Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yay for me!

Jenny's Clogs (2)
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Yay for my feet, really. My 4th pair of Fiber Trends felted clogs are finally for me and me alone!

I love them. LOVE them. They are like a hug for my feet.

As far as the knitting goes, these things are about as close to instant gratification as you can get. Sure you have to keep an eye on the pattern and can't knitting willy nilly off into the sunset, but they move along really fast. Plus, what is more cool than a gigantic slipper the size of your arm becoming something form fitted to your foot?

It's awesome! I nearly forgot about them in the washer but made it just in time. When I made the first two pair for my boys, I didn't put anything else in the washer with them - no towels, old jeans, nothing. Just the clogs.

Hmmm, why did it take so much longer to felt them than it should have???

Then, when I knit my first She-knits bag, her instructions said she likes to add rubber flip flops to the mix to help everything felt better. DUH!!!! What a difference a little bit of additional friction makes. Highly recommend the flip flops with the felting.

I knit these on US size 13 circular needles. When time came to pick up stitches and knit them together with the main needle, I just grabbed a smaller dpn (once it was an 8, another time it was a 10) and did about 10 stitches at a time. MUCH more manageable that way, especially in the larger sizes when you're trying to fit more around that 16" circ.

I also knit the bumper. I thought it was cute and another way to tie in the cuff colors. And since I already made this from the stash with zero new yarn aquisition, I knew I wasn't going to spend $15 on soles. The bumper is cute!

Ok the yarn. It was all from the stash. A lot of it was used in the Marly Bag and I liked those combos so much, I did it here. I used Patons Royal Purple and Lion Brand Cadet Blue together for the main part of the clog. The sole was Patons Dark Gray Mix and New Denim leftover from Luke's Very Warm Hat. Cuff and bumper were Leaf Green and Gray Mix held together. The colors all felted nicely together.

Even though this was the 4th time I've knit the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs, it was the first time I've made them for myself and had a chance to feel how they fit through regular wearing. I've hardly been able to take them off since they finished drying. They are like a hug for my feet and I'm so happy to have them.


Now I think I know why there were additional instructions for a woman's wide foot. Now, I don't consider my foot to be wide. It's your basic 8 1/2, perhaps slightly wider since I had kids, but I don't buy wide width shoes so I didn't feel a need to make those modifications.

After wearing them a few days though, I do notice that the sole does not seem wide enough. My feet seem like they are rolling to the outside and I often adjust them so that the sole feels more centered under my feet. Perhaps this is why that modification was introduced.

I'll have to try these again and see if that helps. Goodness knows I have plenty of stash yarn!

My youngest can't find one of his and has asked for another pair. This time he wants "lots and lots of colors". This should be good!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mom's Ruffled Scarf

Mom's Ruffled Scarf
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Two posts in one day! Wow! It's either the impending apocalypse or I have loads of work and in desperate need of a reason to procrastinate.

Come on, we all do it sometime.

I just couldn't believe I hadn't shared this one yet. Maybe I did and don't remember it, but oh well. It's my blog and I can do what I want!

This is the Ruffled Cashmere Scarf from Closely Knit, by Hannah Fettig. I like this book a lot. The projects are sorted into chapters based on the intended recipient. This scarf was in the "Mothers" chapter and I knew I had to make it for my mom.

When I asked her what color she wanted for a scarf, she said "sage green". Easy enough, right? I was not prepared for how blasted hard it was to find sage green yarn suitable for this project!

I first bought Dream in Color Classy in Good Luck Jade. That was the best I could do at my LYS. It's a great color and a great yarn, but too heavy for this pattern and really not even close to sage green. My mom's reaction when I showed it too her was not very enthusiastic either.

So I continued to search. I investigated several yarns and finally settled on Malabrigo Silky Merino. It's DK weight - exactly what I need for this pattern - and the Green/Gray colorway was as close to sage as anything else I was seeing. I ordered it, started it, and loved it.

And it matches Mom's eyes. I think it will look great on her.

The yarn is gorgeous. Single ply 50/50 merino silk blend. Absolutely beautiful! It looks great in this pattern too. There is enough stockinette to let the slight variations in color intensity shine through. The pattern itself is great also. I hate scarves that are the same thing over and over for a gagillion inches. I like that this pattern is broken down into a repeat that actually has something going on to keep my interest. I love how the short rows create the ruffled effect. In my opinion, it worked up quickly. For a scarf.

The fabric lost a little body during blocking, but it still has the same flow and movement to it (the photo is post blocking). I folded it, wrapped it in tissue, and included 3 packets of Soak in the bag. Now if only the stars would align and I could actually give it to her.

Maybe this weekend. Cross your fingers that she loves it! Cross your toes that she actually wears it!

A word about socks...

Jenny's Upstream
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
Yes, I finally got bit by the sock bug. It took Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One, but it did take.

This is my favorite master pattern from the book: Upstream. I love the way the arch increases surround the instep. I'd like to try to incorporate a pattern.

If only I could get the sizing right.

I measure my own foot and I get one set of numbers. I compare my shoe size to the chart in the book and I get another set of numbers. Ever still different numbers if I look at other charts in other books. All of the charts give numbers larger than what I got on my own. I remember Ann Budd saying that she knits her socks a little smaller than her actual measurements because she likes them snug.

