We’ve done a couple of road trips lately, and in my universe, road trips mean sock knitting. I started this pair of socks for myself last year, and they’ve been stalled for a while. I finished them on the way to Lori Foster’s RAGT in Ohio, and now I have new socks! I also knit the first sock of another pair, although there’s no telling when the socks will be done. (We have no road trips planned right now.)

Here are the new socks:

bluesocksThe yarn is a self-striping sock yarn called Lang Jawoll Color Aktion (yup, another German sock yarn) and it came with the dyed-to-match spool of reinforcement yarn. I used it in the heels and toes, as usual, but since my socks always wear out under the ball of the foot, I also wove some in there after the socks were done. We’ll see how that works out. The pattern  is my usual one – if it was ever in a book, I forget where. I bought this yarn on a stash enhancement day with Pam, the last time RWA National was in Dallas. I forget the name of the shop, but it was very cute.

It turns out that the new girl is a great liberator of knitting wool and knitted items. She doesn’t chew them or even lick them – she just relocates them. These socks have some miles on them already, and I haven’t even worn them yet!

Another Felted Bag

I’ve finished another felted bag – is it possible to have too many of them? – and although it still needs to be lined, I thought I’d show it to you today. It won’t look any different from the outside once it’s lined, after all. 🙂

The Sipalu bag was available from Knitpicks as a kit, including the wool, but I didn’t like that it wasn’t felted. I knew the result would be less sturdy unfelted, particularly knit of a fingering weight yarn (the kit came with Palette.) The pattern for the Sipalu bag was and is available on its own, so that’s what I bought. The pattern specifies knitting with a number of colours, but I decided to use a self-striping yarn with a contrasting solid instead. I dug into my stash and came up with my felting standby, Patons Soy Wool Stripes and Soy Wool Solids. I used Black and Natural Plum.

I did run out of black. Since the SWS yarn is discontinued, I couldn’t find any more. (I tried.) I then substituted solid red SWS, but didn’t like it in the fair isle – there wasn’t enough contrast with the self-striping Natural Plum – so I frogged that back but used the red on the garter stitch edges. The bag sat, unfinished, in my knitting basket while I tried to figure out what to do. One day I saw a very similar yarn to SWS balled with another company’s label, which gave me the idea of using the Ravelry search engine to find a substitute. Ravelry has a great search engine that lets you specify many variables – I used the content (soy and wool) and the weight (aran) , then looked for single ply yarns in solid colours. I found Gjestal Bris, with a buy link, so ordered some of that. It’s a bit thinner than the SWS, but since I was felting the end product, it worked out just fine.

Here’s the unfelted version of the bag:
sipalubeforeYou’re probably wondering about the white cording. I decided that I wanted the edges of the bag to be more round than the garter stitch alone would make them. I wanted them to be like piping around the edge. So, I bought some cotton cord at the fabric store, the kind that’s used to make piping (!), and sewed it in to all the edges. (I slip-stitched the garter stitch ridge closed on the inside of the bag, with the cord trapped inside.) Because I wasn’t sure if the cord would shrink – or whether it would shrink at the same rate as the SWS – I left the ends long. After the felting was done, I tugged the cords so that the piping was smooth on each edge, then trimmed them and secured the ends inside the bag.

Here’s the bag felted and ready for its lining. It could have been felted just a little bit less, but felting is an inexact science. The button is handmade of porcelain.
sipalu_afterHere’s my project page on Ravelry, if you want to see more nitty gritty details.

What do you think?


Knitting Under the Weather

I’ve had a nasty cold this past week and a half, one that didn’t want to go away. It wasn’t so bad that I could stand to spend days in bed (I have to be at death’s door for that) but was sufficiently bad that I couldn’t write new work. I’ve been doing administrivia – editing, proofreading, updating links etc. etc. – and got pretty much fed up with this particular cold virus.

Even worse, it also been affected my knitting. I couldn’t knit lace, or do any armhole shaping, or knit anything that required much thinking. I didn’t think I’d finish things well in this state – my stripey Noro cardigan is done, with the sleeves reknitted, but grafting those side seams has been beyond my abilities and energy level. I also wasn’t able to recalculate – I had started to seam together my Knit, Swirl cardigan, only to discover that the sleeves are too narrow. I need to re-plan, frog, and reknit the sleeves, but not while this virus was in residence. All my plans to finish everything before casting on something new were trashed by this cold.

Garter stitch has been suiting me pretty well. Knit, knit, knit. Easy, peasy. I didn’t have anything like that on my needles, so needed a plan.

