To start out, I finally finished those Blue-Stripey Socks that I am in love with, and I am still in love with them! I think I got a bit too excited to finish the second one and may have started the toe a few rows before I should have, so it is a bit snug, but that's no problem. I also had no intention of trying to line up the stripes.
I took a few pictures to show the cuff and those fun loose stitches where the gusset meets the instep, aren't they cute? Here's how it went down:
Started: February 11, 2008, Finished: April 1, 2008
Yarn: 1 and 1/2 skeins of Knitpicks Felici sock yarn in "Atmosphere"
Needles: Knitpicks Harmony DPNs, size 0 (2.00mm)
Pattern: Basic sock construction (more detail below)
Finished Size: To fit my feet, I wear size 12 shoes
I loved knitting these socks. I thought I would be extremely bored knitting socks in plain stockinette, but I was always excited for the next color change and I actually enjoyed that I could bring them anywhere and kind of zone out while I was knitting because there was no pattern. For the cuff I knit 15 rows in a twisted rib (k1tbl, p1) and then I knit ten rows in plain stockinette before I started the heel flap. I did the heel flap in a heel stitch with three stitches of garter on either side for ease of picking up stitches for the gusset later on. All in all I think these socks are amazing. They are super soft and comfortable and seem to come with their own heat source. It's a bit strange, but they instantly warm my feet when I put them on. Wonderful! I knit most of the second one while on another tour around the Midwest. I knit in Wisconsin and Iowa and Nebraska... What a great way to spend 23 hours on a bus, I'll tell ya.
Down below I have what one would call a "swatch". That's right, I made one. After seeing BrooklynTweed's version of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Saddle-Shoulder Aran Cardigan I had to make one of my own. Of course, the pattern was more a set of guidelines. I liked the cables that Jared used on the back of his cardigan better than the ones in the pattern, but being new to all of this I couldn't figure out how they were made and so I went searching through my knitting books to find any cables that I liked that I could incorporate into the pattern. I think I did pretty well.
I am so glad that I knit this swatch. It was kind of a pain because I decided the best thing to do would be to draw out the entire chart for the swatch. This was, of course, after figuring out my "key number" and planning out the entire layout of my sweater. Well, I knit the swatch, washed and blocked it, and measured it. Turns out it was 4" smaller than I had predicted! No big deal. After a mini panic-attack, I did the math and figured out that I was going to have to add 46 more stitches to my sweater. I simply decided to make some of the cables larger and put more filler stitches in between them.
Who knew that planning to knit a cabled cardigan as your second sweater based on nothing more than a few sketches and a sparse set of directions would be so... (time consuming, difficult, stressful) fun? I think I can finally actually cast on to knit this thing, which I'm really looking forward to. I haven't really planned out the sleeves or any of that stuff yet, but at this point I think I'm just going to go with it and figure out how to make it work when I get there. The cardigan is knit in the round and then uses a steek to open it up. The swatch was annoying because I had to do cables on the wrong side, which just confused me. I am not longer using a cable needle and there will be no more of that wrong-side-cable-knitting for me! The color of the swatch is actually just leftover from when I knit BrooklynTweed's Cobblestone Pullover. I'm knitting this cardigan in a nice dark brown color and it is going to be amazing, just you wait! I'm done redrawing the larger cable patterns and am hopefully going to cast on sometime this week. More updates soon! (I hope...)
Speaking of BrooklynTweed, I am still chugging along on that Hemlock Ring Blanket. It is taking a rest right now as one of my Knitpicks harmony tips had a bit of a malfunction and I need to wait for the replacements to arrive. I suppose it happened at a good time, as it let me spend my time planning out this wonderful cardigan that I am most likely going to be working on through the hot summer days (what poor planning).
I don't think these have been seen yet. They are some cabled socks that I knit for my brother so that I could get more experience knitting socks and doing cables. Of course, I used a cable needle the entire time, which took a while, but I'm glad that I am free of that now. The socks are knit out of Knitpicks Ambrosia (which is now discontinued), and it is a blend of 80% baby alpaca and 20% cashmere. So, as you might imagine, I was a bit horrified to come home for my spring break to see them lying on the floor - pilling, covered in dirt stains, and being chewed on by my dog. Turns out my brother had just worn them on walk along the Mississippi River. This is what they look like now. I have no before picture to show how wonderful they once were (although they don't look entirely bad now. They just need to be washed and pampered.) I guess when he said he wanted nice, soft, warm, thick socks to wear around the house he was really hoping for a pair of sturdy, thick hiking socks. I'm using wool next time. ;)
To finish it off, here are a few action shots of those hideous green things that I made for my sister. The verdict? She LOVES them! She wore them for four days straight and kept talking about how warm and comfortable they were. It almost makes me feel bad for instantly throwing away all of the extra yarn that I had, but not bad enough to take it back out of the trash. I can't wait until I make her some socks out of yarn that is actually nice.