Auntie Ann Knits

Monday, January 22, 2007

Faux Jaywalker Socks -- done!

My first post-Xmas socks (and only the second out of seven pairs I have made that are for ME) are finished!

finished 2

I'm really happy with the way the stripes came out matched. This didn't take a whole lot of effort (not like Matt's socks).

I started with the chevron pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, but at first I must have mis-calculated the number of stitches required, because I could barely get the leg (that was as far as I knit it) over my heel. Here's that too-tight leg:
false start

So I ripped that and started over with the same chevron stitch pattern, but the stitch count from the famous Jaywalker socks, and the "forethought" heel from SKS, and voila! They seem to have worked out, except that they are actually a tad too big. (And yet I keep reading that Jaywalkers run narrow.) A trip through the wash is in their future to hopefully shrink them up a little bit, but if that doesn't work, well, there is a certain 12-yo in the house with feet just slightly larger than mine.

If I knit these again I would actually chop out the black-and-white faux Fair Isle bits -- I saw somewhere on the Internet where someone had done that with this very yarn, and it worked out fine (I had plenty of yarn left over, so I think this would work for me, too). I really like the forethought heel, the way the stripes are in a bulls'-eye pattern around the heel and the stripe pattern is not disrupted from the leg to the foot.
forethought heels
It's a bit fiddly, but worth it to me.

Here's the muppet-look sock after the heel is finished and grafted, just before the provisionally-cast-on heel stitches are picked up and the waiting instep stitches put back on the needles to knit the foot.


on feet

Do you notice that one sock is slightly lighter in color than the other? That's not my limited photography skills, that's how they actually are. Did I not get the same dye lot? I did not, I was snatching up yarn at a LYS retirement sale and I don't know now if I knew I was getting different dye lots, or just mis-read the ball bands. This is Schoeller-Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color, 75% superwash and 25% polyamid, fingering weight, knit on my kinky #1 Addi Turbo, Magic-loop style as usual.

I'm starting some actual Jaywalkers now, and have just knit the cuff. Which does fit over my foot, so that's a good thing. Whether this one is also too loose remains to be seen. I don't know how that could be with my tight knitting, but after this last one, who knows.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

M Makes a Hat

My darling daughter M, seen here (scroll way down), has been knitting for a little while now (she's 12). So far she has made mostly rectangles -- mostly scarves, and only garter or stockinette stitch. But now -- now she is a hat-maker. A knitting-in-the-round, DPN-using, ribbing and decrease-making hat-maker.

M's hat

Unfortunately, she's not a ball-band-saver just yet. But she does have good taste in yarn (even if she still has an unfortunate prediliction for fun fur).

The decreases came out a bit unevenly and the top of the hat a bit pointy. I explained that she could rip and re-knit the decreases, or add a pompom. And you can see the resulting choice.

For Xmas I had bought for her (on Ebay for a pretty reasonable price) a Boye Needlemaster. Partly out of self-interest, since between that and my Denise set we have in the house two of each size in the range we would be most likely to want. It's such fun to have another knitter in the house!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bad Dog!

We interrupt the Cavalcade of Xmas FO's to bring you a special breaking news quiz -- the tail tale of the bad dog. Which of these is the culprit?

bad Ginger




Muffy (known aliases -- Mufferoo, Muff and "Spike") is my cousin's dog, and he is visiting with us while my cousin visits Antarctica. Again. Is my cousin a life-long adventure-seeker? No, although she has traveled the world quite extensively. But she is not a very outdoorsy type. Something about seeing the penguins in Antarctica really appealed to her when she went last year, so this year it's off to Antarctica again. I think that they stay on a cruise ship and are provided with all the thermal underwear and insulated outerwear that they want. Muffy is a mixed breed dog of unknown provenance, no doubt from a broken home.

Ginger (known aliases -- Dogbert, Queen Amidaga) is our dog and has been with us about three years. Ginger appears to be a Brittany with no other breeds mixed in, and was found living on the streets and then rescued from the shelter.


A citizen inadvertently left a bag about 1/4 full of dark chocolate chips where our culprits had access to it, and then left the residence. Another citizen (your intrepid reporter) discovered the crime when Ginger rustled the bag, attempting futilely to extract the last few chips. Yes, almost all of the chips had been eaten. But -- by whom? We had our suspicions, but we needed:


Evidence: one (1) nearly empty bag of Nestle "premium" dark chocolate chips, and two dogs with guilty expressions (see above).

