Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This pattern has pictures and written instructions for you to make your own pair of diamond-studded socks. I was originally inspired to write this pattern while reminiscing on the sort of socks I wore when I was a Brownie.
Pattern includes three sizes, women's small (7.5" foot circumference), medium (8") and large (8.5")
Yarn requirements: Schaefer Yarn Anne (60% merino wool superwash,25% mohair, 15% nylon; 560 yards [512m] 4oz [113g] 1 (1, 2) skeins. OR comparable fingering weight yarn.
Skill group: Adventurous beginner. This pattern is good for knitters already comfortable with knitting in the round. The socks are worked toe-up, with a short-row heel, diamond lace up both sides of the legs, calf increases, ribbing, and a sewn bind off.
Ravelry Downloads: (Immediate download)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Welcome to the Bellatrix socks. I was very unsure of the pattern and yarn and all that when I cast on.
Why? Not my usual colors, bumpy sock, cuff down construction... the unknown!
Well forget it, because these are now among the best socks I've got. Seriously.
Pattern by Gigi Silva from Socktopia.
Yarn: Mulberry Bush from Spinning Yarns Online.
Needles: US sizes 1 and 2.
Pattern Review: The socks are knit from the cuff down with a drop stitch design along the leg, a heel-flap, toe decreases and kitchener stitch to finish.
I enjoyed knitting from the pattern, it's well written, bright, and easy to follow. I don't often work socks from the cuff down but I'm glad I did it here. I wanted to see the texture of the pattern before deciding if I would work the dropped stitches along the top of the foot as written, or if I would go plain.
After reading about other people's gauge issues with this pattern, I cast on and worked ribbing with a US size 2 needle, then switched to a US size 1 for the leg. The first sock was worked this way, and I feel the ribbing could be a tad tighter.
For the second sock, I cast on using size 2 and worked the ribbing a little loosely with size 1. I think this is the better option for me, and I'm trying not to care that the socks are slightly different. It doesn't seem to be an issue after blocking.
I also chose to work the foot in plain stockinette, with 64 sts. I was afraid the drop stitch texture would get in the way with a shoe.
Yarn Review: I know I've raved about this yarn already, so I'll just say again, great. The longer and shorter repeats worked very well with this pattern and after washing and blocking, the socks are nice and soft.
I recommend yarn with some short repeats to highlight the drop stitch pattern - they look like little squiggles, very cool.
Overall: I guess here is where I'll mention the problem... with me, not the pattern. Because I don't do cuff-down very often I wasn't sure about when to start the toe decreases. The pattern tells you when, but I screwed it up on the first sock anyway, and the sock was a bit short.
After finishing the second (and more perfect) sock I actually went back to the first and ripped it open again. Yes, I carefully pulled out the weaving in of the ends, pulled out the kitchener, and ripped back to the point just before the first set of decreases. I put the stitches back on the needles and knit for about half an inch before finishing the toe anew, for the second time.
It was worth it!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thanks for all the suggestions and advice. It was especially amazing to have the pattern's author stop by and give some help! I feel very special now, which is probably most of why my attitude has picked up.
My recent lace education: it's time to be the boss of my knitting!
1. I absolutely should have cast on with larger needles. Alpaca has a halo and could have handled it, and I would have enjoyed the knitting more. I don't have the heart to rip it out, so I will continue as established anyway.
2. If you can't switch the size, switch the needle. It's okay to prefer circulars to straights, wood to metal, etc. I am now considering the knitpicks harmony needles and the initial feeling is that I am about to spend a bunch of money.
3. Charts. I will play around with this too as soon as I find the graph paper I put in that really great hiding place.
4. Block as you go. Not the big wash and pin method, but the quick get it wet and lay it out to dry method. I suspect this will make it easier to do the proper blocking at the end too, since the scarf will be in a reasonable state.
5. It's okay if I don't ever catch the lace bug. I have already been struck with the washcloth bug, the spinning bug, and now the sock bug. How many infections must one endure?
6. Finally, and this is silly to most people but of epic importance to me, it's okay to have more than one project going at once. I plan to work a little lace, set it down, and work a little something else until I finish that scarf.
Who knows, when all is said and done, I may itch to cast on another lace project when this one is done. It could happen, right?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This year I finally broke through my compulsion as a monogamous knitter when I found myself with a few projects going at once. Of course, after finishing these projects I immediately returned to one project and apologized to it.
