Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One Off The Sticks, One On The Sticks

Believe it or not, I have some knitting progress to share with you today! I have one small project ready to come off the sticks and another large one just on the sticks.

Coming off the sticks, as soon as I take a few minutes to kitchener up the toe and weave in the ends, is pair #4 of socks for my mother's Christmas box of goodies. These socks - made with my Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Shades of Teal - are about as simple as a pair of socks can be, but still pretty and made by the hands of her darling and incredibly thoughtful youngest daughter.

I had planned on making six pair as part of my mother's Christmas gift, but I fear it will only be four. I'll add some other fun items to the box and perhaps another small knit item to round it out. Hmmmmm ... I know I have a little pile of scarves that I made earlier this year for just such a desperate moment. Perhaps I can find one there.

Hold on while I go look.

Okay. This is weird. It will also give you an idea of just how much knitting and yarn I have in my home! First of all, for the life of me I can't find my scarf stash. I know there are quite a few here somewhere, but I can't find them! What I did, however, find is a pair of socks I had entirely forgotten I made! They were tucked away in a box which is also full of yarn that I completely forgot about. I'll have to dig through that soon and see what little gems are waiting for me there. But for now, I'm just thrilled to pieces to be able to report that I will have five pair of socks for my mother!

The pair I just discovered are short ankle socks, which works out perfectly since my mother prefers ankle socks anyway. Add this pair to the four I had and ... voila, we have five! Here is the new addition:

Yes, I know, they are downright garish, but hey ... they're ready to go!

I also decided it was high time that I start a new project larger than a pair of socks! A couple of months ago I mentioned having purchased Meg Swanson's A Gathering of Lace. I pulled it out on Monday and set about picking a project. The choice was obvious. I selected the Faux Russian Stole. There are many beautiful items in this book and lots of the patterns look like fun and a good challenge to knit, but for me personally, the Faux Russian Stole is clearly the one that I can see myself wearing more than any other.

One of the reasons I chose a lace shawl as my next project is that I've had quite a number of customers mention that they are using my Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn for lace shawls. (Teaser: I have a photo of a completed lace shawl with this yarn for next Monday's "customer project" moment.) Since I've only used this yarn for socks so far myself, I thought it would be a good idea to get a sense of how it knits for lace. It's a lightweight sock yarn -- 2-ply fingering weight at 550 yards to 4 ounces. The pattern calls for a "jumperweight" yarn at 150 yards to an ounce (that is 600 yards to 4 ounces), so it's a pretty close match.

I cast on Monday night and have already finished the bottom edge, completed a few rows of garter division and the first few rows of the center motif.

The shawl is started by first knitting the bottom border, short end to short end, and then picking up and knitting stitches across the straight edge of the border and around the provisional cast-on edge.

After a bit of swatching and playing with needle sizes I settled on a size 4, although the pattern calls for a 6. This shawl uses a garter stitch ground, which I like very much but only on the smaller needles. The garter ground is very appealing to me since it creates a garment that has less of a "right side" and "wrong side" look to it than a shawl knit on a stockinet ground. The only problem for me was that with the larger needles, the garter portions looked a bit too gossamer for my taste. It appeared sloppy more than lacey. I think that's just the nature of garter stitch, as I've never had that sense with the appearance of loosely knit stockinet areas in a lace shawl. So anyway, I settled on a size 4 needle, knowing that this would likely shrink the shawl from a real shawl into more of a shoulder wrap or stole, but that's fine for me.

It will be a while before the pattern really emerges and before I begin to get a sense of the drape of the knit, but here's a close up photo so you can see a bit of detail.

I really love the colors of this yarn. This is something I dyed specifically for my own use. It has some similarity to the Brick House colorway, but it skews more toward an orangy shade of burnt umber rather than the brick red/brown of the Brick House. (I'm a fiend for burnt umber, rusty orange, and the like!)

Alright. Enough chit-chat. Time to get back to work!


Katinka said...

I prefer slightly heavier yarn for my lace projects, too. I have little kids, and a cobweb-weight piece wouldn't last a day around them! Once my holiday knitting is done, I plan to snatch up some Sublime to make a Clapotis. :)

Erica said...

Dyed up just for you huh? Where's the fun in that? Just kidding, you of all people are entitled! I have been coveting that book for a while now so I am anxious to see how your lace project works up and congrats on the 5 pairs :)

~Tonia~ said...

The shawl`is going to be so lovely! I just love the specially dyed color. Yay for 5 pair of socks now. It might not have been the scarf that you were looking for, but they were ment to be found and then finding yarn to boot.

DebbieKnitter said...

ohhh Deb I love the socks and my cousin has been bugging me to make her a pair of those little ankle type socks for a year now, they ARE pretty darn cute so I guess I might have to get on that heehee. Such lovely pictures! I love your blog.

Lynne E. said...

Garish, yes, but the colors are amazing. I'd wear those ankle socks!

anne said...

that is going to be a pretty shawl! i've been meaning to try the merinos sock yarn for lace too, but have been too busy with christmas to do it! i actually think i might like it better in lace than in socks, but that's just my penchant fro thick socks showing . . .

Theresa said...

It is looking nice. The subtlety on the color changes is working well with the lace pattern. IMHO it is when the colors change abruptly or with too much contrast that the beautiful colors take away from the lace itself. To be honest I sometimes get bored doing a large lace project monochromatically. With the handpainted yarns it makes it an adventure to see how the patterns will come out!