Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sockerly, Potterly questions....

I sort of ran away with myself yesterday and made sample stitch markers. They are for my Hufflepuff Hogwarts-sock-swap secret pal, and my original intention was to make a bunch to decide which one I liked best, and then go back and make 5 more of that one. I made twelve total, six from Hematite beads, which have a metallic sheen, and six from black stone.

Here are the ones from Hematite. You can't really see the color - it is a silvery/gunmetal/black metallic.

And here are the ones from Black stone:

So, now, the questions.

1. They are hanging on a size one needle. The metal loops are big enough for up to about a size 5 needle, making them basically for socks to DK weight sweaters. Is that big enough, or would people really prefer larger ones?

2. If I were just going to choose one of these twelve and make five more to go with it, which one would you say I should pick to replicate?

3. If I am going to give one of these two sets, as a set of coordinating rather than perfectly matching markers, which set do you think is the nicest?

On to the Swatches...

Here are some slip-stitch patterns I swatched. I am thinking of picking three of these to combine (They tell a story.)

Here is a lace pattern that reminded me of the moving staircases at Hogwarts.

All of these are from Barbara Walkers Second Treasury. I have a few more questions...

4. Have you ever made a sock where you knit the top of the foot first, then knit the bottom, attaching as you go with K2tog at that end of each row?

5. If you did, did you find the place where the "Seam" occurs irritating?

6. Which do you think is the preferable sock - one with color patterns, or one with lace?

I thank you folks for any and all answers to these troubling questions...(Horror movie chord, sound of Voldemort's henchmen using the reductor curse on the door, scream....)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Quick post answering questions

People asked a bunch of nice questions, so I want to respond...

LISA - Thanks! I don't know if any of these will be a Wren Closure for two reasons. One is that they are the sorts of shapes that catch on things, and I am the sort of person who has run-ins with her local environs, so that if there is something that CAN get caught, it will. The other is that my Wren is made of the Brilliant, which has a snaggable nylon element that is going to show wear, I think, so I am going to proceed cautiously there. When it gets big enough to actually try something out on I may do that though! And I have one or two other designs which are more likely candidates...

GRACE - you are so sweet! I am not ready to set up bookeeping just yet, and have to develop my own designs more - these are from books and therefore mine to use for self and gifts but not to sell - same as knitting patterns. However, you will be among the very first to know if and when I get that far. Oh, and I dreamed about your scarf last night. I was somewhere and there were a bunch knitted up, in a pale pale green similar to the perle cotton green we had last week, but wool. Oh, and Harry Potter was there. That scarf is getting around!

SMARIEK...yeah, I am busy - and totally ADD. See how little Wren is! The price I pay for messing around with too many things at once, LOL!

LES and all other Wrenners - I think I MAY have some understanding of why the bottom is flipping.

First of all, I think it may have something to do with decreasing from the ribbing in the last row there. That pulls in, and may be giving that hem area naughty ideas.

Next, I think it may have to do with how tightly the yarn is being knitted up. Getting guage on the Brilliant, which is supposed to knit at that guage, yields a very soft and drapable fabric. (I would say "floppy" but that does not sound nice) I am wondering if it flips up more on yarns that are being knit more firmly? I am going to do a little experiment with my zodiac when I get a chance. I will report back....

and JOAN HA! Now I know who will be getting the plaintive e-mails wailing "How do I..." It is a very expnsive hobby - I did some in HS but never owned the tools myself, especially a soldering set up. Back there we had everything, including a mill to make our sheet metal thinner... and here I have a few pair of cheap pliers, a hammer and a bench block I had to order from some place that will also sell you your own smelting equipment, which would be handy if I had a silver mine on the property but which, as things stand, I am quite certain I will never need!

So far I am practicing with copper wire and beads I had around from the LAST time I tried to sell jewelry, and so it has not been a major investment yet, but clearly, if I want to be able to anneal and re-work, or start needing a real bench and stakes to hammer with, this is going to quickly spiral right out of control. I am intrigued by the idea of making spoons, but it is really the expense of the equipment which has stopped me. That and only having one mouth. How many spoons can I use at once....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fiddlesticks Friday!

People liked the last pins I posted, so here are a few more.
This one here is just another version of the one with the blue bead. I think I may redo the top part, which looks a little - open. What say you folks?

These three I made from the same pattern. For the one with the dangle, I ran out of wire, so the pin is smaller but if you look carefully you can see what part of the design I did use.

For the one with the beads, well, I put beads as I bent the wire. The original in the book had beads. They were different beads, and it looked much better than this. Ah well, you have to try to learn.

