Thursday, July 30, 2009


That is the elevation, in feet, of Mt. Whitney, up which my two feet were clad in these cozy socks. Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in California and also in the lower 48 states. I'm fairly certain I was the only hiker on Whitney in handknit footwear. We climbed over 6,000 feet in elevation during a 22-mile round trip hike to get there, but it was worth it. It even snowed on us!

We're in the lovely Sequoia National Park today and tomorrow, and then it's off to Portland and a summit of a very different nature!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Into the West

Here is little Johnathan, now four months old, teething, and finally getting to enjoy the cozy baby blanket I knitted for him on a 100+ degree day. Poor thing. He seems to like it, though. While I was quite capable of getting this knitted before he arrived, I was incapable of getting it in the mail or driving across town to get it to him for four months. How lame is that? Like a bad actor, lousy comedian or poky pizza guy, I need to work on my delivery.

Just a quick post to announce that posting may be hit or miss over the next two weeks. The day after tomorrow Jeff and I head to the southern Sierras in California for a week of site-seeing and hiking with my brother. I don't get to spend nearly enough time with him and I'm really looking forward to hanging out with my little bro in the great outdoors. And then, of course, it's up to Portland and The Summit.

This afternoon I dropped by The Knitting Nest to make sure I was all set with circulars and DPNs and yarn for the classes I'm taking. Fortunately, none of my classes require homework, but I do have to have all kinds of needle sizes and yarn types. It's a bit confusing. I have a few days to take care of last-minute things once I get up there, so I'm not terribly worried. I'm more worried that everyone else in the classes is going to be light-years ahead of me skill-wise and that I'll have trouble keeping up. I know this isn't true, but I have to worry about it anyway. That's just me.

I'll try to do a bit of blogging from the road, but if it happens it will be sporadic. Of course, I'll share in more detail upon my return. I'm so excited!


I finished the 14505 socks tonight, so I thought I'd add this to the post. The plan is to use these as hiking socks on the trip. Hopefully, I'll have some exciting shots of them in action on the trail in a week or so. Why am I calling these 14505 socks? You're welcome to guess, but if you do, please don't comment on this post and spoil the fun. Just email me directly (stevenself at Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Green Socks

I'm making some socks. And they're green. As students in my library would say, "I know, right?"

Now that you've recovered, I can give you a few more details. I'm making these for an upcoming hiking trip that Jeff and I will be taking with my brother. I didn't know Cascade made sock yarn (how didn't I know this?), but The Knitting Nest had a whole bunch of this green. It knits up wonderfully -- very sturdy -- perfect for hiking. Plus it's put up in 437 yd. hanks, so plenty of yarn for a lengthy pair of manly socks. AND it was only $12.00 What's not to like? This colorway is known as Mossy Rock. I like to think it's named after a Tacoma Public Utilities park where my family spent a very soggy Memorial Day weekend in the mid-1970s. I remember it raining a lot, catching tadpoles and garter snakes and keeping them in coffee cans, and laughing hilariously when I heard my mom's friend Gerri uttering the phrase "crap-ola" while playing cards.

I'm using the six-stitch pattern dimensions from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks, but I'm not following a particular pattern. I did a 24 stitch magic toe cast-on, increased to 72 stitches (my standard circumference), then started a 4x2 ribbing across the instep. I didn't want to work a short row heel, so I'm doing a heel flap where the flap is actually on the sole. It worked pretty well. I did a slip-stitch heel for reinforcement purposes, but I don't know that it's noticeable. I wanted to put these cool blast-from-the-past stripes in with some leftover KnitPicks Essential that I had, but I made the cuff too short, so what you see here is more than is what is on the needle now. I had to do some ripping back. But overall, I'm pleased.

I need to get this pair done before I leave next Saturday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Herz Broken

Do you remember the third Star Trek movie? It was the one between Star Trek II, where Kirk yells the immortal "Khaaaaaaaaan!" and the fourth one where they go back in time to San Francisco to save the whales. I thought so -- hardly anyone remembers it. One of the plot points involves getting Spock's soul out of Dr. McCoy and re-implanting it in Spock's body during a very rare and dangerous Vulcan ritual. The point of all this is the outfit Spock wears during this process. You see, I just made a cabled version of it.

