29 November 2009

Socks Done

I completed the Nubby Socks for my husband. As he'd already read on the blog that these were for him, and because I've been nervous about getting the size just right, I gave them to him last night. OK, that and I'd screwed up how I did the stitching on the toe decreases. I was working the 1x1 rib through some of the toe decreases, then changing to straight stockinette stitch. So, the 2nd sock as this short little bit in stockinette stitch on the toe whereas the 1st sock has a larger bit. Oh, well.

I'd gotten a bag of 10 balls of the Patternworks Bretton in navy. It was a great deal. I'll get 3 - 4 pairs of socks from these (each ball is 50 grams and it takes a little more than 2.5 balls of this yarn to get a sock done). The Bretton is a superwash wool with nylon so it should be durable.

Of course, I've started 3 or 4 other projects while I was working on these socks. I have more ideas than I have hands or time. Anyway, I'm thinking of trying to get another pair done for him before Christmas, but I'm not sure that's realistic. I need to finish up the scarf for my other nephew; it's past the halfway point, but I need to kick some yarny butt to get it done.

26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

OK, I'm stuffed. Officially.

Here's a recipe for Parmesan Crescent Rolls that my sister J brought over. Actually, she mixed the dough ahead and then baked them at my mom's. They come out very flat (not fluffy like dinner rolls) but they are heavenly!

She also made a very light and tasty whole wheat roll (I think that's the recipe, but if I'm wrong I'll adjust it with an amendment to this post).

My husband made two pork roasts. One was wrapped in bacon, the other was stuffed with apricots. But when he roasted the meat, he had it resting on a bed of small potatoes, baby carrots, chopped up parsnips, and apples that had been lightly tossed with canola oil. He got the idea from a recipe he found somewhere (it had you roasting a chicken on top of these veggies).

He also made sour cream pecan pie (a recipe from the Farmhouse Cookbook). My sister M made pumpkin pie.


23 November 2009

Nubby Socks (for men)

These socks were made for my husband who likes to wear socks with his sandals, even in winter. Socks are knit from the top down and utilize a simple rib pattern over the top of the foot which allows for extra padding/comfort because that part of the foot is exposed while wearing sandals. The “Nubby Texture” pattern stitch is from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks.

Needle Size: US 4 / 3.5 mm (use dpns or circulars)

Yarn: 3 balls Patternworks Bretton (70% superwash wool, 25% nylon, 5% alpaca), 145 yd / 133 m per 1.75 oz / 50 gr ball.

Gauge: 26 sts & 32 rows Stockinette stitch = 4” / 10 cm

Sizes: CYCA Men’s Sock Sizes 10 / 11 / 12 / 14

Finished Measurements of Sample: 8” from top of sock to heel flap; 11” long; about 8” around (unstretched) –Men’s Sock Size 12.

Pattern Stitches:

Rnds 1 & 2 – K all sts
Rnd 3 – 1x1 rib

*K1, P1* repeat to the end

Start Knitting Here:

Cast On: 48 / 54 / 60 / 66 sts. Work 1x1 rib for 12 rounds.

Rnd 13: Begin Nubby Texture pattern stitch and work 15 / 16 / 18 / 19 times (45 / 48 / 54 / 57 rounds) – or as many as you prefer until sock is about 1” above where the heel flap is to begin.

Rnd 58 / 61 / 67 / 70: Work 2 rnds of K all sts (to balance the Nubby Texture pattern stitch).

Rnd 60 / 63 / 69 / 72: Work 8 rnds of 1x1 rib.

For sizes 10 and 12 only, move 1st stitch back to last needle (1st stitch of the round is now the last stitch of the round; 2nd stitch of the round is now the 1st stitch of the round). Work heel flap back and forth over first 23 / 27 / 29 / 33 sts as follows:

Row 1 (RS): *sl 1, K1* repeat to the last stitch, end K 1. (The slipped stitches are aligned with the purl stitches of the 1x1 rib just preceding). Turn work.

Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to the end. Turn work. Work these two rows until there are 12 / 13 / 15 / 16 slipped stitches on each side of the heel flap. End after working a wrong side row.


