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FO: Ruby Slipper Socks

I started a pair of socks for my friend Christina, um, about a week before her birthday.  I guess I knew that I wasn’t going to finish them on time, but I could have just been delusional.  She is a huge Wizard of Oz fan, so when I saw this pattern a couple years ago I knew that I needed to make them for her.  But I never remembered until right before a gift giving situation.  But this time I made it happen!  They were only a few weeks late…


Rav page here.

Pattern: Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers by Melissa Dominguez

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in Fiesta and Knit Picks Stroll in Wonderland, less than 50gms each.

Needles: US0 DPNs

Start Date: November 18, 2012

Finish Date: December 7, 2012

Mods: None.  I maybe should have made them a little wider though because these were a little snug on my feet, and she is a couple shoe sizes larger than me.  I would also knit the cuff for longer than 5″ so that it is a little taller when folded over. 

I had thought about making them Wicked Witch socks instead of Dorothy socks and striping black and white instead of the blue.  But I kind of forgot, and I had already bought the blue.  These are using the “intarsia in the round” method.  Which means that when you get to the colorwork section, you begin knitting back and forth in rows, but kind of connecting the sides together as you go (using yo’s and decreases).  I realize that sounds not totally clear.  It is real intarsia, but kind of fake circular knitting.  Which means that half of these socks were purled.  That’s fine, but I find I get a sore spot on one of my fingers when purling with small gauge needles.  It slowed my progress a little bit.  When you finish knitting the sock, it just looks like you are wearing a flat (only a U shape in the front), but you duplicate stitch the bow on.  This is a little tedious, but made the knitting much simpler with only three balls at a time at most.  I meant to get an interim picture but forgot.


I think they turned out cute.  I used to knit socks all the time and have been kind of out of it recently.  I don’t know if this turned me back on to it, to be honest!  Sometimes they just feel like so many stitches to put into just a pair of socks.  I’m going to work on some garments for a while, and then maybe I’ll get back to them. 

As for my other crafty holiday projects?  One is completed and a total success and the other is a sewing project that I was too ambitious on.  I spent a bunch of hours on it and am probably just going to throw in the towel.  Maybe I need to head out to the mall to get a present to replace that one…


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Catching up on projects

Jill P.:

Everytime I think about blogging I feel bad that it’s been so long, but then I feel overwhelmed about what I’m going to show.  It becomes this horrible cycle of guilt and continual non-posting.  But finally, I’m getting to it.

I’ve been keeping on schedule with knitting a pair of socks a month.  These are the pairs that I knit in July and August.  First up is the Spot Check Socks from Knitting Socks from Handpainted Yarn designed by Beth Parrott.

Mine are a little more subdued than the ones shown in the book.  I think I like that the look is subtle.  Also, these are the only yarns I had in the stash that worked together.  The blue is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Navy and the green is Claudia Handpaints in the Jungle colorway.  This was for the Sock Knitters Anonymous colorwork challenge in July.  The pattern is stranded, but alternating every stitch, so very simple.  I used the medium size for my size 8 1/2 feet.  Very comfortable.

Next, were also for the SKA July challenge, but finished in August.  The challenge was knitting a pattern by a SKA member.  I chose the Bacchus socks by Alice Bell.  These were in Interweave Knits, Fall 2008.  I used ShibuiKnits Sock in Taupe.

Being shown with a view of my parents’ backyard in Washington.  I was very happy with how these turned out.  Baby’s first bobbles. I was worried they would be too bulky in shoes, but I wore them with Converse with no problems.  My second skein of yarn was slightly different from the first, even though they were the same dyelot.  It had little spots of brown on it.  When you look at that sock close-up, it kind of looks like dirt.  As always, I find projects with elaborate charts addicting.  You can’t stop at the end of a repeat, you have to keep on going!

I was visiting my parents because I went to my high school reunion.  I was pretty nervous about going.  I was never very popular.  Somewhere in the middle I guess.  I ended up getting kind of defensive and extremely jokey-jokey.  I could feel myself being obnoxious but couldn’t really stop it.  It was good getting back in touch with people I haven’t seen in quite a while.  I reconnected with my friend Trisha who was my best friend in 7th grade/middle school.

