Thursday, September 11, 2014

Welldigger Blues

I knit a lot of things that come in pairs. It's not unusual for me to get burned out on knitting two of everything, and that's when hats come in so handy.

Welldigger hat (mine raveled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project worsted in Moutainside

The last time we made a trek to Simply Socks, they had worsted weight skeins from the Mineville Wool Project. I asked Andrew to pick a color to become a hat.

I decided this hat would look better with a more invisible cast on than my usual long-tail, so I watched a Eunny Jang video a few million times and did a tubular cast on.

I saved this in black and white because the waste yarn is bright orange--
as in my-eyes-are-bleeding-orange. You're welcome.

You cast on half the stitches you need and knit a few stockinette rows in waste yarn, then knit 4 rows in the real yarn, starting with a wrong-side row. On the fifth row, you knit one, then pick up the first purl bump from the first row of the main color and purl it, knit another, pick up another purl bump, etc. until you've alternated between knitting the stitches on the needle and purling the stitches you picked up from the first row. Continue for a couple rows of the pattern, and then you can take out the waste yarn. Eunny explains it much better here (although the site itself is clearly written by a nonknitter). The resulting cast on is still stretchy, which makes no sense to me, and nigh-invisible. It's the superhero of cast ons.


The Welldigger hat uses a slipped-stitch pattern. The result is a very squishy, thick fabric. I think this hat will be worn on the coldest days. Andrew, naturally, looks adorable in it, even when he's sticking out his tongue.


He's so cute I made him a pair of socks, too, even though he picked a Zauberball color with so much navy I spent most of the knitting time praying for a color change.

Blues for Andrew (ravelled here),
knit in Schoppel-Woole Zauberball #2134

I did my usual pattern for Andrew socks--1x1 ribbed cuff, 3x1 broken rib leg and top of foot. I started with 68 stitches on the leg and decreased after the gusset down to 64. I decreased the toes down to 20 stitches before kitchnering.

I didn't have time last night to pick yarn for my next project, so I did something completely out of character and just brought a book to read at lunch. I think the next project should be my mittens (See? Another pair.), and that's going to take some planning.

Knit on, my friends. Winter is coming.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fucus asparagoides Sock

I've been knitting and painting furniture and working. There are some finished knits that are staring at me and pleading to be photographed. I gave in and brought one to work to snap a few pictures.

Fucus asparagoides Sock (mine raveled here),
knit in Townhouse Yarns Grafton 4ply, Menace colorway


This is part of Hunter Hammersen's KAL on Ravelry. I liked both Fucus asparagoides patterns so much that I did both (shawl here). Hunter loves herself a twisted decrease. Pointy needles are important.


As I was knitting these, I kept thinking about how this stitch pattern would look on a hat, or a cowl, or a scarf....



Thursday, August 28, 2014

True Story: Support Desk

I sent this to the Support Desk (which is not particularly supportive, so I think they should change their #&)% name):
I'm not positive you guys are in charge of exorcisms, but my phone is possessed.

Randomly, while the handset is hung up, it will start beeping a busy signal and the screen will say Unknown Number. I have to pick up the handset, hang it back up, and then it will do it again a few seconds later. Typically, it does it four times in rapid succession and then stops. It's not near a time when I make or receive a call, and I'm positive the handset is hung up properly when it does it.

This has been happening for months, but it was sporadic enough that I never bothered anyone about it. Nobody else has complained about their phone doing it. Today it's probably done it 6 times. It's possible it's trying to push me over the edge.

If someone has time, can they see if this is a known problem with the 7965 phones or if there's anything I can do? Thanks.
Well, now it's probably done it 30 times, which might as well be 30 million. It did it while I was on the phone with the support desk. My phone put the support desk on hold and started beeping at me from a new line. I may or may not have said, rather loudly, "Oh, FUCKER."

I mentioned this is my busiest time of year at work, right? I thought so. 

Send good energy and chocolate covered coffee beans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

If It's Not Broken...

Way back in the mist before time began*, I went to Manhattan. I was a new knitter and tracked down a yarn shop for souvenir yarn. Then I wound it, probably threw away the ball band, and it sat on a shelf for a few years.

It was a rookie mistake.

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating what to bring to a friend's house. There were a bunch of us getting together for an overnight visit, and I would have four hours in the car as well as some time while we were all chatting.

I decided socks with a pretty easy pattern were the way to go, and I went in search of yarn. I decided to try the mystery NYC yarn.**


Zigzagular Socks (mine raveled here)

I have a problem. I am attracted to variegated yarn, but I have a hard time finding patterns that show up well amidst all the color. This pattern, actually, was featured on Simply Socks Yarn Co.'s blog recently as a pattern that worked well with variegated yarn. That mention is what drew me to them in the first place.

This pattern did not disappoint. In fact, I was so pleased with the NYC socks that I immediately cast on for a second pair, this time using Blue Moon yarn from their sock club.


