Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kool Haat

I finished the Koolhaas Hat this weekend. I can't believe I did this in only five days. It seems that most of my recent projects have languished interminably -- it was nice to be able to knock one out fairly quickly.

I loved this pattern. It looks complicated, but is fairly simple to follow. In fact, it looks way harder to make than it is.

The pattern called for a slightly smaller yarn than I used, the result being a hat this is almost too big for my ginormous head. The ribbing comes down a little further than I would like, making me look a bit like Tony Curtis dressed as Josephine in Some Like It Hot. I'm going to have to practice pursing my lips.

Note to self: Explore possible reasons why I knit things that look like pineapples.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Jeff and I went hiking at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area today. We had been wanting to do something beyond the around-town walking we'd been doing during the break, and Jeff had never been to Enchanted Rock. We tried to go years ago, but we picked a date when it was closed for hunting(!) I suspect that has something to do with this place being labeled a "State Natural Area" rather than a "State Park." We took a windy route, heading out to Johnson City and then taking Ranch Roads and county roads through places like Willow City and Crabapple. I lost count of the cattle guards we crossed.

It was lovely today, if a bit windy. And by "a bit windy," I mean gale-force winds that nearly knocked us down and did some very goofy things to our floppy hats. We both had to chase our hats at various times -- luckily, they never landed in any prickly pears. We started by hiking around the park on the 4 mile loop trail, and then we went up to the top.

I first visited Enchanted Rock nearly 30 years ago, when it was still in private hands. I remember the way to the top was indicated by spray-painted arrows directly on the rock. Times change -- no more spray-paint, and it took me a little more huffing and puffing to get to the top. Still, we beat some teenagers, which did my (figurative) heart good. My actual heart took a bit of a beating. Afterwards we headed to Fredericksburg and grabbed some lunch and a Cowboy Cookie from Rather Sweet Bakery, then headed home.

Oh yeah, this is a knitting blog. The Kohle Socks are still underway. They are about 75% done, but I'll save any pictures for when they are completed. And yesterday I got a bee in my bonnet to work on a Koolhaas Hat. I've had one in mind since I got a copy of the Holiday Special Interweave Knits last winter. I picked a slightly thicker and cheaper yarn than the yak (yes, yak) that the pattern calls for, so I'm going to have to do some modifying. Mostly, I'm going to make the ribbing a little shorter than called for and will perhaps repeat the pattern one less time than instructed. We'll see. There is lots of cabling, but since it's only one stitch held either forward or back, I can handle it without a cable needle. And all the knit stitches are knit through the back of the loop to make the cables pop more.

I'm using Mission Falls 1824 Wool (superwash merino) for this. I've always admired this when I've seen it in shops. Love the colors. It would make an awesome, if a bit pricey, sweater. I seriously need to do a color check with my camera. This is very ashy-grey looking, whereas the actual color (Heath) is a deep, dark green. Green and blue seem to be screwed up on my camera.

This is a really neat design. And it warms my still-rapidly-beating heart to think that the design of this hat was inspired by a library.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hanky Panky

Thursday morning, I met Hank.

Yes, he's just as cute as he looks in this picture. If not more so. I think Jeff and I woke him up from a nap when we got to the store. He was moving kind of slow and letting out some squeaky little yawns. But he was soon in full puppy form, chewing on shoe-laces, sniffing shoes and putting up with a lot of luvin'. Personality plus, we'd say. I'm really looking forward to watching him grow up in the store. Right before we left, Stephanie showed up to pick up where we left off. I imagine he's not going to be lacking attention for quite some time!

Oh, and since we were in the shop, I picked up some more Cascade 220 to make a pair of clogs for Jeff. I'm going to use the same navy color for the cuff and the sole as I used on my pair, but the top color is going to be a gray-ish blue.

And the Kohle Socks are moving right along. Most patterns I have call for doing the decreases for the gussets one stitch over from the end of the row. I think for aesthetic (and possibly structural) reasons, it's not a good idea to decrease on first or last stitch on the needle. However, following the instructions, I found that this gave me a 3-knit-stitch rib on the outer edges of the instep, instead of a 2-knit-stitch rib, like all the others. So the instep ended up looking like:

k3, p2, k2, p2.....p2, k2, p2, k3

Then, I had a revelation. Since I was doing this using magic loop, and not on dpns, I could move the decrease over one stitch. I was in the middle of a needle, so it didn't matter. And this would give me 2x2 ribbing all the way across the instep. Duh! So, at the point of almost having finished the gusset decreases, I decided to rip back. Mayhem ensued. Stitches were dropped. Curse words were muttered. I ended up having to rip back to the cuff and re-doing the heel flap, the turn AND the gusset. Sigh.

