The Foot People

I’m visiting my mom in Southern California for the holidays. Her foot was hurting, so I took her to the podiatrist yesterday, bringing along my toe-up sock project. The nurse commented on it when she came in to get my mom ready, and then the doctor came in. She stopped, looked at the partially knitted sock, and exclaimed, “What is that??
“It’s a sock,” I replied.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hand-knitted sock,” she replied, interested. (This is LA, folks, not such a surprise.)
“They are wonderful to wear.  Very cushy” I said.
She came and looked at it, admiringly.

Later, after we left, it hit me. These are foot people. Of course they were interested in foot covers!

In other news, the toe-up socks are done, and gorgeous, if I might say.  The second of the fancy socks are underway. I am about to do the second dreaded partridge heel in two colors on Size 0 needles.

I’m aware that this is not very positive thinking.

And its rainy, and cold for here. Maybe I’ll wear some hand-knitted socks today!

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A Tale of Two Socks

I’m doing two different socks at the same time.  One is toe-up, a lovely sock yarn called Denali from Pagewood Farms.  Brandy approves mightily of this lovely yarn.

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The socks are for my cousin Marie, who showed me a pair of socks I had knit her a few years back (out of 100% wool, before I knew that having some nylon in the yarn makes it last longer) that had a bunch of holes in both socks.  I already knit her a pair for Christmas, but I felt as though another pair was in order for someone who so appreciated my socks that she still wears the holey ones as bed socks.  So, I pulled out Chrissy Gardiner’s Toe-Up book, and started on some ribbed socks — so nice to knit.

I love the heel on this sock!  When I do a heel-flap sock, I’m almost never all that happy with the picked-up stitches for the gusset.  It doesn’t matter if I knit into the back, pick up one or two loops of the stitch.  It just doesn’t feel substantial to me.  Not so with this toe-up version, which is ssk, or p2tog.  It looks neat and tidy, and comes together marvelously at the top, with no messing around to eliminate holes and gaps.  This may become my favorite heel!

Toe Up Socks2a

The other sock is a completely different kettle of fish.  It’s a toe-down, stranded sock on Size 0 needles.  The two colors are being used for almost the whole sock.  I’m doing a new-to-me heel flap – the partidge heel – with two colors on size 0 needles.  Does your head hurt yet?  Yep, so does mine.

I muddled through sock 1, which came out ok, and wearable.   These are destined for Afghans for Afghans, so someone will get probably the fanciest sock ever!

Fancy Socks1a

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A Christmas Wish


Most of us who gather in Bethlehem on this night
Are not the star seekers.
We’ve not traveled our dreams
Month after month, year after year,
Poring over predictions and promises.
Most of us sit on our hillsides
Tending our sheep,
Business as usual.
Oh, we’ve heard rumors of stars,
But we don’t really give ourselves to seeking
After all, there’s more than enough to do
In the daily tending.
We’re simply not on the lookout for stars,
Nor expecting any light in our darkness.
I suppose the important thing is,
In the light of the glory of the Lord,
To recognize the voice of an angel
And to get up
And in spite of our sheep
To go even unto Bethlehem
To see this thing that has happened.

by Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem

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Twist, for sure

The addiction continues. Twist has cast a spell over me, and I am helpless to resist. These popped over the weekend:

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And I caught this photo, and I didn’t even know that Izzie was there – kinda cool.
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The improvised pattern uses a tubular cast-on for 36 stitches, then do a mini-cable to go into 2×2 ribbing. I did another mini-twist at the beginning of the thumb gusset, which is done most in 1×1 ribbing.

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The cast-off for the hand is my switch out to a tubular cast-off, while the thumb gusset was done conventionally in pattern.

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One of these things is not like the other one

Blocking matters, even when you don’t think it will. I just finished a pair of Dash mittens. I blocked the first one so that I would know whether it would fit the intended recipient – I was worried that the wrist might be tight. It turned out ok, then I knit the other one. Here’s what they look like, left one is blocked, the right one isn’t:

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This shows that one can really shape things with wool. They don’t look like they are the same size to me, what about you? The blocked mitten is shorter and fatter (what I intended), and the cables have smoothed themselves into a wonderful swirling thing.

Off to block the other one now. Let’s hope for similar blocking magic!

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FO: Hap Blanket

I also have been working on an item for a baby – so fun to knit for them. This is meant not to be a keepsake, but a workhorse baby blanket that can go into the washer and dryer with no second thoughts. Easy on the Mom and Dad, and not-too-warm for the baby who will be living in a no-snow climate:

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Blanket Pattern: Hap Blanket by Ysolda (rav link), done with just one color. I’ve now done at least 5 patterns from her lovely Whimsical Little Knits Collection!

I think I’ll do a hat as well, probably my own Under the Big Top Hat in girly colors. (rav link)

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Just One More

I thought all the gift knitting was done with the matching hat for Verdigris. But then it got really, really cold for the SF Bay Area. Now I know all the East Coasters and Midwesterners are chortling at the thought of a high in the 50s, and low in the 20s qualifying as “really cold.” But let me remind you that we don’t build for this cold weather.