But I am a hypocrite and it's time to confess a secret. Are you sitting down? I have had a lace scarf project on needles for over a year. I hardly ever think about it, much less touch it.
I really like the look of knitted lace and feel a bit of envy when I see gigantic shawls floating on tree branches in other people's knitting blogs. I decided to try lace knitting with a simple scarf, which should be easy and fast, right?
"Marnie's Scarf" is a lovely pattern I found and it suits me because I wanted to jump into lace but didn't want anything too flowery. I'm knitting it in Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks. It's lace weight baby alpaca, in the color "Iris Heather." I wound it into a center pull ball while watching TV. I held the yarn around my feet as I wound it around a giant marker.
1. It looks like dog business. I know it will look better when finished and blocked. I have to believe this.
2. I printed out an old copy of the pattern and it's on two sheets and following the lace repeats is fussy and impossible to memorize.
3. Size four needles. If it was on size five, I could use my beloved Denise interchangeable needles but alas, the only size fours I have are vintage metal straights. While I am confessing secrets, I'll say this: I hate them. My nickel allergy means my hands get rashy on hot after using metal needles for any prolonged length of time. I know, poor me.
Obviously there are a few things I can do to enjoy this more. I can get some nice size four needles and print out a new copy of the pattern all on one page. Other than that, I am lost. How are you all loving lace knitting? I want to catch the bug!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I was dreaming of a rich, dark fall rusty color. I looked at the Color card, and chose burnt orange. I also left a note at checkout describing the color I was looking for, with links. I know color cards can be off, so I wanted to make sure I got a color as close to the color card as possible.
Hello hot neon electric orange.
At first I was pretty disappointed. Of course colors on monitors don't always reflect reality and I should know better than to have expectations. The best thing to do is to get over it and dive right in... and I have!
The yarn is called "Instant Gratification" because it knits up quickly. (I think it's dk weight) The label suggests US size 4 to 6 needle but after swatching, I'd use a 4 if you knit tightly or a 3 if you don't. I mean, of course, for socks. The best part is that this yarn is very soft, nice to handle.
The skein weighs 4oz and has 280 yards. I have faith that this is enough yarn for a pair of socks, though I am curious to see it happen, having never knit socks with thick yarn before.
The original design I had in mind won't work, that's fine. I've had a change of plans, and I'm happy to say I've hit on a new idea. With a little luck, they will just maybe become a pair of socks that I fall in love with!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here it is, a mega-list of places to submit knitting and crochet patterns and articles. Thank you to everyone who helped make the list possible! This list is still learning to walk, so go ahead and let me know if there are any errors or exclusions.
About: A site where “expert guides steer content - sharing their passions, expertise and how-to information with visitors every day”. Seems to have big knitting and crochet sections, and you can submit patterns, reviews and tips in exchange for exposure and credit.
Anticraft: A diy site with fresh issues arriving four times a year. They have lots of different craft projects, including knitting and crochet. What do you get in return? In their words, “Glory, baby. Glory.”
Black Purl Magazine: An online magazine for needlecrafters featuring ethnic-inspired stitches and stories. They are looking for patterns as well as articles, and they do pay for published designs.
Cherry Tree Hill: A yarn company that seeks sock patterns using their yarns, and right now specifically for a new line called Sockittome. They will pay you if they take your pattern and replace the yarn you used.
Chiagu: (from their site) “Chiagu is the place for unusual designs from independent designers, where those designers can show their work and get paid for their creativity! We're adding patterns as quickly as we can get them edited, photographed, and coded, so stop by often, or join the mailing list!” NOTE: Not accepting submissions at this time.
Craftster: A beloved crafting forum with large knitting, spinning and crochet communities. You can post patterns in the appropriate sections, as you wish. There is no pay, but there is a lot of traffic. They do not let you put a link to your blog to get to the pattern, you have to post the pattern on their boards directly.
Crochet Pattern Central: (from their site) “an often updated online directory featuring thousands of links to free crochet patterns.” It looks like you can submit a link here if you have a free crochet pattern on the web already.
The Daily Knitter: Free patterns, information on knitting yarn, knitting articles and tips, a yarn shop directory, knitting book reviews, yarn reviews, local knitting clubs, knitting charities, knitting events, and more. They do not pay, but they will get your pattern seen by thousands of people.
Elann: An online yarn shop with lots of patterns. I couldn’t find the information about submitting patterns and I suspect they offer patterns through yarn companies, but see for yourself.
