Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Flies

Earlier this spring I bought a new road bike. I've been riding an average of five days a week. This has meant less time for knitting and spinning. At first, I was concerned about this. As I got more time on my bike, I realized that I had been needing a serious break from writing sock patterns, knitting and spinning. I had become seriously burnt out and that was a bigger threat to my continued interest in these things than giving myself a much needed break to recharge.

I rode my bike a lot as a teen. I'm one of those rare Californians who didn't get a driver's license the minute I turned 16. My bike was my transportation. I loved the freedom it gave me. I gave up my bike when I moved to San Francisco in the 70s because I'd had too many close calls with cars. San Francisco wasn't remotely bike friendly then. I love the way I feel on my bike; I'm using my own power to explore my surroundings. Cycling requires a set of skills in the same way that knitting and spinning require. The more I practice the better I become at it. I've also come up with some ideas for new sock patterns while I've been out on the road. I wouldn't have come up with these if I wasn't out on my bike.

Now when I knit or spin, I enjoy it more. I'm no longer feeling that I have to produce constantly in order to be a "real" knitter or spinner. I know that I am those things and I feel good about that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Not socks

Dervish fingerless mitts I love the images I've seen of Sufi whirling. The cable in these mitts remind me of this movement. These started life as an idea for a sock that just didn't work. I couldn't let go of wanting to use this specific cable. I just couldn't figure out where else I could use it. So the unwearable socks languished hidden in a drawer for about six months. (And, I do mean socks; I had to knit a pair to prove to myself the design really didn't work.) I moved on and worked on other designs. One night while doing mental inventory of my designs, the idea of using the cable in fingerless mitts hit me.

DSC_0224 I knit these out of A Verb For Keeping Warm Creating in Supernova on US #1/2.25 mm needles. They use less than a 100 gram skein of yarn and are fast to knit.

DSC_0226 The only tricky bit is the cable. It is a ribbed cable over 11 stitches. An 11 stitch cable is a bit tight to work on the cross simply because of the number of stitches crossing one another. Because it is worked over an odd number of stitches some of the knit stitches become purls and some purls become knits. If you follow the directions, it works--you just need to forget what your brain tells is logical and trust that it works as written.

Dervish was test knit by members of the Free Pattern Testers Ravelry group. Michael Del Vicchio provided the technical editing. The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knitting from the stash

Socks That Rock Mediumweight Mesa I went stash diving a month or so ago and re-discovered this Socks That Rock medium weight yarn in Mesa that I bought at Stitches West 2006. Socks That Rock was the buzz of the knitting blogosphere that year. This small company out of Oregon seemed to have come out of nowhere, was represented by The Fold at Rhinebeck 2005, and was suddenly the most sought after yarn in the world. And I had to have some.

I got to Stitches early Saturday morning and immediately headed for the Blue Moon booth. It was nearly empty--in that, there was very little yarn to be had. All of the light weight STR was sold out. There were a few skeins of medium and heavy weight STR left. There were plenty, relatvely speaking, of skeins of Seduction, a merino/tencel blend that wasn't named after types of rocks. I walked away with the Mesa STR and two skeins of Seduction--Prove It All Night, which became a Swallowtail shoulder shawl and Lucy in the Sky. Lucy in the Sky is still in my stash waiting to become something fabulous.

STR Mesa detail This yarn tried to be many things. In the end, it worked best as a variation on my Basic Shaped Arch Sock pattern. I used US #2 needles and cast on 56 stitches. The ribbing is a 1x1 twisted stitch rib. I mixed up the heel a bit by using eye of the partridge instead of a standard heel stitch. I love the way eye of the partridge looks with hand painted yarns that have a lot going on color-wise.

STR Mesa detail I also love the way the triangle that is formed by the gusset and the arch shaping really highlights the angles the yarn is going in. This was a fast sock to knit compared to the socks I usually knit on US #1 or #0. I really like the way they turned out. I think this will be my fall back pattern for all of the really colorful hand painted yarn in my stash.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A new addition to the collection

Adrienne detail


Please welcome Adrienne into my small, but growing, collection of sock patterns. I named these in honor of my friend Adrienne, who is fun, warm, giving, and a very important person at A Verb for Keeping Warm.

I used A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna for this in the color Vermilion. Adrienne features left and right twisted cables in the cuff that continue down the side of the leg and travel across the instep, mirroring the arch shaping. The yarn is a yummy blend of merino, cashmere and nylon. I knit these on US #2/2.75 mm needles.

I was inspired by the many variations I've seen of socks with clocks. Plus, I wanted a design that really allowed the yarn to be the star. I wanted to incorporate arch shaping since I like the way that shaped arch socks fit. It took me several attempts to get the cables integrated with overall design. Needless to say, these were ripped back to the heel flap numerous times (the yarn held up beautifully!) before the cables looked right to me.

While not a complicated sock to knit, you do have to keep track of quite a few stitch markers while shaping the arch and cables. I'm not a big fan of a ton of stitch markers but just didn't see how else to keep track of arch stitches that move as well as cables that travel. A bit of disclosure here: I typically knit my socks using 5 double-point needles and arrange my stitches so I don't have use so many stitch markers. If you choose to follow my lead, be sure to keep the markers for the arch shaping and the traveling cables on the instep.

This pattern has been test knit. Technical editing was provided by Michael Del Vicchio.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's been awhile

The design bug has bitten me again.

Knitting patterns necessary equipment Coffee is definitely a necessary part of my design kit.

Design notebook A few stitch dictionaries for inspiration plus my graph paper notebook.

Design notebook A scrawl of notes.