Friday, June 15, 2007

Talk of This and That

Today's post may be a bit random, as I have several disconnected thoughts and tidbits on my mind that I want to share with all of you. Pardon me if I seem to ramble a bit today and jump from here to there.

First, I want to let you all know that the Etsy site has been experiencing some problems with the category and search functions and even had to take the site down for brief periods over the past couple of days. The site is working as of right now and you can indeed shop there, but I thought I'd let you all know about this in case you happened to stop by my shop during one of the brief downtimes this week.

The good news for all of you is that the problems with the search and category functions on Etsy this week mean that new listings are not showing up in the general search categories. That means that the new colorways of Superwash Merino Sock Yarn that I listed this week did not get much exposure to the general shopping population and so there are still some left. Some of the new colorways have sold out, but there are still a few left including a few skeins of Multifarious (oops -- quick update added a few hours after posting ... the Multifarious has now sold out, but never fear! There will be more available before long!)

As well as Robin's Egg. (This one is not very photogenic, but trust me . . . it's a lovely, clear color that's a light turquoise shade somewhat like a robin's egg. It looks a little cloudy in the photo, but in person, it's crisp and clear and true.)

Now, true to my word, I'm going to jump right into something unrelated. A few posts ago, I told you that I finally got one of the Jenkins Woodworking handcrafted circular needles.

I'm playing around with a sample swatch for a possible new lace piece and am using this needle. LOVE IT! The points are nice and sharp, which makes lace knitting so much easier! For those who don't knit lace, just think about trying to PSSO or P3TOG with a fine yarn and a blunt needle. That can be a real pain. Having a nice sharp tip helps tremendously to get a good rhythm going and to keep things moving along.

In other knitting news, I finally finished the first sock of the pair of broken rib/spiral socks in my FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Royalty and have cast on for the second sock.

I can't remember when any sock has taken me so long to knit! Part of the reason is that I'm only knitting these socks while watching my husband's softball games, but part of it is that I just can't get myself to knit more than a few rows at a time. I just don't enjoy ribbing on socks. On projects with larger needles, I knit contintental ("picking" with the yarn held in the left hand), but for very small DPNs in the round, I find that my tension is too loose when knitting purl stitches contintental style and I also tend to hold the needle in my right hand in a rather crooked manner that can cause laddering. For these reasons, I throw the yarn when knitting socks and it's a lot slower for me. At last I managed to complete the first sock though and moved immediately to the second one before second-sock-syndrome had a chance to take hold of me.

I'll be very glad when these socks are done. I rather regret beginning them at all now. The broken rib looks pleasing enough, but the fact is, once the socks are on the feet, the ribbing will stretch out and virtually disappear. It feels like a lot of effort for nothing, but the real reason for the broken rib is not for appearance, but rather for fit. Ribbing certainly helps a sock from slipping down, but a broken rib does an even better job, since it doesn't have the straight vertical path leading downward that a traditional rib has.

On a sock-related note, a commenter inquired to my last post whether the very soft nature of my Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn is a concern for long-term wear and whether it might be a good idea to use reinforcing thread on the toes and heels. I replied to the comments section, but since most of you may not see that, I'll repeat it here.

First of all, I certainly recommend a tightly knit fabric for the Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn, which is quite soft. This is true with any sock yarn really. I recall several years ago, I knit a pair of socks with a sock yarn I had used many times without any problem. For this particular pair, however, I didn't have a free set of my usual needle size for that yarn and so I went one size larger. The socks looked fine, but they definitely didn't hold up as well as the others I had knit with that yarn. It wasn't the yarn's fault. It was operator error.

It's also worth noting that although the yarn is superwash and can be machine washed, it's important that you still handle your hand knit items with care. If you choose to machine wash the socks or other item you make, it's best to cold water wash on Gentle Cycle, and also to place the knit item in a lingerie bag. So far, I haven't had any trouble with wear and I personally have not used reinforcement thread for my socks, but I know some of you do that as a regular practice for any pure wool knit socks. One note on reinforcing thread: I've occasionally read opinions online that indicate that nylon reinforcing thread can actually contribute to wear and tear because the thread is not nearly so soft as the yarn and can actually "cut" into the yarn itself during wear causing more problems than benefits. Although I haven't tried it myself, I would think that this would only result if you inadvertently held the nylon thread too taught while knitting, since it won't have as much give as the yarn. I think if you're careful to hold the nylon thread fairly loosely, you could avoid a situation where it would not have enough play and give when worn, which could cause that "cutting" effect. Just a guess though. Anyone who uses reinforcement thread, please feel free to lend your advice!

Popping off to a completely separate topic, I want to thank all of you for your naming suggestions for the lace scarf I showed to you last week.

All of your suggestions were great, but I think I've settled on "Migration." (Thank you, Elisa, for the suggestion!) Some of your other suggestions also inspired new ideas, so perhaps you'll see them crop up again the future. In the meantime, I wrote the pattern for the lace scarf and have a friend test knitting it now. I hope to have it done soon, but it's low on my priority list so please be patient with me.

I think that's about enough from me today. If anyone managed to read through all of my random rambling thoughts today, kudos to you!


~Tonia~ said...

The needles are lovely. They look like they have a nice smooth join.

Sorry that the socks are taking so long. Hopefully the sencond one will go faster for you. The first one is very pretty.

The lace scarf does have a "Migration' feel. Great decision for a name.

Friender said...

Thanks for the lowdown on reinforcement thread (it was me who had asked in the comments!). I think I will just proceed without it. I absolutely swoon every time I touch your sock yarn--it's so soft! and gorgeous! I am not a big fan of other handpainted sock yarn because I don't like stripes, but yours is beautiful.

Lynne E. said...

But for the great fit, I would never, ever knit another spiral rib sock. They go extremely slowly because you have to keep moving the pattern repeat over, in addition to switching back and forth in knit and purl. FWIW, my husband's socks that are reinforced with woolly nylon keep going, and going, and going . . .

"Migration" is a great name. And I can vouch for the beauty of "Multifarious", which IMO is right up there with "Thoroughbred".

gypsyknits said...

Oh I like the needles and the scarf is absolutely beautiful. Nice job.
I too, started a pair of socks in a spiral rib pattern. I don't like the pattern at all. I am having second sock syndrome on that one. It is a 12 row pattern stitch repeat and is boring.
Nice knitting on your part. Keep up the good work.

Impossible Princess said...

that is an extremly cute scarf...

MsFortuknit said...

Great work!
I adore your fibers!
Cant wait to start knitting away!

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anne said...

the new scarf is sooo pretty and i love the name! and, oh my, please stop adding new colors (just kidding) i can't even allow myself to click and take a look right now, but soon .. . .

Cynthia said...

I am looking forward to getting your yarn in the mail. The sock looks great; at least they will look great on and off the foot...LOL. I usually knit my socks tightly and even though they say superwash I only handwash - after all that effort I try to take a lot of care with them. The lace is also lovely.

DragonsChest said...

I would love to have a pair of those knitting needles.