Auntie Ann Knits

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Waving Lace Sock

After the fiasco and general PIA that I experienced with the 2x2 tubular bind-off, I was not ready for anything too tricky or new, but I needed to cast on for a new sock right away. I felt as if I would go through withdrawal if I did not get another sock on the needles immediately, one that I would actually be able to knit steadily on.

So I took the Fleece Artist yarn I bought at Stitches West and immediately cast on for this:


This is the start of Waving Lace Socks from "Favorite Socks".

I love the colors of this yarn. Love them! Even the green. My famous aversion to green is tempered by the blues and purples. Green, especially the dark emerald green, is just fine for me in small doses next to blue and purple, apparently.

Now, the very astute will notice that this sock starts with a 1x1 rib, but no tubular cast-on is apparent. Wouldn't this have been the perfect opportunity to learn tubular cast-on?

Yes, and no. Yes, I want to learn to do that some day. And no, I think that if I, in my battered mental state as a result of my epic struggle with 2x2 tubular bind-off, had attempted to do that, my head would have exploded.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tubular Bind-off -- Part 2

After having done the 1x1 tubular bind-off on one sock, I tried, mightily I tried, to do a 2x2 tubular bind-off on the other sock. Tubular bind-off is a lot like grafting. I get grafting (having had a grafting epiphany of my own, similar to Nona's. I carefully read the instructions in the Stanley book, did two set-up rounds (which requires both some extrapolation from the stated instructions, and 4 times round the sock), then bound it off.

It would not go over my foot.

I loosened it up, forcing extra yarn through the tortuous route that the yarn took in such a bind-off. Several times. By the time I got it loose enough to go over my foot, it looked like crap and was still a bit too tight on my calf.

I did some research in knit-blog-land. Great resource. I undid the bind-off (by now, this was almost harder than sewing it in the first place since the yarns didn't want to let go of one another). I undid the set-up rounds. I had read somewhere that they weren't all that necessary and that the slipped stitches make it a bit tighter. I didn't really think the primary problem was the set-up rounds, but I undid them anyway, and re-knit them in 2x2 ribbing.

I re-read the instructions and followed them even more carefully this time. The second time I followed all the instructions to the letter, dropping stitches off at the time stated, even when that hadn't seemed necessary the first time. This did make for a better bind-off.

But it still didn't work.

I ripped it all out again, and re-did it with two rows of 1x1 rib followed by 1x1 tubular bind-off. After all of the above, this now seemed like such a piece of cake. I can practically do 1x1 tubular bind-off in my sleep. 2x2 is not twice as hard, it's at least 4 times as hard. It's exponentially harder.

I was happy with my socks now. I wore them all day yesterday.

At the end of the day I said to myself, let's just see what Ms. Wiseman (what an apt name) has to say about this.

Ms. Wiseman says of tubular bind-off, "Can only be used for knit one, purl one ribbing."

And her book comes already wire-bound. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tubular Bind-off

I finished the mate to my sock-in-a-day sock with a tubular bind-off:

Tubular bindoff 1x1 2nd

I decided I should learn a new technique from this sock. Now, I did do a Baudelaire heel for the first time on this sock, but was that enough for me? No-o-o. I figured that if I wasn't all that fond of the yarn, I could at least get some more value out of this project by using a new technique. This not very logical, but I did learn a new technique, and you know what? This sock is growing on me, so it's all good. If you spot the mistakes in this bind-off, please don't tell me.

This is a 1x1 bind-off, which I decided I wanted to learn after reading this post of Claudia's, and which I learned from this excellent book:


I undid the bind-off of my sock-in-a-day sock and am trying to re-do it with 2x2 tubular bind-off, which at the moment looks like crap and is going to have to be re-done.

What's that you say? Where did I find my copy of Stanley's book in a wire-bound version? At Kinko's, that's where. For about $7.50, and in about 5 minutes, while I waited, they removed the original spine and wire-bound it, and I couldn't be happier with it. If it were only a little bit cheaper I'd have all of my knitting reference books wire-bound.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ohio Star tote

The knitting is done on the Ohio Star tote:


I know, it's been a long time since I put this up. It's been a long time since I worked on it, until the other night.

I joined the front of the tote to the EGSGOD weeks ago, then for some reason put the project aside. When I went looking for it, I realized that DD was using that project bag as a pillow for tv-watching on the couch.

