Frozen Peace Fleece, Anyone? (No? How about some Lorna’s Laces…)

OK, please be honest. Am I the only knitter (AKA: stasher) who takes preventative anti-moth measures?

What you’re looking at are three skeins of Peace Fleece, which I bought at Eco-Green, a local shop that specializes in organic, green, fair-trade products.

Why are they in the freezer, you ask? Well…because I’m sick. I literally dream about finding moths in my home (more of a nightmare, really). So whenever I buy yarn from a store that’s an “unknown quantity” I pop it in the freezer for a couple of days to kill any fabric bugs/eggs that might be hiding in the depths of my new wool-babies.

The red yarn and pretty needles are going to be the Knitting Needle Bag from Bag Style. You can also download the pattern free at Knitting Daily.

Here’s how the freezer trick works: You put the yarn in the freezer for 24 – 48 hours, which either kills the little buggers or puts them into dormancy. They think it’s the deep freeze of winter. Then, when you take the yarn out of the freezer, they suddenly think it’s spring! You give them 24 hours in the warmth of your kitchen, and then–this is the evil part–pop the yarn back into the freezer for a day or two. This kills the little guys who made it through the first freeze.

Three skeins of DK-weight Peace Fleece I bought at Eco-Green earlier this year…They’re going to make some hefty boot socks to keep Chris’ little piggies warm!

But I want to get back to my question: Do you ever take preventative anti-moth measures? Or do you know anyone who does? I need to know. Maybe, if I’m not alone, I won’t feel so OCD! Do you think it’s weird?

An orphan skein of Claudia’s HP, rescued from Stitch DC last spring. Too pretty to pass up, don’t you agree?

SWAP, ANYONE?

Last fall I bought five skeins of Lorna’s Laces in Gold Hill, which I thought would make a really pretty leaf-patterned autumny wrap. But they’ve sat in my stash for the past year, and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m probably not going to use them.

Help us fulfill our destiny!

I know, I know, I could make socks with them. But I wasn’t particularly happy with the pooling in my Waving Lace socks (made with LL in Watercolors). I like how the yarn feels, and I like the solid colors, but the multicolored LL yarns aren’t my top choice.

So… If anyone would like to buy them, or swap for them, please drop me a line at knitsix@gmail.com

Happy knitting!

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Waving Lace Socks, Fab Sale Yarns, a Few UFOs, and a Free Shawl Pattern

First, some Yarn Porn
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(Fleece Artist Blue-faced Leicester DK, bought from Stitches & Scones in Indianapolis)

Hi, friends and visitors! I hope you’re enjoying the first days of fall. Here in DC we’re not cooling off too much yet, but that’s OK. Winter will be here soon enough.

I’ve got sooo much to tell you today, and have been working on photos and such for a few hours. I even included a free (though VERY simple and knitting-universally known) shawl pattern at the end. If you try it, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know. OK, on to business…

WAVING LACE SOCKS

Here’s a photo of my Waving Lace socks, featuring my favorite shoes. They’re Keens’ “Calistoga” (brown), and “Barcelona” (black). Très comfortable!

I’ll definitely make another pair some day, but probably with a different colorway. (This batch pooled more than I expected.) I really did love this pattern. Easy to memorize, easy to knit, easy on the eyes, and easy on the feet. All good, since they’re for me :-)

FAB SALE YARNS

Fab yarn at cheap prices. Who could pass it up? Not this knitter!

Four skeins of Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette in Peony. Four skeins for $28… Not bad.

I knit a swatch while sitting outside of Starbucks at Dupont Circle yesterday. God, the weather has been gorgeous here! On US#3 Brittany birch needles, it knit into a crisp fabric with a promise of softness.

That promise was fulfilled when I washed (in Eucalan) and blocked the swatch last night. The fabric has a rich hand, lovely drape, and a luxurious halo (almost angora-like). The teensy hint of itchiness I felt in the swatch disappeared, leaving a buttery smooth surface I can’t wait to feel against my skin.

