WIP Wednesday

Yes – I said I’d make this a tradition back in April – and this is the second installment.  Consistently inconsistent, that’s me!

Anyway, I thought it would be good to do a quick overview of the projects I’m currently working on: not necessarily a full WIP roundup; just the ones that are actually getting some attention these days.  So:

Spinning
My wheel project is currently the wool/alpaca batts I talked about preparing for the Tour de Fleece (here and here).  I’ve spun and plied five skeins so far, plus a bunch more singles:

I’ve stalled out a bit on this project, to tell you the truth.  Last year, the Tour de Fleece helped me establish a habit of spinning for 15 minutes in the morning: this year, it somehow broke it completely.  I think it’s because I’m spinning this long-draw, which is exhausting for the arm/shoulder.  Also, my Traveller has a left-mounted flyer (which is standard), but it would be more ergonomic for me if it were right-mounted.  I hold the fibre in my left hand, so I can’t draw across my body.  Anyway, I was finding spinning to be painful and tiring, which isnt’ great.  I’ll have to see what I can do to restart my mojo.

Knitting is going rather better, though. The first of my green lace socks (name still TBD) is done, apart from grafting the toes:

I’m really *very* pleased with the way this has turned out: my plan now is to write the pattern, then knit the second one using the pattern I’ve just written.  A sort of self-checking mechanism, if you will.

Which leaves only my Myrtle.  This is progressing well, too: I’m almost a whole ball in, and I’m ready to start the shaping on the first sleeve cap:

This is the second garment I’ve knit using moss stitch and Maya, and, just like before, I love the way the colour variations are broken and mixed further by the texture.  I will admit to feeling a little anxious that there will be too much difference in appearance between this and the stockinette portions, but I’ll just have to wait and see.  (Then again, the swatch doesn’t look too bad sitting next to the sleeve, so…)

Sock in progress

I mentioned that I’ve been working on a new sock, in Footsie-HT:

It ran into a problem: I got as far as the ankle, and discovered it was just too tight for me to pull on over my heel.  Bugger!

So, I restarted, and am now down to the ankle again.  Sneak peek?  OK!

I’m really enjoying the textural nature of this stitch pattern, so I’m planning to use a heel-flap construction, and continue the pattern down onto it.

In other news, I’m heading off to Cottenham tomorrow morning to trade at the Cottenham Village College Summer School – the same venue as Textiles In Focus.  The car is already packed – well, kinda – and it should be a great day out.  A fantastic way to kick off the weekend!

Free pattern: Yarnscape’s Sock Recipe

Another free pattern! I’m releasing this now to celebrate Footsie being chosen as as this week’s Yarn of the Week over at Affinity Yarns!

This is my go-to recipe for basic, simple socks that fit well and stay up.  The pattern’s been almost done for months – since last year, I think?! – but the stumbling block, as ever, was photography.  Photographing your own feet is not the easiest thing in the world.

But Woody is always available to help.  I didn’t plan for him to be part of the photoshoot – but he had firm ideas of his own.

These are simple, work-a-day socks.  The cuffs are 1×1 ribbing; the leg and the top of the foot 3×1.  They use a short-row heel, and a ‘star’ toe.  I love the star toe; it’s very, very easy to work, looks pretty, fits like a dream, and doesn’t have to line up with the rest of the sock in any special way.

You can download my simple sock recipe from here – or add it to your Ravelry queue here.  Happy knitting!

Sick day

The rigours of last week and a summer cold have caught up with me this week.  So I spent yesterday on the sofa, hoping to recuperate somewhat.

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52 pair plunge: 5 weeks in, slightly less than one sock knit.  Hmmm.  I like it, though.

52 pair plunge: sock 1

Right on the very day of the deadline, I was foolish enough to sign up for the second 52 pair plunge.  Beer may have been involved.
Anyway, the 'plunge' has been in progress for 20 days now, and I have knit… zero socks.  Well,not true, as I have finished my Big Green Socks (Ravelry link), but they don't count, because they were already on the needles.