I like the big wide stripes. The heel and turn almost totally took up a brown and a black section, except for a half a round that came across the instep. You can see this in the picture. Rats. But the Eye-of-Partridge heel worked out pretty well. Kind of hard to see, but I know it's there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kohle Mine

It didn't take long to find a new project.

This is the beginning of a pair of socks knit with Austermann Step -- the stuff with jojoba and aloe vera in it. I'm not sure if I buy that this guards against dry skin (the foot version of this?), but I like wide-striped socks and this one has just the dark and gloomy colors I love. The colorway, #23, is called Kohle, which the Google translator renders into English as Coal. Here's a tiny picture of what it looks like all knit up. I'm just doing a basic 2x2 rib sock on size 1 needles, with 72 stitches cast on. I'll probably carry ribbing down the top of the instep, and I'm thinking of doing an Eye of Partridge heel. I've only done that once before, and they were on the one pair of socks I've given away.

We're on break between semesters, so I had a wonderful time being lazy and knitting. The weather was nice enough that I could do quite a bit outside -- until the mosquitoes found me. Still fishing around for a "big" project to work on. And I know that I have to get down to The Knitting Nest sometime this week to meet the new store dog, Hank!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Classics Rocked

I finished the Classic Socks today. I didn't expect to when I started idly knitting this morning. I fiddled with them for a while, then went for a walk down to Lady Bird Lake with Jeff, fixed some lunch, made a weed wiper (courtesy of our local county extension agent's website) so I could selectively poison some irritating flora, did a little weeding, watered some plants, weed-wiped aforesaid flora, took a shower (finally!), and then sat down (many many hours later) to pick up where I'd left off.

When I counted, it turns out I'd bypassed the starting point for the toe decreases by four rounds. That so rarely happens with me -- I'm usually counting and re-counting and can't wait until the "boring part" of the sock is done. A little frogging was in order, but before I knew it, toes were decreased, eight remaining stitches were Kitchenered, and I had new springtime green socks on my feet.

So now I'm in limbo again. I've got some things I'd like to start, but don't have the yarn for them. And I'm not exactly in the mood for shopping for yarn. I'm confident this little block will pass quickly, but until then, I'll be flipping through Ravelry, books and magazines. Oh, and I'll probably get some socks started, if for not other reason to have something going. When I said I don't have yarn, I meant non-sock yarn. As my friend Stephanie says, sock yarn doesn't count as stash. Everyone knows that, right?

Nature note: Today, a turtle peed on my foot.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hooked on Classics

I'm moving along on the Classic Socks from The Knitting Man(ual). I haven't had as much time to work on these as I'd like in the last few weeks. It's getting to be the end of the semester, and our chorus is gearing up for a concert in a few weeks. And since Jeff and I are trying to be really good about walking (195 miles so far this year!) and keeping the yard presentable, some things I really love, like knitting and reading, suffer. But I had some relaxing time to work on these today. It was a gorgeous day here in central Texas -- cool morning, sunny, breezy, dry, and few mosquitoes. I felt I really had to sit outside and just soak some of it in. Heavenly.

I got the Summer issue of Interweave Knits in the mail yesterday. I really like the Brick Pullover, which is either a cleverly designed sweater, or a phrase that Elizabeth Taylor shouted at Paul Newman in a deleted driving scene from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I'm intrigued by how everything above the brick pattern on this sweater is an extension of the sleeves, so that the knit stitches appear to be sideways, with the "v"s running horizontally, rather than vertically. You can see the seam in between the shoulder blades in the center picture at the link above. I think it's kind of a neat idea. And this is a "summer sweater" (that phrase still cracks me up), so the recommended yarn is a cotton/bamboo blend. I don't know if I'll do that, but it might be fun to try. Just some sweater day-dreaming...

For some of my younger readers who might not get the pun in the title of this blog entry, or indeed, for some of my older readers who might have forgotten, check out this Wikipedia article. This stuff used to be on the radio all the time way back when...