Sunday, January 25, 2015

Deflect Reflection

This afternoon I finished up my latest pair of socks, from a pattern called Deflect.

In my previous post, I spent some time pointing out flaws. Not this time. Okay except for the odd unevenness in the picking up of the gusset stitches on the left sock. But besides that, I'm pretty happy.

I had a bit of panic toward the end of the second (or, right) one. Even though I thought I'd divided the hank evenly by weight when winding it into balls, I either mis-weighed or wasn't consistent with my tension. The first sock had several yards remaining when it was finished; I saw that the second sock was going to cut things closer. Much closer, it would turn out.

When I finished grafting the toe on the right sock I had exactly 5 inches left over. Barely enough to weave in the ends properly. I don't think I've ever cut a project so close. I still had the leftovers from the first sock, but having to use a scrap to finish up the toe would have been so demoralizing. I kind of dodged a bullet this time. That's what I get for ignoring the yardage listed in the pattern. It seems I got lucky this time. All's well that can be woven in well.

I like so much about this pattern. I like the fact that there is a left and right sock, and hope that I can remember that when wearing them. I can imagine looking down and seeing these cables snaking down into the inner sides of my shoes (shudder). I like how the cables split and their little cablet spawn continue twisting on their merry way down toward the toes. I worry that they might sag a bit doe to their sparse ribbing, but we'll soon find out. Overall, a cool pattern.

What's next? I'm thinking pillows. We just got a new duvet cover that has a lot of earth tones in it. Rather than try and find what a friend refers to as "show pillows," why not just make some? There a lot of great patterns out there in all kinds of shapes -- square, rectangular, hexagons, round, tubes. I've seen some stranded patterns that might be fun to play with. And the cable bug hasn't departed, so there may be a few more twists and turns in my near knitting future. I've also seen some good cabled pillow patterns out there. I'm toying with the idea of coming up with something on my own. If anyone has a favorite cable stitch dictionary or design book that you could fill me in on, I'd appreciate it.



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Deflect Defect

This week has been full of working on those little chores that get put off -- a little tree limb trimming, fixing the garage doors, catching up on housework. One of of my self-assigned tasks was to tidy up my knitting basket that I keep in the living room. In doing so, I found some yarn I'd purchased last spring and decided to use it for a new pair of socks.

The pattern is Deflect from the Deep Fall 2013 issue of Knitty. Most of the sock is straightforward, but the two socks are sided for specific feet, with a cable that runs down the outside of the leg down to the toes. This cable starts in the cuff ribbing and splits at the gusset, with half of it trailing off into the heel flap. The heel flap is half cabled, half slip-stitch. And this smooth Shibui Staccato yarn in the color Ash is perfect for it.

However, I got off to a rocky start. It probably had something to do with knitting while binge-watching Vikings, distracted by all the woven and knitted garments, among, um, other things. I swear I saw a woman putting out hanks of yarn in the Kattegat marketplace in the last episode of season 2. See how easy it would be to be distracted? In my daze, I left out two 8-round cable sections in the pattern. In the first picture here, there should always be two cables leaning in and then two cables leaning out. You can see that twice I left out the second leaning-in cable. So I ripped it back.

I paid more attention the second time, and it looks better now. Cables are so strange to work with. It can be difficult to discern from the charted pattern what the resulting design will be. In a pattern like this one , it doesn't really make much difference visually if a small error is made. But this was a pretty big error, and it did make a difference in length, which is how I caught it. The sock just looked a bit shorter than it should have. Plus, not fixing it would have bothered me to no end for as long as I'd owned these. Take that, Loki!

I'm getting down to about 16 rows left for the left foot and its cable before decreasing for the toes. I think I have enough yarn left. And then it's on to foot two, where I get to do all these fancy cables in mirror on the opposite side of the foot. Here's to more luck the second time. Skol!


Sunday, January 04, 2015

Grayscale Hat

Still jetlagging a bit from the trip home. I didn't have anything on the needles for the second half of our journey after finishing the cowl for my sister-in-law, but that was okay. We were so busy. But on the flight home I got fidgety. I felt stupid carrying knitting needles on a plane without any actual project on them
So when I got home, I got to digging through some odds and ends of yarn. I remembered that I had some leftover Shelter from the sweater I made for my brother last year (proudly, I can say that he wore it while I was there!) and figured I had enough to make a hat.
I found this four-stitch colorwork motif that I liked in Ravelry and figured I could adapt it. I've seen something similar in vintage ski sweater patterns from the 60s. I added an extra color change from the second color back to the original and had just enough. I'll put details in the notes at Ravelry later, but here are the basics:
I cast on 100 stitches. Originally, I tried 112, but that turned out too big -- you were right, Staci! She helped me unwind the colorwork I'd knit up so far. Which I think is the knitting equivalent of the sorority girl holding her sisters's hair back while she yaks. Or something like that. In any case, I appreciated the help.

I did eight rounds of 2x2 ribbing on size 6 needles, then switched to size 7 and knit two more rounds. Then I did the colorwork section, knitted two rounds plain, and then started the decreases. According to this neat hat decrease calculator I found, I needed 102 stitches to get six even sections of 17 stitches each, so I increased two stitches randomly just before decreasing. That kind of bugged me, but I'm trying to let that go.

The first time I tried the decreases, I neglected to note that I had to decrease on each side of the 6 markers. I only did it once. And despite my years of knitting experience, I didn't think it was weird that I had to draw the yarn through 54 stitches (!) to close the hat. But I sure thought it was weird when I had finished pulling the yarn all the way through. Plus the yarn snapped, which probably wouldn't surprise anyone who has worked with Shelter. It looked like the ribs on the top of a pumpkin. A quick instructional re-read set me straight, and I ripped it back and fixed it. Much better the second time around -- only 6 stitches to pull through! And it was perfect for the chilly dog walk this evening.
I like that I repurposed and re-used these scrap ends. I wonder what other little treasures might be lurking in bins, bags and boxes around here?