This yarn is destined to become a pair of long, lacy gloves, like the ones in Veronik Avery’s gorgeous new book.

And another good buy: Cascade Fixation…Four balls for $8.88. Nice!

Last Monday Chris and I went up to Stitch DC at Chevy Chase Circle. Lo and behold, they were having a sale! Well, what else could I do but pick up some $4.44 Fixation? With two of the balls, I plan to make a pair of Flame Wave socks from Favorite Socks. If they feel good on my feet, not rough against my soles, then I’ll make a pair for my oh-so-tender-footed mom. Which leads me to…

A FEW UNFINISHED OBJECTS (UFOs)

Before leaving for Sacramento last month, I picked up a ball of self-patterning yarn. After all, one always needs a mindless stocking stitch sock project in one’s purse, right? The changing patterns help keep me from feeling bored and, somehow, seem to make the knitting go faster (obviously, this is all in my mind).

This is a really SOFT cotton yarn, so I decided to make these socks for my mom, since Sacramento gets so hot. And because she has ultra-sensitive little piggies, I’m making a reverse stocking stitch sole–they’ll be smooth against her skin :-)

Moment of truth:

While traveling, I used Brittany birch DPNs. But when I got home I switched back to my trusty Knit Picks circ so I could do the Magic Loop. I’m just so spoiled by this method of sock knitting…I want to enjoy DPNs more than ML, but to be honest, I just don’t.

Here, for posterity are a few more UFOs…

Chevron Scarf
This is really a WIP, not a UFO, because I’m actively working on it.

Wow. It’s really long. But it’s not a bad knit. Just one of those projects you have to keep plugging away at, sometimes enjoying it more than others. The FO will be worth it, though. I love the way it feels when I scrunch it in my hands.

Tube Shawl from AlterKnits
Oh, Tube Shawl, you are kicking my arse.

Honestly, can you imagine knitting six feet of stocking stitch on US#8 circular needles with Kidsilk Haze? Agony! But I. Will. Finish. This. Project. (Can you tell my teeth are clenching?)

It’s a lovely shawl, and I’ll enjoy it for years. But I started it in 2005, when I was still a pretty inexperienced knitter. Now I know better. I also know you can’t frog Kidsilk Haze (ask me how I know). So, onward and longward we shall go.

Grandma Six’s Hand Spun Shawl
I started this shawl about a year ago, for Chris’ grandma. She’s the greatest, and we love her to pieces. I spun half the Finn top on Karida’s Louet S10, and the other half on my Kromski Sonata (adore it!).

I’m using US#10 Addi Turbo circular needles, and knitting from the point upward. It’s an easy pattern…

Grandma Six’s Shawl
Yarn: Any kind. I spun up a worsted-weight singles for the shawl pictured above.
Gauge: Not important.
Needle: One or two sizes more than you’d usually use for the weight of yarn you chose. Experiment until you get a fabric you like, with plenty of drape.

Cast on 3 sts.
Row 1: K1, YO, K1, yo, K1.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: K1, YO, K to next to last st, YO, K1.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until desired length and width.
Bind off LOOSELY.
Block as (or if!) desired.

Note: I don’t claim that I invented this pattern. It’s so simple and easy that it just kind of exists in the Collective Knitters’ Consciousness. But I did think it might be a good idea to write it down, in case you’re interested. Enjoy!

(And if you’ve received your Ravelry invitation, come see me: I’m “KnitSix.” If you haven’t, don’t worry…you will get it soon, and I think you’ll find it’s worth the wait.)

Manly Socks (free pattern)

My gift to you: A free sock pattern. Why? Because I feel guilty for spending so much time on Ravelry lately that I’ve totally ignored my blog. (Sorry.)

These socks have a long history.

We ordered a Christmas gift for my step-father, Walter, last December. The person selling the product (son of the artist) said he was out of town but would send the gift when he got home. We were fine with that–my family is perpetually late with Christmas gifts anyway. After a month, however, Walter had still not received it.

