Posts Tagged ‘yarn reviews’

My first sock from Cat Bordhi’s new book, Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters, has been an exercise in frustration, humilty, and perseverance. I have only myself to blame; I tried to do too many things at once, blithely confident that this would be no big deal. After all, this book is the antithesis of her previous book (New Pathways For Sock Knitters) which relied heavily on math, charts, and calculations. By contrast, Footprints has you cut out a cardboard tracing of your footprint, mark a few lines as you try on the sock-in-progress, and do not a jot of math. It’s meant to be easy!

Except when it’s really, really not.

The do’s and don’ts, if the whole saga of this sock is tl;dr:
DO use your sock, smoothed flat, to mark the leg line on the cardboard footprint. DON’T mark on your footprint where the middle of your leg actually is, anatomically speaking. (The book says this, but as I missed it, I figured it was worth repeating.)

DO remember that once you knit past the leg opening, the “top” of the sock is the back of the leg, and the “bottom” of the sock is the sole. For a contrasting heel, attach yarn at the center top (the back of the leg). DON’T attach at the center of the sole, or the working yarn from your foot will get trapped and would have to traverse the side of your sock to get up to the leg where you’re going to want to knit with it.

DON’T use a large skein (the 400yd ones that make a pair of socks) if you plan to work a contrast heel while saving the foot yarn for a continuous look up the leg. The skein needs to fit inside the foot as you knit the heel.

DON’T use the three needle bind-off at the heel if you have narrow heels. Or possibly, ever. Work an extra row of k2tog around, then draw the tail through the live stitches and pull to tighten. Otherwise the extra fabric is worse than the ‘ears’ you get at the sides of a Kitchener toe.



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My new chart works! Yay!
{insert Kermit-the-Frog dance of flaily happiness here}

But I miscounted the cast-on, and didn’t notice until I was about twenty-four rows in, and just four rows short of finding out whether the chart worked.
{insert chorus of frogs chanting ‘rip it’ here}

So now, to frog.

On the plus side, the Araucania Itatia I’m working with (wool, bamboo, silk) is inclined to be splitty when working cabling-without-a-cable-needle maneuvers, but the start of the skein has been ripped and re-knitted four times now, and is none the worse for wear. If you don’t count the increasing proportion of cat hair in the yarn, which I don’t. =)

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I’ve been working on a Prismatic Scarf for a while now, as the project I can work on without having to carry or look at charts. (Can’t miss a minute of Capt. Jack Harkness this week, after all!)

The yarn I’m using is from the Plain & Fancy Sheep and Wool Co., from Henderson, TX. A booth at the Kid ‘n Ewe fiber fair in Boerne, TX had a ton of colorways in two weights, and recently Yarnorama in Paige, TX has been able to stock limited amounts. It’s a single ply wool akin to Malabrigo, in colorways as beautiful as Manos. If you ever get a chance to buy this stuff, I highly recommend it!

I love the built-in I-cord edges in the Prismatic pattern, but I wasn’t thrilled with the reversibility. This is the right side:

And this is the wrong side:

Huan-Hua Chye, the author of the Prismatic, said that she was seeking to eliminate the stockinette-based curl of the Dapper Herringbone Scarf. There’s no curl, but there is some bumpiness on the unblocked swatch, even though I was careful to use Fair Isle technique and not tug the yarn loops too tightly. That minor annoyance aside, the most visually striking aspect of the design is the looping created by slipping stitches wyif. The wrong side is just a diagonal pattern of knits and purls, which doesn’t thrill me.

So I decided to try a no-purl version, replacing purls on the wrong side rows with the same “wyif, slip 3 sts” pattern from the front side. The result was a “wrong side” that looks like the original pattern’s “right side”, and my new “right side” has even bigger, more graphical carry-along loops of yarn. Here’s a comparison swatch of the wrong sides:

And the right sides:

Here are closer pictures of the new right side:

And wrong side:

I don’t have anything against the purl stitch, but I know that some other knitters inexplicably avoid purling whenever possible. In this case the purls were my opportunity to jazz up the wrong side, which had the happy side-effect of eliminating bumpiness and making the scarf perfectly flat and non-curly, even without blocking. The two sides aren’t identical, but I think of it as a more reversible version of the Prismatic scarf, since both sides are equally pretty and graphic in their own way.

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