Let's face it, there's no way I'm going to knit 52 pairs of socks in a year.  Goals are all very well, but if they're not attainable, they're jut depressing.  So I'm going to aim to knit 52 *socks* in a year.  Phew!  Far more sensible.  They don't all have to match, either, just to keep my options open

So, now that's sorted out, here's the first one, just started:

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I'm actually much further on with this now, just about to start the heel, but for now, you'll have to wait for the proof.  😉

…tread very carefully…

                                                        …don’t crack the dry twigs or rustle the leaves…

              …always stay downwind of your quarry…

   …break up your silhouette…

                                             …and if you’re very lucky, you might see….

.. a Finished Object!

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Guys, it’s been a very long time.  I cast on for the Pomatomus socks on the day of Strawberry Fair – that’s early June.

I finally – finally! – have a pair.

I usually use socks as travel knitting – easy, portable, possible to make progress in five minutes here and there.  These were not a good choice for that; the lace pattern is not simple to read, and requires concentration.  I also decided to make life hard for myself by:
working the pattern upwards from a provisional cast on round the ball of the foot
adding a sandal toe worked downwards from the cast on
adding a picot cuff worked ‘toe up’ – something I think I invented myself (or unvented, anyway)

In future, complex socks will be ‘main’ projects.  Travel projects will be *simpler*.

Yarn: KPPPM
Needles: 2.5mm dpns
Pattern: Pomatomus socks (Knitty)
Mods:    Knit toe up, with sandal toe.  Picot cuff.
Cast on: 2nd June, 2007
Cast off: 6th October, 2007

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The picot cuff (More details on the Pomatomus)

My first!  Unlike most of the instructions I’ve seen, this was worked on a toe-up sock.  A picot edge is created by folding over a section of knitting that has a row of eyelets running down the fold line.  The easiest way to create the eyelets is to do (YO, k2tog) for the whole row.

Most instructions for a picot cuff have you start with a provisional cast on.  Next, you knit the fold over section of the cuff (stockinette), then your eyelet row, then the rest of the cuff (stockinette).  Now you are ready to fold the cuff up!  You do this by knitting each stitch from your needles together with the corresponding stitch from the provisional cast on.  But I was knitting in the other direction.

Knitting toe-up, I put a lifeline in when I was ready to start the cuff.  I then knit the two stockinette portions and the eyelets.  Then the tricky part.  I picked up the stitches marked by the lifeline onto a spare needle, then grafted them together with the live stitches on the needles to finish.

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Ta-daaa!

It was a pain, but worth it!  The grafting took – literally – hours.  The cuff is very stretchy and looks very ‘finished’.  There is none of the tightness associated with a regular cast off at the cuff.  There are a couple of things I’d do differently next time, though:

  1. Knit the round marked with a lifeline with needles a size larger.  This will give room for two passes of yarn through the stitches, and make the grafting easier.
  2. Knit one less round on the second side of the cuff than on the first.  The second side of the cuff is the inner side, and the grafting round is a knit round in its own right.  If the inner cuff is longer than the outer, the picots tend to fall outwards.

Of course, I’ll have to do the second Pomatomus the same way as the first, but I’ll remember this for the future…

One down, one to go…

The first of my Pomatomus socks is finished!  Worked both toe-up and top-down from a provisional cast-on at the ball of the foot, it features a sandal-toe and my first picot cuff – which flares rather and was a pig to bind off.  Now I just have to knit another….

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I’ve actually lost track of how long I’ve been knitting these.  They are my travelling project, which means they get very little concentrated knitting time.  They don’t make for good occasional knitting, actually, as the pattern is rather involved and not easy to just ‘pick up and work a few rows’.  I also had to rip back most of the leg when I found I’d made it too narrow!

Knitting at both ends

I think eight needles in one sock is something of a record for me.  This is my first Pomatomus sock, in progress.

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I wanted to make these socks as long as possible – so obviously, they need to be knit toe-up.  But I also wanted to make them toe-socks, which I have got a working formula for – but only knit cuff-down.  So, cue provisional cast-on.

Once I’d knit most of the foot, I picked up the cast on stitches and knit my usual toe-sock toe, then – onwards and upwards!

Complete with trying them on in the railway station waiting room, of course…
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