Since my Noro cardigan is done, I have a lot of Noro Kureyon Sock left over in one colourway. (#289) It’s all bits and ends, though, because I needed to match the colour sequence and there were breaks in the yarn. I was going to put this in to my stash for the Sock Hexagon afghan, but it seemed like a lot of one colourway. I had a look in that stash and found even more Noro sock yarn….soooooooo, a plan was born. Altogether, I gathered over 500g of ends of Noro Kureyon Sock and Noro Silk Garden Sock.

A big chunk of it is becoming a stripey tote bag.

This pattern is for a felted bag, made of striped squares assembled in a clever way. Here’s the creator’s blog post about it – it’s in Japanese, but has lots of pictures. What a cute bag! There are some English instructions on Ravelry, right here. Essentially, you cast on an odd number of stitches and knit a square with the same number of ridges – 25 stitches knit to 25 ridges, for example. You make 22 squares and join them as indicated, add an I-cord handle and trim, and felt it. (If you’re on Ravelry, there’s a project by another knitter who used Kauni Effektgarn and the entrelac technique to create two gorgeous bags, right here.) It appealed to me to make a project not just from stash, but from leftovers. There will still be plenty of scraps for the Sock Hexagon afghan.

I started this project with alternating stripes of Noro – 2 rows of A, 2 rows of B, 2 rows of A, etc. – and even managed to mess that up a few times. That tells you all you need to know about my recent mental state. (It might have been the cold, or the cold medication. Either way, I cast on with birch Brittany needles, not really sharp pointy ones.)

So, I sorted out the Noro stash and chose a dark colourway of Silk Garden Sock leftover from my Inky Spider Shawl, to alternate with Kureyon Sock in #180. I have a lot of this, in bits and ends, and think it must have been from my infatuation with Kureyon Sock when the yarn was originally introduced. I knit a lot of socks for myself in it because I loved the colours – it looks like I bought a second ball in this colourway to make the socks match – but it really wasn’t good sock yarn for me. Those socks were like butterflies: beautiful, admired, and short-lived.

I started at the bottom of the bag, because it made most sense for it to be dark, and the central four squares there. I knit each one, then pick up the next one along the side to carry on. Seaming as I go. That works for me. Here it is so far:

The black and turquoise striped square was the first one and the bottom needle is pointing at the middle of the bag. Those are the four squares that will make the base. The dark Silk Garden Sock is gone, so I’ve moved into the #289 left over from my Noro cardi. There’s enough #180 to knit for a while. Things are getting brighter now. I’ll knit five on the top, then five on the bottom, just like the schematic.

What do you think? Does your knitting change with your health and welfare? Do you have “comfort knitting”, too?

Another Wingspan

I just finished another version of that Wingspan shawl. This one is in Noro Silk Garden Sock and used two balls:


I had enough yarn to do ten triangles this time. And I figured out what I’d done wrong the last time – the pattern says to Slip 1, Knit 2 before placing the traveling marker after each work and turn. I only saw the K2, so my W&T’s on the first shawl are two stitches apart. They should be three stitches apart, as they are here. Doing it the other way made each triangle wider, but also made the shawl wider. This version is more like a scarf.

It does have beads at the base of each triangle, one on every fourth row on the second stitch in from the edge.

I like it a lot. What do you think?

Inspired by the Kleks Shawl

Last fall, I came across a wonderful lace yarn in my LYS. It was dyed to change colours once over the length of the yarn. The yarn is Knitwhits Freia Handpaints Freia OmbrĂ© Lace, and the colourway I chose – Grapevine – changes from purple through brown and green to chartreuse. I thought it would look great in a semi-circular shawl – crescents of colour – and was inspired by the Kleks Shawl. This is the Ravelry link for the Kleks.

This is where you can grab the free pattern.

I really like the look of this shawl, with its alternating bands of stockinette stitch and bramble stitch, but wanted a shawl that was a wedge out of a circle with a rounded neck – like the letter C. It’s clear from the projects shown on Ravelry that the Kleks doesn’t have that shape. I also was confused by the increase instructions in the shawl pattern (it’s easy to confuse me about such things) and noticed that many Ravellers had issues with the stitch counts.

So, I made a plan for some variations. This is how my shawl came out:


The colour is richer than that, but the flash did what it does. The crescent is about 18″ deep, so the full width is roughly 45″. It falls to my elbows and comes together nicely at the front. I love it!

Here’s how I knit this variation. You need a multiple of 4 for the bramble pattern, plus there are 3 stitches on each border. It made sense to me to cast on a multiple of 4 plus 6 stitches, then to always increase stitches in multiples of 4. If I can avoid counting stitches, I will!

(Actually, in order to make the lace pattern come out symmetrically, you need a multiple of 8 stitches plus 4, plus the borders, but I missed that bit. You might want to modify the counts if asymmetry troubles you.)

Here we go!

