Friday, March 26, 2010

History Of Hand Knitting (Book Review)

I was fortunate to get a copy of A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt (with a foreward by Meg Swanson) published by Interweave Press in 1987 through inter-library loan. There must not be too many copies of it available as mine came from an out of state library. This 248-page book was fascinating to read and includes many black and white photographs I've never seen before. It is an extensive history beginning with a chapter entitled Before 1500. Other chapters include Henry VIII to the Commonwealth, the Restoration to 1835, the Victorian age, the first World War and After, Some Local Traditions of the British Isles, the Americas, and Eastern Knitting. It also has an historical glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

Of course, it includes nothing about the knitting renaissance of the past decade or so and I was especially amused by this section on the end of hand-knitted stockings on page 161 which begins

Socks and stockings were the most frequently hand-knitted garments from the beginning of popular knitting until the 1950s. Today they hardly can be seen, and only the old can remember how to turn a heel without referring to a book. The cheapness of machine-knit stockings, especially when produced in low-wage regions such as East Asia, has finally banished the home-made stocking. Home-made stockings, partly because of knitters' habits, partly because men liked them, survived in dwindling numbers until about 1970. A few patterns only remain in print; and hosiery wool, through still spun, is not readily available. Stockings were always dull work. Today's knitter expects more pleasure from the craft.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I'm taking the rest of the month off from knitting socks. I'm going to plan my flower garden, watch the birds, do some minimal housework, and maybe fondle some yarn.

Murder Mystery Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: Bought from La Joie de Fibres by Tricoterie on Etsy
Pattern: Plain stockinette

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Fern Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: 100% superwash merino from WoolCandy on Etsy. Colorway: Swamp Monster
Pattern: Free pattern available from The Loopy Ewe

Rain, Rain Go Away Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: Araucania Yarn. Fingerweight. 70% Superwash Merino, 15% Bamboo, 15% Silk Colorway: Thunderstorm from Loopy Ewe
Pattern: River Rapids. Free pattern from Ravelry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Loopy Groupie!

Yes, I received my latest order from The Loopy Ewe and am now an official Loopy Groupie! Here's a photo of Loopy (who I've named Louie) with the goodies I bought.

And here he is with all the goodies I received as a new Groupie! No, no Louie! Chocolates are not good things for little sheep to eat! Those are mine!

Here he's checking out my Flickr account!

Little Louie then took a break, snuggling the yarns I plan to use to knit my April socks. Ohhhhh....they are so soft and beautiful. Enjoy, Louie! And welcome home!

Oh, Baby! Baby Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: Leftover from adult-sized socks
Pattern: My own, based on a basic baby sock pattern

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stocking Up on Books on CD

I'm taking a break from movie/mystery DVDs and on this evening's trek to the library stocked up on some books on CD. They include Ruth Rendell's 13 Steps Down; Like a Charm, edited by Karin Slaughter (an unusual book consisting of 16 interconnected stories) and J.A. Jance's Edge of Evil. The only DVDs I could find were Lucy Neatby's Knitting Gems. One is on beading techniques, lace basics with a look at charting, and useful tricks for serene yarn handling and the other demonstrates a variety of cast-ons, even more increases, fancy bind-offs, and daring rescue techniques. Should be fun!

Next week is Spring Break at the university where I work, so I'll only be at the Archives ref desk on Wednesday from 9am-3pm and that's it. The following week, however, brings the beginning of a new term and a very busy schedule for all of April.

Spring Forward Socks

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight [100% Superwash Merino; 360yd/329m per 4.5 oz. skein]; color: Footzey-Foo
Pattern: from Knitty

This was a fun and fast pattern and I plan to knit it again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Robin's Nest Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: from AlaskanNancy on Etsy. Colorway is Birds Nest.
Pattern: K3, P1 rib

Monday, March 15, 2010

Loopy Ewe Yarn Order #2

My second Loopy Ewe order arrived this morning. Here are the newest additions to my stash. They'll also be my last additions for some time.

Farmhouse Yarns (Colorway: Slate)

Farmhouse Yarns (Colorway: Teal)

Swiss Mountain Sea Sock, which is 51% silk. (Colorway: Blooming Orchid)

Swiss Mountain Sea Sock (Colorway: Salt Spray)

Dream in Color (Colorway: Petal Shower)

Araucania (Colorway: Sky)

Araucania (Colorway: Thunderstorms)
I have placed another order with Loopy Ewe, but not for yarns. This order will include patterns and other goodies, including my very own little Loopy guy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Watching DVDs and Knitting

I've restocked my stack of DVDs from the library and currently I'm watching the first season of Jeeves and Wooster while knitting the first Robin's Nest sock.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Alternatives to Stockinette

The Murder Mystery socks are plain stockinette and are very boring to knit. I've finished the first one and started the second, but I'm just not enthusiastic about finishing them. However, I am compulsive determined and have a high need to finish what I start so I shall.

I had begun knitting the Robin's Nest socks in stockinette, also in a self-striping yarn, but ripped it out and began knitting it in a K3, P1 rib. This is much better and going faster than I expected. It's easy without being dull.