I joined the back to the EGSGOD, and I actually had to frog a number of rows of the EGSGOD. Either the project instructions are wrong, or I threw my gauge way off by knitting or purling backwards while making the EGSGOD, and the knitting goddess will get me for it when I felt. We'll see.

I had been intending, ever since I got the Embellish Knit! and realized that I actually could make worsted weight i-cord with it, to make the project with braided i-cord handles, per the pattern, even though I had purchased suede handles at a LYS for this project. But now I am thinking I will go with the suede handles. And so, I declare knitting on this project to be done.

That is a ways from the project being done, however. I have to felt it, for one thing. Then wait for it to dry.

And I really think I want to line it, maybe use plastic canvas to give some rigidity to the bottom, maybe put a pocket in the lining, and add a magnetic snap. Oh, and sew the suede handles on, of course. None of these things are things I have much experience with. In fact, most of those things -- zero experience. But they all seem do-able.

So I have a ways to go on this project. But hey, the knitting is done.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007



I've got no knitting for you today, except a second sock, and how bo-oo-oring is that?

So here's something I've been meaning to post -- I got this gal at a garage sale a few weeks back for $3, maybe $4, I forget. She's been loved before, one leg has been carefully mended and there's a chip at the opening on the top, but I love her just the same. Aren't the little cornflowers precious?

We have yet to use her -- there's seldom any cream in this house, or occasion to put milk in a creamer (not when the carton will do), but I just like having her around. My uncle, who lives in an old farmhouse in Vermont that has been in the family several generations, has a similar one (without the cornflowers), and so when I saw her at the sale I brought her home.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sock-in-a-Day Challenge -- Done!

The sock for the Sock-in-a-Day Challenge is done! And within the time limits! Woo-hoo!

Here it is almost done:
almost done

And -- done!

The colors are a bit more true in the first picture.

I kept this log of my time:

I didn't add it up, but it's about 13 hours.

This was a good exercise to do, for a couple of reasons. Now I know about how much effort goes into a sock with a stockinette foot, "Baudelaire" heel, and garter-rib leg, and I never have to time it again. And I decided that I'm not fond of the way this yarn looks knit up, so it's a good thing I had the Challenge to spur me on.

I like the wider stripes I got on the heel flap much better than the skinny stripes, and if I were really a crazy person I would re-knit this sock using both balls to create wider stripes. And that would result in ends to knit in approximately every other row, and I'm not quite that crazy.

I also learned that garter rib (or something very much like it) results in this yarn when you decide to knit the entire round where the yarn changes color and k2, p2 the other rounds. And this is a fine thing.

So I'm very glad I did this, but I never intend to time my knitting again. It makes it seem too much like work, and I like to airily tell muggles who ask how much "work" something took to knit, "none, I do this for pleasure". That is much harder to do with insouciance if I know exactly how many hours are in a project.

Friday, May 18, 2007



We had a swarm of bees land in a tree in our back yard the other day. We were surprised when thousands of bees began flying around in the back yard. And then they all landed:

swarm 4

Bees 1


That is a pile o' bees larger than a basketball. Solid bees.

What, you don't believe it's as big as a basketball? Neither did the beekeeper, and he lived to regret not believing me.

Those are honey bees swarming.

We called a pest guy, who said not to worry, they would fly away on their own when they had rested. They weren't bothering us, so that's what we were going to do. But I mentioned it to Maia, who suggested that because honeybees are vanishing, that someone might want these bees. So I looked for a beekeeper.

(Little hint -- if you google "bee swarm removal" you get a lot of pest control guys. If you want a beekeeper, google your county "beekeeper association".)

Mike 1

This is Mike. He's a beekeeper. You can tell by his beekeeper suit.

Tom cutting branch

This is Tom, my DH, helping Mike. Tom's not a beekeeper. You can tell because he has no beekeeper suit.

Mike 8

They cut that branch and got it into Mike's "traveling" bee box.

bee box

Mike is passionate about bees. He wanted as many of the stragglers as possible to make their way into the box, through the small opening on one side. He was going to come back in the evening, when it would be cooler and most of them would have gone in. But that evening he got tied up with something (bee-related, no doubt) and couldn't come until the next day. Before he could come it got warm, and suddenly the box looked like this:

Swarm on box

The dark end of the box? Solid bees.

