FO: emerald city gusset heel socks.

I may have stayed up way too late to finish these…but here they are! These are the best-fitting socks I have ever made for myself, and I really enjoyed knitting the gusset heel. (No stitches to pick up! Woohoo!) I knit them on size 1 needles out of Yarn Pirate superwash merino in the emerald city colorway. I have a fair amount leftover, but I still need to weigh the skein to see exactly how much.

You may remember that this pair of socks was also an experiment with 8 inch hiya-hiya needles. I picked the second sock up again after allowing it to languish in my sock bag for months, and I had to readjust to these super short needles all over again. Once I got back into a rhythm with them, the second sock practically knit itself. The ribbing at the cuff, however, is a different story. Don’t get me wrong — these needles are awesome for stockinette sock speed — but working the ribbing and the bind off was a full-on struggle. I’ll remember that next time, and keep dpns or circs handy for any non-stockinette sections. I do think the hiya-hiya needles are wonderful for stockinette sock knitting — quick, quiet, and ladder-free!

In the spirit of the new year, I’m employing a critical eye as I look at my WIPs. Earlier this month, you folks helped me decide to frog my brompton cardigan and reclaim a sweater’s worth of Rowan Felted Tweed. Next up, a gorgeous pattern that I started as part of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL. (Yep, I’ve fallen off that wagon. Still LOVE the book, though.)  I’m knitting them out of Shibui Sock in the ginger colorway, and I’m worried that think they (or more accurately, the 3 inches of the first sock) might be too big. I’m going to dig out that project today and take a look.

socktober 2009.

socktober

Here are my socks-in-progress. (Last year’s Through the Loops Mystery Sock is in my office, nowhere near completed.) As you all know, I’ve made great strides in the sock-knitting department this year: toe-up, magic loop, lace patterns, chart reading, oh my!

Despite these gains, something happened to my sock knitting mojo with the change of the seasons. Yes, it is getting cold enough to warrant the wearing of socks, but the arrival of fall signifies prime sweater-knitting time. I’m hoping to establish a bit more of a balance this socktober, and it would be great to get back on track with the Socks from the Toe Up KAL. (See the July and August socks languishing above.)

hot toddy

Thanks for all your kind and comforting happy thoughts about the flu I’m trying to beat. Even though I spent several hours sitting on the couch yesterday with my knitting in my lap, I managed to knit only about 4 rows of my garter yoke cardigan. (Boo. Sick Rooster.) After lots of whining, several mugs of turkey broth, and a few hot toddies, I woke up today feeling cautiously optimistic that I’m improving.Though I am going to head to campus for a few hours, I promise to continue taking it easy. Happy Socktober!

a special shawl, another sock.

heathermalabrigo

One of my favorite people here in New Home is getting married next month. Remember that first pinwheel blanket I knit as a wedding present? It went to the folks who hosted me when I came to visit last spring. Apparently, when H. saw this blanket last summer, she said something like, “Where did that come from?” And when they replied that I had made it for their wedding, she responded, “Well, I want to get married if it means Rooster will knit me a lap blanket!” With this in mind, I asked H. for a few color suggestions, as they are moving into a new-to-them home this month.

Last week, H. asked if, instead of the blanket, I might be willing to knit her something to wear at the outdoor reception as the sun goes down. She came over to look at patterns and yarn, and we settled on this deep purple malabrigo sock yarn to go with her pale grey dress and soon-to-be husband’s purple tie.

This means I’ve cast on yet another project — and this one has a firm deadline! Here’s what I’ve got so far:

hshawl

I’m knitting a modified springtime bandit, following the brilliant mods of brokeknits: fingering weight yarn, plain triangle shawl to start, and then the leaf pattern and edging. You can see hers here — and I highly recommend taking a look. I have been drooling over her version from the moment she posted it on her blog!

