27 February 2017

Spiral Cowl Done

Another FO for me this month! Don't think that I'll manage to get another done as there's only a day left in this month - now that would take more needle turbo that I have LOL

I finished the spiral cowl that I was working on in stranded colourwork.  I had a lot of issues with the yarn that I used as a Main Colour.  It started out great and I was really pleased with how it was going, when about halfway through, it suddenly got thin, then thick, then thin and it continued in that manner all the way to the end of the skein.  I'm so happy that gauge wasn't important in this project as if it was, then it wouldn't have fit me properly.  It just meant the my other yarn had to work twice as hard and it did great!

I used it all up completely and totally - I didn't want any of this yarn left in my stash and returned the other skein that I had picked up.  I rather didn't want to do it as it was such a pretty colourway, but I didn't want to use a yarn that would've been worrying about all the way through my project.  I'll find another yarn with a similar colourway - so not to worried about it - much LOL

The cowl did turn out well considering - it fits nicely and as I used this yarn for the lining it's nice and soft against my skin.  I did not block this except for the seams to straighten out the curling so I could seam it easier.

I just love the pattern - it was well written and assumes that a person has a basic understanding of knitting.  The lining is a great idea as you don't have to worry about your floats catching on glasses frames, zippers, buttons etc.  And with this yarn being acrylic, it can get tossed in the washer  / dryer with no fear of it shrinking or felting.  We've had a weird winter and I'm not sure how many days I'll get to wear it this year, but this will be around for several years and I am looking forward to getting some good wearing time out of it.

I've more socks planned and my first shawl :)  I'll be doing two at a time socks for the first time as well since I was able to find a long enough circular to try this with - maybe too long, but would rather have to much than to little.  Fingers crossed I do well with this method and fingers crossed I do well with the shawl too :)

17 February 2017

Another FO pour moi!

With all the goodies on my needles, you'd think I'd have more than two finishes for the year LOL But yea!!! Another finish pour moi!  These knit up super quick too considering I spent most of last week sleeping :S.  This was the first pair where I used the shadow heel method and let's just say, I'm a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan!  I've found my heel!!  It knits up super quick and the one thing that I liked the most - no gaps or holes from my yarn being stretched from here to Kingdom Come.  Nope - that's not an issue with this heel - no siree bob!  Sorry - I'm just giddy because they knit up so fast and they fit like a charm.  They are a wee bit loose above the ankle.  I was speaking to the lady that owns my LYS and thinks that maybe changing my needle size to a smaller one after the heel, could make the difference that is needed.   Actually, I could likely knit on US1 2.25mm and it would fit and that might solve my snugness above the ankle issue .. I'll try it and then I'll know for sure :)

I so want to do my next socks on magic loop two at a time either toe up and cuff down - who knew that finding US 1 or US 2 on 36 - 40" circular needles would be so bloody difficult .. pfft.  I can find them online - but I really do NOT want to pay shipping and have to wait for it.  It appears that even Joann Fabrics doesn't even have them in store from what I was able to see when I went online.  I could buy them online and have them shipped - but ya .. shipping and then having to wait.  I would've bought them online and then went and picked them  up instore - but nope - not an option .. grrrr.  I'll keep my eyeballs open - I might get lucky .. hey stranger things have happened!

I am back to working on my Spiral Cowl and yup .. it's still slow going.  Even though I've a good rhythm going - it's still slow.  I'm at row 24 and only have to go to row 56.  It seems soooo far away from this point LOL  It's going to be worth it though and it's going to look great and be toasty warm.  Although we seem to have a spring like winter.  I'm not complaining, but not looking forward to all the bugs we get after a mild winter.

I might take a break and either finish up my Enya socks, or cast on my new 'fancy' yarn - I can't wait to get my fingers on that and start playing.

I'm eyeballing sweater patterns and more shawl patterns - I will be making a shawl using the Alpaca yarn I've got - I'm excited about it, but still not to sure how I feel about.  Not sure I'm a shawl girl, but I'll try at least two and go from there.

So back to my cowl so I get some work done on it and then I can count that as another finish for the SelfishMe KAL that I'm in on ravelry.  My socks count towards that as well as a few other KALs that I'm doing.  I think I'm seriously addicted to socks.  My goal is to have a drawer full of handknit socks.  I think that would be soooo cool!