But by evening they had all gone back in again, except for a few stragglers. Mike sealed the box and put it in his truck. Bye-bye, bees! Work hard!


I am nearly done with my Sock-in-a-Day Challenge sock. What, you want sock pix? After all those bee pix?

Next time. I'll just say this -- it's a good thing I made this sock for the Challenge, or I'm not sure I would ever have finished it. This yarn is in colors I like, but I really don't like the patterning. Good thing this is sock 2, and sock 1 is half done. No, wait -- how can that be? Oh, I get so confused.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I was “tagged” by the Rainey Sisters. Here are the rules and my random facts!


1. Each player starts with 8 random facts about themselves.

2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their 8 random things and post the rules.

3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and post their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight Random Things about Me:

1. In high school, I won the Betty Crocker Award. This was all about the multiple-choice test-taking and nothing about cooking. I'm still no gourmet cook, but my family hasn't starved yet.

2. I used to think I was 5'4". Nothing to brag about, but I need every inch I can get. Years ago DH told me there was no way I was 5'4", more like 5'3" and barely that. I believed him because he has a better vantage point at almost 6'. The other day DD measured me in the doctor's office (to see how close she was to overtaking my towering height). I am indeed 5'4". In fact, 5'4" and 3/16". Don't leave off the 3/16".

3. I once took part in a log-rolling contest. It was one-at-a-time on the log, for time. I did poorly.

4. We just had a bee-swarm-ectomy. Pictures at 11.

5. One summer I went to mountaineering school for 5 weeks, the last 3 or 4 days of which we didn't eat and had to find our way out in teams.

6. I am no good at all at any sport involving a ball. However, I can canoe, bike, rock-climb, kayak, ski (cross-country and downhill) and do yoga. Oh, and knit.

7. DH and I once traveled by bike from New York to St. Louis. It took two weeks. At one point we were nearly arrested for camping illegally near a reservoir.

8. Canada, France, England and Scotland are the only foreign countries I have been to.

I swear this thing keeps growing -- last time I got tagged it was 6 weird things, then recently I saw it was 7 things, now it's 8 random things. So I'm tagging Liz, Deepa, AngelaRae, Erica, Anne, Da Gu Ma, Maia, and Cookie. Y'all can thank me later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sock-in-a-Day Challenge

I'm doing the Sock-in-a-Day Challenge (see button in sidebar). Liz has challenged us to see if we can knit a sock in one day, as the Yarn Harlot had to do before her appearance on Knitty Gritty a while back.

Fortunately for my famously fragile hands, the rules Liz set up let us choose to knit a sock in 18 hours over the week of the Challenge.

I began the Challenge on Sunday night. Knit for over 2 hours. And this is what the results of my efforts looked like:

sock in a day 1

Isn't that rather pathetic? Of course, when I especially want my sock to go right, I have to cast on 3 times, drop stitches, etc.

Not that it excuses that patheticness, but there are some distractions around here. This is what my backyard looks like:


Panning right:


And the Mound o' Rocks:

mound o' rocks

That thing is taller than I am! Which is not saying a heck of a lot, but still.

Wouldn't you have thought that my deer friends would have been scared away? Me, too, but no-o-o-o:

older deer

Can you tell they are a little older? The antlers are a bit bigger now.

My poor tomatoes. Last year I grew tomatoes in the general location currently occupied by the Mound o' Rocks. A location protected from my deer friends by a tall fence.

This year I have to make do with a location in the front yard, unprotected by a fence. So I went to the nursery for one tomato plant (instead of two, like last summer), the better to protect it inside its cage with deer netting.

tomato cage

(Note for future reference -- no need to make that special trip to the store with "deer netting" in stock, rather than "bird netting" -- it's the same darn thing, just more of it.)

After I took the pic of the tomato in its little cage, I turned right and took this:

next to tomatoes

Yep, heavy equipment in the front and the back yards. Woo-hoo.

By now the Sock-in-a-Day Challenge sock has grown, and indeed, over 7 hours into my Challenge knitting, it is past the heel turn and almost done with the flap. This is why I hate to keep track of how many hours it takes me to knit something -- doesn't that seem like a lot of time for about 2/3 of a sock? I haven't even included swatching time or pattern researching time.

But more on that later. In my next post, I want to tell you about our bee-swarm-ectomy. For now, let me just say this -- don't try this at home, kids.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Meet Sharron Elliott

Sharron Elliott

This is Sharron Elliott.

