Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mail and a new planned project .... or is that old

Sock, my widdershins variation sock for Chris is done, well one sock of the pair. The fitting formulae worked well, these socks are snug, but fit well. Maybe a little to snug, so these could be mine and he might get another pair with 4 more stitches. I have another 100 g, but had planned to knit me some jaywalkers so there was no confusion when his and hers came out of the wash together.

I had initially swatched as I went, and got 62 stitches, which he felt was to loose, so dropped to 58, but know that it should have been 60, maybe he has water retention? Do guys get that? I am also thinking the gusset increase on each side should be around 1/4 of the total number of sock stitches, I worked it out to be 35% of K, making the increase 20 stitches, or 10 each side. Given how firm it is I wonder if increasing to to 50% would be better. For this sock that is 14 stitches not 10. We will see. I like the idea of having a formulae for socks like Elizabeth Zimmermans sweater precentages. The yarn is much less blue that this image shows, more black, more grey, but early evening light, and colours transform.

Fish count (N= 66) and one third , I knit one from sock yarn, one white and one orange, then repeat, which keeps it interesting. In an evening I can knit around 3 or 4 fish, slow progress at 3" each. I did have a slight hicup for some fish, when increasing for the tails and casting off at 21 stitches, something twigged, and I checked the pattern - only to discover that tails have 23 stitches. Still I can't isolate the few which are slightly smaller of tail, so should get away with it in the final blanket.

Well I got mail today, which was really nice. From Brittany, around january I while using one of my new brittany 2.25mm 5inch knitting pins, it broke. I was saddened, I loved using them, and contacted Brittany about a replacement. Its been a while, but I forgive them totally the wait as they sent me a whole new set of five! Now I have 9. How wonderful is that? Even more wonderful is the package it arrived in, all the way from CA USA, air mail, 5 woooden needles wrapped in a twist of white paper and placed carefully inside this tube, then the ends were folded in and look no tape, no staples, no shrink wrap, nothing to prevent fall-out, and yet all 5 needles arrived safe.

Early 2006 I knitted this sweater, a design as you go, inspired by the rash of cabled hoodies and such out there on the net. Well I decided I wanted a long sweater, a cardie with a zip, and inches of ribbing. This was the sweater where i learned to knit continental instead of combination. For some reason when knitting combination i experienced terrible rowing out that i couldn't fix. I cruised thru the 5 and a half inches of ribbing around the hip, i shaped in at the waist, and out for the hips. I made huge chunky turn back rib cuffs, deep ones. I knitting in a sleeve cable that ran up and across the saddle shoulder, I had fun shaping it all in one with no seams. I was introduced to a great book by Kathearina Buss called the Big book of knitting, by Fran of knitters review fame. I found the perfect way to insert a zip using a knitted on facing on both sides - completely hiding the zip tape. Do I look good in it - NO. Nitch, nadda, no-way, not on your life, never, not in a million, got to be joking way.

Long line heavy zips bubble, expecially in knit, I should have known that, this sweater needed to be a jersey not a cardie. When I wore it, the zip below the waist bounced out, giving me a belly, well I do have a belly, any woman who eats and has kids has a belly of some type. This resulted in a round, 4-5" extension ball like belly - completely hollow and uber unflattering. This was in the category of I love the idea and was really proud of my achievement, but I sure couldn't go out in public wearing it. And I'm from Dunedin, the centre of dark, intellectual fashion, this cardie was one of my first forays into a 'pretty' colour. My brave move to lighten and brighten up for winter was lost deep inside my knits drawer the whole winter

But I love it above the waist, so I am planning to snip it appart at the waist and knit on the ribbing again, making a much shorter jacket. This involves, snipping, undoing (tinking?), and washing the yarn to make it ready to knit again. A slow project, for which I am building courage. much courage.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

deadline - sorry blog soon

I have no images, a little camera in the wrong place problem, and a deadline to meet. I have an abstract accepted to this conference, which is really exiting. I'd be away for my birthday, and with 400 others teaching in the area of design. But need to finish writting the paper and upload it by end of saturday.
Off to do that, will blog sunday if possible - otherwise usual wednesday blog entry to catch up.
Sole sock fitting theory working out well, sock fits, report comming soon.