Zigzagular Socks (mine raveled here),
in Cables of Wrath colorway


Most of this pattern is stockinette, which flies, and then there's a short repeat of the twisted zigzag on a purl background. It's mirrored so the pattern runs down the outside of each leg.


I can't tell you how great it feels to knit up one of those sock club skeins. I participated in it for three years, I think. The first year, I knit everything just as they told me to. After that, I only knit it if I found the pattern really compelling. As a result, I have skeins still in their plastic bags. Blue Moon yarn is too lovely to not be used. It's great to have another pattern in the variegated arsenal!

*sometime after 2006


**This is clearly a yarn that could have used an afterthought heel. Please ignore that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fucus asparagoides Shawl

Hunter Hammersen is doing knitalongs for her most recent book. This series of books is organized with two projects (usually one sock and one non-sock) per inspiration, and the knitalong goes for two months. You can knit one or both patterns to participate. I did the socks in the first one, and the shawl in the second. I like the socks for the current KAL so much that I may knit them, too. I have some fab yarn Katie gave me that I think would be great in that pattern.

Anyway, to the shawl!


You start at the bottom edge, and there's lace patterning on both rows. I think it's easier to rip back when the wrong side rows are all purls, but sometimes you gotta have more lace than that. After the second complete ripping session, I was smart enough to put in a lifeline. That was good because my third and final rip went back to that lifeline. 

Once that bout was out of my system, the rest of it went really smoothly. I just had to pay attention and not let stitches jump ship while I was doing one of the decreases (the left-leaning one on the wrong side, if you're interested. I can't imagine that anyone is.)

Fucus asparagoides Shawl (mine ravelled here),
knit in indigodragonfly's Merino Sock,
Angst for the Memory colorway

The book has a photo with the model wearing this off her shoulders. It looks great, but mine doesn't feel large enough to do that. (I knit the large size.) I blocked it pretty aggressively, and it still was a bit shallower than I'd hoped. I'll probably end up wearing it like this:


Black isn't the easiest to knit with, certainly, but I think it'll get a lot more wear than a brighter color. I really like small shawls like this, and I do wear the Nefertim and Henslowe fairly often--often enough that someone at work said it was weird to see me in a scarf that wasn't knit. When great yarn and great patterns exist, why not knit all the things?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Favorite Things

I'm in the busy season at my work, and it tends to make me slightly panicked and less likely to blog.

But I've been doing things. Saturday a friend and I went to a hummingbird banding demonstration at the IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art).


They captured, banded, took a few measurements and let go several birds.


Then I took a nice walk on the grounds to get some flower time.


I have no idea what the above flower is, but it's beautiful. Below is a hibiscus.


I've become enamored by dahlias. Can you blame me?


I bought a karma chocolate dahlia that was under $4 from the IMA greenhouse. It needs a good home. Now to figure out where to plant it...


The bees loved this flower in the ravine garden.


I recently read an article in Indiana Gardening about moss planters, and that led me to make a moss terrarium for my desk at work. Here's some moss in the wild.


I'm fairly sure the perennial geraniums are trying to devour this shrub in the formal garden. My impression might be biased by the fact that I watched a community theater production of Little Shop of Horrors Saturday night.


There was zero sun, so the sun dial wasn't much help.


But the rain certainly was beautiful.



Here's a view into the formal garden.


And the edge of my very favorite, the ravine garden.


This view is seen from the back of the Lilly House.


I love photos like these. I find paths simultaneously very peaceful and invigorating. WALK ME.


Inside the greenhouse, I visited with some orchids, like you do.


The white one is a phalaenopsis. I'm not sure what the red one is. My mom has great luck with orchids and has many different colors of the phalaenopsis type. I have one miniature one that I bought at Trader Joe's on a whim. I'm waiting to see if I can keep it alive before buying any more.


The plant visit was just what I needed. I'm really grateful to have such a lovely place to walk so close to home.

Knitting pictures tomorrow!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Franken-Mini Mania Scarf

Knitting socks creates a lot of scrap yarn. I knit a lot of socks. Thus, this:

Mini Mania Scarf (mine ravelled here),
knit in All The Yarn


I've knit one of these before, blogged here. The recipient said it could be a little bit wider, so I tried to make this one closer to 8" than 6". I did the large version, which is a row of 500 stitches. It's not fast, but it's pretty, and I think the intended recipient will love it.


The pattern suggests doing all the rows with the right side facing you. When you get to the end of the row, you cut the yarn--it later becomes fringe--and then slide your knitting so you can start at the opposite end again. I did that this time, and it makes a big difference. It's a linen stitch, and when you're looking at the right side, the stitches group themselves in tidy clumps of two. It's easy to see what should be knit and what should be slipped. It's not nearly as easy to see on the wrong side.

I have to admit, this doesn't make much of a dent in the scrap sock yarn stash. If anyone has some good ideas of projects that use up more scrap yarn, please tell!