Thursday, February 21, 2008
yummy yarn
You might remember the sock yarn I won in a blog contest awhile back (hand-dyed by Melanie of Lotus Yarns). Well, I recently started knitting it up and wanted to share how much I love the yarn! The color is gorgeous and it's easy to knit. Now I can retroactively say that the Brown Sheep Wildfoote I used on my Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib socks was terrible in comparison - very splitty and a bit of a chore to deal with. Who needs that when you can knit with an enjoyable yarn that's beautiful to boot?

On the subject of blog contests...I entered quite a few lately and have actually won several. Not everyone follows through with sending prizes but I can't complain since I feel lucky to even have won any. Here's another great contest from KnittingGal for two knitting books: Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
it's here, it's here! sundara sock yarn eye candy...
top to bottom: "Toasted Orange over Pistachio", "Marina over Icicles", "Green Tea"

a valentine for you
I adore Marie Claire Idées magazine and they recently started a blog. Not knitting-related, but I thought it worthwhile to share this sweet valentine which you can download and print out (click on the link "cliquer ici"). Even though it's in French, it's easy to figure out from the blog photos.

I'm still anxiously awaiting my Sundara order - hopefully it will arrive today. I'll post photos as soon as it gets here!

Sunday, February 10, 2008
yarn store review
Had a great weekend shopping, playing, and eating! But since this is a knit blog, I will just share my LYS reviews. These are just my general first impressions - I spent less than 30 minutes in each store because I didn't want to keep hubby waiting for too long. Sorry it's not a complete set of shop photos either...I didn't even think to take any and found out later that hubby took these storefront pics.

a selection of my fabric purchases

Purl (warehouse)
Because this is their warehouse, the employees are quite busy, but they are friendly and happy to pause and point you toward what you're looking for (i.e. this is not the place to go if you need a lot of attention and want to chat). I suggest going to their website first and making a list of what you want since there isn't really any signage. You can, however, browse the fabric bolts pretty readily which, as you can see, is what I did. Since this was my first stop and I had just ordered some Sundara yarn the day before (more on that later), I completely refrained from making any yarn purchases here. That wasn't easy as I finally got to see and feel some Manos Silk Blend - very nice! The space is a converted office and located in a business park so not much else in the immediate area to visit, but it's within a short driving distance of other attractions in Orange County.



araucania sock yarn

cool ribbon

Big, well-lit store, helpful employees, large variety of well-known brands (e.g. Koigu, Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Manos, Noro, Lorna's Laces), as well as less usual brands (e.g. Ozark, Twisted Sisters, Kollage). Good sock yarns (including Noro which I don't remember seeing in any of the other stores I visited) and a nice selection of ribbon, too.



pagewood farm sock yarn

Their cozy space, friendly owner/employees and customers, and Gracie the greeter (dog) made this shop one of my favorites. If I lived in the area, this would probably be the LYS where you would find me hanging out and knitting. Lots of Malabrigo and Blue Sky, also saw Ozark handspun, Tilli Thomas, Schaefer, Alchemy, and wonderful sock yarn selection including Rio de la Plata and Pagewood Farm. They offer to wind your purchases into yarn cakes, too. Two swifts are set up diagonally from two giant ball-winders - I wish I had the camera with me while I was there as two hanks were being wound with the yarns crossing each other - an impressive sight.


They had signs up saying they were going to remodel and much of the furniture was labeled for sale so maybe their yarn selection was limited by this. I saw several European brands like Anny Blatt, Lana Grossa, Filatura, Bouton D'Or, some novelty yarns like Trendsetter, also some Noro. I can't remember much else except the store was pretty small. Perhaps a revisit is in order once their remodel is complete. The store is on Montana Street with lots of other shops and restaurants so still worth checking out. And actually the other two Santa Monica stores are also in nice neighborhoods with nearby businesses that you can visit once you've gotten your fill of yarn (what? is that actually possible?).


A Mano
I saw on their website that they carry Socks That Rock so was excited to check that out. Unfortunately, there were only two hanks left of one color - I found out they've been anxiously awaiting a new shipment but wouldn't be getting one until June. They had other good sock yarns including Shibui and a great variety of Cascade-brand yarns. Also saw Malabrigo, Encore, Noro, Trendsetter, Southwest Trading Company among others. I'm not as familiar with Venice so not sure if there are other stores/restaurants nearby to visit. The area was not as chi-chi as Santa Monica but that doesn't mean there might not be hidden gems in the vicinity. We were getting pretty tired so didn't wander around to check.


There are so many yarn stores between San Diego and L.A. that I still want to check out but they will have to wait until the next trip!

Friday, February 08, 2008
finished socks

Not blocked yet, but here are the socks I was working on. This isn't a pattern so much as a record of what I did since I only have one size, but I'm sure you can figure out the adjustments needed for other sizes.

