27 September 2007
Back in graduate school, they spent a whole lot of time
into our heads emphasizing the importance of The Scientific Method.
Among other things, this involves proposing hypotheses, or predictions
about 'how' 'something' will 'function', and then devising tests to
see if the prediction holds. Or not.
It's a funny fact of academia that experiments that get published are the ones in which there was a demonstrable effect. In point of fact, non-results -- i.e. no demonstrable effect one way or another -- are just as meaningful, as long as the methods are rigorous. But that's not as interesting, or sexy, and just doesn't sell scientific journals. Scientists are human, too. But I digress.
In knitting, I've had a few ideas recently, along the lines of "It would look good if I did X. " So I put those predictions to the test, and here's what happened.
Hypothesis 1: It would look good if I knit a bigger baby sock.
OK, that sounds lame. But the results were excellent:
On the left is my standard baby sock, done with 32 sts on 3mm dpn's. It would fit a newborn. On the right is a larger sock, done with 36 sts and adjusted accordingly for the flap (6 repeats, and pick up 8sts on the sides), cuff (4cm instead of 3), and overall length (8cm to start of heel instead of 6). Size? Not sure, but I'd guess 6 mos to a year. I'm rather proud of this, because I basically winged it, and it worked great!
My standard recipe for baby socks is based on the Mini Sock (free pattern at HeartStrings FiberArts). The directions are excellent, although I've since done lots of modifications.
Additionally, the 32-stitch socks require about 14g total of sock yarn, while you should allow 18g total for the 36-stitch socks. See? Measurements! Comparisons! Numbers! Metric! Scientific method all the way.
Hypothesis 2: It would be cute to use eyelash yarn for the cuff of a baby sock.
Sounds plausible. I was imagining something fluffy and girly and cute. The results were horrible.
This picture does not capture the clunkiness, the heaviness, of this attempt. No kidding, this could serve as a paperweight. Or maybe to keep a kid from crawling away....
The look I was going for was much wispier. Carrying the eyelash with the sock yarn just didn't work. Using the eyelash alone would be less massive in weight, but have the same visually overpowering effect. I might experiment with some stranding, or alternating rows. Or not.
We scientists take these things philosophically.
Hypothesis 3: It would be really cool to use my cell phone to take pictures sometimes, for example of my latest experiment in Fair Isle with multicolor sock yarn.
Hypothesis 3a: It would be really cool if I could figure out how to download the photos from my camera to the computer.
* * * * * * *
Another hypothesis had nothing whatsoever to do with knitting, and if your name is Sheepish Annie, you should probably stop reading right now.. A very temperature-sensitive tooth made me surmise that there might be a cavity. Since that would be my first in about 30 years, that would have been a bummer. At my appointment Tuesday, the doc x-rayed and poked and looked, but couldn't find anything. The good news is, there's no cavity. The bad news is, there's no definitive explanation for the sensitivity -- and hence no solution. There "might" be something like a fine crack in the enamel, which is so fine that it's not observable. This prediction will be validated if, in the words of my dentist (who's given me very good care for over 10 years), "a piece of the tooth cracks off suddenly." I'm trying to take that philosophically, too.
21 September 2007
Wee Twee Socks
The thing I like to do most with leftover sock yarn is to make baby socks. Do I have a potential recipient for these? Hmm, maybe kinda sorta, but really I'm just doing them on general principle.
Clockwise from bottom -- top-down, flap heel, Trekking yarn; toe-up, short-row heel, catspaw lace, picot edging, Regia uni; top-down, flap heel, ONLine Supersocke; toe-up, short-row heel, Fortissima cotton/wool blend. All are knit on 32 sts. Coming up -- more experiments. And a Moebius scarf. And a felted purse.
Here's another shot of my recently-finished Monkeys, I did a short-row heel following the directions in the Knitty generic toe-up recipe article. I really like the way this lace pattern breaks up the stripes a little bit, making them a little less severe.
Anyone busy this weekend? Want to get together for some Mongolian Meadow Felting?
12 September 2007
Compare and Contrast
This year alone, I have made three sweaters and a stole. Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm a little tired of Big Projects. At the moment I'm much more in the mood for smallish things, and definitely in the mood for Fair Isle. I'd like to keep my mind free to finally get around to designing my own FI vest.