Get a load of those shoulders. Yep -- I made that. I read some time ago that when looking at the modeled shots of knitted objects, one should pay special attention to the parts of the garment you can't see in the photos. In the photos for the Herz & Baum Vest in Guy Knits, the model is always wearing a jacket over the vest. You cannot see what the armholes look like. That's because, unless you're a linebacker, these armholes are going to stick out. I mean really stick out. Ridiculously far.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. I think I may just chalk this up to experience -- knit and learn. I put a LOT of work into this, but I'm not going to wear it if I'm going to look like a clown -- or a Vulcan going through fal-tor-pan. If anyone has any ideas -- besides donating this to Home for the Criminally Broad-Shouldered, please let me know.

To help get my mind off this colossal disappointment, I buckled down and finished the Sailor's Rib Socks that I made out of Malabrigo. Beautiful color, perfect match of yarn pattern to stitch pattern, and they fit wonderfully. So there.

Plus, I've got in mind another pair of socks that I want to knit for an upcoming special milestone. I'll share some of it, but I think I'll keep some of it back as a surprise. We'll see...

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I know y'all must get tired of hearing about these damned steeks. I am too. So they are now gone. Snipped, cut and forever divided.

I started the final process yesterday with Jene. She took a few whacks at the neck steek and did a great job. Then we went and had awesome hot and sour soup at the Bamboo Garden, which I can definitely recommend. Today, I finished up at The Knitting Nest where Julia snipped a few stitches, too. Here she is in action. Look at that steady hand!

When Staci clomped in, I got her to shoot a little video of steek cutting with my point-n-shoot camera. Listen to Staci's and my witty observations as you watch the horror that occurs when scissors meet knitted fabric. Seriously, folks. Just knit up a swatch, make a crochet steek somehwere in the middle of it, and then cut it in half. It will work, it will hold, and then when you need to apply this to real knitting life, you won't be scared. Well, you'll still be scared, but at least you won't faint. One hopes.

I started the neck band at the shop and then finished it when I got home. There's a little weirdness going on at the bottom of the neck where the decreases bring things to a point. I may have to do some structural weaving behind it to make it all work. It's just a little gappy.

I tried it on at the shop, and much as I expected, I looked rather obscene and BrĂ¼no-esque in it. Those of you who were at The Knitting Nest are probably wishing you could un-see that. Definitely not a pretty sight. The effect brought to mind a giant green braided sausage. But it's been soaked and stretched and will soon be ready to go. I promise a modeled shot once it's dry.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Call to Armholes

I didn't realize it until just now, but my last post was my 200th. Kind of hard to believe.

I'm still waiting to cut the neck steek, but I had a bit of time on my hands and I'm itching to get this thing done. I went ahead and added one of the armhole bands. I was anxious to see how the crocheted steek would hold during the process since I would have to pick up and knit just two stitches over from the crochet chain. No problems that I could see. It went fast, even if it was uncomfortable knitting with this thing on my lap while it was 100+ degrees outside.

While knitting, I watched a strange little movie called Fido. It's about an alternative 1950's America in which, after the end of a worldwide zombie war, zombies are used as personal servants. Quite strange and quirky -- kind of Night of the Living Dead meets Pleasantville. The 50s-ness is awesome. It's a little gory, but not as much as your average zombie movie.

But I digress. The picture on the left shows the inside of the armhole. The lighter color yarn is what I used to make the crochet chains between which the steek was cut. It's bunched up in a few places -- I think that's where I skipped a few stitches to make the number come out even around the armhole. Originally, I was thinking I would need to tack this down in some fashion, but it sees to naturally fold flat -- possibly because I picked up the stitches for the armhole band along a purl gutter in the pattern. I'm not sure if that was the intent, but it seems to have worked for me.

Although this looks like regular 2x2 ribbing, there are actually two small sections that for a few rounds are 3x3. Then that is decreased back to 2x2. These are are both down toward the bottom of the armpit. Why would you do that? Perhaps to give some ease or keep something from puckering, but it's just four stitches decreased over a total of 160. Could it really matter? Click on the top picture and see the note at Flickr that shows where this occurs. Go ahead -- live on the wild side.