I also learned that one of my best friends is 6 months pregnant with twins!  I hadn’t heard from her much in the last year, so this was a real shock.  Since I last talked with her, she’s met someone, gotten married, gotten pregnant and moved across the country.  Crazy.  Of course I am working on sweaters for the babies.  I want to make more than that, but don’t think I’ll make the deadline.

I’ve got more to show, but am getting tired.  The last thing for this post will be the Aeolian Shawl that I finished last month. 

Pattern: Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman at Knitty.com

Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Intenso.  I used a smidgen more than 2 skeins.  If I hadn’t doubled the yarn on the bind-off I would have made it with no problem.  Luckily Melissa had just finished her Sweet Lily Shawl with the same yarn and had leftovers. 

I made mine a little bit smaller than the full shawl.  I did only 8 repeats of the Yucca chart instead of the 12 it calls for.  I followed the shawl directions for the rest of it.  7 stitch nupps.  (Anyone else having trouble calling them “noups” like Nancy Bush?  Everytime I have to say both ways.  “I’m doing 7 stitch noups…you know, nupps”)  I used purple Toho silver-lined 8/0 beads throughout.  They are always hard to see in pictures. 

I had a hell of a time blocking this out.  I forgot it had the swooping U shape on the top and tried to block it out in a straight line.  Then I had no room to pin out all the points.  I had to keep readjusting all my pins and by the time I was finishing (2 + hours later) the shawl was mostly dry.  I had to spray it with water again.  I may go back one day and try for sharper points.  Overall though, I am happy happy with it.  Love it. 

I like styling shawls like this, but it seems a little ridiculous.  Why go through all that work, just to wad it up in a ball around your neck.  We’re all fighting the dowdiness of a lace shawl I guess.  Making it all casual, like a kerchief.  It does bother me when it’s the picture for the pattern.  You can’t even tell what the pattern looks like when it’s all wrapped around like that.  Despite this mini-rant, this is totally the way I wear them out on the town.  Like I’m putting on a elaborately knit lobster bib. 

More soon!  Oh, and I need to either find a new roommate, or find a new place to live.  Let me know if anyone has any Los Angeles apartment leads!  Also, I can’t pay very much for said apartment.  Thanks!

Jill B.

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Seasonally inappropriate knits

Jill P.,

Yes, I am way behind on blogging about these projects.  (My Mom disapproves!)  It feels like once something is up on Ravelry for weeks there’s almost no point.  But here we go.

My neverending Spring and Summer project was this:

Pattern: Mosaic Yoke Jacket by Veronik Avery.  It was in Color Style and in Interweave Knits Fall 2008.

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Bulldog Blue, Grey Heather, Ink Blue, Medieval Red, Wild Oak, Sunburst Gold and Creme.  It took much more of the Main Color than I thought it would.  That double layer collar and bands really ate up the yarn!

I started it in the beginning of April and it took me until the beginning of July.  Part of the time it was on hold because I needed to buy more yarn or work on baby projects.  There was a large chunk of time where I was stalled out because of the colors.  I ended up buying yarn that looked like the colors of the chart key.  But of course the yarn combinations together ended up being awfully contrasty.

The intial plan had the Sunburst Gold and the Wild Oak next to each other, and the Creme and the Ink Blue together.  The gold and the brown together ended up being very 70s colors and not enough contrast and the white and the blue was too stark of a difference.  I hemmed and hawed about it for a long time, but Melissa helped me figure out a better combination.  When I look at it up close it seems a little bright, but I think it works pretty well overall.  Especially when you stand back from the sweater.

This was my first time doing a slip-stitch/mosaic pattern.  I understood the concept but I got very confused during the yoke pattern.  The way the pattern changes, you will have to slip some stitches more than just two rows.  The chart would show a new color, but I wasn’t working with that color yet.  You just have to slip them and work them on the next set of rows.  The rows will condense down and what was four rows of slipped stitches and knits will become two rows of just knits  (or purls as the case may be).

I had some trouble picking a good size.  I’m about a 36″ bust, or sometimes more.  I thought there should be some ease, so I went to the next closest size and made the 39″.  I think this is a good size for wearing stuff underneath.  But I almost wish I had made the smaller size and then added afterthought button loops for closures.  Let’s not even discuss how I’ve been irrationally making extremely warm sweaters with 3/4 length sleeves!

So, here she is:

I wish I had cropped my face out of that one, but don’t really have the energy for that.