We got the emergency vets on the case to, er, extract further evidence. Yes, they injected the dogs with an emetic and made the dogs vomit. I'm so glad that's not my job. Even on my worst days on the job, I don't have to deal with dog puke.


Laboratory analysis of the puke evidence revealed that -- Ginger was our culprit. This is consistent with her previous MO. The first week we had her she jumped on the dining table and was standing there, all four paws on the table, eating Hershey's kisses. Wouldn't you think we'd have learned to keep chocolate completely out of her reach? You would be justified in thinking that, but you would be wrong. $244 wrong, to be precise.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cavalcade of Xmas FO's -- One Odessa, Two Odessa

More Xmas FO's:

Patty's Odessa

Dad's Odessa

As many of you will recognize, this is Grumperina's Odessa pattern, a favorite hat pattern of mine.

Patty's Odessa is in Jaeger extra-fine Merino, color Blackcurrant (blue with wonderful purple tones), beads from DD's stash again. I know that yesterday I said she graciously allowed me to poach, but the real story is that she tried to throw out her small bead stash years ago and I wouldn't let her, so now the bead stash is really mine. And has to live in my room, because she will throw it out rather than have it in hers. And that would be wasteful, so I would have a hard time with that. Must be something about having been raised by parents who grew up in the Great Depression.

Dad's Odessa is in Jaeger luxury tweed mohair/wool blend (itchiness alert!), and the ribbed band is lined with a ribbed facing (sorry, no pic, I was in a hurry to ship it out). I picked up 4 out of 5 stitches from the cast-on edge, then did a 2x2 ribbing (the outer hat band is 3x2 ribbing) about the length of the ribbed band, then cast off and sewed it down. I'm sure there are more interesting and clever ways to do that, but this worked fine. The facing is KnitPicks Merino Style, pale grey. No beads for Dad, even though it will take me a while to use up the bead stash at this rate.

I knit them both on a #4 16" metal circ from the dark ages (probably a Susan Bates) for the ribbing, then swithed to a #6 Denise. I think I did Patty's crown with DPN's but for some reason I think I did Dad's crown with two Denise circs. This is a good trick to know: make two circular needles with your interchangeable needle set, using the size tip for your project on the right-hand tip of each circ, and a smaller one for the left-hand tip.

It's a good trick to know, but I wish I had remembered my nice set of #6 bamboo DPN's.

Cavalcade of Xmas FO's -- Best Friend Bag

I'm posting my Xmas FO's bit by bit, to get more posts out of it, don't you know.

I posted here and here about the Best Friend Bag from The member of my family who got this is a bit of a party girl, and turquoise is her favorite color. She just loved it.

After blocking, this project got set aside until I just had to finish it for Xmas. The idea of sewing on the beads stalled me, I think. In fact, when it actually became time to sew the beads on I cheated and skipped the center cable. Hey, it was late at night, and the bag is still symmetrical.


And the inside:

Fabric and beads were from stash (to be precise, from DD's stash, who graciously permitted me to poach), but I bought the yarn (Jaeger extra-fine Merino DK), purse frame (same one and same vendor as specified in the Knitty pattern) and matching thread specifically for this project.

I was especially pleased with this Xmas FO. It's not the kind of thing I would use myself, but it seemed to be a good match for the recipient. And I learned some new skills, like attaching a purse to a frame while listening to Madame Bovary on CD.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's All Happening at the Zoo

I was always a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel, so when I saw this over at Knitorious, I wanted to do it.


I'm Bookends!

Which Simon and Garfunkel album are you?

I'm not so sure about the conclusion that I "have it all together" (a lot of days it feels nothing at all like that around here), but I always did and still do love this album (although it's a long time since I've given it a listen).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ladders 101

Technical woes galore here at Auntie Ann's place. It's a perfect storm or a convergence or something. The server at work was apparently destroyed by a worm, so we could not access email or documents for 48 hours. Talk about unhappy clients. My work-issued laptop that I use for such work has a virus or something, it will access the internet to log in to the work server, but refuses to load any web pages. Like the one the work tech wants me to load to run a virus scan. It also has weird pop-up boxes that won't go away. The work server is now limping along, but is supposed to be completely replaced this weekend.

In addition, we had the techs for Comcast, our ISP, out here both yesterday and today. The line failed, according to today's tech.