Cast on 86 stitches.
Knit 1 row. Knit 5 more rows, slipping the first stitch on each row. (This gives a neater edge.)

First Stockinette Stitch Band – You’ll add 8 stitch markers in this band.
19 rows in total
Row 1 – Slip 1, K2, K8, M1, place marker, * K9, M1, place marker. Repeat from * six times. K to end. (94 stitches.)
Row 2 – Slip 1, K2, purl to last three stitches, K to end.
Row 3 – Slip 1, knit to end.
Row 4 – as Row 2.

Repeat this four row sequence four times, as follows:
Row 5, 9, 13 and 17 – Slip 1, K2, *K to marker, M1 before marker. Repeat from * seven times. K to end.

After each increase row, your counts will be as follows:
Row 5 (102 stitches)
Row 9 (110 stitches)
Row 13 (118 stitches)
Row 17 (126 stitches)

Remove the stitch markers anytime after Row 17. You’ll need them in different places for the next stockinette stitch band. End after Row 19, with the wrong side facing. (Yes, you knit the pattern stitch on the wrong side.)

First Lace Panel – 15 rows in total. This is one repeat more than the pattern specifies, which is why I have 15 rows instead of 11. Work in trinity stitch (or bramble stitch. Call it whichever) as specified in pattern, keeping three border stitches in garter stitch. There are no increases in this panel.

Second Stockinette Stitch Panel – This time, we’ll put 16 markers in the work.
19 rows in total.
Row 1 – Slip 1, K2, K7, M1, place marker, * Repeat from * fifteen times. K to end. (142 stitches.)
Row 2 – Slip 1, K2, purl to last three stitches, K to end.
Row 3 – Slip 1, knit to end.
Row 4 – as Row 2.

Repeat this four row sequence four times, as follows:
Row 5, 9, 13 and 17 – Slip 1, K2, *K to marker, M1 before marker. Repeat from * fifteen times. K to end.

After each increase row, your counts will be as follows:
Row 5 (158 stitches)
Row 9 (174 stitches)
Row 13 (190 stitches)
Row 17 (206 stitches)

Remove the stitch markers anytime after Row 17. You’ll need them in different places for the next stockinette stitch band. End after Row 19, with the wrong side facing.

Second Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

Third Stockinette Band
Following the same increase strategy, add 24 stitches to every increase row. You’ll end with 326 stitches.

Third Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

Fourth Stockinette Band
Following the same increase strategy, add 36 stitches per increase row. I forgot to count the stitches after this one.

Fourth Lace Band – as first lace band.
15 rows total.

In an ideal universe, I would have had enough yarn to mirror the 19 rows of stockinette stitch followed by 6 rows of garter stitch at the collar. I was running out of yarn, though, so had to adapt. I worked 3 rows of garter stitch after the last last panel, putting beads on the second row, on every second stitch. I didn’t have enough yarn left to cast off (there’s about a meter of it) so I knit a row with some Kidsilk Haze in BlackCurrant that was in my bits and ends, then cast off with that. For the cast off edge, I used a crochet hook – this is the cast-off from the Fiddlesticks Knitting Peacock Shawl, which I liked on it. *Work 3 stitches together, place bead, chain 5, repeat from * to end, work last chain into last stitch and bind off. (I was short one stitch at the end, but just worked 2 together before the last loop instead of 3.)


And that’s it! What do you think?

New Socks

I haven’t shown you any knitting for a while, but today, that changes. I’ve finished a shawl, but it needs to be blocked. I’m not sure how I’ll manage that with the house at sixes and sevens, but maybe I’ll manage it before next Friday. I’ve finished the knitting of a cowl and it’s been waiting to have its buttons sewn on. I started to sew together a sweater that’s been patiently awaiting my attention, only to discover that my suspicions about the sleeves were right – they’re too long and too narrow. (Clearly, there’s a sleeve troll loose in my knitting projects. Remember that I had to frog the sleeves on my Stripey Noro sweater, too. Until recently, I didn’t even know there was a sleeve troll, but you learn something new all the time.)

I did finish this pair of socks – and they’re purple, too. Ta da!


Have you finished any knitting lately? I need to finish some more projects before I cast on anything new…


Here’s the knit I started before Christmas.


It’s from a free pattern called Wingspan. This is a really neat garter stitch shawlette – although mine came out a bit smaller than anticipated. I was only able to finish 6 wedges with my ball of Paton’s Lace, instead of the 8 that the pattern specifies. Either my gauge was way off, or the ball – which was from the mill ends – wasn’t a full ball.

I used a bit of a ball of a solid colour of Paton’s Lace for the 4 rows on the long edge, and put some beads in it to make it look less stark in contrast. This colourway is called Woodrose, and the ivory on the edge is called Vintage.

I’m quite pleased with it and am going to cast on another.