My finished fish count is now 48, but given they are only 3" long, I will need many many more fish.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sock size theory - testing

Valantines day, and little red heart lollies served with breakfast, yesterday was our 19th Wedding anniversary ( I swear I must have been a child bride - it can not have been that long - I am not that old) so that had priority in this house. Good bubbly and a really nice meal.

I finished Poppy's toe up gusset heel socks, based on the Widdershins pattern (see earlier blogs). My children are well used to me asking for them to pose in knitted items by now. And Poppy is at that age when she hams it up for the camera. Very different to my near adult students who avoid the lens side of a camera at all costs.
Mini widdershins sock details - to fit a 4 and a half year old girl, with a little ease in the length. By age five these should be perfect, but are wearable now.
I am posting brief instructions here as i have searched in the past for sock instructions for children, and not found much.
2.5 mm dpns, set of 5 Brittany Birch 5", 1 ball of Cedifra fashion trend sportive 70% wool, 23% polymid, 7% Polyester. 50 g ball divided into 2 equal parts yeilds 2 socks/one pair. it has a ball band tension of 28 stitches and 38 rows over 10 cm, so any simillar specd yarn should work.
Cast on 16 for toe - figure eight cast on, increase for 4 rows, one stitch in from begining of : needle 1, end needle 2, begining needle 3, end needle 4, then increase every 2nd row until 48 stitches(K=48).
Work straight until 2.5 inches less than foot length, in this case 4 3/8th inchs. Increase for gusset, start of 3rd and end of 4th needle, every 2nd row 10 times. A 40% increase of K
shape heel round,
knit to start of needle 4, k6 m1 k1 wrap and turn,
purl to start needle 3, p6 m1 p1 wrap and turn,
knit to start needle 4, k4 m1 k1 wrap and turn
continue until you have decreased to purl 2 m1 p1 wrap and turn.
knit one round, pick up and knit wraps as they are reached. If any one knows how to knit a wrap created on a purl row and make it look good - please let me know.
Heel flap, worked over central 24 stitches, or 50% of K. in the toe up gusset sock the heel flap is worked as the gusset stitches are consumed.
Knit to 12 stitches before end of 3rd needle, s1 k1 till first 11 stitches on to 4th needle, then ssk, turn.
purl to first 11 stitches on 3rd needle, p2tog, turn.
repeat until all gusset stitches used up and back to 48 stitches in total.
knit one row then rib k2p2 for length of leg. I just knit until the yarn had about 1 metre to go. I didn't try and match the colour waves, and Poppy has complained they don't match, but with only 1 50 gram ball to use, there was a frugalness.

Fish n = 50, the last 7 fish are stacked and ready to block. I now know that fish are 3" long when knit in sock yarn on 2.25mm dpns, and that I really should trial stitching a few together. I am not sure if i will crochet - in which case i really should weave the ends in as i go. To weave in nose and tail ends of 200+ fish would be a very slow and unrewarding process. So I need to test a crochet vs sewn join, before I go to much further. Maybe I will sacrifice some of the early not perfect learning fish, slightly shorter where i must have missed a row or two out.

, some finished, some begun, more fish and a theory about how to size socks.

New socks started, for husband - Chris of 19 years, in Regia stripe, from my short lived stash. knits up well on 2mm dpns. Using steel pins this time as one of the Brittany has bent a little and I am still waiting for a reply/response re the 2.25 mm one which broke 2 weeks ago. They did warn site visitors that they were not email regulars, but 2 weeks!

