First things first: how the heck is it June already? This year has absolutely FLOWN by and it's freaking me out. You always hear that time moves faster the older you get but this is ridiculous!
Anyway, onto what you come here for:
Sometimes all I want is some mindless stockinette to knit . . . granted that doesn't explain starting yet another new sock instead of knitting the mate to one of the many single socks wandering my apartment, but it's definitely the main reason I end up starting a new sock project. In this case, I wanted to knit stockinette that had some challenge to it, and the Skew socks kept popping up in my mind. This pattern is so subtle yet interesting and unusual, I queued it the second I saw it.
Knitting the sock was an exercise in "just trust the pattern" -- this thing is knit in a crazy manner! I marveled at the designer's skill in coming up with the design in the first place and also writing a clear and easy-to-follow pattern. This isn't the sort of design that you can just say "keep going until the foot is 7" long," almost every line is written out and half the sock is different for the right foot and the left! Once I got past the heel I grafted it together to try to figure out what was going on, and after that I was able to visualize the sock and knit the leg almost without referencing the pattern. The way she handled changing directions to knit the ribbing straight instead of on an angle is pure genius too, I will definitely be using that technique sometime in the future!
The yarn I'm using is Madelinetosh in the color Bearded Iris. I bought this so long ago that I think they've changed the yarn base, as my skein has more yardage and weighs more than the Ravelry entry for this sock yarn specifies. Unfortunately this turned out to be one of those colors that is MUCH nicer in the skein than knit up. I look at the picture of the skein when I bought it and remember why I couldn't leave it behind:
(I'm also reminded of how much worse my old camera was than my SLR!)
If I had seen the yarn knit up into a pair of socks I probably would have passed on it . . . but it doesn't matter, I know I'll wear these even if they aren't the prettiest socks ever. I think it's really interesting that even after all these years working almost exclusively with handpainted yarn, I'm still so often surprised by the way a colorway knits up. Looking at the knitted up fabric vs. the skein now, I can totally see that I should have been able to predict it would knit up like this: this is a high-contrast colorway with long pieces of each color, so of course it's going to knit into a barberpole-type effect. Somehow even though I know this I still manage to picture the skein knitting up into something more subtle . . . I can't explain it. Well actually, I can explain it: I just love yarn! The truth has always been the I knit because I love yarn, not the other way around. =)
Oh, and I will probably knit this pattern again in another color to better do it justice, too! Plus it's tons of fun.
And all I spent money on was yarn.
Shocking, I'm sure.
What you see above is two skeins of Prism's Merino Mia sock yarn in the color Sagebrush. SO not my usual color palette but I'm making a conscious effort to expand my color choices, especially for my self-published patterns. If you look at my knitting pattern homepage you can't help but notice that most patterns are bright shades of pink, purple, or blue . . . and while I can't wear a color like this Sagebrush next to my face without looking incredibly sick, I can certainly wear it on my feet! And the bronze/lime/acid green palette is quite popular among knitters generally.
The yarn was bought at Gail Knits, a store that turned out to be WAY further from the Strip than I realized when I first looked it up. One of the many airhead things I've done on this trip was not plan this yarn outing well enough . . . I ended up spending as much on a cab there and back as I did on the yarn! Come to think of it, I think the cabs cost as much as renting a car would have . . . the store itself was also nothing special and didn't offer much that caught my eye. And their prices weren't great either, they had Cascade 220 for $8.50! That's a dollar more than Purl sells it for. I was shocked!
But as we all know, travel yarn isn't about getting a deal or even about buying something you can't get at home: it's a souvenir of your trip! And even though this is a business trip, not a vacation, I still wanted to get a yarn fix and bring something back to call my "Vegas yarn." And it's something to remember Vegas by, something other than a hole in my pocket from gambling (which I don't enjoy and haven't partaken in at all, much to the disappointment of the hotel, I'm sure).
So here's the updated colors for my Cascade 220 Babette. As you can see the greens really brighten everything up! I was worried that the greens and pinks might end up being too "Lily Pulitzer" but once I started working up some squares I decided that even if it did evoke something she'd do, that I still loved it! In fact, I love it so much I spent most of last weekend working on it. Right now I'm working on section 7 . . . and yes, there are only 10 sections in all!