Sharron's name is the name I was given by The Mother's Day Project of a female Coalition casualty in Iraq.

Sharron Elliott

I volunteered to stitch the name of a female Coalition casualty on this piece of muslin. It will be made into a tote bag with the names of each of the 79 (as of that date) female Coalition casualties in Iraq, and we will each in turn carry and use it, to help us remember the gaping holes left behind by each of these women.

Just reading what information there is that is easy to find on the internet about Sharron's life was very moving. She left a huge, gaping hole behind. I'm sure that is true of each person killed in war, on each side of the line. Even a former pen pal who knew Sharron when he was 9 left a tribute on her page at The Iraq Page. And of course, those who survived may be terribly scarred, physically and emotionally, and they and their loved ones suffer also.

The Mother's Day Project is the brainchild of Anne of ThreadingWater, who organized it, stamped the names on fabric and mailed them out to each of us. Enough people have volunteered for there to be a second tote. Alas, the second tote will require 80 names.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bad socks, no cookie!

I have some self-striping yarn in colors I like, but I had a dilemma. What sock pattern to use? I could, of course, have made stockinette socks, and I hadn't ruled that out, but I was thinking of -- something a little different, a little more, well, interesting. Myself, I'm not so fond of the feather and fan stitch pattern, which I know a lot of people like for striped yarn.

On a previous pair, I tried a stitch pattern that was sort of a mash-up of the popularJaywalkers pattern and a chevron stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. You can see them here, where I am still pleased with them, here, where there is no pic but I post about giving them away, and here, where I took them back again. I can't call those a big success.

I unvented a stitch pattern a bit like the Odessa hat pattern, which I liked so much in hats. I have made many an Odessa, although with the ones I made for chemo caps I substituted a raised bar increase for the YO's, so as not to have a hole. They don't like holes in chemo caps, they tell me. I am such an idiot, it is only recently that I have figured out that this substitution is why the caps came out a bit small around, which I had compensated for by adding an extra pattern repeat. Doh!

Anyway, here is my trial "Odessa"-type sock leg:

odessa sock

Stitch pattern (over multiple of 5): SKP, K, raise bar increase, K2. My terminology may be wonky, but SKP = slip, k1, PSSO. Raise bar increase is that increase where you lift the bar between the stitches with the left needle and knit into it without twisting.


Odessa sock close-up

I really like the patterning, how each color, which would be a narrow stripe in a stockinette sock, becomes a series of diagonal bars. And how the faux-Fair-Isle bars happen to line up diagonally, more or less, to make a pattern in another direction. I kept thinking this was coming out too tightly and with a 65-stitch sock, it didn't seem as though it would fit over my heel. After marinating in the UFO pile for a while, somehow that problem has disappeared. And so, after having initially rejected this as being too dense and non-stretchy, I actually think it would work. Except for the PITA factor.

It's just too much of a Pain in the Ass to knit this stitch pattern. To try to pick up that bar every 5 stitches, with some of the yarn being black.

While this knit leg was marinating, I got Lucy Neatby's book, Cool Socks, Warm Feet, which is supposed to be tailor-made for my problem -- what to do with my stripey yarn that's not stockinette? I'm not quite so thrilled with this book as many seem to be, although I have to admit there are many heels, toes and cuffs in there that I haven't tried yet. I already whined expressed my opinion about the gauge instructions for the Mermaid Socks here.

I wasn't happy with the beginning of my Mermaid Sock, or the Odessa sock, either. I decided to try some different things. So I present to you now the world's largest and most ridiculous swatch:

Odessa sock sampler

I had intended, when I first began writing this post several days ago, to go through and explain what each stitch pattern is and what I like and don't like about each one.

But suffice it to say that I frogged both the swatches last night and have put the yarn in time-out to think about what it has done. A line I am stealing with reckless abandon from Maia.

I will probably let the yarn out tomorrow night for knit night, when it will commence becoming mindless stockinette socks. Nothing wrong with those, now, is there?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Mother's Day Project

I first read about this at Franklin's blog, and jumped right in to participate -- it's The Mother's Day Project, to honor the servicewomen who have died in Iraq. This is the brainchild of someone from Milwaukee, where I spent most of my growing-up years (if one can say that I'm grown up). Click on over if you're interested, more helping hands are needed. There'll be a button and all those good things, in good time.