Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On the Road with Cat Bordhi

The week before Easter found us (me, hubby and daughter #2 age 16) driving around Indiana, Michigan and Ohio looking at colleges for daughter #2. Daughter remained very positive all throughout the trip, even though she kept checking her "facebook" to check the progress of her friends who were on vacation in Florida, California, the Virgin Islands, Barbados and other warm, sunny, sandy locations. We, on the other hand, had cold and chilly temps and rain. Only one day of sun. But, I digress from knitting.

Fortunately, hubby is the anxious sort and likes to drive. So, I was able to knit. Although I can make the standard sock recipe blindfolded (flap or short row heel) I thought I should stretch my knitting wings and try Cat Bordhi's gusset-less sock from her new book "New Pathways for Sock Knitters." I had a lot of car knitting hours and I wanted a project that was small but interesting.

I chose the cedar architecture and modified the slipped stitch version because I had only one color of sock yarn with me on the trip.

I decided to do slip stitches in the rows after the most intense colors ended--the bright pink, green and blue. Given the color way, I thought that the result was little spring flowers. Although, this may have been a mere fantasy dream of mine, since there were no little spring flowers poking up their heads in Michigan, Indiana OR Ohio!
The sock ended up being quite long because of the placement of the increases for the ankle of the sock. I put a pin where I began the increases--there are four increases every 20 rows!
The number and placement of the increases did not work for my foot and ankle. I have a narrow ankle and heel. Therefore, if you look closely at this photo, you can see the gap of excess fabric in the sock just above my heel. In the second sock, I plan to delay the increases, to put them closer together, and to delete the last row of increases. I also plan to concentrate the increases on the instep of the sock, rather than distributing them around the circumference of the entire sock. We'll see if that works better.
I've not made star toes before, preferring to do a toe that is shaped to my actual foot. However, the star toe on these socks is rather pretty, I thought!
Here's the bottom of the foot flap that is used for the shaping of foot. The blue stripe below the ankle shows how wide the sock is before you begin to shape on the bottom of the foot. This pattern was fun to do as a diversion from the standard recipe. But, it has fit problems for my feet. I'm not sure that I will do this particular architecture again, unless I was making some type of pattern that I did not want to interrupt when working the heel.

Daughter #1 saw the sock and decided that she liked it. It fit her foot better than mine. So, I will make the second sock for her and try another of Cat's patterns for me. Now I know the fitting pitfalls to anticipate and maybe the second pair will be better--for me. The Coriolis architecture is calling!

Daughter #2 and I are happy to be home. Today is her first day back at school. I'm sure she will come home with lots of stories about friends who had relaxing vacations in sunny and attractive locations!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Hello. My name is Gail and I am a yarn-aholic. I joined Ravelry recently and began to catalog and record my yarn. I was in complete denial about the number of bins and number of skeins in my collection. I realized my addiction was out of control when I purchased sufficient Dale of Norway Tiur yarn to make 8 Dale sweaters. As if I didn't already have enough projects for which supplies had been purchased to last a lifetime. Today I neared the end of my cataloging of yarn. I am in the 300's for the number of entries. This does NOT count skeins.
I hereby resolve, with the help of my fiends, not to purchase any additional yarn in 2008 and to knit madly to make a dent in my stash.
Thank you for listening.
See you at the next meeting.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Can't Compete with the Yarn Harlot!

Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, has been posting wonderful photos of her isolated Canadian snowy retreat. I can't match that for isolation, but we also have snow here in the Midwest US. Here's a shot of non-isolated country side in New Glarus Wisconsin, a town settled by the Swiss and where you can find lots of wonderful Swiss chalets. Our local knitters' guild hosted a weekend of knitting (no lessons, just fellowship and knitting) in a chalet style motel. While we knitted blissfully and fearlessly away, Mother Nature did what she does best here, she snowed!

CNN today has an article about the top 10 places to ice skate.
I beg to differ with them about places to include. Here in Wisconsin we have lots and lots of ice skating ponds--all of them natural. None of these ice sheets poured in the middle of cities and tended by Zambonies. Of course, my favorite ice skating place was the lake in front of one of my childhood homes. The surface was never smooth (unless no snow had fallen after the lake froze and you could see through the clear black ice and watch fish swim underneath!). And we had to shovel the snow ourselves. But we would ice skate while my father ice fished. I don't know that he caught anything....we usually got cold way before the fish bit!
At any rate, Madison Wisconsin has a Currier and Ives style park called Tenney Park. In the winter, the lagoon freezes and the park shelter is given plywood walls to create a warming house and skate rental concession. Oh, you can also purchase hot chocolate. I couldn't find a photo of the skaters, but this photo gives you an idea. When the ice is sufficiently frozen, the parks department sends out a pick up truck with plow and some water hoses to add a smooth surface to the ice. Skaters and hockey players skate under the arched bridges and go into the shelter for hot chocolate. Great fun!! Especially when the shelter is not open and the flood light are not on and you can skate under the stars.

In my last post, I lamented my slow knitting progress, at least as it compares to Stephanie the Yarn Harlot. (Why do I feel such competition with her?? She's younger, driven, etc., etc. Get a grip, Gail!! Chill!!) I thought that maybe I could post photos of items I completed a while ago, to make it look like I've accomplished more than I have recently.

This is the scarf daughter #1 ordered for Christmas. I made the mistake of taking her to a yarn shop and telling her to select yarn for a scarf. She selected some gorgeous nearly cobweb lace weight yarn and said she wanted a wide scarf, about 6 feet long. I used size 2 needles and doubled the yarn. That said, I also used a wrap stitch to make faster progress. Here are some photos. I finished it in mid-January. It was a Christmas present.

I separated the wrap stitches with smaller and larger segments of garter stitch. And used both double and triple wrap segments.

It has a somewhat lacy texture--my daughter said, "Don't bother with lace, I won't notice it anyway." Here, I was thinking heirloom lace, exquisite knitting....

Another reason I can't compete with Stephanie is that I tend to do more stupid things than she does. Rather than stick to my basic sock "recipe", which is the same as her "recipe", although I did NOT copy her, I thought I'd try a short row heel in these socks for my father. I used Lucy Neatby's idea that one should take 60% of the stitches of the leg of the sock. But, I used stockinette instead of garter stitch, as she does, and I achieved a heel that would fit an elephant.

I will save the photo of the finished socks for another post. That way, it will look like I've been knitting like crazy and keeping up with Ms. Y. H. Stay tuned!!