This one follows the pattern pretty well, except that the pattern had some beads on it, which this does not, and this one has been textured with the hammer, which the original had not.

I bent all of these on a jig. What I did was take my jig, which is cheap and plastic and from the local craft store, and put a paper with the traced design over it. Then I tried to put pins in at appropriate places to make the bends. I could only get close, but still, they're OK.

This actually relates to my Hogwarts sock project as well. We have to send stitch markers with the sock. I was thinking...look at the one with the dangle. Is that dangle not, pretty much, a stitch marker? Couldn't I make a pin like this, and hang the stitch markers from it, so that she could either use them as decoration or just whip them off the pin and use them while she was knitting? Patternworks sold a pin like that years ago, but much simpler...rings on a big safety pin idea...

And this is Fiddlesticks Friday because it is actually yesterday's post. The camera software was being strange and not letting me find things, and other junk. This is not to be confused with Shawl Saturday, which will be up later...

Oh - picture of my Wren -- also on Junior Godess's blog...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Think-About-It Thursday

I will admit that unless you are willing to draw a long and circuitous line from the socks found in the tomb of Eleanor de Toledo and this post, it is entirely off topic. However, reading won't take but a minute, and if you decided to help that will cost you nothing and also take but a minute, so here I am in my bully pulpit, asking you to help get some people back in the ground. I have checked all this out with the woman running effort, actually speaking to her on the phone, so we know it is not a garbled internet story.

I am asking you all to take a moment and write a brief letter stating your support for the re-internment of human remains currently being held in storage in Brooklyn, NY.

The remains come from the cemetery of the former Quarantine Hospital on Staten Island used for immigrants as well as administering to anyone in the NYC metropolitan area with an infectious disease. The burials are from 1799-1858. At some point this cemetary had been paved over as a parking lot. In 2006, it was torn up and the bodies removed to a storage facility,

There is a cemetery which is willing to take these bodies, but the position of NYS is that "No one cares." Therefore they are doing nothing.

We have seen in recent years that when people do express support for the dignified treatment of human remains, the state is eventually forced to respond in some way. I ask that you do as I have done - just send a brief letter of support to the Staten Island Cemetery, email address, stating that you support the reinternment of these remains in a proper burial ground.

Staten Island Cemetery was once a burial ground of the Native American people, first recorded burial 1802. There are hundreds of veteran's from the Revolutionary war through WW1 interred at this historic location.

I have checked the facts with the woman who is chairing this effort, and have been assured that they are correct. The local genealogical community has been called upon to send letters of support, and we have. The more people who do so, not just locally but nationally and internationally, the more likely we are to get these people decently reburied.

I hope you will send a letter of support to, and thank you for your support of this effort. Regular mail address: Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries, Inc. S.I., 115 Lathrop Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10301, phone #917-545-3309

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Way-it-Was Wednesday

I made these socks from that same book, after I made the pair from last Wednesday. This was one of those projects where I used what I had in the house, and some of it is doubled sport weight. There is Lamb's Pride worsted in there along with some Patons and who knows what else.

Socker liked these too, but not as much as last week's.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mad-It-Myself Monday, in which I discourse of various FO's

I have been thinking about other nice things I can put in with my secret pal's socks...(Why do I keep thinking of this knitter as my victim?) I also make jewelry as one of my hobbies.

Grumperina (No idea what her URL is, followed a link) gave a little prezzie of a nice shawl pin to whoever posted the 700th pair of Jaywalker socks. I liked the pin, and have been working with things like that, so between that pin, and the latest volume of a magazine I get every now and then, I made up the following pins. This first one did not photograph very well. I am pretty happy with it, but next time I would use slightly thicker wire, and hammer it more.

This next piece is based loosely on the one in the magazine. I did not have the right guage of wire, and I think I did hammer it too much on the left side there, but I like the way it looks in general, and will probably work on variations of this.

The very last one is actually the same design pin you just saw, made with a different bead. The second wire did not fit through the hole, so I just made the top part. It is actually kind of cute all on its own...

What do people think? So far I think the one in the middle with the green bead is nicest, so I am going to work with variations of that design for now... especially since I think with a bead that has a slightly larger hole, and just slightly larger wire, that one will work nicely, whereas for the other wire may have to be gotten from I am not sure where...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hogwarts-sock-swap progress

Well, I got an e-mail from my secret pal, and have to e-mail her back. She got specially dyed yarn for my socks, and is talking about casting on already.