I'm making a list of alternatives to stockinette when I don't want to knit a complex stitch pattern. Here are variations on a theme:

K1(tbl),P1 (this is the pattern I used for my Cool River socks)

And here are some others:
Rnd: 1:*K1, sl1, k1, yo, psso, yo, K1*
Rnd: 2: *K*
Rnd 1: *K4, p1; rep from *
Rnd 2: *K3, p2; rep from *
Rnd 3: *K2, p3; rep from *
Rnd 4: *K1, p4; rep from *
Rnd 1: *K3, P3*
Rnd 2: *K1, P1*
Rnd 1: *P1, K2tog, K2, (K1, yo, K1) in next st, K2, ssk, P1*
Rnd 2: *P1, K9, P1*
(See photo here.)

If you know of any other stitch patterns which may be good additions, please add them to the comments. Thanks!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Loopy Ewe Yarn Order #1

Yes, order #1 means there is an order #2 which should be arriving early next week. I'll post a photo of those yarns when I get them. And that will be the end of my yarn splurge.

The colorways is this photo are, from left to right:
Fire (Colinette); Candy Cane (Earthly Hues); Apricot Plum (Scarlet Fleece); Clay (Farmhouse Yarns) and Evergreen (Farmhouse Yarns).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrate Spring Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: 100% merino wool fingering weight from WoolCandy on Etsy in Candy Floss colorway
Pattern: variation on Celebrate Spring by Anne Budd; available free on Ravelry

Monday, March 8, 2010

Murder Mystery Socks

I've taken a break from knitting the second Celebrate Spring sock to begin this one while watching a Dorothy Sayers DVD.

I read murder mysteries year round, but I especially enjoy them during the fall and winter. Lying in bed late at night under quilts and comforters, with the rain lashing the windows outside and the wind howling around the corners of the house, reading a delicious who-done-it is one of my secret delights. It's just not the same when the weather is warm and the birds are singing.

This sock pattern is to remind me that the good mystery book reading weather is almost gone and won't be back again until October or November. The yarn is one of my favorites, wonderful to work with and has a beautiful shine. I have bought several skeins of this self-striping, 50% superwash merino 50% tencel yarn from Tricoterie on Etsy.

Today is a perfect day to start such a pair of socks. An Arctic cold front is bringing us colder weather as well as wind, thunderstorms, rain, and hail for the next few days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Preparing to Knit All Afternoon

This morning I did the laundry, made a batch of cookies and a pitcher of iced tea to put in this weeks lunches, and put together a chicken cacciatore and put it in the crock pot as soon as I got back from church. Yesterday I checked out a new batch of DVDs from the library-- a Dorothy L. Sayers mystery; Hush...Hush...Sweet Charlotte with Bette Davis and Olivia DeHavilland; the first season of Jeeves and Wooster; Grand Hotel with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, and Joan Crawford; Lawrence of Arabia; Stage Door with Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers; and a DVD with two Laurel and Hardy features.

I've put the Jeeves and Wooster DVD in my laptop and I should now have at least three or four hours of uninterrupted knitting time until it's time to cook the pasta, make the salad and garlic bread, and set the table for dinner. Alleluia!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Loopy Ewe Spring Sock Kit Arrived!

When I came home from my weekly errand/shopping trip this afternoon, I found my kit waiting for me at the front door. It includes a skein of spring-colored yarn, two patterns--one for socks by Wendy Johnson and another for a scarf-- plus two shawl sticks! Lovely!


I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening plus another couple of hours this morning trying to find the right combination of yarn and needles to make my Celebrate Spring socks. I love this pattern. It's easy to knit and looks lovely. I've just been having trouble finding the right yarn/needles for it to work. I wish I'd taken photos of all my failed efforts so you could see the problems--a variegated yarn which made it too fussy; a springy yarn which hid the lace pattern; a yarn that was too thick and obscured the lace section entirely.

Now I'm using a yarn from WoolCandy on Etsy in the colorway Candy Floss, size 2 needles, and I've reduced the stitches from 70 to 50. This is looking good! I'm going to knit a bit more and take a photo once there's enough light.


Friday, March 5, 2010

St. Paddy's Day Baby Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: Moss Rock 4 oz/113g 480 m 75% merino wool, 25% nylon from Wool Candy on Etsy (leftover from Pumpkin Vine socks)
Stitch Pattern:
Rnd 1: sl1, k2, psso, k1
Rnd 2: k1, yo, k1, p1
Rnds 3 & 4: k3, p1

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Loopy Ewe Sock Club

I'm one of the lucky ones who got into the Loopy Ewe Sock Club. I found out about it too late last year so this year I was keeping an eye out for the sign-ups. I did, however, miss the valentine's day kits so that's something to watch for next year.

The first kit of the year should be arriving sometime in the next couple of weeks. I'll post photos when I get it. And I think that'll be it for me for yarn additions. At least until summer, for a few months--ummm, a while anyway.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And More Stash Enhancement!

These three skeins are the newest ones from AlaskanNancy on Etsy. I should receive all three by the end of the week.

Starry, Starry Night

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Roseate Spoonbill

Crocus Socks

Needles: Needles: 2.25 mm dpn
Yarn: 75-25 Merino Nylon Blend from WoolCandy on Etsy: Colorway is Fresh Fig Marzipan
Pattern: Hourglass Eyelet Socks, available free on Ravelry