Here's section 7 in progress:
And here's sections 1-6, awaiting joining of section 7:
As you can see I'm doing the join-as-you-go technique I used on the first Babette. I've been thinking about doing a post about this but it's not exactly a new concept so I'm not sure how useful it will be. It seems to me that anyone who's an intermediate crocheter knows how to join squares this way without thinking about it, but judging by the Ravelry projects it appears that most of the people making Babette are actually knitters, not crocheters. And since the instructions tell you to sew the thing together, it seems like everyone's doing just that! So maybe a tutorial on crocheting squares together will be useful for the knitters who are tackling this project . . . what do you think?
One of my latest acquisitions is 2 skeins of the new Spud & Chloe Fine, which is sort of like sock yarn but is an 80/20 blend of wool/silk, so to me seems destined for shawldom. The color palette in all their yarns is quite beautiful, full of bright clear colors that would make great kid's items . . . but for my taste the color palette is a bit boring. I wish there were more "off" colors, and if the people at the LYS are right, more colors are coming in shortly. I can't wait to see them!
The yarn itself is quite nice, I started swatching with it already and it's got a great hand and incredible stitch definition. I think this one's going to be a quick favorite!
I took Thursday & Friday off last week so I could hang with my sister and dad who were in town . . . after they'd both left on Friday I took the opportunity to go back to my old store, String! I pretty much never get to go there because it's in a neighborhood I'm almost never in, so it was nice to be able to make a dedicated trip to the East Side to catch up a bit and check out the new yarns. Of course I couldn't leave empty-handed now, could I??
Pictured here are the new Vogue (with Mckeee, winner of America's Next Top Model on the cover . . . guess her career's not going anywhere even after being crowned!) and a skein of String's Cashnetta, a new 100% cashmere yarn they started carrying way after I'd already left. The yarn's really interesting, as you would expect from the name it has a net-like contruction which is very unusual. What's awesome about the weird construction is that it lets you knit this one huge needles but the yarn barely weighs anything! This 7 oz ball has 186 yards and knits up on a size 11 needle! Can't beat that. (actually they suggest a 10.5 but I thought that was too tight when I swatched)
This skein has actually already been knit up into a cowl for fall . . . I have some ideas for a whole line of cowls to do, possibly for RTW, inspired by the cowls on the Fall 09 runways . . . we'll see where that goes. I bought cashmere/wool fabric to line this one and some alpaca fabric to line a second one (which I haven't knit yet), but I've gotten sidetracked by other projects with deadlines. I'll show you a picture of the cowl once I have the lining sewed in, promise! If there's interest I'll write up the pattern, it's a quick project that only took about 6 hours from start to finish (not counting the sewing obviously!), so maybe people will want to knit them for themselves, I don't know.
I actually bought more than you see here (shocking, I know!). I also got 2 skeins of Koigu Cashmere to knit a new pair of armwarmers to replace the pair I lost, and a few balls of Zara since I'd run out for Babette. I can't wait to see all the fall yarns when they start arriving, it seems like no one has any of the new fall stuff yet except for the Spud & Chloe!
And apparently, my knitting mojo's back in full force . . . I just placed an order at The Loopy Ewe to take advantage of the sale she's doing on Dream in Color right now! I've never knit with that yarn before but seeing so many people vote for it as their favorite in the contest, I just knew I would have to try it out soon. I got one sweater's worth of the worsted and 2 skeins of the sock, so enough for two pairs of socks or 2 shawlettes . . . we'll see what I come up with.
That's right, I do sometimes knit other things! Really!
I've been meaning to knit up my Cecil sock pattern in a solid color for, like, a year. I was even pretty sure that I wanted to use this grayish-blue color of Koigu for them, but somehow they never rose to the top of the to-do list. Now that my knitting mojo seems to be back in full force (finally!) and I've knit more over the last few weeks than I have in the previous few months, I thought it would be good to start a portable project to knit on my commute or in stolen moments waiting in lines. As I look through my Ravelry notebook, I see I haven't finished a pair of socks since February . . . gotta change that, stat!
I cast on for this sock on Saturday morning and worked on it while catching up on my DVR. A few hours later I'd turned the heel! I sometimes forget how quickly sock knitting goes when you work on a sock for long stretches at a time! Usually my socks only get knit on the subway or in the line at the bank, so they seem to take forever to get done . . .
These probably won't get done that quickly, though, because I already started something else and brought that project to work on during my commute today. I'm using this cheerful yarn:
Isn't it so sunny and happy? I'm making a quick present for my sister with this gorgeous Artyarns Supermerino 6 in color 2278, and I need to have it done by next week when she'll be on the East Coast for a quick visit . . . I'm already more than half-way done after just one day, so I should be able to meet my deadline!