I have been dithering because first, I wanted to find out some things about what my person would like. I am probably over-thinking this, because I have never been in a sock swap before and of course want to make the most marvelous socks EVER for this gal, the socks that will just make her swoon with delight. Now I don't particularly like eating my own cooking because I am always sure everyone else's is better, but even I will take socks knitted by me - any old pair, even the RHSS ones. So I am pretty sure this woman will like whatever nice pair of socks I send. If I just get variegated yarn and make one of the pretty patterns that other people have posted links to, and which they are probably using...But NO, I feel I ought to transcend all former socks and create - the socks of all socks! The socks de resistance! The mastersocks!!!

So, someone save me from myself. Is combining cables in a particularly meaningful Hogwarts shape, a panel of lace with a contrasting solid panel behind it, and some color work too much for one sock to take?

*wanders off muttering "must check stitch dictionary, must check stitch dictionary, must check...
So I am supposed to be Wrenning, but, instead, I am whining and Luna-ing.

First, the Whine...

Why do companies make their expensive yarns in so many ridiculous guages? Are they figuring "no one else out there will have 16 and 24 37ths of a stitch to four inches, they will have to buy our fifteen dollar a ball #%$@ MWAHAHAHA!!!!!!"

I never use the yarn called for. It does not allow for creativity, for dash, for verve, for having a really good reason to curse when your calculations changing from the old guage to the new turn out to have been incorrect - it seems spiritually incorrect. And I am cheap. I am so used to being cheap that even when the yarn called for is cheap I am looking for something cheaper. Hmmm maybe I should have waited till I knew you all better to say that. Well, I was spoiled by Smileys early on in my knitting career.

And if I DID buy the same yarn - I actually do have some yarn sitting in the basement, waiting to be knitted up into a sweater from a book calling for that very same yarn, but I got it on sale - anyway, even if I do, I still have to get out the calculator. I am short. There is simply not as much of me between my nipples and my neck as the designers account for, even as the nipples start to sag... And there is also more of me between my nipples and waist than we were counting on, but not in a good way. So I can never jsut knit something. I have to adjust it and then hope it is not like the lovely linen bridesmaids outfit I made for my friend's wedding. My belly button was showing. In, I think, every picture I'm in.

Whine, whine, whine, etc.

Now part of the problem with Wren is that sweaters make me nervous, so it is easier to knit on the shawl in the really pretty yarn and let that sort of slide. Because for Wren, I have to take measurements. It has waist shaping. But I will force myself. I already bought two skirts to go with it...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sometimes you win, Sometimes you lose.

Every once in a while you have an experiment that reminds you of the experimental nature of, well, experiments.

There is such a wide range of usable outcomes in fiber work that this is easy to forget. So you didn't get periwinkle - the lavender was just as good, in the long run. So, the yarn was lousy for socks - it made up into a fantastic shawl. As long as we end up with some usable object, I think most of us are pretty forgiving of the process.

Well, yesterday was one of those days when you just have to say "Negative research is still research" and go from there.

A year and a half ago a friend gave me a lovely ball of yarn she dyed with kool-aid in her microwave. It was, it turns out, Lion Brand Woolease, and I was amazed at how much color it had, considering that only 20 percent of the fibers were wool and could take the dye. I kept saying to myself that I had to try that sometime.

Well, last week, after He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Allowed-Near-Wool (Also known as Lord Feltdemort) did his best on two pair of socks that had each been worn once or twice, I decided the time was now. I got a skein of Woolease in that creamy white color they have, and soaked it in water with a squirt of dish liquid (not lemon).

Next we poured on red dye and yellow dye. This was supposed to be for Worsted Weight Horcrux socks, so we were going for Scarlet and Gold, the Gryffindor colors. What we actually had was not nearly dark enough, it was not even as dark a what you see here, and I should have stopped at the first DROP that poured out and said "We need to get more dye." But you know, there was no more dye in the house, and I could not go out, so I forged on...

And this sad result, hanging on my porch, is the final product. I think that, on top of everything, my microwave is too strong for acrylic yarn on full strength - the texture seems off.

I am not sure any of the worthy yarn charities I know of would really want it, stringy and pale and lifeless as it is. It actually looks better in this post than in person. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Way-It-Was Wednesday

We've been chatting, my knitting firends and I, about the oldest pieces of knitting we have. I thought I'd share, on Wednesdays, pictures of some of the things I've knit in the past.

These socks were made in February 2000 from yarn I picked up in many places, from a yarn store that was going out of business to Smileys yarns to who knows what. They are mostly wool, with a few blends for colors. The recipient wanted bright colors. Said creature needs a name. We shall call it Socker. Socker really liked these socks, but has grown. I have no idea where the other one is.

