This octopus is another Hansi Singh pattern. He is done in worsted weight yarn and is larger than I typically make my toys. He is bigger because he is destined for a very special project which is finally getting some momentum. More on that later.
Just finished a pair of socks for my husband. They are the Java Socks pattern from the most current issue of Knitty. They have a little two stitch cable all over them, which is good because it is more interesting to knit than just plain ribbing, but is bad because it still became kind of monotonous. The pattern is special because the decreases that happen after the heel are done across the ankle instead of down the side of the heel. The pattern is nicely written so that the decreases just become a part of the flow of the ribbing. My husband says that these socks fit better in the ankle than any others that I have made for him. I think part of this is the construction, but I also think that having an all over rib helps because it gives the fabric a lot more stretch, thus making it fit better.
I just didn’t want to pin this onto the end of the sock post because I think it is good enough to stand alone. Step with me into the Way-Back Machine for a moment...
At times in my life, I have made many sock monkeys. When I first learned, at a workshop in college, I made monkeys out of a compulsion. They are easy to make, and they develop their own personalities. I made a heap of full sized monkeys and then tried to give them away. It is the problem of any craft, what to do with it when you are finished.
For a few years, I was making and selling my little monkeys at the sadly now defunct Bare Hands Gallery. I made them with baby socks and each monkey had little button eyes, and some other piece of flair, a little parrot button or a bell or something. It is exhausting, however, to make 30 little objects creatively without knowing who they are for.
On the other hand, it is really fun to make one object creatively knowing exactly who it is for.
This sock monkey is for my dad. I shot for a rough verisimilitude in the face, and though professionally my dad plays the violin, in his spare time he has been pursuing the mandolin. This little monkey owns my best attempt at a knitted mandolin.
As you may be aware, most fabrics are either knitted or woven, and even commercially produced socks are knitted, just on the tiny needles of a machine. This was my first time making a monkey coming from a more knitterly perspective, and as I sewed the pieces together, I found my hands attempting to graft the tiny stitches instead of just sewing them together. The result might be neater, but not by much, and it probably isn’t worth the eye strain!
I’m trying to be better about posting projects right after they are finished. Christmas makes that impossible, and birthdays are not much better. My mom’s birthday was on Valentine’s, and she has already opened her present, so I can now post it here:
It is the Skew pattern from knitty.com. The pattern incorporates a very interesting diagonal construction. The whole thing is worked from the big toe, over and then up. The heel is also different, with the increases going out to the side, and then being folded towards each other and grafted together. It is hard to explain, but I recommend knitting it if you get a chance.
I actually ended up knitting the pattern twice. For most of my knitting life I have existed with size 1 ½ needles instead of regular 1s. It was the kind of purchasing fluke that happens when a novice buys needles, but I was a well informed novice, so I bought Addi Turbo’s, expensive needles, in slightly the wrong size. The first pair of skew socks were made using the slightly larger needles, and it actually made a big difference in the size of the socks. These slightly too big fellows have now gone on to a friend with slightly larger feet.
Also, since they were for my mom, I decided that the more muted colors simply weren’t as appropriate as some festive red.
I will say though, that working this pattern has restored my faith in variegated yarn a little and I'm thinking more positively about hand dyed yarn. I'll be at Stitches West this weekend, so it may be that I come home with an arm full of hand dyed and make nothing but socks for a while.
Here is a little something from back in November, but it is still very appropriate. A few years ago (yes, blog posting is not the only thing I’m slow at), I started planning a new hat for my friend. She lives in DC where one needs such things. Since our college days she has evolved into a young professional, but she still maintains her unique style. I knew I wanted to make her a hat that looked home made, but also fashionable, unique, but also grown up. I also had a notion that I wanted to do a cabled band on the hat, but I wasn’t sure how to go about that.
I happened to visit another friend who is a knitter while she was working on a Christmas gift scarf. She used this Lion Brand Yarn pattern, but she was doing it in stripes. The pattern totally had me at reversible cables, but I thought the stripes really gave it something extra.
Stripes! I thought that was perfect, brown and cream stripes to keep things a little more refined. One of my friend’s favorite colors is safety orange, so I thought a small nod in that direction would be nice as well. I did an orange edging at both ends of the scarf and orange fringe. In retrospect for better visual appeal, I wish I had made more fringe, but I also hate pushing fringe into my coat on a cold day.
As I had been thinking about the hat and yammering on to people about it, I kept saying that I wanted the top to look like the top of Santa’s bag. Gathered, with an orange string tying it closed. As I poked around for patterns to see how people did cabled bands on knit hats, I found this pattern on Knitty. I made the whole hat following the directions, but adding stripes. When I finished, I picked up stitches almost at the top, and then just increased in every stitch or every other stitch every few rows till the gathered top was as long as I wanted it. I tied it off with some orange i-chord. I’m glad I went with i-chord instead of just a crocheted chain because it makes it look a little more substantial.
The yarn is a baby alpaca, very soft. I was sad to see this one go, and it may be that I end up with my own alpaca hat if I end up in a colder climate sometime.