Here's the first of my smallish things off the needles since the FO last week. It's another Fake Isle hat (MagKnits, Nov '06). I made my first one in January.
As with the first one, I used Noro Kureyon for the colorful part (this time colorway 170), and Lana Grossa Bingo in 05/Winter White for the contrast. Here it is closer up --
It was a challenge deciding where to begin on the Noro skein. One of Bonne Marie's recent posts inspired me. She was taking a good look at her yarns to see if/how she could avoid some unwanted color pooling.
I started by finding out how many grams of Noro were in my first hat. Then I took my new skein of Noro and wound it so that each color had its own little ball. I didn't cut the yarn between balls, at least not yet.
After some looking, thinking, and weighing of different combinations of little color balls, I decided to start with red (2d from left), and skip the lightest turquoise entirely. This resulted in the color sequence seen in the final product, i.e. red, turquoise, purple, gold-brown. Unfortunately all my analysis didn't prevent an annoying light purple stripe, but it was still an interesting exercise.
I would definitely do this project again, but not necessarily with Noro. The other day a new-to-me yarn caught my eye: Zitron Loft Color, a feltable merino in vibrant, fun colors.
Here are both hats, side by side. The second hat is larger, both because I knit a 19-row garter stitch roll brim (instead of 13 rows), and because I used 4.5mm dpns (instead of 4's). As with Hat 1, I cast on the number of stitches for the smaller size but knit the height according to the larger-size directions.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but seeing the hats close-up, I think the smaller needles make for a nicer fabric.
8 September 2007
Sweater Weather Indeed
Yes, friends, it's a Finished Object!
Specs: Lana Grossa Classic Cabled Cardigan from the
1 pattern booklet, size 40 (more or less) -- the US equivalent would
be about size 12.
Yarn: Lana Grossa "Bingo", 100% merino, not superwash; 13 50-g balls, color 05, winter white
Needle: 4mm circular
Mods: Hard to describe, but I basically made the larger size (directions for S and M are given), except for the armscye, which I made correspondingly smaller to accommodate my upper body.
Remarks: Great design, reasonably well-written pattern, I can definitely recommend this. The button band is knit with the sweater body, and is essentially an extension of the bottom ribbing. After casting off at the shoulders, the band is knit further, and sewn onto the back piece for a neckband. Quibble #1 -- you really need to knit these pieces longer than the directions call for (i.e. probably at least 10cm instead of the stated 8cm). Quibble #2 -- This pattern is not generously sized in the first place, and only directions for S and M are given. I think that's unfortunate, because it would be tremendously flattering for larger women.
No, not my next project. Well, but I think I will save that for future blog fodder, so I guess that counts as mysterious, doesn't it?
No, the mystery is a plant I've seen in our neighborhood. It's a shrub, currently about 3ft high. It has smallish, deep-green leaves and stunning deep blue flowers, the like I've never seen before. It has been blooming since June! The blossom heads remind me of shorter, compacter butterfly-bush flowers, but the leaves aren't remotely similar. See for yourself:
Anyone have any idea what this might be?? I took these pictures to my local garden center, and they had no idea.
Weiß jemand, was das sein könnte?? Ich habe die Photos beim Gartenzentrum gezeigt, und die hatten keine Ahnung. Ungefähr 1m groß, mit Dolden, die an Flieder oder Schmetterlingsbaum erinnern, bloß viel kompakter (ca. 6cm lang), und von einem erstaunlichen, tiefen blau -- etwa tief Vergißmeinnicht. Die Blätter sind ein bißchen wie Bux, aber ein Tick größer.
2 September 2007
What's the Diff?
Since you asked so nicely, here are some more pictures of the Monkey lace pattern. I upped the resolution on my digital camera, so the files are sharper, but also larger than usual (apologies to those of you on dial-up!!)
First, this is the way the pattern looks with my mods -- i.e., toe-up, no purls, and M1's instead of yo's:
This next picture shows how the pattern was designed to be knit. I knit a flat swatch.
And here are the two of them next to each other for comparison. They are aligned so that the top of the sock is at the top of the picture.
Truly, a matter of personal choice. My main problem is with purls on dpn's, especially when the first stitch is purled, which is often the case with these socks. Actually, I did start knitting them the way they're written, but found they just looked too sloppy, so I ripped back after the first repeat and redid them. Yeah, yeah, I could have taken the trouble and perfected my technique, but....well, I wanted the socks, you know? :)
An FO is just around the corner.....
