Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New socks... for me!

So, I've knit socks for my boyfriend and for my dad, but never for myself. Well, my time has come! And I'm happy to report that small feet are way better to knit for than big manly ones (sorry guys).

The socks I'm knitting for myself are the Monkeys by Cookie A. According to Ravelry, these socks have been knit 11359 times, though it's probably even more if you consider all the knitters who aren't on Ravelry, or who don't record their projects as obsessively as some of us. The point is, it's a very popular pattern, and of course, there must be a reason for that!

I'm done one sock, and about half-way through the second, and I found the pattern flows from my needles with ease. The lace pattern is super easy to memorize, and with my teeny feet, it seems like it takes little time for the sock to reach an appropriate length. Based on the amount I was able to knit during at 1-hour lecture yesterday, it takes me maybe an hour and a half to do one pattern repeat.

As you can see, I modified the pattern so that the sock has a short-row heel instead of the heel flap. It just seemed like the short row heel would be easier, and to be honest, I prefer how it looks. I have yet to try a heel flap, but that will have to wait for another sock. I didn't modify the pattern other than that... I made the large size (to accommodate my massive ankles), and used the recommended number of pattern repeats.

The yarn I'm using is Araucania Ranco Solid in the Russet colourway that I got from WEBS for pretty cheap. I just love that bright red colour! I think it's my favourite sock yarn to date, though my experience is clearly limited. It just changes colour so subtly and prettily... It's also fairly soft and feels pretty sturdy.

I'll probably post some more pictures when the second one is finished. Yay! Socks!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gifted yarns

I've said it too many times, but sorry dear blog for letting you languish without new posts for so long. I've been terribly busy (and lazy), and to be fair, I haven't really done much in the way of craftiness lately. But one thing I should mention is all the beautiful yarn I recently acquired from a friend of mine... This friend is the girlfriend of the drummer from my old band and she's known as spookycrisp on Ravelry. I had told myself that I wasn't going to buy any new yarn before I finished up the projects in my queue... but you know, free yarn doesn't count. I'll just show you my absolute favourites because she really did give me a lot...

Now for the yummy yummy yarns... First up, some Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (boy that's a mouthful) in a lovely mixture of green colours. It's a fingering weight yarn in pure wool, so I may or may not make a pair of socks with it... depends on the yardage. I just found out that a friend of mine is pregnant however, so this might become (part of) a cute little baby jacket!

Next up, some squishy soft Malabrigo Merino Worsted. I got four skeins, and so I have enough of this to make a small sweater. The main contender right now is the Painted Lady pattern from the Anticraft.

I've always wanted to try Noro, and so I also brought home one skein of Kureyon sock and another of Silk Garden sock yarns. I'm not entirely sure what these will become. But look at the pretty colours!!

Finally, I just had to grab this skein of Oberlyn Stella, a worsted weight mix of alpaca, cashmere and merino... seriously the most luxurious yarn I've ever owned. The only thing about it, is it's white... very very white. Verging on really boring. So I think I'll try my hand at Kool-Aid dying! I've bought a couple of packages of ice blue raspberry lemonade, and we'll see where it takes us! This excellent article from knitty will help me along, I'm sure.

So that's it for now. Hopefully I'll be able to show some restraint and actually not buy any new yarn before I've finished knitting all these projects... Famous last words!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kitchy Crochet

So a few weeks ago, I did say that I would talk about some crochet books I got over the holidays. Unfortunately, school has been keeping me busy (what with us having to get a scientific paper out by the end of the month), but I'm suffering from an incredible sugar low and wouldn't be able to do any work anyway... Two nanaimo bars is too many nanaimo bars.

So, my parents' cleaning lady gave me these books (more like booklets really) because she figured she would never use them. She crochets, but nothing terribly complicated I suppose. Book #1 is called "Learn to Crochet" by Susan Bates, I guess. It dates from 1979, and boy does it show!

The patterns aren't terrible, I suppose. My main beef with them would be that they're all crocheted flat, when a better result could have been achieved in the round. There are some very nice baby items, and I particularly liked the blankets.

The sweaters, however, are really dated. I suppose the vests aren't too bad, but I couldn't see myself making them. Maybe to be ironic?

The second book is a whole lot more fun. It's an issue of "Decorative Crochet Magazine", published in 1990, featuring doilies! I don't know what it is, but I have a bit of an obsession with doilies. I can hardly justify making them (I only ever made one for my pet bamboo), but they're fascinating. Maybe it's something about these circular intricate patterns with teeny tiny thread and hooks... Whatever it is, I can't get enough of them.

I mean, this must take forever! But so pretty...

And look at those stitch diagrams!

However, even I am not crazy enough to tackle this:

I mean it's still thread crochet, and each of the motifs looks like this:

Maybe I'll get to a giant doily one of these days, but I have a long list of things to do before that (most of those I already have the yarn for). Currently, I'm working on another giant granny square blanket (it's already 5 feet across!), this garter belt, and these socks. I knit most of this scarf, and then frogged it. It wasn't the fault of the pattern... It was just the wrong pattern for the yarn I was using... oh well.