My office is in is on the first level of a church building built 100 years ago. Although earthquake renovations were done a number of years ago in the Sanctuary, my office looks like it was untouched, based on the lighting, carpet and electrical. The insulation for the office is almost non-existent. Single pane windows with wood casings, and little insulation on the floor and walls. The wall-heater was no match. I bumped it up to 70 degrees, but at my desk, I’m sure I was in the low 60’s on Wednesday. I only stayed in the office about 3 hours and came home to work – just not worth it.

While my church administrator was in a bit better shape that day (her office on the upper level, and a bigger heater), Thursday she reported that it was very cold. So, my idea yesterday of buying a skein of Malabrigo Twist to make these will probably be most welcome! And the pattern – the wonderful Dashing!

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This is a super-simple great pattern, but I was slightly worried about the tightness in the wrist with the cables pre-blocking, so when I finished the first one last night, I decided to wet-block it, and it seems to have come out a bit better. I don’t want it to be too snug.
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And may I say that maybe I’m just slightly addicted to the Twist yarn. I went back to my LYS, and all of the colorway that I had bought was totally gone. But the Purple Mystery colorway is very richly dyed, don’t you think?

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I’ve frogged the cowl that I made because I realized it was my colorway, not the giftee’s, so there is about 1 1/2 skeins of it in my hot hands. I need some handwarmer fingerless mittens (Dash #2?), so I’ll probably make those, and sleep with the rest under my pillow.

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Pattern: Verdigris Matching Hat (free)

I finished the Verdrigris Mittens back in the summer, and along the way, I got the notion that I wanted to do a hat in addition to the mittens for a set. But there was no way there was enough yarn to complete them, so I pondered a lot. Finally, I just bit the bullet, found some yarn and made a hat:

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The edging is in a lovely Merino Tencel superwash in a fingering weight from Tactile Fibers, and the rest of the hat is Inca Gold from Berrocco, which is merino and silk. Both yarns have the merino but also the shine. The stitch count is changed from the edging to the body of the hat to accommodate the change in gauge. I didn’t even swatch this, and I’m pretty darned happy with the result.

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I think it makes a lovely set, and it only took one skein of Berroco Inca Gold to complete the set in a sophisticated way!

Pattern here:
Verdigris-Matching Hat

This pattern uses the stitch pattern from the lovely Verdigris fingerless mitten pattern by Rosemary Hill, published in the Summer 2009 issue of Knitty. The stitch pattern, which apparently comes from a Japanese stitch dictionary, is quite lovely.

After I knit my own mittens for a gift, I still had yarn leftover, and decided to knit a coordinating hat to go with the mittens. I used a merino-tencel fingering weight for the mittens, and found a lovely merino-silk worsted weight (Berroco’s Inca Gold) that also has a shine to match the merino-tencel yarn.

I used about 150 yards of the fingering weight leftovers, and one skein of Inca Gold to make the hat. You’ll need to download the directions for the Verdigris pattern from Knitty, as I am only referencing them for this free pattern.

Materials
150 yards of fingering weight yarn
130 yards of worsted weight yarn
Size 2 needles (either 5 8-inch double points, or 16 or 24-inch circular needle)
Size 5 needles (either 5 8-inch double points, or 16 or 24-inch circular needle)
Stitch marker
Darning needle

Directions
Cast on 81 stitches with the smaller needles using the waste-yarn crochet cast-on in the Verdigris pattern on Knitty. With project fingering weight yarn, continue the tubular cast-on in the pattern, resulting in 162 stitches in the round.

Brim
Follow the first 8 rows of the ribbing pattern, then knit the first 16 rows of the Pattern Chart in the Verdigris pattern.

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Switch to worsted weight yarn – (in this case, Inca Gold in a coordinating color), and to the larger needles.
Round 1: * k1, k2tog * repeat between * * for entire round. 108 stitches.
Round 2: Knit.
Round 3: * Knit 9, M1 * repeat between * * for entire round. 120 stitches.
Continue to knit every round until the hat measures 7 inches from edge.

Crown
Round 1: * k2togtbl, k9 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Rounds 2 and 3: Knit.
Round 4: * k2togtbl, k8 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Rounds 5 and 6: Knit.
Round 7: * k2togtbl, k7 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 8: Knit.
Round 9: * k2togtbl, k6 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 10: Knit.
Round 11: * k2togtbl, k5 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 12: Knit.
Round 13: * k2togtbl, k4 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 14: Knit.
Round 15: * k2togtbl, k3 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 16: * k2togtbl, k2 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 17: * k2togtbl, k1 *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 18: * k2togtbl *, repeat between * * for the entire round.
Round 19: Repeat Round 18.
Cut yarn, leaving 6-8 inch tail. Weave in ends.

Soak in tepid water for 20 minutes, block over a small bowl or balloon.

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