Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dad's Plan B Socks

Socks for Dad
Originally uploaded by Affiknitty.

Again, you'll have to trust me that this sock has a mate. It was gifted to my dad on Christmas.

Pattern: Just basic ribbed socks
Yarn: Cascade Pastazza, a little less than 2 skeins
Needles: Knit Picks Options Circulars, size US 5
Thoughts: These started out as Log Cabin socks, but that plan was abandoned. Frankly, I found knitting that pattern with this yarn--the recommended yarn, no less--rather unpleasant. So I ripped back and knit just plain old ribbed socks, the knitting equivalent of comfort food.

I cast on 48 sts, worked a 2x2 rib for about 6 inches, did a traditional heel flap, knit the foot for about 7.75 inches, then did a decreased toe. They fit my dad perfectly; he wears a size 8.5 shoe.

I am also frogging the Manos So-Called Scarf. I just don't like the way the edges look--mine are distinctly wonky. Plus, I don't find the pattern all that enjoyable to knit. One of my knitting resolutions for 2007 may be to remember that I do this for FUN.

Thanks for all the nice comments about the Fetching gloves. Between the holidays and other assorted stresses, I have fallen way behind on email and blog reading. I hope you all had lovely holidays.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How Very Fetching

Take my word for it. This glove has a match and I made another pair in black. But I can't take a picture of them to save my life.

Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: One pair in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (used the entire ball) and one pair in Filatura di Crosa Zara (had a bit left over from one ball)
Needles: Knit Picks Options 40 inch circulars, size US 5
Modifications: See the previous post for notes about running short with one ball of Cashmerino Aran. Annie noted in the comments that she solved this problem by working one fewer rib row between the cuff and thumb. That seems like a better solution, one which I will use when knitting this pattern again with CA.

Zara, I think, is an excellent substitute yarn for Fetching. It has the same smooth, silky, squishy feel as the Debbie Bliss yarn and is equally luxurious. Plus, there's plenty of yarn in one ball to make a pair. I had enough left over that I could have made the cuff or hand portion a little longer, if I needed to. Zara is machine washable and about the same price as a ball of CA, as well. The only real difference is that it is 100% merino rather than a cashmere blend.

This is a great pattern, easily memorizable and very quick to knit. The cables are fun. Plus, the gloves are, well, fetching... very attractive indeed. I will be giving these to a sister and an aunt who live in California. For a temperate climate, I think they are perfect. Of course, even Cleveland is temperate these days. Gloves for global climate change. What more could you want?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Different Sort of Public Service Announcement

Mistake Stitch Scarf
Originally uploaded by Affiknitty.

I just finished a pair of Fetching gloves this morning, with a little high drama to relate. I seem to be incapable of taking a decent picture of a black knitted item, and I am planning to knit more of them, so a formal FO post will be forthcoming.

But I did want to warn you that I was not able to knit the pattern as written with just one ball of Cashmerino Aran. My answer was to shorten the thumb. The pattern says to knit four rounds for the thumb and then cast off loosely. By the time I got to the second glove I had only enough yarn to do two thumb rounds and the cast off, with literally an inch and a half of yarn to spare. So I undid the bind off on the first glove, ripped back a couple of rounds and bound off again so they would match. I think they look fine with a shorter thumb, and for me, that's all it took to be able to squeak a pair out of one ball.

Since I was unable to take a good picture of the Fetching gloves, and blog posts are infinitely more fun with pictures, here is a picture of my Red Scarf in progress. That Knit Picks Decadence is aptly named. But I have this thing about alpaca.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

From Sweden, With Love

On a day when the holiday spirit was sorely lacking around Chez Affiknitty, I received this lovely package from Cat. It was loaded with red yarn (Opal sock yarn and the most beautiful wool, enough for a shawl), tea, and even candy for the boys. As you can see, it didn't take J long to get his hands on those candy canes.

But his next words were, "I want the chocolate. I want the whole bag." Yep, that's my boy.

The best part, really, was the nice card and the fact that she thought of my little guys too. This blog is about knitting, and I'll never really want to write at length about intensely personal matters. But I will say that this year has been a little hard for me, for various and sundry reasons. I've not-so-fondly referred to it as "Two Thousand Sucks." But over the last year and a half, the knitblogging community has been very good to me. Cat is one of those special people. You know, it's not the fact that she sent awesome yarn and candy. What makes me so grateful is that I know I have a friend, perhaps very far away in miles, but very close in spirit. It really is the thought that counts. Thanks, Cat.

I know some people frown on these posts, the ones in which bloggers thank other bloggers publicly for gifts. But here's why I'm posting this. I want you all to know how much a small kindness can mean to someone. And also, if you're reading this blog, you undoubtedly have a Cat as well...a friend you've never "met" but who always leaves a cheering comment for you on your blog or on a message board, sends you email, is there for a chat, who will always be excited about your latest FO, or who understands your passion for wool like no one else. I hope this post reminds you of that person and you think of him or her gratefully.