My more recent finished winter project, are these knee socks:

Pattern: Evening Stockings for a Young Lady by Nancy Bush from her Knitting Vintage Socks book.

Yarn: ShibuiKnits Sock in Chinese Red, about 2.6 skeins.

I made a few little mods.  As written, the socks are a bit shorter than knee highs.  I decided to go all the way.  I didn’t cast on with the yarn doubled.  I had the 5×1 ribbing match up with the 2×1 ribbing.  This didn’t go very smoothly on the first sock, but I didn’t go back.  I just fixed it on the second sock.  I also did the calf decreases in pattern instead of in stockinette.  I kept a little p1,k1,p1 down the back of the leg until the extra stitches were decreased out.  To make the sock fit my calf, I changed needle sizes.  I started with a 2.25mm for the top ribbing.  Went to a 2.5mm for the lower ribbing, then went to a 2.75mm for the lace pattern.  After the calf decreases, I decreased the needles down again for the ankle and foot.  The pattern calls for a longer heel flap.  I made it a traditional height of about 3o rows.  I used the same directions, just picked up less stitches for the gusset and decreased at the same rate back to the original stitch count.  I also used a wedge toe instead of the round toe.

I like them a lot, but have only found one outfit that they will go with.  Maybe when the weather cools down a bit I’ll take them out.

These were my first pair of socks for the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry.  I am currently working on two pairs of socks for July/August.

It’s all socks and shawls for me right now.  I am itching to make a garment but will have to wait.

Jill B.


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Lace stockings

Hey Jill P.:

I’ve been slogging through a sweater, but it is taking forever!  But I did just finish up another project that I’m eager to show off. 

It is the #31 Lace Stockings by Mari Muinonen/Tikru that were in the Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009.

The yarn was Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed in Eggplant.  I used a bit more than two balls.  It took me about a month to do the pair. 

There was a bit of a delay initially because Vogue didn’t publish all of the charts in the magazine.  And there was some lag time in getting it up on the website.  They went pretty quickly.  A nice thing about lace socks is there are so few stitches.  I usually use DPNs but I used two circulars for most of these.  The lace pattern on the front doesn’t divide in half easily, so it was better to have them all on one needle. 

If I were going to do them again, I would use a smaller gauge than recommended for the foot and ankle.  I went with 6st/in and the foot was a little loose for me.  I went down a needle size for the ankle and went back to the called for needle for the calf.  It was exciting not to have to make these bigger than called for.  I would also have put in one or two more repeats of the main lace pattern.  I think I would have liked a taller stocking. 

And I thought the Bettie’s Stockings looked trampy!

Yikes!  I imagine I’ll be wearing these with longer skirts.

There were a few small mistakes in the charts.  On the left side of Row 19 on Chart 2, there is, if I remember correctly, an extra stitch.  Also on the left tip of the leaf/flower, it is sometimes a K3tog and sometimes a K3tog tbl. 

I had some difficulty with the elastic at the top of the leg.  I first tried weaving clear elastic bands through the “eyelet rows” at the top of the stocking.  But there aren’t really any eyelet rows, and that just wasn’t working for me.  I ended up using some black elastic sewing thread.  On a non-cabled row, I would thread the elastic through the stitches on the needle like a lifeline.  Then I would knit the stitches as normal.  Except if there was a yo in the row that I thread through, then I knit the stitch and the elastic together.  This way the thread is pulled up with the stitch and is not just going horizontally across the yarnover.  It was too late for the first stocking, so I just thread the elastic through the back of the fabric in maybe 5 sections.  I just knotted the elastic together at the end of the rounds.  I needed to make it quite snug to stay up on my leg.  If there was no elastic, the stocking would eventually just make its way down to my ankle.  And by eventually I mean, like in two minutes.  Here’s a close-up of the first stocking where I didn’t put the elastic in while knitting:

You can still see the elastic, but I decided it was good enough.  I tried knitting the elastic thread in, but I wasn’t able to pull the elastic taut enough to do any good. 

Overall I’m pleased with them.  I hope they get some use.  Other than that I just started my Petal Halter, and am still working on the Mosiac Yoke Jacket.  I also have a baby present to get to really quickly.  It is going to be a girl and she’s due in two weeks!  I have no idea what to make! 

Jill B.