Bonnie (my mom) and Walter (my step-dad) at a pretty Italian restaurant on a scorching hot day.

This went on and on. We contacted the guy, who said he sent it but would look into the matter. We contacted him again and he said we needed to deal with the post office, not with him (he hadn’t even insured it!). Well, that didn’t go over too well with us. To be honest, I wonder whether the gift was ever sent at all. We firmly requested our money back and eventually received it.

So now it was April, and I felt guilty. So I called Walter and asked him what he’d like “for Christmas.” I had a feeling he’d like something handmade, and it turned out I was right…he said he’d love a pair of socks. Thus began the great sock hunt: right pattern, right yarn, right color.

Manly Socks

Overwhelmed by perfectionism, I cast on and frogged a few socks, bought a few different types of yarn, and generally drove myself nuts trying to make everything just right. Finally, feeling frustrated and even more guilty about how much time had passed, I decided to “just knit,” rather than follow someone else’s pattern.

I pulled three skeins of Koigu (purchased about a year earlier) out of my stash and cast on, designing as I went along. One-by-one ribbing at the top to hold the socks up; a slipped-stitch rib from the More Sensational Knitted Socks stitch dictionary that looked about right; an eye-of-partridge heel just for fun; my usual purl row before starting the toe decreases…

And suddenly they were done! Just in time, too, as I was one day away from boarding a plane to visit my parents in Sacramento. Yes, that’s right. Walter finally got his gift for Christmas 2006–in August 2007. But he was pleased as punch, and that made it all worthwhile. I hope to get a photo of him wearing the socks soon :-)

These socks are great. They’re warm as can be (I wore one on my arm for several minutes and noticed that it really trapped my body heat. That’s because the stitch makes a lofty fabric with lots of air pockets. So they’re perfect for winter or for people whose feet are always cold (like me).

This is the most detailed pattern I’ve written to date, so if you find any errors in the pattern, please let me know. Also, I’d love to see photos of your Manly socks if you decide to knit a pair!

(Note: The pattern appears below; if you’d like me to send it to you a PDF, just e-mail me at KnitSix@gmail.com)

Well, there you go. Walter’s Manly Socks. Finis!

Now, how many knitting days left before Christmas 2007?

The lovely Tower Cafe, in Sacramento

MANLY SOCKS

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, 3 skeins, color P304
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) — I used a 32” needle from Knit Picks, and the Magic Loop method
Notions: 2 stitch markers (optional), tapestry needle
Gauge: 28 stitches x 40 rows = 4 in.

Slipped-Stitch Rib (SSR)
Multiple of 6 stitches
Row 1: *K3, P3; repeat from *
Row 2: *K1, Slip 1 WYIB, K1, P1, Slip 1 WYIF, P1; repeat from *
Row 3: *K3, P3; repeat from *
Repeat Rows 1 – 3 for pattern

Cuff
Cast on 78 stitches using the Old Norwegian method, and arrange with 39 stitches on each needle.
Work 11 rows of K1, P1 rib.

Leg
Switch to SSR pattern as described above and continue in pattern until piece measures 9” from cast on edge, ending with Row 3.

Eye-of-Partridge Heel Flap
Important: To prepare for heel flap: Knit across 18 stitches; turn, and knit across 39 stitches; this should “center” the heel flap so that it begins and ends with “P3.” The instep stitches should begin and end with “K3.”

Turn work (You will work the heel flap back and forth on one needle; ignore the stitches on your other needle—these will become the instep stitches after the heel is turned)

Work heel flap as follows for 40 rows:
Row 1 & 3 (WS): K3, Purl to end
Row 2 (RS): P3; *K1, Slip 1; repeat from * to last 4 stitches; K4
Row 4 (RS): P3; *Slip 1, K1; repeat from * to last 4 stitches; Slip 1, K3

Turn Heel
Next Row: Slip 1 as if to purl, purl 23 stitches, P2Tog, P1, turn
Next Row: Slip 1 as if to purl, knit 10 stitches, K2Tog TBL, K1, turn

Row 1: Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap, P2Tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap, K2Tog TBL, K1, turn
Repeat these two rows until all heel stitches have been worked, ending with a RS row (If, for some mysterious reason, you finish the heel stitches on a WS row, you can fudge here by working a RS row without decreasing at end.)