2/22/08 EDIT: corrections on gusset (repeat the two rounds 11, not 23 more times) and heel flap (M1R instead of M1L)

Toe-up, Two-at-a-time, Magic Loop, modified Cloverleaf Rib Socks

Size: Woman's 8 (could probably fit up to a size 8 1/2 or 9 since they turned out a bit loose)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote
Gauge: 8 sts and 11 rows/1" in stockinette
Needle: 47" Circular, Size 1 (2.25 mm)

M1R = Make 1 Right
M1L = Make 1 Left

Both Feet:

Working magic loop, cast on 24 (12 on each needle) for each foot - I use Cat Bordhi's version of Judy Becker's Cast-On which you can see here. She doesn't mention it in the video, but I noticed that she wraps one of the needles differently so the stitch mount is the same for all stitches and there's no need to knit into the back of any stitches.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: K1, M1R, K to last st on 1st needle, M1L, K1; repeat on 2nd needle - 28 sts

Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 until 56 sts total

Left Foot:

Round 17: Knit
Round 18: K1, M1R, K to end of 1st needle; K to last st on 2nd needle, M1L, K1 - 58 sts

Repeat Rounds 17 & 18 two more times

Right Foot:

Round 17: Knit
Round 18: K to last st on 1st needle, M1L, K1; K1, M1R, K to end of 2nd needle - 58 sts

Repeat Rounds 17 & 18 two more times

Both Feet:

Start modified Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib (from Barbara Walker's Treasury) on instep sts only (1st needle); knit all sole sts (2nd needle)

Rounds 23, 25, 27, 28: P1, *K5, P1; repeat from * to end of 1st needle
Round 24: P1, *K1, yo, slip 1 kwise, K2tog, pass slipped st over, yo, K1, P1; repeat from * to end (mod note: if I understand the glossary correctly, BW says to slip the st purlwise, but I found that slipping it knitwise looked better - you be the judge)
Round 26: P1, *K2, yo, ssk, K1, P1; repeat from * to end

Repeat Rounds 23-28 eight times until sock length approx 2 1/2" less than desired (for me, I stopped when the length was 6 1/2")

Create Gusset:

Round 1: continue in pattern for instep sts; for sole sts, K1, M1R, K to last st, M1L, K1 - 33 sts on sole
Round 2: work even

Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 11 more times until 55 sts on sole

Turn Heel:

Work instep sts, make note of the round of eyelet rib patt worked (for me Rd 1); work heel sts back and forth:

Row 1 (RS): K 37, M1R, K1, w&t
Row 2: P22, M1R, P1, w&t
Row 3: K20, M1R, K1, w&t
Row 4: P18, M1R, P1, w&t
Row 5: K16, M1R, K1, w&t
Row 6: P14, M1R, P1, w&t
Row 7: K12, M1R, K1, w&t
Row 8: P10, M1R, P1, w&t - 63 sts on heel

Now on RS work around, knitting across heel, picking up and knitting wraps; then work instep sts in patt

Heel Flap:

Go back to working back and forth on heel sts only: K 47, picking up and knitting wraps, ssk, turn without wrapping; then:

Row 1: Slip 1, P31, P2tog, turn without wrapping
Row 2: (Slip 1, K1) 16 times, ssk, turn without wrapping

Repeat these 2 rows 13 more times - 34 sts on heel

There will be one more st that needs to be worked but it will be done after going around the instep (this is to prevent a hole where the heel flap meets instep sts); at the same time, two sts will be increased on back of leg to accommodate the pattern: work instep sts in patt; K2tog, M1R, K to last st, M1L, K1 - 35 sts on back of leg (formerly the heel), 31 sts on instep


Work in patt on both needles but on back of the leg, drop the first and last purl stitches.

Continue until 1/2" short of desired length; switch to K1, P1 rib for 5 rounds; bind-off loosely (I used a Size 3 needle)

Thursday, February 07, 2008
happy new year!
I couldn't find any nice photos in honor of the year of the rat, so here are some fun knitting related ones instead: a cute knitted rat and a rat sweater. Who would have thought?

We're off to visit my brother in L.A. and have an early birthday celebration for hubby this weekend. His birthday is February 14 so we usually avoid the Valentine's Day crowd and pick a different weekend to go out. I plan to visit some yarn stores while we're up there. I wish we had done that when we stayed with my brother for a few days to get away from the wildfires here. I must have been too overwhelmed to even think about yarn or knitting during that period but now regret that I didn't seize the opportunity - I'm sure I will be making up for it!

I'm really getting sick of the socks I have been knitting so will try to bind off and get photos and pattern posted tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, February 01, 2008
finally overcoming my inertia
I'm sure the few blog readers I had have stopped visiting since I haven't posted in so long, but I'm back again with the holidays over, in-laws gone, and my husband almost fully recovered after a horrible cold, i.e. I'm finally sleeping soundly through the night!

Knitting updates...I finished knitting my CPH and need to sew the sleeves on, knit a cute little purse which still needs blocking and a fabric lining, and started a pair of socks which I'm making up as I go along. Pictures to follow. In the meantime here are some fun knitting-related items I've come across on the web recently: a yarn tattoo and newspaper yarn.