Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend Socks

This weekend was, I believe, the coldest weather we have had yet this winter. Brrrr!! We lost our electricity on Friday night and my feet were cold so I decided thick wool house socks would be just the thing.

I cast on for the striped Devotion socks in Weekend Knitting and by Sunday evening I had a finished pair. They really are warm too!

These socks are knit with an afterthought wedge heel - a technique that was new to me. You can see the purple yarn marking the future heel placement in the above picture - I cleaned up the "jog" that is clearly visible down the left side and made a minor adjustment to place it on the inner leg so it would be less noticebable. The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook touts afterthought heels as the easiest to replace and I can see why. This pattern in particular switches to 1 row stripes at the heel and toe making it even easier to find your pickup row if you had to redo a heel. This results in a "bullseye" effect but I couldn't pretzel myself into position for a photo of that - you can see it a bit in this next picture.

See all those ends from just one sock!! Ordinarily, I wouldn't have the patience for all that weaving in but I was in a strange mood this weekend plus I had plenty of Olympic coverage to watch.

Finally, the obligatory happy feet shot...I'm not sure I would deal with the striping again but I would definitely reknit this pattern. It was fast, simple and resulted in a good fit.

Project Details:
Pattern: Striped Devotion Socks from Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Briggs and Little Heritage 100% wool in Washed White; 2 shades of green from MacAusland's Woolen Mills 100% wool
Needles: The recommended 4.5mm. I used 2 circs and the magic loop method rather than DPNs.
Comments: I would definitely knit this sock again although the stripes were a bit of a pain - I was working with worsted weight so carrying 2 colors across the back wasn't really an option in a sock - a solid color or something variegated next time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Head in the Clouds

I was on PEI this weekend and caught the sunrise as I was letting the dogs out. This is the beach below dad's house. Ordinarily, the water would be ice packed but it's been an unusually mild winter and the ice floes are still pretty far out to sea. Anyhow, I thought I would add my own skyscape to the ones that have been popping up in blogland:

I also managed to visit MacAusland's Woolen Mill while I was on the Island. They make the most beautiful wool blankets and their production methods haven't changed much in the last 75 years. The old water wheel is gone but when you walk inside the building you still feel like you've stepped back in time - the floor and walls are bare wood - the machines look like they've been there forever and everything is clacking away - lots of noise. To get to their little shop on the top floor you have to pass through the production floor - you're literally inches away from the machines as they're running. You can even stand and watch for a while if you feel like it. Seems like a bit of a safety hazard in this day and age but I love it. I highly recommend a trip to MacAusland's Woolen Mills if you are ever on the Island...

Of course I bought a little of this:

The color on those skeins came out a little purplish - they're actually a gorgeous smoky dark blue. Very rich - this time around I got just enough for some socks.

And I got enough of this brown mix to make a sweater...

I really like the green and rose mixed into the brown - gives it a lot of depth. For anyone who has used Briggs and Little yarn, MacAusland's is similar in quality - lots of sheepy bits. Their colors are a bit more vibrant though - particularly their greens. The Cricket Cove shop in Blacks Harbour, NB carries MacAusland's wool and the lady who runs the store was telling me about their ordering process. There are no lot or color numbers on the hanks and MacAusland's mill is not computerized. In order to get a shipment of yarn, she actually has to snip a piece off her samples and send it to them to say what color she wants. Crazy, eh? I love places that live in the past...

So now that I have some new yarn, the question is: what sweater do I make? I've got a few on my mind...what do you think?

There's Demi...Streets and Yos just did a gorgeous one - but I'm not entirely sure it's right for my body type.

From the same Rowan Vintage Knits book, I also like Cherie. It's a crap picture but you get the general idea. This may be more suited to me in fact...

And then there is the Big Sack Sweater that I've been thinking about ever since I saw Anna's finished up last, how time flies!

So ladies...thoughts, opinions, suggestions?? Do you have a favorite? I am wide open at this point...feeling a bit lost for inspiration at the moment.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bad News...Good News

Let's do bad news first...Brad's mittens are hideous.

I strongly dislike these mittens. And I can give you 4 good reasons why...

1. I'm not keen on the color combo...Brad's choice.
2. The sneaky Handknit Holiday book took their photos at the most flattering angles. The back of the mitten when the flap is closed is not very attractive at all. (I've also taken my photo only at the most attractive angle if you can believe it...)
3. I made several ridiculous mistakes throughout the knitting of these that actually caused me to have to rip back and reknit on 3 different occasions. Not fun when you're working on a project you're not keen on.
4. By the time I had cast off the second mitten and realized that it was ever so slightly longer than the first (something I would normally correct immediately), I didn't care. So now I have to live with these mittens in my house where one is ever so slightly longer than the other. Bah!

But the bright side is that Brad inexplicably likes them...he really does. And the truth of the matter is that I think they might actually be cute if they were smaller - I would possibly knit these again in the ladies or better yet children's size. But this pair I'm going to try to put out of my mind and move on.

Now on to the good news...I finally steamed the edges of my ribbon scarf down.

I wasn't feeling the head shot this morning so just chopped it off...this would look sweet as a sweater accessory me thinks. I tried throwing one end over my shoulder the way I would normally wear a scarf and it made me look like a clown though so definitely not a wrapper - dangly only.

And finally, what am I working on now? A lace scarf with some alpaca cloud from knitpicks. So far so good although I must have ripped the first couple of repeats 8 times before finally getting into a groove. I think it was a psychological thing - my first foray into lace - plus the fact that I am extremely awkward with laceweight. It definitely takes some getting used to that thin fibre.

I know it looks like a rectangle of fluff right now but blocking is magic.

Project Specs:
1. Flip Top Mittens
Pattern: Flip Top Mittens from Handknit Holiday
Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes - 2 balls Fern/1 ball wheat
Needles: the recommended 4mm DPNs/3.75mm DPNs
Comments: I would not knit these mittens in the men's size again but I may try them in a smaller size. I think the kid's size would probably be really cute.

2. Ribbon Scarf
Pattern: Ribbon Scarf from Handknit Holiday
Yarn: KnitPicks Andean Silk - 4 balls Sangria
Needles: 2 - 5mm circs - longest you can find
Comments: This is the second Ribbon Scarf I have knit and I enjoyed both of them. The pattern is extremely straight-forward and simple - great for knitting while watching TV or movies.