Before I could start I used Wendy's (see sidebar) method to divide the 100g ball of yarn into 2 equal parts - that is I weighed it. I left her a comment and she emailed me back, so nice for her to take the time to do that as she gets such a volume of comments. My kitchen scales are old balance ones with metal weights, and will 'tip' if a 10c peice is added to one size. So i wound off enough so that the wound off ball and the original ball were evenly balanced and snipped it in half. I then used my very cool vintage ball winder to prepare two centre pull balls - making sure these were in the same direction (one had to be rewound). I felt like a very 50/60's housewife.

Which brings me to my sock fitting theory, Ever since my first sock, around 14 months ago, I have traced the persons foot to use in sizing. A record of foot length, as at times iI can measure and forget what the measurment is, within 3 minutes. I have used a variety of toes, and recommendations for calculating the number to cast on. I tried the ankle, the ball -10%, the ball -1", the ankle - 10%, and most fitted, one memorable pair most certainly did not (alas the last pair for Chris). I have ended up using Wendy's generic toe up sock instructions, where you cast on and knit, and increase and try on. Worst case senerio is that you frog half an evening's knitting if it is to big, if to small just knit some more increase rows. And usually I would spend an evening making a guage swatch, and blocking and measuring it in 3 places and calculating guage and the number of stitches needed for the planned sock. So the the knit and try method works well for me.

Ove the last 12 month I realised that when I put my part knit sock down on top of the tracing of the foot/sole the width matches - exactly just like in the image posted here. So the sock for Poppy and the in-progress one for Chris have been 'fitted/calculated' by increasing every 2nd row until the flattened sock is as wide as the ball of the sole outline drawn in my workbook. I am knitting this sock for Chris, and it fits and i know it is 58 stitches, but have no idea of the guage and it fits beautifully so far.
A few more socks using this sizing/ fitting method, especially for my growing children and I will feel confident to suggest it on knitters review and see what the response is. almost to simple for no one else to have noticed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fish (n=43), and a new sock starts

I have been fishing, well knitting more fish, to date the fish count is now 43 fish, almost a school. All in sock yarn. As i knit each batch of between 5 and 10, I hand wash, lay out to dry on a plastic basket in a sunny spot, and store them away. That way I won't have to block 120 fish all in one go latter this year. I don't know if I need 120 fish, just a random number. This image shows my stack of 10 fish, all ready to block. I finished one of opal sock yarns i was using, and about to work my way thru a small tangle of left over Regia yarn.

And co-joined fish, a pattern that works, and given this is my first written for others pattern, feel free to notify me of corrections needed so I can amend the original.

Instructions for co-joined fish – nose down next to tail up.
Note : make sure to twist/wind the tow colours together where they meet, or you will have separate fish.

Abbreviations - I think these are pretty standard
S1 = slip one purlwise, produces a chain edge, very pretty and makes the fish easy to sew or crochet together if knitting single fish.
m1 – make one using twisted loop,
K2 tog = knit 2 together (leans to the right)
Ssk = slip next two stitches one at a time knitwise, then knit those two tog (leans to the left)
M1 lifted increase = lift loop of stitch from previous row, and knit, can use either last stitch on right needle, or first stitch on left.

When you finish one pair of fish, or several pairs of fish, then just knit the next row of fish, reversing the bracketed instructions. Yellow is nose up, Blue is tail up.

(Cast on 6 stitches using yellow)(Cast on 23 stitches using blue)
Row 1
(S1, k to end of blue)(S1, k to end of yellow).
Row 2 (Yellow S1, m 1, k to last stitch, m1, k1 (8))
((Blue S1, k2 tog, knit to last stitch3 stitches k2 tog, k1 (21)).
Row 3
( S1, k to end of blue)(S1, k to end of yellow)
Repeat rows 2 and 3, continue to increase yellow and decrease on blue every 2nd row until there are 20 yellow stitches, and
9 blue stitches.

Row 5 (S1, k to end of yellow)
(S1, K to end of blue) .
Repeat this row 5 2 more times – reverse as appropriate for colours.

