Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Yarn!

"Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow; Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow."
~The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien

The Bombadil colorway that I ordered for Jim's socks has arrived today! It is sooo soft, and it's in Sushi Socks yarn by The Unique Sheep. I ordered a bigfoot hank of it so it's 580 yards of squishy soft goodness. That should be enough to make his socks and then either some for Gabe or the baby or both! Or whatever. I'm thinking of using the leftovers from my socks to knit into squares and then make a quilt out of those. That would be fun I have a rustic and eclectic quilt that reminds me of all the wonderful projects I've completed.

Plus...I got the stuff today with that yarn, that I ordered for my swap partner in Denmark. I need to send it out this week so it's gets to her on time since it's a Valentines Day swap. Although I think it'll be going international priority so it's faster and trackable so I should be OK on time. I just need to put all the little goodies together. I will take pics and then wait to post them until after she recieves the package. I know she was mailing hers out I get to get a yarny gift in the mail! !!

OK, so I need to get to work on Jim's socks which will take a little bit of swatching since I don't know his specs yet as this is the first pair of socks for him. If it goes as easily as the mitts did with hitting the fit the first time I tried, then all is well. These are going to be the most colorful socks or, well, anything Jim has ever worn. But they are Bombadil socks from one of the most fun and, left out, characters from The Fellowship of the Ring (left from the movie I mean). If it's related to some geeky thing I like, then I will totally knit a sock out of it. There's just something really fun in that. I can't wait until Biscotte puts out her Professor Trelawney and Jack Sparrow colorways from her Fall sock club....I'm totally buying those.

So...if I get to Jim's Bombadils, then on Sunday I get to open up my yarn package that's been waiting quietly and patiently in my bottom stash drawer and see what the first colorway and pattern is for Feb! Jim has tried to tell me to just open it up anyhow because I can do whatever I want (after all), but I have resisted and encouraged him to remember that part of the fun is that you get to do one per month and that's the point of an exclusive sock club. Ruining surprises isn't very much fun. It's like opening your xmas presents in the middle of December. Of course you can, but why would you want to ruin the point of the event?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jim's Pirate Mitts

Argh! These things really knit up fast and fun! I think they're a great project for my first fair isle pattern. I adapted the pattern so they would fit Jim instead of me! Here's what I did....

Yarn: I used worsted weight - black (MC) & off white (CC). Cascade 220 as Jim likes simple, sturdy wools for his hands.

Needles: I used 16" circulars in size 7 (two).

Mods: Besides upsizing my needles and yarn weight, to do them "mitt style" I worked the regular chart until row 31, and then I did row 32 completely in my MC (black), row 33 completely in my CC (white), and row 34 completely in MC (black). To prevent rolling, I began a 1x1 ribbing in both CC & MC like the cuff had. I did 3 rounds of ribbing, and then did one final round of MC. I finished it off with a sewn bind off, continuing in black.

The thumb was worked like the directions, but I picked up an additional 5 stitches to make it a total of 23 stitches to fit my husband's thumb. I worked the chart for a total of 6 rounds, then one round of MC, and the sewn bind off to create an open thumb.

Final Measurements:
Length - 9.5" approx.
Width - 8" approx.
Thumb - 4" approx.

I'm fascinated by the checkerboard and stripes in black and white. It's sort of swirling around in my head along
with the Alice in Wonderland ideas I have. I love this pattern. I think I'm going to have to make the pirate hat also.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cheshire Cat Socks

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't care much where -----" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the Cat.
"----so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. "What sort of people live about here?"
"In that direction," the Cat said, waving its right paw round, "lives a Hatter; and in that direction," waving the other paw, "lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

-Lewis Carroll
Here is the Shetland lace pattern that I modified to make 5 holes so it looks like a cat's paw print. It starts at the toe and creeps up the foot and leg and around the ankle.

Picot bind off on the cuff because "it looks pretty" and it looks like a crown on the top. 

So I finally finished up these socks! I am pleased with the design and the colors, but I kept putting them off because I wasn't pleased with the yarn. It was too splitty and took lots of tension-correction, and feels like really dry cotton. I'm going to find someone to do a custom "Cheshire Cat" colorway for me so I can knit up some more in some yummy yarn. And I will be making an adult pair! These are being worn by my 4 year old right now. Pattern will be available soon. I plan on doing some toddler/kids sizes and then adult. It's very simple and knits up very fast. 