Good thing, too. We're already having sweater weather.
25 August 2007
Knitting Content!Yes, there has been some actual knitting going on around here. First off, a cardi from Lana Grossa. It's in their "Merino 1" collection (the first design in there). I'm knitting it with the designated yarn -- Lana Grossa Bingo, a 100% merino superwash -- on fairly large needles, so it's going quickly. Here's the front half, on top of the back.
I've now started the sleeves, knitting both on one circ. As you can see, there is a column of double cables going up the middle, an interesting design feature for sleeves.
I'm impressed with a lot of the sweaters in this collection, as I have also been with other Lana Grossa designs, for example in the Filati magazines. I would even venture to nominate this particular sweater as a good first cabled sweater -- heck, as a good first sweater period! .... if only --
If only the directions were better. Actually, they're not terrible. (btw, I'm talking about the German version, can't speak for the English version, although it would be very interesting to see the translation.) However, I think this may be a stumbling block for new knitters in general. While the mechanics of knitting this are easy-peasy, there are a few places where one asks, "What in the heck did they mean by that?!"
For example, when you're doing the final cast-off for the shoulders, you're told to cast off the stitches, but "immediately before, k2tog X times." Huh? This can be interpreted two ways. One of them is wrong, but somehow follows logically from the knitting. Guess which one I tried first? :) If I had been a very new knitter, I might have left it at that. Fortunately, I could think of some alternatives, one of which produced a shoulder which was free of anatomical impossibilities.
Anyway, those are sort of minor quibbles. I'm really enjoying knitting this sweater, and I'm sure I'll enjoy wearing it, too.
Aside from that, I've jumped on the Monkey bandwagon. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. OK, it looks fine, but so many people have been raving about what a pleasure it was to knit, I just had to try it out. And it's true. It's a lot of fun, partly due to the fact that it's easy to memorize. (And that's really saying something. I knit Cozy TWICE, and didn't actually memorize the pattern until about the last 4 inches. I'm pathetic.)
I have varied the pattern slightly. As suggested elsewhere, I'm knitting all stitches (i.e., no purls), and doing M1's for the yo's. Gives a denser, less lacy pattern that I prefer.
Actually, I had been planning to knit the Dublin Bay socks. The photo on the pattern features striped yarn, and I was going to use some, but first I surfed around Ravelry to see what yarns others had used. As of this moment, there are 78 people who have done these socks!(And 1173 who're doing Monkeys!) Looking at the different yarns that have been used, I realized I had definite preferences, and that the yarn I was going to use wouldn't meet my expectations for this pattern. So that's one use for Ravelry. It's still in the beta phase, but they're getting close. Believe me, people, the time being spent on beta is worth it!! It's an incredibly complex site, and the devil is in the details. Plus, people are coming up with so many neat ideas, and Casey and Jess are doing everything in their power to make them happen. It's a cool, cool thing for knitters/crocheters.
15 August 2007
Genius. Pure genius.
No, I don't take offense. I don't feel either I or my hobbies are being insulted. (After the Iowa Straw Poll it would be refreshing to hear politicians focus on issues instead of drumming up votes with moon bounces and free food.)
11 August 2007
This One's for Maz
You know the day is rescued when something like this suddenly appears. All the way from Australia!
But it just kept getting better....
Until finally, the mysteries were revealed.
This is my prize for winning Crazyhaberdasher's Piebird Contest. Crazyhaberdasher, aka Maz, put together a lovely prize packet that just absolutely knocked my socks off. In addition to the piebird (top left, and a lovely one he is, too), there's a spoon rest, two knitterly pencils, a magnetized notepad, and a stickpin for knitted shawls. That's the swirly red object. Fascinating, I've never seen one. Leave it to the Australians to have first-class accessories for knitwear, and indeed, all things fiber-related.
As I mentioned to Maz, I've been looking for a spoon rest for ages, and so it was inspired of her to include it.
The piebird felt immediately at home, up on the top shelf with my cockatoo tin!
Last but not least, I thought I'd share a little something Maz might appreciate. It's a needlecase I've got from my mom. Not homemade, like the ones Maz collects and has been displaying, but still rather vintage. It portrays a patriotic theme, the battleship "Iowa" -- interesting for my mom, because that's where she's from. I'll have to check back with her, but I'm guessing she bought this at a Post Exchange, because my father was in the Air Force. The irony? Down in the lower righthand corner of the eagle picture, it says "made in Germany."
