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.)

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Far, far away…

Hi, folks!

Please excuse my absence. Both my mom AND my step-dad have been suffering from heart disease, with various operations and “procedures” happening during the past few weeks.

Thus my lack of writing.

At this moment, I am far away from home, in Sacramento, Calif., helping them out at home, going to doctor’s appointments, and offering unoffical medical advice (I’m a medical writer) and very official emotional support. They seem to feel better having me here, which was the point of my trip, so that’s good.

I have been knitting, and finished Walter’s “Christmas” socks–the brown Koigu slip-stitch ribbed ones. He liked them very much, indeed. I’ve also finished my Online cotton socks, which I started in June, and cast on the second Waving Lace sock. Also, I bought some kind of incredibly soft, self-patterning cotton sock yarn (I’ll post the name when I can remember it!) and started a pair of simple stockinette socks on the flight out here.

Speaking of flights…If you ever have the choice of flying on Alaska Airlines, I HIGHLY recommend it. What a wonderful experience. Every employee I encountered was friendly and helpful, the planes were clean, and they were ON TIME! No small achievement in this day and age.

Tuesday, when I flew from D.C., the weather was spectacular all the way, and I got some gorgeous photos from the plane. It’s so nice to see REAL mountains again…the soaring, awe-inspiring kind. The mountains back east are ancient, so they’re subtler and gentler. Sometimes I miss the West Coast scenery.

Today, though, I’m missing my beloved husband, who had to stay in D.C. due to work. I hated to leave him alone… He just got digital cable, though–so maybe access to lots of soccer (REAL football) and good (non-NASCAR) auto racing is helping take the edge off of being alone ;-)

Well, until I can post again, I wish you all cool weather (or warm, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) and happy knitting!

One sock, two sock…

I promised photos of waving lace, sock #1…

As I’ve said, I finished this sock, then needed to cast on for a gift (which you’ll see below). These are made with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Watercolor. Overall impressions after my first sock with this yarn: I miss the glossiness of most other sock yarns–LL is very “matte.” But it’s also incredibly comfortable because it’s stretchier…kind of hugs your feet.

As for color, all the LL colorways are delicious, but the striping and pooling drives me mad. I know, I know, I’m supposed to switch from one ball to another every couple of rows to prevent that, but this is a “purse project,” one I’ll knit on the bus, in the park, during spare minutes here and there. Not only would switching balls be inconvenient, I just don’t have the patience to fiddle around like that. I’ll definitely use LL again, but probably in a solid or semi-solid colorway.

Here’s a top-down view next to the little invalid.

To be honest, I’m really concerned about Maggie. The vet said that if she continues to have these “attacks” of rasping open-mouthed breathing, the next step would be to sedate her and go down into her throat for a look. Antihistamines seem to have helped, as does running the A/C to clean the air (we don’t have an air cleaner yet), so I was hopeful that it was all allergy related. But early this morning, at 3:30 a.m., she came up to my pillow purring loudly and breathing through her mouth again.

The purring might seem to be a good sign, but it’s not. Cats purr for many reasons, including when they’re sick or injured. And I know Maggie well enough to tell one purr from another. Also, the look in her eyes isn’t right. I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll probably have to take her back to the vet. OK, if I keep writing about this I’m going to cry, so I’ll just change the subject and keep you posted.

So. Let’s get back to socks. As promised, here’s the Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern I cast on last weekend for my step-dad…

The yarn is Schaefer “Anne,” and I love it! The transluscent color, depth of shades, mohair and nylon content (for strength), washability (it’s superwash wool!), delicate weight, and generous yardage (560 yards in each skein). Anne does have a tendency to split if you’re not careful, but I love it, so it’s worth a bit of vigilance.

A POLITICAL ASIDE (Stop reading here if you’re easily offended.)
Speaking of vigilance…You know, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, that guy in the White House says Amerrkins need to “be vigilant.” (Oh, how I wish I could WRITE the inflection he uses when he says “vigilant.” But I’ll have to trust that to your imagination.) As does the Dept. of Homeland Security (ugh!) and every other official administration under the sun. Vigilance, vigilance, vigilance.