I’m honored to be able to do this for H., and I hope the knitting goes smoothly. I’m aiming to be done with the knitting by September 1, which gives me time to block it before the wedding on the 5th.

diamondguernseytoe

Also, last night I cast on another sock. I know, I know, I didn’t finish the on-holds by the end of July, but I need to catch up, right? These are the Diamond Gansey Socks from Socks from the Toe Up — the August selection for the KAL — and I am using Araucania Ranco in a pale blue, with a size US 1 needle, magic loop.

bohlooksaway

When Boh saw what I had done, he looked away in disappointment and disgust. I know he doesn’t think I can get back on track with the KAL and finish these socks on time. I’ll just have to try to prove him wrong.

One more photo on this fine Monday morning:

lsd bob3

I’m into my third bobbin of the Crown Mountain Farms SW Merino in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which means I should be able to turn this into a 3-ply by the end of the week.

Which only means more socks, of course! Boh is glaring at me from his perch on the couch…

dillweed/milkweed.

pickles

Dillweed. (In the pickles. These are half-sours, from The Joy of Pickling.)

milkweed

Milkweed. (Shawl by Laura Chau.) I’m only 8 rows in, but I’ve decided that although I am way more comfortable with written directions, I’m going all-chart, all-the-time on this one.

I went back to the LYS having the sale yesterday to get a smaller hiyahiya needle for my vanilla socks. Either I didn’t get the right size earlier in the week, or my gauge loosened up a bit in the switch from 2 circs to 1. While working hard to ignore all of the yarn on sale, I decided to treat myself to an addi lace needle for the milkweed shawl, and already I’m glad I did. (My size 4 knitpicks harmony tips are otherwise occupied at the moment, and I knew I wanted sharp needles for this project.)

vanilla emerald

I didn’t spend a super long time knitting yesterday, but I made serious progress on this sock — I think the hiyahiya is growing on me, and while I’m not sure how well these needles would work for more complicated socks (duller tips and not a lot of give on the needle because the cable is exactly the right size for the stitch count, rather than a bit smaller), these may become my go-to stockinette sock needles. Also, they are QUIET. No clicking, clacking, or fiddling.

gussetheel closeup

Also, (drumroll) my first true gusset heel! I worked the heel turn on 2 dpns and then went back to the hiyahiya. Have I mentioned yet how fantastic Socks From the Toe Up is (today)? No? I continue to recommend checking it out.

One more:

soulwindowsplying

Consider this a plying teaser. I plied for a few hours yesterday, and there is still quite a bit of yarn left on the bobbins, which I am taking as a very good sign in the yardage department. Still aiming/hoping/wishing for sock weight and yardage! Stay tuned…

hiyahiya.

hiyahiya1

Whoa. Yesterday I felt compelled to do something about those needles with the other-than-smooth join. They were driving me crazy! The internets told me that a LYS is having a sale on everything this week, so I dropped by to look ONLY at needles. I was debating between 12 and 16 inch addis, and the (super nice) salesgirl asked if I’d seen the 9 inch hiyahiyas. I didn’t quite understand at the time that 9 inches was short enough to work them on circs the way I’d knit a hat, but at half the price of addis, I grabbed 2, as the join looked so so so smooth.

After one round with the hiyahiyas, I was ready to write this off as a failed experiment and give these needles away. And then I went to ravelry, stalked these needles in forum posts, and realized that it takes time to get used to knitting with needles that have a less-than-2-inch tip.

hiyahiya2

So I tried again, focusing on keeping my hands relaxed, and boy does this speed up the sock knitting! I’m not sure if I’ll use these on all of my socks, but I’m going to try to complete at least this plain-vanilla-sock with my new 9 inch hiyahiya as part of a “get-to-know-you” experiment. As you (and I) can see from this picture, I was getting a bit of laddering with the annoying needles. Not so with the hiyahiya.

sockprogress

Have you guys tried these needles? What do you think?

Other things occurring around chez rooster:

bread

I let this no-knead loaf to rise extra long (about 18 hours for the first rise) and I think that is the trick. One of my best loaves in recent memory.

soulwindows thirdbob

I did A LOT of spinning yesterday, and finished the third bobbin of Soul Windows just before bed last night. This last one has more green and brown than the other two bobbins, and I am interested to see how it will look all plyed up. Still keeping my fingers crossed for enough yardage for socks. I may start that tonight.

bohandbone

Also, Boh asked me to tell you that he did A LOT of work on his bone collection while I was spinning. They all know now who’s boss. (Boh.)