Many of the original needles (Alexandria brand, also made in Germany) are still there. They're great, and I plunder the contents from time to time when I need a fresh needle.
The Internet is truly one of the best kinds of globalisation, and no one deserves the "Nice Matters Award" more than Maz -- thanks again!
5 August 2007
War das Hagrids weggeworfener Schirm!? Gefunden wurde er am Bahnof von Xanten, am Ende eines gelungenen Tages. Gestern bin ich nämlich mit Maike und Birgit dorthin gefahren, auf meinem ersten Zugsocking. Nach einiger Verwirrung meinerseits fand ich meine Reisegefährtinnen, und dann haben wir den ganzen Tag in Xanten verbracht.
Was that Hagrid's discarded umbrella!? We saw it at the train station in Xanten, at the end of a wonderful day. Yesterday I finally made it to Zugsocking ("Trainsocking") with Maike and Birgit. After a bit of confusion on my part, I found my traveling companions and we spent the day in Xanten.
Zuerst haben wir die Altstadt erkundet. Es gibt wunderschöne mittelalterliche Gebäuden, sowie einen beeindrückenden Dom. [Wolle war auch dabei, glaub' ich. Wie erkläre ich sonst dieses Regia-Mosaik? :) ]
First we explored the old town. There are beautiful medieval buildings as well as an impressive cathedral. (There seems to have been some yarn, too. I ended up with a ball of Regia Mosaic.)
Anschließend ging es in den archäologischen Park, mit seiner gemütlichen Herberge, wo wir zu Mittag aßen. Und strickten, natürlich.
Afterwards we walked to the archaeological park with its Roman ruins and reproduced buildings. There is a nice restaurant there which serves authentic dishes from Roman times, where we ate lunch and knit awhile.
Ein Schuster zeigte sein Können. (Schaut! eine Handspindel mit Würtel aus Glas! Der Schuster meinte, solche wären in Dänemark und Eindhoven [NL] zu haben.)
A shoemaker demonstrated his skills. (Look where the arrow is pointing. That's a spindel, made with a beautiful glass bead. The shoemaker told us that they can be bought in Denmark and in Eindhoven (Holland).
Der prominenteste Orientierungspunkt ist der nachgebaute Tempel, hier auch mit Beweis meiner Anwesenheit.
The most prominent landmark is the temple. I've included some pictures to prove that both I and my knitting were there.
3 August 2007
One thing I did during vacation was make a little cellphone case. A Chibi holder is next to it for scale.
This design uses the "patchwork" technique. Modular knitting seems to be pretty popular at the moment. This case was made using Ewa's free pattern (here). It's in German, but another free pattern, the Heart Sachet from Interweave Knits, is a good starting point if you want to learn the patchwork technique. Ewa's diagrams are then pretty self-explanatory. The case is finished with a ribbed top and ends with about 6 rows of garter stitch.
This was a fast project, and a bit different from many similar projects.
I used 3mm dpns,
Regia ONLine multicolored sock yarn
(not much), and made the patchwork squares starting with 27 stitches.
I knit stockinette on most rows, but threw in a garter stitch row about
every 4th row or so. I think I'm going to try another one using 25 stitches
as the base, and maybe a row fewer patches, to fit smaller cell phones
and mp3 players.
And tomorrow......my first Zugsocking nach Xanten!!
30 July 2007
There and Back Again
Yowza!! A girl goes on vacation for a few weeks and look what happens:
So yes, anyway, I am indeed back and intend to continue blogging. (As an aside, now that Ravelry's here, I wonder what effect it will have on knitblogging in general? Hard to say.)
Vacation was utterly fantastic, couldn't have been better. I did buy yarn, but not all that much -- one skein of Lorna's Laces, 3 skeins of something feltable. Much to my own surprise, I did NOT buy any knitting books or magazines, although it was a thrill to be in a Barnes & Noble and see such a huge selection. Somehow..... hmm. I'm pretty fussy. My visit to Half Price Books was also unlucky on the knitting front, but I did manage to score a book of smocking patterns. Last but not least, I have a Chibi to call my very own.
No pictures today, I just wanted to stop by my own blog and say hi. Hope to hear from you again soon, too.