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Converting soles

Jill P.:

Here is the other finished project I was telling you about.  They are the Bettie’s Lace Stockings.  I have decided to call them my Flower Lace Stockings, because the double possessive was a little annoying, and I think the stitch motif looks like flowers.  This was one of those rare projects were I started as soon as I got the magazine.  I’ve been working on knee socks for a while, with not good results.  But these didn’t take any more yarn than regular socks.  And they were a perfect occasion to use my STR Raven yarn!

Pattern: Bettie’s Lace Stockings by Hana Jason from Interweave Knits Spring 2009

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Korrpi, a smidge under 1 skein.

Sorry for the trampy pictures, but all of the ones with me standing were from a crazy angle and out of focus.  I will maybe change the ribbons but I am not buying things and I wanted them to be finished.

So now the mods.  After getting all excited about the pattern I realized that the pattern goes all the way around the foot.  Those little flowers are a little chunky and probably not comfortable underfoot.  I decided to make the soles solid.  After I did the short row toe, I increased a total of four stitches over two rows on the bottom half.  With a gauge of 6st/in this should match half of my foot circumference.  I worked straight until I got to the heel.  Because the sole is solid it was not as stretchy as the top of the foot.  I ended up doing 2 extra repeats than in the pattern.  From what I’ve been reading on Ravelry, this was not uncommon even with lacy soles.  I did some discreet decreasing before and after the short row heel to get me back to the right number of stitches. 

On the top of the foot, I had K, P, 4 st of feathered fagoting, P,  10 sts of narrow gathered lace, P, 4 sts of feathered fagoting, P, K.  This centered the lace motif over the foot and was a lot less confusing than the pattern directions to center.  I also didn’t pay enough attention and did k2tog instead of ssk.  Is that regular fagoting?  Maybe.

Here is an in-progress shot that kind of shows the sole.  With a solid bottom you lose out on the cool flower on the side of the heel, but I’ll live with it. 

Next came my calf mods.  It is no secret that I have curvy calves.  After some experimentation, I figured out the best rate of calf increases for me.  After about 9 repeats, I switched to the wide lace pattern and went up a needle size.  I knit a few more repeats and increased another needle.  Then finally, I switched needle sizes again.  Ending with a US4!  Finally it could comfortably fit on my calf.  I ended up with something like 20 repeats on the leg total.

I spent a couple of nights on the top edging.  The purl rows they call for with a picot bind-off were way too loose.  It was comical.  I tried knit rows on a smaller needle and then the picot.  But the picot just looked a little too cutesy.  Not as good as some others I’ve seen.  Ultimately I ended up with a couple knit rows, a yo row, then 3 more knit rows and a EZ sewn bind-off.  The top rolls down a tiny bit, but not much because of the ribbon.  I’m happy with the simpler edging. 

And that’s the whole story!  I don’t know when I’ll wear them, but they aren’t too chunkifying for knee socks so they might make it out. 

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

Jill B.


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FO: Firestarter Socks

Jill P:

I started these socks while in Hawaii and thought I was going to finish them there.  But I got sidetracked when I didn’t have any size 1 needles with me on vacation to finish the cuffs.  But I finally finished them.

The pattern is Firestarter by Yarnissima.  (505 projects and 1906 queues!)  I used Socks that Rock Lightweight in the colorway Tidepool.  I used size 0s and 1s.  The only “mod” is that I knit an extra repeat on the foot, and maybe an extra one on the leg before switching needle sizes.  There was some more yarn, but I decided to stop where it was because the length was fine.

The striping was going along perfectly until I got to the cuff.  Once I jumped up needle sizes it started pooling on me.  I don’t mind too much.  It’s kind of cool to see how a little change in pattern can really affect the amount of yarn used in each round.

I’m pleased with them.  I never understand how people take sock modelling pictures wearing heels.  First of all, that really isn’t my fashion aesthetic, but also my socks end up so bulky.  I was wearing these in boots yesterday and I felt like my left toes were being squished.  I don’t know if these would fit in Converse let alone heels.

A few years ago I made the Anna knee high socks from Rowan 40.  I really should have listened to the knit bloggers that said you should switch to a smaller needle when working the foot.  After wearing the socks throughout the day they were so baggy.  My point was that I would have worn those with some heels or dress shoes, but the foot was too bulky to fit right.  I don’t want fabric bagging out of the straps.  Now I can really only wear them when I wear rain boots.