Begin fin shaping
Row 6 (S1, k4, p10, k to end of yellow)
(Sl, k to end of blue ) .
Row 7
(S1, K4 m1, k to end of blue) (S1, k4, ssk, k6, k2tog, k to end of yellow)].
Row 8 (S1, k4, p8, k to end of yellow)
(Sl, k to end of blue ) .
Row 9
(S1, k4, m1, k to end of blue) (Sl, k4, ssk, k4, k2 tog, k to end of yellow).
Row 10 (S1, K4, p6, k to end) (
S1, K4, p1, k to end)
Row 11
(S1, k5 m1 lifted increase, k to end of blue) (S1 k4 ssk k2 k2tog k to end)
Row 12 (S1, k4 p4 k to end)
(S1 k4 p2 k to end)
Row 13 (S1, k4 k1 lifted increase previous stitch, lifted increase next stitch, k to end of blue) (S1 k4 ssk k2 tog k to end)
Row 14 (S1 k4 p2 k to end yellow) (S1 k4 p4 k to end)
Row 15 (S1 k5 m1, k2 m1 k to end blue) (S1 k 4 k2 tog k to end yellow)
Row 16 S1 k4 p1 k to end yellow) (S1 k4 p6 k to end)
Row 17 (S1 k5 m1, k4 m1 k to end blue) (S1 k4 k2 tog k to end)
Row 18 (S1 k to end yellow) (S1 k4 p8 k to end)
Row 19 (S1 k5 m1, k6 m1 k to end) (S1 k3 k2tog k to end)
Row 20 (S1 k to end) ](S1 k4 p10 k to end blue)
Row 21 (S1 k to end blue) (S1 k to end yellow)
Repeat row 21 2 more times, reversing colours to match as needed.

Row 23 (S1 k2 tog k to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1) (Sl m1 k to last stitch m1 k1)
Row 24 (S1, k to end) (S1 k to end)
Repeat rows 23 and 24 until 23 yellow stitches and 6 blue stitches are on needles,
Cast off (I used a sewn cast off so edges match) – or continue to knit next pair –reverse order of blue and yellow brackets.

Zebra wash cloth, finished but not proud. I really learned the lesson of intense contrasts requiring precision. My kitchener close was messy, the diagonal junctions are messy, I thought the double width and single width stripes would work much better than they do. Just as well it is a wash cloth.

I have also been stash building
, or stocking up, albet in a very small way, I added two sock yarns from Webs on line store, close outs which means 'cheap', ordered last month but only just arrived. The first is a rather boring sock yarn from Regia, it knits into stripes in quite male blues, greys and blacks, but they make such soft yarns that knit well and wear well.
Next to it is another Italian yarn, Cedifra fashion trend sportivo. Webbs was great to shop at, but I stuffed up my order big-time, and ordered two 100g balls of the Regia, and only one 50g ball of the Sportivo. Well, with my big feet I won't be getting socks of that! I have split the Sportivo into two equal length balls, and am knitting a smaller toe up gusset sock with heel flap, a nother widdershins variation as the last sock. This will be much smaller, for Poppy, my 4yo. If not then fish! This sock is on 2.5 mm dpns, and has 48 stitches. The image of the yarn in the ball is very accurate colourwise, the one of the knitting is not - yet was photographed in daylight ?

The other yarn purchases, green rowan 4 ply baby soft and orange schoeller stahl baby merino. Both purchased for the fish blanket. I realised that the fish are very multi-coloured, and when layed out together it is hard to see the fish for the school of fish. I decided to add some plain fish, to tie it all together and to have some fish where the fins and shaping were visable. Given the small size of the finished fish - i couldn't escape the goldfish colour. the Rowan, is beautiful but does not go, so may be saved for me, fair ilse mittens latter perhaps. with cream or off white?

Well, the head cold has well gone, and school started today. Parents of primary and secondary school children all over new zealand breathed a collective sigh of relief as small feet plodded away to classrooms with back packs and packed lunches. 5 child free hours, for me that means a whole day at work, 9 - 5, as after school care resumes. Still our students don't start back until the 19th so a wee breathing space before that.