The pattern was from a book of Turkish sock patterns, and when I find it I will give the particulars. I do recall that it was reprinted later with a different title. If you have that book, and I am sure you know which one it is if you have it, you can find the pattern easily - it is called hook or the hook.

The ribbing is synthetic. The dark blue at the top there is Shetland, I think, from a sweater I pulled apart. The gold is from the defuncto place, which had had it since '75, at least, or maybe '55 , for that matter. You had to see the lables. The bright orange was handspun and dyed with powdered drink mix, the blue, pink, and black are, I think, synthetic blends. None of it was regulation sock yarn. The pattern called for the afterthought heels.

The now-lost mate used all the same colors, but not in any of the same places, and that was deliberate. We wanted the socks to be as interesting as possible - at least, I did. Socker did go through a phase of wanting things to match, but it might have been before this. I've been wearing whatever two socks I can find clean since college, so fraternal twin socks don't bother me at all.

Hmmm...I bet Socker would like a larger pair now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My questionair for the Hogwarts-sock-swap

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire
Want to Get Sorted?

a Gryffindor!

I was told we’d get more points if I responded “with enthusiasm” and linked to the sock swap site. Well, here is the link:

Or maybe they meant I should link there. Hmmmm. Well, maybe someone will tell me if I got it wrong. There is a link there already to take you here, although earlier today it was not working, but then, earlier that that I couldn’t get there at all. Mysterious place, cyber space.

And now for the enthusiasm…. I was thinking about Harry’s trip to Ollivander’s , and the various measurements the tape took, including between his nostrils, so I took a few extra measurements of my own.

What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

Gryffindor! (Can’t you hear the Sorting Hat shouting?)

1. Shoe size?

Well, I am really an eight and a half triple E, but you almost never find that, so I just buy nines.

2. Foot Length?

The left foot is ten inches, and the right foot is – drumroll – Nine and Three Quarters! Like the Platform!

3. Foot Circumference?

Again, Nine and three quarters! Which would seem somehow to indicate that I have one square foot in there somewhere, but it really just looks like any old foot, but wider.

Now for the extra, possibly-useful-but-not-called-for-so-I-guess-it-is-totally-within-the-rules-to-ignore-them measurements….

Ankle circumference – eight and half on one leg, eight and three quarters on the other.

Circumference of leg nine inches up from ground – thirteen and a half inches.

Circumference of middle toe on left foot – two and one-eighth inches…

Don’t let these measurements scare you, because I like my socks to fit snugly, so if they are at least an inch smaller than my foot circumference, and possibly a little more, that is probably just fine.

4. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.

This is a little embarrassing, because I usually knit with whatever I get at the rummage sales and so forth, but ones I have used and liked are:
a. Boye aluminum, seven inches, size one
b. Inox steel, 8 inches, for sizes below zero. I’m not sure I have them in zero itself. I wish they were an inch or two shorter, but that is how they come. (I have 0000, 000,00… when you get to one I think they are a little heavy)
c. I used to have one set of Addi grey coated needles in size 1.5 (It is the millimeter size between what we normally call one and what we normally call two.) Those were nice. I don’t like the bluntness on the single point Addis at all, though.

5. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I would like to try the Knit picks needles. They are six inches long, and I could use a set of size one’s. I don’t normally like knitting with bamboo, wood or plastic, so I would really prefer metal ones.

6. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?

7. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? Yes.

I hope this is appropriate enthusiasm! I am busy thinking about what kind of socks I can make…

Some recent FO's

Since this is a new blog, I thought I would start with some recent FO's. These socks were knitted to fit the feet you see them on from wool custom dyed for the project by the person wearing them. The socks with green legs and heels were made from what was leftover. What did I start with? A full skein of Patons Classic Wool Merino and some Wilton's food dyes. Obviously, these are socks for little feet. Does anyone know if you can get a pair for an adult out of just 220 yards of worsted? The socks don't look quite like this anymore, however. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Allowed-Near-Wool led them into a close encounter of the felting kind in the presence of the washer and dryer. Are probably even warmer, and still do fit, but only because I stretched them with a wooden spoon and the recipient is highly forgiving. The ones that have no green have not yet been felted. I am keeping an eagle eye on them.

Monday, April 9, 2007

I Sort of Saw This Coming

I am very happy with my LJ. However, if I want to webring with my chat pals, and stick buttons up and stuff like that, LJ really won't do it for me, so here is the new, the different, Gryffinitter Knit Blog! And it will probably keep looking different everytime you get here until I am totally happy with it. My first venture on this new space is to join the Hogwarts Sock Swap.