While the Comcast tech was here he went up into the attic where the splitter is. Access is inside the garage using a tall ladder. While he was out there and I was inside, I heard a loud crash. I went out to find him stranded in the attic, having put the ladder up at too low of an angle, so that it kicked out when he tried to get on it to come back down. Fortunately, he did not fall. He was contemplating jumping, however, apparently being too embarassed to yell for help. I think he missed the "Ladders 101" class that you would think Comcast would have for their techs, seeing as how they all have ladders on their trucks. Of course, both of them borrowed our ladder rather than lug theirs in from the truck.

He did run a new line, and that part of the puzzle is working, for now anyway. And I actually managed to post Matt's socks, in spite of all the craziness. Must get back to catching up on work . . .

Matt's "Somewhat Fraternal" Socks

You may remember the crazy sock yarn ball-ettes from this sock:
Matt's sock ballettes

These socks was finished in time, thank goodness, to ship to the recipient for Xmas. But first I had a few ends to weave in:

But here is the finished pair, which I think are pretty nice and the recipient declared to be "so beautiful!" And they fit! He has fairly small feet, not that much larger than mine.

The color changes on the first sock had the heel turn portion in its own color (beige), and I liked the look of that so much that I manipulated the colors on the second sock to get the same color in the same place. I was wanting to get the colors more or less the same on each sock in general, and succeeded to a certain extent. There were limits, believe it or not, to the crazy-making ends I was willing to create to achieve the matching of stripes. If you will remember, there were knots in the skeins, and in one case the color sequence reversed direction after the knot -- the nerve.

The pattern is roughly based on the "Slouch Socks" in "Not Just More Socks", with changes to make them less slouch-y and to fit Matt. It's a nice pattern, and I may make myself a similar pair from some yarn I got at the same time that is from the same maker and has the same fiber content, but in colors that are more "my" colors than these. This yarn is Meilenweit Cotton Spirit, 45% cotton, 42% wool and 13% polyamid (Matt lives in San Diego and I thought wool socks might be a bit much).

ETA -- I almost forgot, here are the leftovers:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Even Weirder Things, and New Year's Meme

Paper Tiger tagged me for this Meme, but I have been very delinquent in responding.

First Things First

What is the first thing you did in the new year?

We were at beautiful Echo Lodge near Lake Tahoe, and I didn't stay up until Midnight, so -- sleep.

What is the first thing you ate in the new year?

A delicious communal breakfast with leftover ham from the night before, oatmeal pancakes, leftover corn bread and eggs. "Leftovers" don't sound tasty, but believe me, these were.

What is the first thing you knit in the new year?

A red scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I used this pattern by Maia, but mine is not as lovely, being plain red. No photo just now. I spit spliced the skeins in the middle, although I am embarassed to admit that on the first attempt I actually picked the wrong end out of the pile-o'-scarf I had sitting there -- yes, I actually managed to splice the new end to the cast-on tail.

What is your first ‘blessing’ of the new year?

The holidays are over. 'Nuff said.

What is the first thing you will do to make the world a better place in the new year?

I have to laugh a little at this one. "Make the world a better place" is part of the Girl Scout law, and also part of the GS mission statement, which reads, "Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place". I'm a GS leader, and so I suppose that the first thing will be the first GS meeting of the year this coming Sunday.

Post the first photo you took in the new year!

false start

This is a false start on my socks for ME! Some of my hand-knit Xmas gifts were received in a very underwhelming manner, making me all the more eager to knit something for myself, after having finished the Xmas knits and the Red Scarf Project scarf. This pattern was from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, but it turned out too tight -- I could barely get it over my heel. So, it's been ripped. The successful successor sock worked, and I'll post it next time.

Happy New Year! I'm not tagging anyone with this, it's too far past New Year's.

And the weird things? I can't believe that when I wrote my previous deadly dull post I omitted some of the truly, obviously weird things about me.

1. I used to be something of an outdoor adventurer, and one spring I had to be rescued from the mountains by a US Navy helicopter & crew due to a bad case of pulmonary edema -- a form of altitude sickness. We had been on a backcountry ski trip, and the helo ride happened to fall on my birthday. It was a very nice present, indeed.

2. And then there's the time I took a long fall while climbing the face of Half Dome in Yosemite, and heard tourists talking about me the next morning on the top. It's usually a two-day climb, but it took us a skosh more.

3. Despite the adventuring, I have never broken a bone (although my right ACL is severed due to a minor downhill skiing fall). I had my appendix out the same year as the ACL tear. Not a banner year for me.

4. ETA -- I have climbed down El Capitan in Yosemite, but not up. And for a climber, that's weird.