Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prom Night

Tonight is prom night and it's the first time one of my son's has decided to attend. Between the tickets, tux, party bus, and dinner, he's shelled out a sizable fortune. Good thing this only happens once a year!
One of my knitting friends works at a florist and made the most beautiful corsage I think I've ever seen.

I think I'll be up late knitting tonight...

Stealth Argyles, Making Progress

I'm cruising along on Eunny Jang's Stealth Argyle socks. The argyle pattern is just beginning to show if I look down at the knitting at the right direction--there's only a hint of it in this photo. The colors are a little jarring, but I think I'm going to like the overall effect.

I'm enjoying the two-row stripes but I don't think I'll every memorize the sequence of knits and purls that occur every other row. I have to watch the chart faithfully. Mistakes are not as evident as with other texture patterns and it's possible that I might not notice one until the sock is completed. Good thing that the pattern repeat is only 16 stitches wide and is worked just twice across the instep; the sole is worked in plain old stockinette. I expect my progress will slow once I have to work four repeats around the leg.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stealth Argyles--getting started

The next pair of socks I'll tackle in Sock Knitting Master Class is Eunny Jang's Stealth Argyles (page 138).
Eunny used a method called shadow knitting to create an argyle pattern when viewed in one orientation and simple two-row stripes when viewed in others. It's really an amazing technique.
Eunny chose Malabrigo Sock in teal and burgundy for her version. After searching through my stash, I think I'll use Biggan Designs 4-Ply that the owner herself gave me at Knitting Lab 2011 in San Mateo (Biggan Designs was a sponsor of the event). Biggan (that's her name) gave me three shades of green to experiment with. I'm thinking the socks could be interesting with the bright lime for the toes, heels, and cuffs, and the other two for the shadow knitting portion.
 Of course, I'll need to swatch a sample to make sure it will work. Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bulgarian Blooms--Finished Pair

Here is my version of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Bulgarian Blooms, all blocked and ready to wear.

The pattern is done in intarsia, which involves turning the work and purling every other row of the pattern area. It's a bit fussy, but it would go faster if I mastered knitting-back-backwards. The worst part is the center where there are multiple flowers and leaves in a row. Still, I found the technique interesting and, like much colorwork, I wanted to keep going to see the pattern develop. The pattern tends to rise above the background in a bit of relief, which I attribute to my poor tension in the intarsia sections. I think it's supposed to be flat. But I don't think it looks bad.
In addition to using different yarn (I used Cascade Heritage Sock yarn) and different colors, I used duplicate stitch for the centers of the small gold flowers instead of working those four stitches in intarsia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bulgarian Blooms--Left Sock Completed

The left sock is completed, minus the duplicate stitches in the centers of the gold flowers (and minus a good blocking). The pattern ends with a few rounds of garter stitch, so I finished with a sewn bind-off that looks like a garter ridge and makes a very flexible edge.
The right sock has the pattern on the other side of the leg and follows a different (mirror-image) chart so the knitting will be much the same. I'm on it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bulgarian Blooms--Intarsia in the Round

So, I decided to make the little white flowers gold and use a bright yellow green for the leaves (with Solstice Midsommar Sock yarn left over from my Slip-n-Slide socks; see my post for Feb 19). I worked the small flowers in a single color and plan to come back and add duplicate stitches (probably in red) to the centers.
This technique of working intarsia in the round is ingenious, but tedious. The pattern is worked over just 27 stitches so it goes fairly fast. I imagine it would be easier if I mastered knitting back backwards for the pattern segments that need to be purled with the wrong side facing. Although I'm not a big fan of this type of colorwork, it is fun to see the pattern emerge. I had trouble pulling myself away to take this photo.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bulgarian Blooms--Foot and Heel

After the stop-and-start knitting in Kathryn Alexander's Up-Down Entrelac socks, I'm finding it a pleasure to work the plain stockinette foot and heel of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Bulgarian Blooms. The foot nearly knitted itself. Before I knit the next round, I have to decide whether or not to include the little white flowers in the chart (page 135 of Sock Knitting Master Class). I guess it's time to search my sock-yarn stash for contenders. I'll be interested in what I decide.
BTW, the markers are so that I'll be sure to knit the same number of rows in the mate. The first marker (orange) is at the end of the short-row toe, the second marker is 40 rows later, the third is 20 rows later, and the last one (orange) marks the beginning of the short-row heel shaping. In all, I knitted 80 rows between the toe and heel.

Monday, April 9, 2012

In My Spare Time

I prefer to work on a single project at a time, but lately I've had several things in the works simultaneously. In between knitting my way through Sock Knitting Master Class (I'm on the twelfth of seventeen pairs), I've managed to dabble in some other things. Here's a sneak preview of a yet-to-be-named shawl I just finished out of Finch (fingering weight wool) for Quince and Company. Look for the pattern on their website this summer!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bulgarian Blooms--Getting Started

The next pair of socks in Sock Knitting Master Class is Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Bulgarian Blooms (shown on page 130).

These socks are almost entirely stockinette stitch but the plain knitting is decorated with intarsia flowers and leaves along the outer legs. Most knitters are taught that intarsia can only be done in flat knitting worked in rows. But Priscilla figured out a way to do this type of color-block patterning while working in rounds. I've been looking forward to applying this technique in a pair of socks!
Priscilla used Brown Sheep Cotton Fine (80% cotton, 20% merino; 222 yd/50 g). I chose Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn (75% merino superwash, 25% nylon; 473 yd/100 g) for my version. I know that I have trouble knitting with black yarn, so I chose a dark green for the main color (I'll probably be sorry because the dark green looks black in low light.) I'll work the flowers in two shades of red and I'll make the leaves gold. I'm on the fence about the tiny white flowers. I'll use something from my stash if I decide to include them.
These socks are worked from the toe up, beginning with a provisional cast-on for a short-row toe. I finished the toe and worked a few rounds after joining the stitches before I stopped to take a photo. I have miles of stockinette ahead of me before the fun begins.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Up-Down Entrelac--Finished Pair

Ta-da! The dreaded Up-Down Entrelac socks are done and I enjoyed knitting them much, much more than I expected. I'm wearing the socks as I type this and they are surprisingly comfortable. I would have thought that the entrelac triangles would be uncomfortable along the sole but I'm not finding that isn't a problem. The legs are snug and show no signs of drooping.
I encourage you all to try these socks--or any other pair that seems daunting to you. Like me, you'll overcome your hesitations and you'll learn something new (like you shouldn't have been daunted in the first place).
In addition to using the colors randomly on each sock, I also deviated from the instructions in Sock Knitting Master Class by substituting a few rounds of garter stitch and a few rounds of k3, p1 ribbing at the top of the cuff for the diamonds on the original socks, and I had to go up a needle size (to use size 3 needles instead of size 2) to get the correct gauge. To prevent the bind-off at the top of the cuff from being too tight, I used the sewn bind-off (shown on page 118). This bind-off looks a lot like another garter ridge around the top of the cuff, which fits in with the overall design perfectly.
The feet are just a bit loose so I plan to give them a bit of a vigorous wash in a basin of warm water to shrink them down a tad. This will probably take a number of washings because I don't want to overdo it and shrink and felt them too much.
For those of you wondering how much yarn is really used, my socks weigh 86 grams and there are 77 grams of unused yarn. You can easily get three pairs of socks out of two of Kathryn Alexander's yarn kits.