So I thought I was doing exactly this when I decided to knit my socks for an 8.5" foot circumference and 9.75" foot length.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Though all the socks from my recent sock explosion are great and don't fall down or bunch up around my instep like all my storebought socks, they stil are too big. Too big around the foot and too long.

What gives?

I convinced my daughter to try on a pair of my handknit socks. When she actually said "these aren't that bad", I took that as license to knit her a pair. Since our feet are the same size, I decided to get crazy and knit the socks for an 8" foot circumference and 9.5" foot length.

Hold me down, people!

'Lo and behold, they are perfect. They fit like a hug. I'm kicking myself that I made them for her, but happy that I now know what works and can make them for myself.

It's a beautiful thing once you figure out exactly how you like something, whether it be the fit of a sock or a method of cooking pork chops to perfection.

I feel empowered. And ready to make more socks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pink is my new favorite color!!!

Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
No, I'm not blind.

Yes, I know there is no pink in this sweater. And I didn't do the same stripes as shown in the book.

What book?

Why, Wendy Bernard's new book, Custom Knits!

Before I go into that, let's talk about the sweater. I bought 5 skeins of Patons Classic in Natural Marl sometime last year. I don't even remember what I bought them for. A few weeks ago, I got the urge to dye some yarn NOW. I liked what I got out of that, but didn't know what to do with it. Then I realized that this little sweater would be perfect. I had enough yarn as long as I got creative with how I used the hand dye.

So I cast on the day my daughter and husband left for deer hunting. My gauge was tighter so I knit the 42.5" numbers hoping to end up with a 39" sweater. After joining the front and removing the sleeves, I started a random stripe pattern. All I did consistently was keep the rows of colored stripes an odd number. I followed the pattern in the book to the letter. Everything went perfectly and I got a great everyday sweater out of the deal.

If I ever make this same size again, I'll reduce the number of increases after the waist shaping. I think I'll try one size down next time. I gotta tell you, though, I love how this feels. I'm wearing it right now. Everything is perfect. Lengths, proportions, everything. It's a great sweater!

Ok, back to the book. It's called Custom Knits. Have you seen it yet? If not, go to Knit Picks (because they show pictures of the inside) and check it out. Then order it. Really, you have to.

I ordered the book without seeing any inside pictures first. I love Wendy Bernard's style so much, I just knew I would love this book, and who wouldn't love the concept of being able to tailor your garments just for you?

Stefanie Japel's book Fitted Knits tried to do this, but in my opinion, missed the mark. Wendy's book offers much clearer instruction and better yet, within each pattern is a "make it your own" box with tips on how to customize that pattern. It's brilliant!

I loved Pink from the moment I first opened the book, but I was a bit intimidated. Not because of the design - heck it looked like I could have knit it in my sleep - but because of the photo. A cute skinny brunette wearing the sweater and panties, taking photos of herself. I used to be a cute skinner brunette. Not so much on the skinny anymore, so I was a little leary of how this sweater would look on me.

A week or so earlier, I started Wendy's Opulent Raglan from KnitScene Fall/Winter 2008. After seeing so many nice FO's on Ravelry, and seeing how it looked great on everyone, I decided to give it a go. That is like a magic sweater. I loved how it was turning out. So I decided that Wendy knew what she was doing with this sweater design thing and began Pink.

Seriously fast to knit and seriously cute. Two things I can't resist.

I gotta knit me some more of this!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Boy has a New Hat!

Happy Boy
Originally uploaded by JRoKnits
My son needed a good wool winter hat. The only hand knit hat he had was acrylic. That just ain't gonna cut it around here.

I knew it had to be wool and it had to be warm. As luck would have it, I had just bought Knitting Around (quite possibly THE best book for basic patterns in the whole world) and fell in love with the Very Warm Hat. My typical fear of the unknown - in this case, fair isle - has been less than usual lately. It's amazing, but I have actually wanted to try it.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. I started it in the car no less, on the way to Pierz to pick up our venison from Thielen's. If you're ever in central MN, look them up and buy some bacon. You won't be sorry!

I digress.

The color work went amazingly well. Here's the weird thing. I've crocheted longer than I've knit. I hold the yarn to crochet exactly how you hold it when knitting continental, yet I can't knit continental to save my life. However when I knit the colorwork in this hat, I held the yarn one in each hand and it worked out beautifully. No tangling, no twisting, tension remained constant. The tension was what had me the most worried, but it all seemed to even out magically.

So now I'm getting ready to start my first colorwork yoke sweater. I'm going to do the patterns from the Lite Lopi Pullover in The Best of Interweave Knits (because I love that Bohus look), yet follow EZ's EPS. That seems to be how many have found success with that sweater.

I also want to revamp the Hourglass Sweater. It's lovely, it really is, but I just can't wear it. The neckline touches my neck and I can't stand it. I'm going to rip out the neck for sure and I'll either redo it as is (only earlier) or I'll rip the yoke out completely and do a wide neck, u-neck, or colorwork. Not sure yet, but I have to do something to make it wearable again. It's too pretty and fits too well to sit in my closet.