Perhaps after this next project, I will do some more from Alice in Wonderland. Queen of Hearts socks, White Rabbit, etc. Hmmm. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Belly Mask, Belly, and the kiddos

Jim got the belly mask, or belly cast, done this past Friday. He bought the materials for it back about a month ago, but we just didn't seem to get the time to get it done. We had an hour in-between picking up the kids and he asked if I wanted to try to get it done. It took him less than half an hour this time and here is the raw casting.

We haven't actually finished off any of the belly masks we've done. I don't know if I want to though. I like the way it looks raw. I still have Morgana's packed up, and hopefully it's not damaged since I haven't checked it at all since we moved 3 years ago.

This is the one we did from Gabriel's pregnancy. They look remarkably similar, with the exception that my belly was lower on his but the roundness and size is similar. I'd like to get Morgana's out soon to compare with hers as well. Hers was done with my hands across my belly which was much more time-consuming, as well it being the first time we did it. I remember I had a very distinct one-hour-long period of prodromal labor after that belly casting.

Here is my big ol' belly last Friday.

I was smiling at Gabriel as he was making sure that I remembered he was there.

Gabriel having a blast playing with Morgana, Jim, and I in the bedroom. I kind of think he has a pretty infectious smile and laugh.

Morgana and I hanging around together. I'd post some pics of the older boys but they are never around when it's time to take a picture. They seem to always be busy with other things. But then again, I suppose it might be a little scary if they were jumping around on the bed with me...I might get squashed! ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Newborn Jaywalkers, Toe-up Pattern

I decided to use the Jaywalker pattern and scale it down to a newborn size. The original Jaywalker pattern by Grumperina can be found here on Ravelry:

I did them toe-up, two-at-a-time, with a magic cast-on (Cat Bordhi's video is a great example as well), and a Fleegle heel.

You can queue these in Ravelry.

Fingering weight (First photo - Angels & Elephants in color Polperro, Second photo - Plymouth Happy Feet in color 11 - Olive/Wine), small amount

Circulars or DPN's in #0 or #1 (I used both sizes to do them two-at-a-time since that's what I had) This is written with using two circulars, so if you use DPN's, then adjust it to how you arrange sts on them.

Finished size
foot length approx 3" (this is customizable), foot circumference approx 3.5"

Stitches used
kfbl - knit through the front of the loop, then without slipping off needle, knit again through back loop and then slip off needle (increased one st)
dd - double decrease, slip two sts together knitwise, then knit the next st, now slip the two slipped sts over the knit st.
sewn bind off - using tapestry needle, thread needle purlwise through next 2 sts on needle, then back through first st knitwise and slip that st off needle, continue until all sts are worked and weave in ends.


Begin by casting on 12 sts using the magic cast on. You will have 6 sts on each needle.
Rnd 1: Knit all sts
Rnd 2: (inc rnd) k1, inc1, k to last st, inc1, k1 - x2

Repeat these two rounds until you have 32 sts total between both needles (16 sts per needle)

Now you will be working the pattern on the instep needle, and plain stockinette on the sole needle.

Pattern -
k1, kfbl, k1, dd, k1, kfbl, kfbl, k1, dd, k1, kfbl, k1

Rnd 1: knit all sts
Rnd 2: work in pattern on instep needle, work plain stockinette on sole needle

Repeat these two rounds 9 times to reach a foot length of 2" or until 1" shorter than desired length of foot. The gusset and heel turn will normally consume about 1" of length so you can adjust your final foot size with that in mind.

Work in pattern across instep needle, and then began gusset increases on your sole/heel needle.

Working on the sole/heel needle now, k1, inc1, knit to last st, inc1, k1. On instep needle, continue where you are at in the pattern (either a knit row or pattern row). On sole/heel needle, knit all sts.

Rnd 1: (instep needle) Work where you are at in pattern
(sole/heel needle) k1, inc1, knit to last st, inc1, k1

Rnd 2: (instep needle) Work where you are at in pattern
(sole/heel needle) knit all sts

Repeat these two rounds until you have 26 sts on the sole/heel needle (you will have 16 sts on the instep needle still, bringing you to a total of 42 sts between both needles).

Now, you are ready to begin turning your heel, which will be worked only on the sole/heel needle. Note where you leave off in pattern to pick it back up (either a knit row or pattern row) after you turn the heel.

