Rhymes With Fuchsia

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kureyon, My Wayward Son

For some time Grant and Miss B had been planning a weekend getaway during school vacation; they originally scheduled it for next weekend, but I made them move it to this weekend so I could go to CTSW. They decided that Grant would pick her up when school let out on Friday, and they would leave directly from there. Little did I know that I would be presented with an opportunity to visit Mecca WEBS on Friday, but luckily I got a sitter to meet Taz's van and stay with him until six.

I have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of self-striping or self-patterning yarns; they offend my inner control freak, who wants to be the one to decide when the yarn changes color. For some time, however, I've had a mild case of Noro virus brought on by an idea bumping around the back of my head, and it flared into passionate lust that would not be denied when I saw the wall of Kureyon at WEBS. (I tried in vain to talk myself into a discontinued, thus cheaper, colorway.)

I have several knitting deadlines (mostly self-imposed), and summer will soon be upon us, so since I am a sensible and logical person the first thing I started when I got home was...

a scarf in Kureyon (#229) and Lamb's Pride worsted. You may recall my Wild Thing scarf; this new one is another take on two-color brioche stitch. I'm calling it Sibyl because, as you can see, it has two sides, one quiet, one colorful. (I know the eponymous Sibyl was reputed to have many more sides than that, but for the moment I am sticking with just two.)

In my Ravelry notes on Wild Thing I said I couldn't really call it a design as it was simple two-color brioche; one person said I most certainly could if I felt like it and asked for the pattern, so here it is.

Materials for Wild Thing: bulky weight brushed mohair yarn in a solid color (A), bulky weight space-dyed thick-and-thin wool yarn (B), about 250 yards each (yardage is a wild guess! I really have no idea since I was working off huge cones). Size 10 circular needle.
Materials for Sibyl: About 300 yards (150 grams) each Lamb's Pride worsted weight in black or background color of your choice (black really makes the Kureyon pop) (A) and Noro Kureyon (B). Size 7 or 8 circular needle.
  1. With color A, cast on 29 sts for Wild Thing or 35 sts for Sibyl.
  2. With B, k the first st (edge stitch; in all subsequent rows you will slip the first stitch), *sl 1 with yo (sl st and at the same time yo over the top of it with the working yarn), k1, end sl 1 with yo, k edge st.
  3. Slide sts back to the other end of the needle and with A, *p st and yo, sl 1 with yo, end p st and yo, k edge st.
  4. With B, *sl 1 with yo, p st and yo, end sl 1 with yo, k edge st.
  5. Slide sts back to the other end of the needle and with A, *k st and yo, sl 1 with yo, end k st and yo, k edge st.
  6. Repeat these four rows until done. Note: much more info about brioche stitch (possibly more than you want) including photos can be found at the brioche stitch site.

I think Sibyl will be my first offering to the Red Scarf Goddess this year. (I trust and hope there will be a Red Scarf this year, O Magnificent One?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mary's Socks

A couple of months ago I was invited to join a small sock swap, and I happily accepted. I made a pair of socks for Mary; my original design was based on the facts that 1) her favorite colors are black and red 2) she admired the Sunday Brunch stitch pattern while I was working on Grant's earwarmer.

(Photo shamelessly pilfered from Julie.)

I thought about writing out the pattern for you exactly as I worked it, but I quickly realized that practically no one else on the planet is going to need 84 stitches for a sock leg worked in elann Esprit, even on size-3 needles in a cable pattern. Therefore I will give you the basic method, and you get to plug in the numbers.

Basic Method for Mary's Socks
  1. Choose your main and contrast colors. If using Esprit you will need less than one ball per sock (probably less than one ball total) of the contrast color (CC), one full ball per sock of the main color (MC).
  2. Determine your st st gauge in your chosen yarn (A) and the circumference of the relevant foot (B). Make a toe by whatever method you wish, using A x B sts adjusted to a multiple of 6. (I started with 66 sts.)
  3. You will be using half the sts for the instep, half for the sole. Put the sts on two circs or one long circ for magic loop or dpn's in whatever arrangement is comfortable for you. Work one round st st in MC.
  4. Increase round: On the instep sts, p3, *k1, p into front and back of next st, k1, end p3. (I now had 42 instep sts.) Work sole sts in st st on this and all subsequent foot rounds. You now have more instep sts than sole sts; this is as it should be.
  5. Foot: on instep sts, p3, work row 1 of Sunday Brunch stitch pattern: *p into back of second st on left needle, k first st, slip both sts from needle together for a left twist (LT), k second st on left needle, p first st, slip both sts from needle together for a right twist (RT), end p3, work sole sts. Work 3 rounds even. Next round: on instep sts, p3, work row 5 of Sunday Brunch stitch pattern: *RT, LT, end p3, work sole sts. Work next 3 rounds even, completing one repeat of Sunday Brunch. Continue to work foot pattern as established until sock measures about 2 inches shorter than the relevant foot, leaving room for stretch if working with stretchy yarn. (I can't tell you how much exactly; about an inch seems to work for me in Esprit.) End with a row 2 on instep sts.
  6. In CC, work a heel by whatever method you wish. I made a short-row heel with 2 instep sts "borrowed" on each side.
  7. In MC, work 1 round in pattern as established. On next round, set up Sunday Brunch pattern on back of leg as in step 4. (I now had 84 sts.) Work 2 rounds in pattern.
  8. You will have 6 purl sts on each side of the foot (3 on the front needle(s), 3 on the back). On the next round, k the middle 2 of these sts (1 on each needle, or you can move them both to the same needle if this is easier) in CC on each side.
  9. Continue in pattern as established until leg measures 3 inches from top of heel, ending with a row 2 or 6. On next round, on the front of the leg work the first 3 sts k1 in CC, p2 in MC, work the first Sunday Brunch st, then *work 2 together (k2tog or p2tog, as the case may be), work 2, last 3 sts p2 in MC, k1 in CC. Do the same for the back of the leg. You should be back to your original number of sts (66 in my case).
  10. Work 3 rounds in 1x1 rib in MC, knitting all CC sts on the first round.
  11. Bind off (I used my favorite 1x1 tubular bind-off).

Obviously you can make the leg as long as you wish or have yarn for. Luckily for me, as I finished barely in time, Mary likes short socks. I actually worked both socks at once on two circs, separating them to work the heels and then putting them back together for the legs, but no law says you have to do it that way.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Saturday Sky: Woolapalooza

It's true: I'm a bit late with my Woolapalooza report, since it was last Saturday. Better late than never, though, and better a Woolapalooza report than details of our wild and woolly week, in which Taz proved once again that he can scare us to death for no apparent reason. (He was eating and drinking little and talking even less. There were many tests, all normal. Now he's fine. That is all.)

So, anyway, Woolapalooza. There were lambs.

So cute!

There were goats.

There were calves.

(And here I thought the goats were supposed to be the ones chewing on random inedible objects.)

There was shearing.

No sheep or sheep parts were harmed during the shearing.

There were spinners.

Only a couple of people were spinning, but as always they did a great job of explaining it to the kids and letting them try it. (Being a little too small for the wheel, the young gentleman here is helping with the treadling part.) Thus are future spinners born (mwahahaha).

We had an excellent time, as did a large crowd of other people, the weather being gorgeous. We saw the regular animal and bird exhibits, which are definitely worth a look should you be in the neighborhood. We would have stayed longer had they not run out of food before we decided to have lunch. If we go next year we'll pack a picnic.