Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Matching Monkey bonnets, ahoy!

The Monkey socks for my Sockapalooza pal are done! Now I just need to wash and block them (ahem), as the cats and I have been wearing them for our little photo shoots.

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They seem to match fairly well in size/shape (Woohoo! -- my gauge apparently stayed fairly consistent), and the color variations are similar.

Bug and Moana remain under the impression that these are really poorly fitting stocking caps for them. They have been trying to humor me, but it's getting difficult for them:
Moana: "Bug, you look like a total doofus!"
Bug: "Umm...hello?... I can't exactly see anything. Sheesh, primates!"

Bug: "Phew! I can see now... Yo, Moana -- you look like a doofus, too."
Moana: "My ears feel weird."
Bug: "Grrr...Primates..."

Iris G's Pencil Sketch is coming along nicely so far. I remeasured my gauge swatch and realized that my stitch gauge is still too loose, so I did some math to recalculate stitch counts, etc. My row gauge, on the other hand, is a bit too tight, so I'm going by length, rather than row counts.

Here's where I am:

I tried it on, and it seems to fit. The leafy lace inset is quite pretty, I think:

Here it is pinned out:

My stockinette fabric is a little wonky (due in part to the nature of the viscose/linen blend yarn), but not overwhelmingly so (at least for me):
(Click for bigger wonky stitches)

I'm definitely liking the yarn. It's a little bit rough while knitting, but after washing, the swatch was silky, soft, and drapey.

On my monitor, this photo captures the color better than the previous ones do:
Such a nice, mellow green...

Oh! I almost forgot -- the sightless elephant cats bid you adieu:
Moana: "Mmmpphh."
Bug: "Don't worry, Moana. The primates will get bored with this soon."

Monday, June 18, 2007

New, improved Monkey sock...

Now bigger!


Well, I did some real, in the round swatching and discovered that US 1 (2.25 mm) needles were the right size for my Sockapalooza Pal's socks. So far I have reknit the first sock and started on the second:

I like the Monkey pattern a lot. The yarn I'm using does obscure it a bit, but I think it kind of works (the yarn is "Phoenix" yarn, and the pattern sort of looks like flames or feathers). Here are some close-ups:

You may not be able to tell in the above pictures, but the sock really should be big enough for my larger footed pal. See, there is extra room in the toe area...

...and in the leg:

I made the instep gussets deeper, too. I'm crossing my fingers that these will fit my pal passably. Moana is crossing her whiskers:

I swatched today for a new project. I will be making Iris G's Pencil Sketch Camisole in this yarn:

It's Filatura Di Crosa Adhoc Pepe, a pretty viscose/linen blend I found on sale last year. The color is not the greatest in this photo, but it's a soft, almost licheny green (not the chartreuse kind, mind you). I can't seem to find mention of it online, so the yarn store I got it from may have been holding onto it for a while. I got gauge on US 4 needles (Iris G suggests US 6).

You will be happy to know that Bug and octopus are getting along better lately (although octopus still has a nasty habit of jumping on Bug's head without warning).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Moana-Monkey mind meld?

What's really going on here?

I'll get to that, but first things first... my very first sock is finished! Yay! You must see all parts of it. Here's a side view:

Here's an oblique view of the bottom and the heel:


Here's the toe:


...and here it is flat:

And I don't even have second sock syndrome. However, since I need to make my Sockapalooza 4 pal some killer socks, I decided to start on those (and make my second sock later). I chose the Monkey pattern from Knitty that so many people have made with such success and this lovely yarn:


It's "Phoenix" handpainted superwash sock yarn from Sunshine Yarns. My sock pal loves wild color combinations, so I think this yarn will hit the spot. I did about 3 and a half repeats of the lace pattern, and it's looking great, if I do say so myself.


There's just one problem.


Can you guess what it is?....No?... I'll give you another hint:


My flat gauge swatching (in stockinette) didn't help me make the right choice of needle size (US 0). I can't get the sock over my heel. Now this might not be terrible if my sock pal had teensy little feet, but she's a size 10 US. I'm a size 8 and a half and I can't get it on. Oh, my! I think I'll go up to a size 2 and swatch in the round, and I may just trade the lovely twisted 1x1 rib for a 2x2 rib (it should be stretchier, no?).

Or.... or.... maybe my sock pal doesn't really want a pair of socks... maybe she could do with a pair of foot warmers. See, if I just turn the sock upside-down and switch to bigger needles....


Oh, come on, you know it's a good idea!


My distress over the impending ripping of the Monkey sock led to a barrage of photos (as you may have noticed already). Here are a few more:

Prickly sock needle shadows:

Why is she leaving her sock here?


I don't know, but those pointy parts are sure interesting... if only I had opposable thumbs.

Verdict: The Moana-Monkey mind meld was unsuccessful due to incomplete sock-brain contact. The procedure will have to be performed again at a later date with a larger Monkey (or a smaller Moana brain).

For those of you who think my kitties are the most cooperative critters in the world (!!), I leave you with this:
...this is what it looks like most of the time during our cat-knitwear photoshoots!

Monday, June 4, 2007

We have heel!


My first sock is coming along nicely. I'm using the Yarn Harlot's recipe for "A Good, Plain Sock" that starts on page 131 of Knitting Rules and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in "Vera."

(NOTE: A large percentage of these photos were taken during rainy weather, so the artifical lighting warms up the tones of the yarn a bit much -- the cooler tones in the naturally lit photos are more representative.)


I knit a gauge swatch (flat, which is cheating, I know, but I figure it will be close enough) and determined that I like the dense fabric produced by a US 00 needle (I also tried a US 0 for comparison) and that I should cast on about 76 stitches to fit comfortably around my leg.

For the top few inches of the sock, I worked in k2, p2 ribbing. Then I switched to stockinette stitch (which I found to be much quicker for me on the tiny needles).


I continued in stockinette stitch until the sock was about as long as the palm of my hand, then I placed half the stitches on one needle and began the heel flap. I used Stephanie's "Sturdy heel," as I'm hoping it holds up well to wear (I don't want my first socks to become holey right away!), which involves slipping every other stitch on the knit rows. This breaks up the yarn color changes in an interesting way.

I worked the heel flap until is was square, then turned the heel by knitting short rows. I had to consult Stephanie's "Step-by-Step Cheat Sheet for Socks" briefly before picking up the stitches along the sides of the heel flap.

Right now I'm in the middle of the decrease rows for the instep gussets.


I love the official outside of the sock, but I'm also I big fan of the reverse stockinette on the inside. Don't you think it's pretty?


Bug, once again, feels the need to demonstrate that most of my yarn goes well with his coloring.


Frankly, Moana is less than thrilled with all this sock knitting (...I may have... ahem... implied that I'm making her a rather ill fitting stocking cap...).


However, I'm enjoying it immensely.