08 February 2017

Sock Math Success

It's such an awesome feeling when math actually works - no wonder how convoluted you may think it is.  In my last post I went through the math for two different sites that help you calculate how many stitches you need based on foot measurements and knitting gauge.  I went through the calculations for both and once I made an adjustment based on understanding what resting weight meant, they both agreed.  For US2 size needles, I need a sock pattern that requires 64 stitches. Yea!!!  *knitterhappydance*  You have no idea how relieved I am.  There are way to many choices for sock needles from US000 to US3 and unlike larger garments which can be fidged sizeways in may different locations - sock construction doesn't allow to much fidging.

All the while I was knitting these, I kept trying them on - At first I thought they were to snug, then to loose - the to loose feeling kept on until I turned the heel.  I kept telling myself - don't make any judgments or decisions until you turn the heel.  That will pull the sock into shape and let it cover my foot properly rather than just pulled on over the toes.  It was a pretty agonizing and tenseful knit until I finally got to the heel turn.

I was looking for alternative heel turn methods, for several reasons - I kept having gaps because my first stitches on the needle were generally pulled and stretched that created gaps, and I like to learn new methods.  I tripped over a heel that didn't involve wraps.  It's called Shadow wrap heel turn.  That really peaked my interest.  It's done all at once so to speak, no wraps (yes, no wraps), and looked really easy to do.  I don't mind wraps, but if I'm using a dark yarn, it's difficult to see them to pick them up.  I've been super excited to try this method.  In the picture to the left this is where I've got it set up and am ready to start the rest of the heel turn.  If you notice, my stitches aren't pulled at the beginning, so I had high hopes that I would have no unsightly holes - yes I was getting super excited!  And since there are no wraps, there are no stitches to pick up - just knitting the 'twins' together and making a triplet for the next row.

I could barely wait to try them on, and I use my left foot as that is my larger foot - If it fits on that foot, it will definitely fit on the right.  And O M G - it fits!  No unsightly gaps - there is a hole at the top where I joined back with my knitting, but I'm thinking it was based on having an extra row before I joined back in the round again - easy fix.  I'm SUPER pleased with this heel - I mean .. look at that - and it's the same on the other side too!  I totally recommend this heel and I used the tutorial from Eddie's Room where the Super Sock Calculator lives.

I've gotten up past the top of my ankle and will do one more pattern repeat then start my ribbing.  I'm super pleased with these socks and am beyond tickled that I have my sweet spot for needles and stitch count.  I'm telling you it really gives you a huge boost of confidence knowing that I can cast on my stitches and my socks will fit - I'll do another knit in a Patons sock yarn to use it up and then I'll get into my 'fun' yarn, if I can wait  if not - I'm thinking the Debbie Bliss yarn I won, or Knitpicks Freemont in the Hawthorne Kettle Dyed - I might just have to do the blind reach and grab.

Now I have to find the to that speaks toe me - the wedge type toe isn't my favourite, I'm thinking I might do that spiral cast on - we'll see where my sock journey continues to lead me.

Pattern Info:
US2 (2.75mm)
Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings with
Super Sock Calculator
Patons North America Kroy Socks FX - Celestial Colours
KALs these socks are in - #selfishmeKAL #BoxoSox2017 #23HPKAL2017 #ANADIOMENA 

04 February 2017

Finished Object and Sock Math (Weird Math warning)

It happened! Yes, it finally happened! I've a finished object! Based on the law of averages, something had to give eventually LOL And I'm so glad that it did.  This was an exceptionally easy and well written pattern that included both chart and written directions.  You'd think that with as long as I've been knitting that I would be a chart goddess, but no - for the most part, I follow written directions.

The #ValanarCowlKAL on ravelry hosted and written by Elena Nodel was a great deal of fun and a lot easier to knit that you would think.  The pattern was very intuitive and a pretty quick knit.  All said it probably was 5 days of knitting to get this done.  I was hit by some sort of critter that left me feeling decidedly not in knitting mode, so it languished for about a week.