Pick up gusset stitches
Using needle holding heel flap stitches, pick up and knit one stitch in each garter stitch bump (a total of 20 gusset stitches); place marker if desired; pick up and PURL the stitch below the first instep stitch; transfer this stitch to the instep-stitch needle

Using needle holding instep stitches, work across instep stitches in pattern (you should be on Row 1 of SSR chart); pick up and PURL the stitch below the first stitch on the other side of the gusset gap; place marker if desired; pick up and knit one stitch in each garter stitch bump (a total of 20 gusset stitches)

You should now have 41 instep stitches; from here on, always purl the first and last stitch on the instep-stitch needle, forming a column of purl stitches that sets off the edge of the instep pattern.

Heel-stitch needle: Knit across heel stitches; next, knit each gusset stitch you picked up through the back loop.
Instep-stitch needle: Purl 1; work instep stitches in pattern; Purl 1; next, knit each gusset stitch you picked up through the back loop.

Decrease gusset stitches
Round 1: Heel-stitch needle—Knit to 3 stitches before instep; K2tog, K1; Instep-stitch needle—P1, work instep stitches in pattern, P1; K1, K2Tog TBL; knit to end.

Round 2: Knit to instep stitches; work instep stitches in pattern (including the P1 you’ve established at either side); knit to end.
Repeat these two rounds until 78 stitches remain (37 on the sole, 41 on the instep).

Foot
Continue working sole and instep stitches in pattern as established until piece measures 10” (or desired length)

Next row:
– Knit sole stitches AND the purl stitch at edge of instep; transfer this stitch to needle holding heel stitches
– Purl across 39 instep stitches; knit the purl stitch at end of instep stitches and transfer this stitch to needle holding sole stitches.

Toe
Decrease row: Knit to last three stitches on Needle 1, K2Tog, K1; K1, K2tog TBL, Knit to last three stitches on Needle 2, K2Tog, K1; K1, K2tog TBL, Knit to end of round.
Next row: Knit to end.

Repeat these two rows until 38 stitches remain
Work decrease row only until 11 stitches remain on each needle.
Using tapestry needle, graft stitches remaining on Needle 1 and Needle 2 together with Kitchener stitch.

NOTE: These socks are very lofty and springy, so blocking is not necessary. If you do wish to block them, lay them on a towel and spray with water until damp; pat into shape and allow the socks to dry thoroughly. Enjoy!

For a PDF version, click here.

© 2007, Hannah Six. All rights reserved.
For more information or permission to reprint, e-mail me at knitSix@gmail.com or visit http://www.knitsix.blogspot.com

Ready to Ravel!

This evening I checked my e-mail, and guess what I found there? Yep, you got it: My Ravelry invitation! See?

frecklegirl has invited you to Ravelry!
“Here you go! Thanks for your interest in our little site. Let me know if you have any questions or problems! Jess”

Yay! Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay!!!

Once I get all set up, you’ll find me at KnitSix :-)

I’m back!

Alaska Airlines flew us past some monstrous mountains.

That’s Mt. Ranier. What a treat for the eyes after living in the oh-so-flat (to a Northern Californian) Mid-Atlantic region for many, many years.

Oh, yeah, and one of their pilots also saved the lives of everyone on the plane when we flew back into D.C. I’ll tell you the story soon.

First, I went to Sacramento and spent almost two weeks with my mom and step-dad, who were both feeling better when I left. Then I flew up to Seattle, where I spent a fun (if short) weekend with my sister, her husband, my newphew, and a handful of step-nieces and step-nephews. More on that later, too (including some photos).

And, lest you worry, I did manage to slip in a little yarn shopping and knitting along the way…