On today’s list: making pickles, plying, prepping for a meeting with my advisor, practicing some rusty language skills, and all sorts of other things that may or may not begin with p.

kip: kraut-in-progress.

picklingcrock

Exhibit A: 1 gallon pickling crock, acquired on ebay.

kraut-i-p

Exhibit B: Kraut-in-progress. (Note: this is not an exercise in instant gratification. While sauerkraut requires regular checking, skimming, etc., it takes several weeks to be ready to enjoy.) This is my first attempt at kraut, and I am so excited. I always LOVE kraut made by friends (including those pictured further on down the post), and can’t wait to have my very own supply.

treman falls

To celebrate being home, Boh and I met up with friends (of the animal and human variety) for a lovely hike through a local state park.

dogs at treman

We followed up the hike with ice cream, beer, homemade bread and fancy cheese. Not a bad Sunday afternoon, if you ask Boh. (I would agree.)

Finally time for a knitting update, don’t you think?

onhold ip

I must confess that I did not touch my on-hold socks while galavanting ‘cross the nation. Sorry, Boh. I knit a few more repeats this morning out of guilt, and the rows seemed to fly by. Have I mentioned yet that I love this yarn? And that I am actually enjoying reading the chart? I know I still have eleven days to finish the pair. In all of our recent travel and excitement, Boh seems to have forgotten about his supervisory role. We’ll see how long that lasts…

mara ip

Mara continues to be blob-like. I’m into the second skein of beaverslide, and I’m going to keep increasing until I’m at the recommended width of 46″. I’m at about 40″ now. I’m okay with a shorter ruffle than the pattern calls for, so long as the wrap is a good size. This is turning out to be great TV knitting, if only I could keep my hands moving during on-screen suspense!

vanillasock ip

I managed to knit a few more inches on my plain vanilla toe-ups, due to some car maintenance that took a bit longer than it was supposed to. I’m just about ready to begin the heel, and I think I am going to attempt Wendy’s gusset heel. Despite a sort of annoying join on these needles, these socks seem to be moving right along. My current sock obsession may necessitate more short circular needle acquisition of the knitpicks variety…

loveart spinning

I also managed to sit down at my wheel this weekend, and it felt good to get reacquainted with my current spinning project: Spunky Club corriedale/nylon blend in Soul Windows. I finished the first bobbin of what I hope will be a 3-ply sock yarn. I know the yarn is way out of focus in this picture, but I really like the way this shot turned out — my lazy kate is on top of a pile of cookbooks on top of a bookshelf.

Coming down the pike:

fleeceartistmilkweedyarn

This lovely Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn is soon to become Laura Chau’s Milkweed Shawl. The backwards loop group over on Ravelry is hosting a KAL that began on July 15, and once I make more progress on my on-hold socks, I intend to cast on and tackle my lace anxiety!

cotolinoforbuttercup

Here, I present my only yarn purchase of the trip — 8 balls of Queensland Cotolino, on sale at my old LYS. These are destined to become Buttercup — the modified version with slightly longer sleeves and a slimmer shape, I think.

It feels good to be blogging in “real time” again. Happy Monday, all!

two pairs concurrently?

bohyarnpiratesock

You’ve got to be kidding me.

emeraldcity1

emeraldcity2

Don’t worry, Boh. I’m making good progress. See?

onhold wip

I even cast on my On-Hold socks for the KAL and knit the toe AND one whole pattern repeat.

bohypsock2

You still look very, very worried.

Maybe it’s because you’ve seen me knitting quite a bit on something that is not a sock?

bsdmara

(Boh is actually laying on my bed, whimpering quietly to himself as I write this. I thought it was sock-related, but upon investigation, it seems that he managed to drop his bone between the bed and the radiator. Opposable thumbs are required for retrieval. The whimpering stopped the moment I returned the bone.) Don’t worry, big dog. We’ll be okay.