Set-up row 1 (RS): sl 1, K 14 / 16 / 17 / 19, ssk, K1. Turn work.

Set-up row 2 (WS): sl 1, P 6, P2tog, P1. Turn work. '

Now repeat the following two rows until all sts on each side have been worked, ending after a wrong side row:

Heel Turn Row 1 (RS): sl 1, K to 1 st before the gap, ssk (one st from ea side of the gap), K1. Turn work.

Heel Turn Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to 1 st before the gap, P2tog (one st from ea side of the gap), P1. Turn work.

NOTE: On sizes 12 and 14 you will end the last two iterations of these rows as ssk and P2tog, respectively. That’s OK.

Sts rem after heel turn: 15 / 17 / 17 / 19


With right side (i.e., outside of the sock) facing, K all sts of heel flap, then pick up and knit 12 / 13/ 15 / 16 sts along the heel flap, then work 1x1 rib on the 25 / 27 / 31 / 37 sts of the instep/top of foot, then pickup and knit the same number of sts along the other side of the heel flap.

Arrange these 64 / 70 / 78 / 84 sts on needles as follows:

For dpns —
Needle 1 = 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 sts (sole)
Needle 2 = 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sts (instep)
Needle 3 = 19 / 21 / 23 / 25 sts (sole)

For 2 circulars —
Needle 1 = 39 / 43 / 47 / 51 sts (sole)
Needle 2 = 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sts (instep)

Working the sole/bottom-of-foot sts in stockinette stitch (K all sts) and the instep/top-of-foot in 1x1 rib, decrease 2 sts every other round as follows:

For dpns —

Rnd 1 (decrease round): K to 3 sts before the end of Ndl 1, K2 tog, K1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then K1, ssk, and K to the end of all sts on Ndl 3

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts on Ndl 1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; K all sts on Ndl 3.

For 2 circulars —

Rnd 1 (decrease round, starting from the center of the sts on that needle): K to 3 sts before the end of Ndl 1, K2 tog, K1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then work the first half of the sts on Ndl 1 as K1, ssk, and K to the center.

Rnd 2 (regular round, starting from the center of the sts on that needle): K sts of Ndl 1; work 1x1 rib across all sts on Ndl 2; then K the first half of the sts on Ndl 1.

Work these 2 rounds until there are 25 / 27 / 31 / 33 sole sts (50 / 54 / 62 / 66 total sts).

NOTE: For sizes 10 and 12 you have 2 more sts total than you started with, but it’s OK because the ribbing on the instep/top-of-foot is pulling together any slack.

Then continue working the foot sts without decreases until it measures 7.5 / 8.5 / 9 / 9.5 inches from the beginning of the heel turn (or until it’s 2” – 2.5” less than the total length).


For dpns —

Rnd 1 (decrease round):
Needle 1: K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, K to the end

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts.

For 2 circulars —

Rnd 1 (decrease round):
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to 3 sts before the end 1, K2 tog, K1

Rnd 2 (regular round): K all sts.

Work these 2 rounds until there are 26 / 26 / 30 / 34 sts remaining, then work only the decrease rounds until there are about 14 sts remaining.

Graft (kitchener stitch) the opening; work in ends.

22 November 2009

My Life in Projects

Socks for Ed (a Christmas present)
These are knit on US 4 from Patternworks Bretton yarn. I used the nubby stitch pattern (K all sts for 2 rounds then 1x1 rib for 1 round) I found in Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book, then changed to 1x1 rib about an inch from the heel flap. The rest of it is worked with stockinette stitch on the bottom of the foot and 1x1 rib on top. My husband likes to wear sandals, so putting the ribbing on the top of the foot will keep that part a little warmer in the winter. I've just started the toe decreases on the first sock.

A clever and fun foray into lacy knitting.

Kashmir Mittens for me!
Knit on US 4 needles from Prism Kashmir. I'll post the pattern later.

College Scarf for a nephew.
1x1 rib, knit with Berocco Comfort.