Turn the heel
Place a marker in the middle of the sts on the sole/heel needle. You will have 13 sts on either side of the marker. All work will be done on this needle only for now.

Knit across the needle until you are two sts past the marker. k2tog, k1, turn
Sl1 purlwise, purl across the needle until you are two sts past the marker. p2tog, p1, turn

*sl1 knitwise, knit across needle until 1 st before gap, k2tog, k1, turn
sl 1 purlwise, purl across needle until 1 st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn*

Repeat these two rounds until you have ended on a purl round and have two sts left on each side. Now you will sl1 knitwise, and knit until 1 st before the gap, k2tog, k1, and NOT TURN. Continue working now on your instep needle (no gap this way - see Fleegle heel link above for clarification).

Continue working in pattern where you left off and work in pattern on both instep and heel/needle so it wraps around the ankle on both sides. Work for 9 complete repeats of pattern (18 rnds) or until desired length.

Work in 1x1 ribbing for 6 rnds or until desired length.

Bind off using the sewn bind off. More information and pictures can be found here.

Any corrections, or questions or whatever, let me know. I'm bound to have missed something due to my pregnant brain.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Saartje Booties,Bellatrix socks, & LOTR sock club!

Here are my finished Saartje booties. I tried to use a colorway that was neither feminine nor masculine, but had great color since it's knit in garter and that always showcases the color bumps. I can't get a good picture of the color, but they're blue, purple and green. They ended up being 3" in length, so they are totally newborn.

I did them the Bockstark way, so I could knit them in the round, but I did them two-at-a-time, so I changed a few things on them and ended up doing the straps completely seamless instead of the original way. I'll post the pattern of how I did them later on. I'm too....pregnant and tired to do it now :)

"One of the Black Sisters, her evilness grates on you like 1000 runs in your stockings"
Here are the toes and start of my Bellatrix socks. I'm actually up to the gusset right now, but I've had a few mishaps. First, my #1 bamboo circular broke (the cable where it connects). was New Years Eve and I had to wait until yesterday to pick up a new needle. I got an Addi Turbo Lace for it. Then, I was just sitting down to knit last night after a long day of crazy kiddo-ness, and my #0 broke. It just broke off at the wooded part where the cable connects. OK. I get it. No more bamboo for socks. I'll use the damn Addi's for now. I'm also going to order the KnitPicks Harmony since they have metal connections and I think they will work with the tiny sizes just fine.

So, I'll be heading out to my LYS again today to pick up some Addi Turbos in #0. My Bellatrix socks are totally cursed, but I don't care. They are awesome and I'm going to finish them. I also had a casuality in the manner of my Brittany birch DPN's last night. Morgana was holding two of them pretending to knit and went to sit up off the couch and snapped one right in half. Luckily I had 6 in the set, so there's still 5 should I need them. I'm having a hell of a time with needles the past few days. I don't know what's up.

And to end this posting, I was clicking on my groups on Ravelry and I saw a new group "LOTR sock club". I clicked on it and found a cool yarn company called The Unique Sheep that was hosting a LOTR sock club. I was all excited about it as LOTR stuff is harder to find now as everyone in the mainstream is "over" it now. And I think there's only one sock pattern on Ravelry for it (Rivendell). And now, here is a whole club, 6 months long for 2009, with a monthly payment option (affordable!), and exclusive colorways and patterns that make sock clubs so much fun! All LOTR! Jim even seems to think this is a cool idea. Knitting is so much fun because of the entire Ravelry thing, I swear.

So, it looks like it's going to be a busy Spring for me with two sock clubs going on for the first part of 2009. And a new baby. Anyday now. 37 weeks and counting. This pregnancy is not bouncy and spritely like my's wiping me out. I'm ready for the baby to come, I'm ready to have five children and be done with pregnancy in the future. I never knew when I'd hit this point, but I kept telling everyone that I would *know* when it hit. I would *know* when my family was complete (this is in response to the multitude of times I've been asked how many children I'm going to have). I wish I had more time to just sit and ponder over the baby, and enjoy this last little bit of time before they arrive.

P.S. Did I mention that I happened to find the LOTR sock club on the very last day of sign-ups? And signed up for it at nearly 9pm without even knowing it was the last day. I would've kicked myself if I had waited until the next day or pondered it a bit more.

Well, Jim is home from work, I'd like to snuggle him up a little bit, and then I have to head over and get my needle and a tiny hank of sock yarn for baby.
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