The administration is trying to make us feel “empowered,” so we’ll believe that, as individuals, we have any measurable control over maniacal attacks (key word: measurable…I know we’re not entirely powerless). Well, in my opinion, we don’t. Somewhere, sometime, something is going to happen, and there’s probably not a whole hell of a lot the person like me, sitting on a Metro bus to Georgetown, can do about it, unless I spot a suspicious package that turns out to be more than someone’s discarded water bottle.

Well…Ever since I met Chris, he’s always said, “I love you. Be careful,” when I go out. Now that I’m working from home, he’s the one leaving the house early in the morning, and if I can drag myself out of bed, I’ll lock the door behind him so I can give him a kiss goodbye. But these days, our exchange is a little different: “I love you. Be vigilant.”

Strange how that came to mind while describing sock yarn! But maybe there’s an important lesson in there somewhere…I may not be able to stop some crazy person from doing the unthinkable, but by being vigilant I can sure as hell control whether or not my size 0 needles split my sock yarn. Suddenly, I feel so empowered.

PINK

These six-inch beauties startled me when I was walking to work last Thursday…I looked to my left and there they were, in all their glory. So the next day, I tossed my camera into my bag before leaving the house, so I could share their raspberry-ice deliciousness with you.

CAT EMERGENCY O’ THE MONTH
We came home last night to find Maggie breathing through her open mouth, making a horrible rasping sound, and we both thought her lips looked blue-ish. So I turned on the A/C–the District is an allergy diaster zone–and called the city’s one and only animal emergency room. When they heard what was going on, they said to bring her in immediately. You see, Maggie has a heart murmur, so heart failure is always a scary possibility.

Without hesitation, as soon as I asked, our wonderful, wonderful friends Erika and Karida were on their way to drive us up to the vet, then they stayed to drive us home. True friendship, in my book. After x-rays and exam, the vet couldn’t find a reason for M’s symptoms. (Of course, M ceased all odd behavior as soon as we walked in the hospital door.)

Because the A/C seemed to have helped a little, probably by filtering the air, she could only assume M’s “attack” was due to allergies, which she’s had before, but not seriously. So home we went, with antihistamines in hand. By the time we got home, it was after 9 p.m., and we were both absolutely wiped out.

I swear, sometimes I think this cat is going to be the death of me.

BACK TO KNITTING…
Since this is a knitting blog, I thought I’d also mention that I finished Waving Lace sock #1, and really love it. Last Saturday I went to Stitch DC and picked up a really beautiful skein of Schaeffer “Anne” sock yarn for my step-dad’s socks. Chris’ final pattern choice was Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern, from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks.

Between work, my sprained knee, M’s emergency-of-the-month, and an overall sense of exhaustion, I haven’t been very good about writing or taking and posting photos lately. To those of you who keep coming back anyway, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU for bearing with me. I love sharing ideas and experiences, and hearing about yours, too, so I’ll try to be more consistent from now on.

For now, though, I’ll just say: I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful weekend with lots of sun, fun, and time for knitting!

A Perfect Day

Need I say more?

Well, perhaps I do, considering my absence lately. You see, I sprained my knee…

I went to the ER with excrutiating pain and numbness(!) after a bad fall. X-rays and a sonogram ruled out broken bones and deep vein thrombosis (DVT, a dangerous blood clot condition that can happen to anyone after any leg injury–be aware!). Final diagnosis: sprain. I opted for the cane over crutches, which I absolutely detest (ever since I had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee two years ago). So lots of rest for me and my leg.

Oddly, with more time to slow down, elevate knee, and rest, I haven’t felt much like knitting! But when the mood strikes, I work on my Waving Lace sock. Almost done with this one:

I’ll have to take a break between sock #1 and sock #2 to make a pair of socks for my step-dad’s Christmas present…Yes, that’s right. I still owe him a Christmas present for 2006! It’s a long story–involving an online seller who failed to deliver a lovely gift we ordered in December. We finally got him to issue a refund.