This was knit on US7 (4.0mm) with Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smokey Mountain colourway.  The yarn is 100% acrylic and I only used one skein for this project.  I picked this yarn for ease of care as this is going to my step dad and I didn't want him to fret on wash and care of it - I want him to wear and enjoy it.

While this was an easy knit, I want to do a super simple knit now, and I want to use some of my new Knitpicks yarn that I've never used before so I want them to fit right - I was thinking a vanilla type sock would be perfect - my concern is that I've not found MY sweet spot for needles and number of stitches for socks - I could continue to cast on willy nilly and hope I hit it with various patterns in different needle sizes, but that would drive me a wee more bastsh!t crazy - so I did some research,

On ravelry there is a Super Sock Calculator that tells you stitches to cast on, stitches for heel and this is a toe up, two at a time calculator.  Sounds super awesome - but still doesn't tell me what needle I should use .. **sigh**

So back to google I went and I found this site:  Sock Math and Sock Chart  And this one included a formula that makes sense!  I think I might have found the sock math holy grail!!!  Their formula states thus:

1. Measure around ball of your foot (at widest part near toes) with foot resting on it’s weight.
2. Multiply # of inches by the gauge. (gauge will need to be determined from measuring a swatch made with intended yarn and tools).
3. Subtract 10 % of this number for negative give for fitted socks.
4. The result is the number of stitches to cast on in stitch used in swatch.

So using US2 with Knitpicks Hawthorne Kettle Dyed fingering weight yarn  So let's do some math - no swatch has been done as of yet - but that doesn't take long at all to do up

Width of my foot - 10"- yes I've a wide foot
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  10x8 = 80 ... I've not done my gauge swatch yet, but I tend to knit to gauge and this is based on pattern gauge for the time being - just to play with the numbers
10% negative ease - 80x.9 = 72 stitches

I'm not to sure about that as I've used 72 stitches in one pattern and the socks are largish on me with a size US2 needle.  hmmm The super sock calculator says a total of 64 stitches, and there is yet another pattern for 56 stitches that follows to my gauge.

Here are the numbers that are used for the Super Sock Calculator off their website

Length of Foot - 9
Width of foot - 8 (non weight bearing)
gauge - 32 sts / 4"

My results are:
C:7.5 inches

Which translates into 14 stitch magic cast on (toe up version) increasing until 32 stitches on each needle (64 stitches) and I start my heel at 7.5 inches from toe - I've not had an issue really with length of sock - more like what needles and how many stitches.

I think I'll do a quick swatch and see what I get - I bet if I change the foot width from weight bearing to non weight bearing, the results would be more acceptable.  I just can't agree with 72 stitches for me.  I'd almost rather have a sock a smidge to snug on my foot than swimming like my Midnight oil socks do - well they don't swim exactly, but I would like them to be much smaller.  I"m thinking that the Super Sock Calculator will be my best bet - 64 is following the Enya sock pattern and while that is on smaller needles, it fits me way better than my Midnight oil Socks.  My Sunset Scale socks were a 64 stitch sock and that is acceptable.  Having a super wide foot is a real trial LOL

I did a quick remeasure of my foot and with just my weight 'resting' it measured 8.5"
Width of my foot - 8.5"
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  8.5x8 = 68
10% negative ease - 68x.9 = 61.2 rounded to 61stitches

That makes more sense than previous numbers - seems like a really snug fit, but I can adjust the ease numbers or not use them at all

All this for a vanilla easy peasy knit LOL  Good lord, I could complicate a wet paper bag somedays LOL   Once I find my sweet spot for needles, I plan to return the skein I didn't use for the Valanar Cowl and exchange it for whatever size in 40' circs.  Maybe US2 as I seem to use them most.  My circs are all older with much stiffer and unforgiving stiff inflexible cables so magic loop has never been my method of choice.  I think I'll use my Patons Kroy FX yarn instead for the vanilla test knit.  I can grab that at Michaels anytime I want / need it.

That being said, I'm still working on my cowl for myself.  I picked the Spiral Cowl by Betty Narducci, and for this one I am follow a chart - not much choice on this one as there is no written directions.  I chose the Red Heart Unforgettable in the Echo Colour and black as my contrasting yarn.  Not much has been done and I hope to get back to this soon so I can wear it before spring LOL