that my writing and reading will keep me well occupied during the trip, when I just won't feel comfortable knitting. While the essay on the latest Cast On did give me second thoughts about my knitting plans (or lack thereof), I'm still not convinced that living out of a tent mixes well with Schaefer Anne and 1.75 mm needles. And I'm really looking forward to the chance to concentrate on the craft of writing for a couple of weeks, without distraction from other hobbies. Alex thinks this is a hiking trip, but perhaps it's part hiking trip, part writing retreat.

Some of my other trip preparation includes working on some spinning I want to finish before we leave. I'm more than halfway through the second half of the BFL, and want to get all of those singles spun up before we leave so there isn't a drastic difference between how long the first and second half of the singles have to set before I ply them. Here are some photos of the first 25 grams, which I moved onto the niddy noddy so I could begin the second 25 grams. This came out to 265 yards, which I'm quite pleased with. Definitely lace weight, and after it and the rest are plied, should be enough for a lace scarf.

BFL singles
(click on it if you want to get to a bigger version)

To a large extent, this yarn has been spun while listening to Jane Eyre. I think that is going to have to influence the eventual scarf design and name, though it will be a while before that gets set into motion.

Oh, and while I'm at it, here is the first Scroll Lace Sock. It's in black and white because my feet are a bit beat-up looking now, and the fancy photo settings allowed me to salvage an otherwise nice photo while sparing you too much detail of my feet:

Scroll Lace Sock

On a completely different note, I know that a lot (probably the majority) of the people who read this blog are themselves bloggers. A friend of mine is starting to gather data for her dissertation, and is looking for personal bloggers to fill out a survey. I offered to help spread the word. Bloggers, stand up and be counted! Take the “Public and Private in the Blogosphere” Survey!

Well, I guess that's it for now. I anticipate that this will be my last blog post until after the trip. Since I don't plan to knit (or at least not a lot) on the trip, and plan to be immersed in Harry Potter-ville after we return, I don't know if I'll be posting anything here until late July or early August. I do feel bad about that, so here is a list hinting at things to come over the next few months (or, for those of you on Ravelry, look up bowerbird and take a look at my overwhelmingly long queue, which contains pattern ideas as well as more traditional projects):

* A pdf of my Komi bag pattern, with several stitch design options.
* The sock pattern I alluded to this past winter. I plan to knit the socks and write up the pattern in August, then decide whether to submit to Knitty or self-publish.
* A variant on that sock design. Or 2. Or 3.
* Finishing the Autumn Color Cardigan
* (And at this point I am already so overwhelmed that I have to refer to my Ravelry queue to straighten out my thoughts...) Some sort of sweater for Alex, if we can settle on a pattern that he wants to wear and I want to knit. Keeping my fingers crossed about EZ's saddle shoulder aran cardigan, or some variant thereof.
* a colorwork hat design
* a colorwork mitten design, with an idea for the cuffs that is either quite clever or profoundly stupid. Time will tell.
* after this, things are quite hazy. Desperately want to see me knit something in particular from the queue? Let your voice be heard! I can't promise that it will influence me at all, but feedback is always good.

Labels: ,