Strangely enough my main incentive for posting, was to embed this video my coworker found today.  I don’t know why I love it so much. The title says it all: “Squirell eats a ritz cracker to Huey Lewis’ ‘If this is it” ” [sic]

Enjoy!  Have a happy and safe holiday!  [ I tried to post this on Wednesday but messed up!]

Jill B.

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Some small projects

Hey Jill P.,

I have a few things to show you today.  I already told you about how I ripped out that Fitted Knits tube top that was anything but fitted.  And a few weeks later, I’ve turned a project I couldn’t salvage into a project that I will maybe wear twice!  That’s some kind of improvement.  I made the Surplice Bodice Camisole from Knitting Lingerie Style.  I was so excited for that book before it came out, and then I bought it and never made anything from it.  I wasn’t having great luck with pictures, but here you go.  You know, I’m doing the best I can since I don’t have anyone to take pictures of me wearing my knits. (Can you tell I’m sensitive about pictures?) 

A blurry dirty mirror one:

I used four balls of Cascade Pima Silk.  All of it.  I had to pull about a dozen scrap bits of yarn from my seams just to finish binding off.  Because the yarn has a severe tendency to stretch I knit it at a tighter gauge than in the pattern.  I also made the smallest size, even though I’m a little bigger than that.  To compensate I did an extra “bust dart” yarnover on each side.  I am wearing a bra under it, in case anyone is concerned.  I did notice in the picture in the book, the model has a nipple poking out through a yarnover.  It was color corrected to be not nipple-colored though. 

Once I had the fronts and the back done, I sewed the shoulders and side seams, plus adding the edging around the neckline and arms.  Here’s where I made some changes.  The pattern calls for picking up stitches separately on the back and front and then seaming them later.  Since I knew I might be short on yarn, and because that seemed silly, I modified it to knit in the round.  I also didn’t sew the front pieces together, I just picked up the stitches through both pieces.  It took me a bit to realize that she didn’t add a selvedge stitch on each end of the pieces.  Only at one end of the rows.  But I picked up a multiple of the stitch pattern (6?) and started going for it.  The wrong side rows were just plain knit and purls so I just swapped them around.  Easy-peasy. 

My thoughts about this project?  I don’t like working with cotton.  I feel like I could have only gotten my stitches even if I had knit super tight with it.  It also fuzzed off onto all my clothes and I’d have puffs of fiber floating around and stuck on my hands.  I also would have made this a little longer if I had had the yarn.  When I tried it on with jeans it looked ridiculous.  Really emphasized my short torso.  I had to put on a skirt with a higher waist line for it to look presentable.  I’ll probably wear a tank top underneath it most of the time.  You know, if I actually wear it someday. 

Next up… I finished my Aqua handspun socks!  I’ve already made my complaints about these after I finished my first sock.  But today I’m liking them better.  They don’t feel as small as they did before.  Maybe because I tried them on in the morning, instead of my usual late night fitting.  My feet didn’t have time to swell throughout the day.  That sounds gross, but that’s why you’re supposed to try on shoes in the middle of the day.  So done!

These are from Charlene Schurch’s More Sensational Knitting Socks, using the Open Ribbed Cable stitch pattern.  Toe-up with a short row heel.  At the top I continued the ribbing pattern from the leg of the sock into the ribbing.  This took just under 4oz.  I spun a 3-ply yarn from some dyed superwash I got at OFFF.  They aren’t my best socks, but I’m happy enough with them. 

I keep forgetting to take pictures of my WIPs, but I’m working on a couple of tops that should take me a while to complete.  The Featherlight Lingerie Dress from Lace Style and the Norah Gaughan “capecho” from last winter’s Vogue. 

I went to Colourmart yesterday and ordered some cashmere laceweight yarn.  I’m sooo excited about it.  I can’t wait until it gets here.  Then I’ll be all set for our upcoming lace KALs.  For anyone interested, some of us Culver City folk were planning a Laminaria KAL as soon as Melissa finishes her Shalom sweater.  So get prepared and we’ll start in a few weeks.  Some of us are also planning on doing a KAL for the Irtfa’a shawl from KnitSpot.  That one will be starting when you, Jill P., get back from your European vacation.  So June sometime.  Anyone want to join us? 

Jill B.

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