And just because I'm feeling a little sentimental, here's a little holiday music for you. I am extremely picky about holiday music and most of it that you hear on the radio frankly annoys me. (No barking dogs or meowing cats! No Christmas Shoes! No novelty songs in general!) What can I say, I'm a music snob and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But about halfway down this list is my favorite holiday song, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," sung by Ella Fitzgerald. If you ask me, that's a song worth enjoying any time of year.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

And Even More Socks

Pattern: Cabled Footies by Leigh Radford in One Skein
Yarn: Cascade 220 worsted, handdyed with Kool-Aid, less than one full skein
Needles: US 6 Inox 40 inch circulars
Modifications: Not a one. I knit the pattern exactly as it was written. I made the smallest size and had plenty of yarn to spare. I didn't really like the way the toe turned out -- it was a little too long and pointy for my taste. When I knit this pattern again, and I am certain I will, I'll make the foot longer and the toe shorter and rounder.

I didn't absolutely love this yarn in the skein. But, boy, did I love the way it knitted up. I love the short repeats of many, many shades of blue, as you can see in the picture of the heel flap. Needless to say, I will probably never be able to recreate this.


And now, for the Public Service Announcements... Shobhana is raising money for the Dulaan Project by selling the pattern for this lovely Bejeweled Scarf. She is wearing it in the author photo of her book, Yarnplay. It costs you $2.25, and for each pattern sale, Shobhana and Anichini (a luxury textiles company) will donate $3.50 to F.I.R.E. They are the non-profit organization that delivers the goods to Mongolia for the Dulaan Project. Please go help! It costs major bucks to get all those handknitted goods over to Mongolia. If you can't knit for Dulaan, or even if you have, here's an excellent and easy way to help send some warmth to a cold and impoverished region. Thanks!

After the holidays, the redoubtable Lolly is hosting a very informal Bejeweled knitalong (she's still recovering from Socktoberfest, dont'cha know). More information about the knitalong can be found by clicking on the Bejeweled KAL button in the sidebar.

If you are thinking of gifting candles this holiday season, please consider buying from Wendy at Dame Candle Company. She's an indie craftypreneur fighting mass production one amazing candle at a time. You've probably heard of her from her sponsorship of Cast On. Although she has received quite a few orders recently (scroll down), she has mentioned that she needs to have a rockin' next month or so to be able to keep her business going. I have purchased these candles myself and they are fantastic. It would be such a shame if she had to stop producing them! So before you buy from that northeastern chain candle place, or that bath products store that you see in every mall, consider placing an order from Wendy. Thanks again!

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Heart Heel Flaps

Pattern: Cabled Footies by Leigh Radford
Yarn: Cascade 220 Worsted, hand-dyed with Kool-Aid


Monday, December 04, 2006

Guess What? More Socks!

Pattern: Mintyfresh's Anastasia Socks
Yarn: Hand-dyed Knit Picks Bare Merino sock yarn (color, Umbrella Drink)
Needles: 2 mm (US 0) Addi Turbo 40 inch circulars
Modifications: Minty wrote this toe-up sock pattern with a provisional cast-on; I did a Turkish cast-on instead. I made them shorter ankle socks, because (1) I am lazy and (2) I have several more pairs of socks to make.

Thanks, Minty, for such a great pattern! I highly recommend it to all of you for use with your handpainted and variegated yarns. There's a little something of interest going on, but the pattern does not obscure the yarn. Also, it's soothing to knit while not being boring. I started these on Labor Day weekend for my sister Lisa, and they sat in the knitting basket for far too long. I am very glad to have them done!

On Saturday, I felt the need to dye more yarn. It cheers me up. My mission was true blue, deep but not as dark, purplish or variegated as the worsted I dyed back in September. This, which I am calling Atlantic, is what I got with about 17 packets of kool-aid: 12 packets of berry blue, 4 of ice blue raspberry lemonade, 1 grape and about a third of a black cherry. The picture appears darker than the true color. It's not quite as deep as I wanted; next time I think I will use more grape or black cherry. My quest to achieve the perfect blue must continue.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Land Ahoy!

Last night, Henry the Navigator spent the night at my house. I tried to snap a photo of his face, but my bleepin' camera would not cooperate. The picture simply disappeared. (You can see it here.) Fortunately, I got photos of the bounty within the box! One of the cool things that I was not able to document was the chart inside the box where each recipient logged their names. It was fun to see where the box had been. Early in the swap, Henry stayed with Kari from Minnesota, for whom I made socks in Sockapaloooza!

My Yarn Aboard Pal was Purl from Knitted and Purled. Let me tell you, she totally rocked that box. There were comestibles of the highly intriguing variety. That's right, that's a lavender chocolate bar and lavender Earl Grey tea. Yum. I love that sort of thing. (I could really use relaxing scented treats these days. Anxiety is a houseguest that doesn't want to leave.) And pecan pralines? What could beat chocolate, pecans and caramel? Not much.

And then, of course, there was the yarn. There were two skeins of Knit Picks Memories in the Fly Fishing colorway, a shade I've been angling for. (The groans are audible, but I couldn't resist.)

And there was a skein of the yummiest Fleece Artist, which I have been dying to try, in the most gorgeous saturated greens. Perfect. Not pictured is a fantastic inKnitiative sock pattern which covered the bottom of the box.

Thanks, Purl! You were so amazingly generous! Henry is now on his way to his next destination, restocked with goodies of the audible, edible, and knittable varieties. I am looking forward to seeing how my Pal likes the box. And thanks, Amanda. You are the swap hostess with the mostest, that's for sure.