Since it’s now May, I thought it would be nice to offer Walter the hand-made gift of his choice. He loved the socks I made for my mom’s birthday, so I told him I’d make a special pair for him. The saga continues: I’ll show you the patterns I’m considering in my next post.

Meanwhile, to all of you, find a place in the sun or shade, a cool drink, and enjoy the weekend. Happy Monther’s Day!

Sock Yarn Love!

OK, you just have to see this gorgeous hank of Neighborhood Fiber Company yarn that Karida delivered a week ago…I can’t get enough of these colors:
It’s named “Brookland.” Teal-green and purple sock yarn–lovely, stretchy, puffy superwash merino sock yarn! (Yes, it’s Gems Fingering, my utter favorite.) Thanks, Karida!

And, speaking of sock yarn, I received my Cherry Blossom yarn from Sundara yesterday!!! It is SO luscious, I could absolutely EAT it! No photos yet, but soon, I promise. (Since every hank is a little different, I think a picture is in order, just to celebrate the pink prettiness sitting on my coffee table, don’t you?)

All of which leads me to socks…
This is about 10 rows short of where I currently am on Waving Lace (first sock), from Favorite Socks. (For more, check out the Favorite Socks KAL…)

The Lorna’s Laces is working out nicely with this pattern, though the yarn’s natural stretchiness may be exaggerated by the stretchiness of this particular lace. At any rate, I tightened up my knitting a little bit, and was happy with the results.

Have I mentioned that It’s hard to find a true US #1 circular needle these days? (I haven’t been feeling so great, and so can’t remember what I’ve said lately.) Well, most #1 needles are actually US #1.5, but are not labelled that way–kind of irritating, actually. I wish we could get needles in UK sizes.

Measuring needles in millimetres instead of random numbers allows a broader range of sizes. I know I can go to DPNs, and I have many #1 sets, but I wanted to do magic loop so I could carry these in my purse without losing needles. Plus, I was craving the mindlessness of it.

So here you have it: Yummy new yarn and a new pair of socks in a really fun pattern.

Life is good.

Orchid Socks: Finis!


I cast off on Sunday, and blocked them to make sewing the picot edge at the top a bit easier. Trying to wrestle a rolling edge into a nice, neat hem is a real pain. Sewing will probably happen today, but in my book this is now a finished project!
Pattern: Orchid Socks AKA Simply Lovely Lace Socks (IK Spring 06)
Yarn: Koigu (Can’t find the band, but I’ll try to remember to look up the color #)
Needles: Addi Turbo 32″ US #0 (magic loop method)
Mods: None! This was a simply lovely pattern, and came out perfectly!

I must say, I really enjoyed knitting these. The stitch pattern is SO easy to remember, so you can just relax and knit. They were a wonderful project for knitting in public, since I love people-watching and don’t like to have to watch my knitting instead. Of course, I keep a close eye on what I’m doing, too…Dropped stitches aren’t a disaster, but they slow you down!


Last Friday I found myself in Georgetown after a doctor’s appointment, waiting for my husband to meet me for dinner at Old Glory. BUT I’d forgotten to put my knitting in my purse! Oh, my God, what an emergency. And it was such a beautiful day. All I wanted to do was find a garden bench at the Old Stone House and knit in the sun. So…I made a quick trip to Stitch DC, spent money I couldn’t afford to spend, and emerged with two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Watercolor and a rather cheap set of DPNs (US #1).

I cast on for the Waving Lace socks, which you can see on the cover of Favorite Socks. I chose to do a twisted 1×1 rib instead of the prettier pattern shown in the book’s photos. Ribbing is just more practical for me…I like pretty socks, but they have to stay up or I know I won’t wear them.

(Maggie’s feeling MUCH better–YAY!)

Waving Lace sock #1 is much farther along now, so I’ll take more photos today and get them up here. Meanwhile, you can also follow this project at the Favorite Socks KAL: Just click on the button in my sidebar.

Have a great day, everyone!