Feather & Fan Scarf
Knit with Jojoland Ballade (black) and a Prism kid mohair (Embers, I think the colorway is called) on US 10.5 needles. I thought I'd never get this one going. It took forever to figure out the best needle size, and there's no ripping back mohair because it catches on itself.

Top-Down Cardigan
This is from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern and worked in Cascade Pastaza Paints on US 9 needles. I added in a bit of lace because I had to break up the monotony of the stockinette stitch. This was originally for my sister Mary, but it's too heavy for her considering where she lives. I might give it to my sister in Canada.

17 November 2009


funny pictures of cats with captions

I just knew it was a real place!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

01 November 2009

Deep, Dark Sky

Dear Mandella,

The photo is looking west from my back yard last night (Hallowe'en). I turned off the flash and propped the camera on the deck, but the image is still a touch blurred -- the hazard of not having a tripod -- but you can see how well a digital camera captures light and the depth of color in the sky, unlike a film camera that needs special filters and aperture adjustments.

I am glad that Hallowe'en is finally over. It's not my favorite of the popular holidays, not because I think it's "satanic" or "demonic" (despite the blatherings of Pope Benedict) but because I've just never been a fan of horror films and ghoulish costumes as some people are. I admit it: I like Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day -- those holidays that in general people like to celebrate with joy and love.

This past week I've been working on a pair of socks to give to my dear hubby for Christmas. I'm knitting them from Mountain Colors' Bearfoot sock yarn, which is a blend of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon, and it's about sport weight. I purchased this skein a few years ago when we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The colorway is a deep, rich blue, but it's called "Purple Mountains." The pattern stitch is from one of the Barbara Walker collections. It's called "Seaweed" and it's a simple knit/purl combination. I'm working it up on US 2 (2.75 mm) and it's going quickly. Believe me, I had a hard time tearing myself away even to write this blog. I love it when something works!

Seaweed Stitch (multiple of 6 sts, worked in the round):
Rnds 1 & 2: *P4, K2*
Rnds 3 & 4: *P3, K3*
Rnds 5 & 6: *P2, K4*
Rnds 7 & 8: P1, (K4, P2) to last 5 sts, end K4, P1
Rnds 9 & 10: P1, (K3, P3) to last 5 sts, end K3, P2
Rnds 11 & 12: P1, (K2, P4) to last 5 sts, end K2, P3

When it's over the instep you have to add 1 purl stitch at the end to balance the pattern.

Here's the thing that's getting to me, though: I don't want to stop knitting it. I don't want to clean up my livingroom, I don't want to change the sheets on the bed, I don't want to do laundry, I don't want to go over to my mom's and sew, I don't want to go to work tomorrow, I don't want to do anything but knit and knit and knit. It's my refuge, an ordered and beautiful little world of one stitch after another, of silky yarn, of deep dark blue like the sky. That's where I want to live right now.

I'm having trouble getting the annual Christmas letter together. You've seen my previous ones, the successfully amusing missives about our otherwise mundane lives. I usually love writing these, but this year it's hard. What is there to say that hasn't been said? I'm working a lot, I'm knitting a lot, Ed still doesn't have a job, but we're happy and the pets are silly.

Perhaps it is the repetition of these details that I am trying to escape. Let's face it: the repetition of knitting patterns is boring on the surface, but it's a short enough repeat that we can see the pattern as a whole in our minds so the exercise of it is an exciting adventure as we watch it grow under our hands. Life, on the other hand, doesn't seem so exciting. The repeat of each week -- perhaps it's too long of a run? -- is wearing, and it's hard to see the whole in my mind.
Maybe what I need to do is to start knitting one of those huge lace shawls. It will be more like life as it really is: tediously long sections of pattern repeats that seem to go on forever.

Sorry. I don't mean to be depressing. Time to get off the cross (somebody else needs the wood, after all). My life is really blessed if I have the luxury of putting off housework in order to indulge in knitting a pair of socks which, after all, could be bought for maybe $3 per pair instead of what I paid for that skein of yarn.

Yep, I'm OK. I'm ready to head out into this day after all.

Hugs and good knitting to you!