Sunday, August 27, 2006

Slow progress...

The progress on the Latvian mittens seems terribly slow, and I really had to push myself a little to get them finished. Finished but no thumbs, yet, that is.
I still like the pattern, but mailny because of the slow going caused by the level of detail, found myself wishing I would only have to make one mitten. But because I have no one-handed friends, I was forced to make two of them.

I have a feeling they will stay like this, until it gets cold enough to need mittens. A couple of months, that is. The first frosty morning, and I'll have all the motivation I need to finish them.

I've been working on a couple of other things, too, because only working on the mittens for several weeks would drive me nuts. I've made some progress on the sweater, but that is going to be another post. One thing I started was Fina hyrnan, also from the book "Three-cornered and Long Shawls":

It starts from the long edge with a provisional cast on, so the beginning is very slow... And as far as I can tell, the whole pattern has nothing too interesting in it, until you get to knit the border. But it's good TV knitting, and that's all I need right now. I got to spend all my detail-oriented energy on the mittens, and I'm done for a while. ;) Actually, the reason I picked this pattern was mainly that the size fit what I have left of this yarn. It's the same stuff I used for the Print O' the Wave, and I have less than it would take for a full size shawl.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Black Lace Socks

I have thought about posting the pattern for the secret socks that I flashed a little bit back in June.
My initial thought was to try and publish the pattern in an online magazine like I did the Wavy Socks, but I've held off on that for some reason, and finally decided to post it here. So this is what the rest of the sock looks like:

It's a delicate all over lace pattern, perfect for the time when you have to start digging out socks from the depths of your dresser. The stitches are decreased in the back of the leg a little bit to give a better fit, since the lace isn't all that stretchy. And here's the pattern:
Black Lace Socks
Lotta Breyer, 2006
Size: the pattern is for a size M (my shoe size is US 8.5 W or EU 39).
Yarn: Regia sock wool, 75 % wool, 25 % polyamide
Gauge: (stockinette stitch): 10 cm (4”) = 31 s or 45 rows
Needles: 2.5 mm
Cast on 68 s. Join in the round and knit in k1p1 rib for 13 rounds, twisting the knit stitches. Begin lace pattern according to chart, knit firsth round. Every other row is charted, and every other row is knit plain. During the 12th round begin decreases in the middle back of the sock. Decrease 1 stitch (alternate k2tog and ssk) every 6th round until you have 58 s left (10 times). Knit 9 1/2 repeats of the lace pattern (9*8 + 4 = 76 rounds).

In the chart:
Empty squares are knit stitches
O = yarn over
/ = k2tog
\ = ssk
Δ = slip 2 stitches together, k1, pull slipped stitches over knit stitch
Short row heel using 30 stitches. Decrease stitches until you have 10 stitches on both sides and 10 in the middle.
More detailed instructions for the heel:
Use the last 15 and first 15 stitches ( = 30 s) to knit the heel. Knit in stockinette stitch until you reach the last stitch of the 30. Slip the stitch to the right needle, bring the yarn to the front, and slip the stitch back to the left needle. Turn the work. Purl to the next to last stitch, slip the last stitch to the right needle, bring the yarn to the back and slip the stitch back to the left needle. Turn. Each time leave one more stitch, until you have 11 live stitches in the middle and 11 wrapped stitches on both sides. Start picking up the wrapped stitches one at a time at the end of each row, until all 33 stitches are live again. When you come to a wrapped stitch, pick up the wrapping yarn and knit it together with the stitch.
After the heel, pick up one stitch on both sides of the heel -> 60s. Continue knitting in lace pattern on top of the foot and in stockinette stitch in the bottom. Begin toe decreases on the 91st round after the heel or when 2.5 cm (1”) of your toes are still showing. Decrease every 10th stitch, 3 decreases on the top, 3 on the bottom side. Continue lace pattern for 8 ½ repeats after the heel or adjust to the length of your foot. Decrease again so that the decreases align on rounds 95, 98, 101 and after that every other round, until you have 12 stitches remaining. Cut the yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.
Copyright Lotta Breyer, 2006.
You may copy and use this pattern for your own personal use, but, please, don’t sell, distribute, or copy it for others without my permission.
Happy feet.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Summer gauge

You know how sometimes, when you put a project away for a while, and then return to it later, you can't seem to produce the same gauge any more? Well that's what happened to this today:

You might remember it from way back in April, when I got the front done. I had just started the back piece and then moved on to something else. I picked it up yesterday and knit about 7 inches to the beginning of the gabling. 46 rows, to be exact. And then measured it against the front piece -at least 2 cm (3/4 inches) too long! That was a little too much to deal with, so I ripped it back about half way, and am trying to tighten my gauge a bit.

Now I don't like frogging, and I know nobody does, but if there isn't an obvious mistake, or unless I know I'll never wear the garment, I leave it. (This gauge issue was quite obvious and would have become a problem during piecing the sweater together, so it had to be fixed.) I like neat finishes, and all, but not to the point that I would rip back a bunch for a small error that I know nobody will hardly ever notice. I don't think handmade items need to be factory perfect, I actually prefer the look of handmade (not the sloppy kind of my first hand knit hat on 4th grade, but the more unique, crafty, one-of-a-kind look that only a hand knit garment can have), and it makes me proud. I certainly wear everything I make for myself, and I don't really get knitting "for the closet". So all of this causes me to consider very carefully, whether to rip or not. On one hand, I don't want to create garments that are too ugly to wear, but I also don't want to rip to erase a tiny small error. It's all a balancing act...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bye, bye, heat!

I haven't completely forgotten that I have a blog. Really. We just have a visitor from Finland, namely my mom, and that has cut into my blogging time seriously. The weather took a turn for the better, and we've been spending some time sitting on the deck, knitting. This is what my mom was working on today:
They are called "the minister's socks" (Rovastin sukka), and old pattern she got from her aunt.

And this is me waving good bye to the heat that went east (you're welcome, all you folks on the East cost;)

There's no thumb as of yet, I'll finish those once I have both of the mittens ready:
And here's the inside, in case you were interested:

I thought I'd also take pictures of how I hold the yarn, since that is an issue for many of us doing color work and fair isle. Ms Grumperina brought up Nona's post and the issue of the "dominating" and the background color last week, and here's how I deal with it:

I hold both yarns in my left hand, the background color over my index finger as usual, and the dominating color on top, going over both the index finger and the middle finger. This way they stay organized and are easy to pick up and control. Here's picking up the top color (one hand is holding the camera):

I didn't completely ditch the idea of throwing the dominant color with my right hand, in fact I even tried it. But then, after thinking about it, it's just way too inconvenient and slow. I know that by practicing, I'd get faster, but there's just no way a technique, where you have to move your hand in circles all over the place, all the time, could be faster than, or as fast as a technique with very minute movements. Compared to throwing, my hand movements are tiny, and from now on I'll stick to my way of doing it.