For the Love of Yarn: A relatively new online magazine that accepts knitting and crochet pattern submissions and articles. New issues are published quarterly, and since they are new, they don’t yet pay or arrange for yarn support. However, it’s a great place to start getting published.
The Garter Belt: A site with free patterns and patterns for sale. They have an already set team of designers, but it's probably worth seeing if they're interested in taking on anyone new.
Hill Country Yarns: A yarn company with a sock designing contest. You buy a skein of yarn and send in an original design. You get to keep the socks, but the winning patterns are released to their sock club. Three winners receive free yarn as prizes.
INKnitters: A print magazine for hand and machine knitters that publishes quarterly. They are currently seeking “challenging patterns” and educational articles and they do arrange yarn support and payments.
Island of Misfit Patterns: (From their site) “Let me guess. You created something fabulous, wrote up a pattern, and submitted it to all the online magazines. But sadly, no one wanted it. Or maybe you wrote a great essay, but again, no one took it. Or, maybe you were just too lazy to try and get your great pattern and essay in the exact correct format for publication. We know how you feel. But, don’t worry, your pattern or essay has a home here! This site is designed to host all the lost and homeless patterns out there.” In short, they’ll post anything, and they get more hits than the average hobby knitting blog.
Jimmy Beans Wool: A yarn store and site with a monthly pattern competition. You have to use yarn they sell in a color they currently offer. The winner gets a gift certificate and a prize package, and your pattern is offered for free on their site.
Knit Net: An online shop and magazine published six times a year. You register your contact information with them, and they keep you updated on what they are looking for.
Knitlist: A worldwide non-commercial yahoo mega-group with pattern sharing for subscribers.
Knitpicks: An online yarn and more shop containing lots of patterns that use their yarns. Contact them directly to learn about submissions.
Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar: An annual calendar with over 300 designs. If your pattern is chosen, you receive a free calendar. Cash prizes are awarded to the top designs.
Knitting Pattern Central: An online directory featuring thousands of links to free knitting patterns. If you have a free pattern on your blog, Knitting Pattern Central can post a link.
The Knitting Vault: A site with knitting patterns for sale. They offer designers a free marketplace to sell their patterns. This is a good source if you’re looking to sell a pattern but don’t want the hassle of building the pdf file and creating a merchant account.
Knitty: THE quarterly online magazine with free knitting patterns. With 30,000 hits a day, you’ll get a lot of attention in addition to payment.
The Loopy Ewe: A site for sock knitters with yarn and patterns. I’m not sure how you arrange for them to sell your patterns (contact them?), but they do have a quarterly contest (“challenge”) listed on Sheri’s blog, with a gift certificate going to the winner.
Magknits: A popular monthly free pattern knitting site with an average of 5000 hits a day. If published, you will get a lot of attention, in addition to your choice of money, yarn support, or free advertising.
Purlescence: An online knitting store that developed an ongoing design challenge. (From the site) “create a project for a given fictional character, and tell us the story behind it… All submissions get posted here; our favourites might get spot prizes, or even get published as patterns.”
Ravelry: A new knitting and crochet site still in Beta but going public soon. If you’re not a member, get yourself on the waiting list and sign up when you get the email. Then, if you have a pattern on your blog, make sure it is listed on Ravelry, THE place to organize your yarn, patterns, and connect with others.
Robyn’s Nest: A Canadian yarn shop that accepts patterns (for pay) for socks. They have a sock club called Robyn's Nest Sock Club and with the handdyed sock yarn that goes out in the mail, a pattern and stitch markers go out with it. Also - they do sell other patterns, so it is worth checking out.
Spindle and Wheel: A source for spinning yarn, tutorials, and patterns. They have somewhat strict submission guidelines in terms of modesty of dress, but definitely manageable.
Spindlicity: An INACTIVE online magazine for handspinners. The site hasn't been updated for a while, but if ever it comes back to life, it is a good place to submit patterns using handspun yarn.
Spun Magazine: A quarterly online Toronto based magazine featuring free knitting patterns, fiber-related goodness, feature articles, personal essays, music, DVD, book reviews and other crafty fun. They welcome submissions, and pay an honorarium or will negotiate free advertising.
Tejemanejes: A Spanish language knitting magazine, with English versions of some patterns. NOTE: It hasn't been updated since the first issue, which came out a few months ago, and it is unknown if they will continue.
Whip up: A handcraft site that is accepting submissions, but not for knitting or crochet patterns. They are looking for articles, reviews, tutorials, techniques, etc. that fit into each month’s theme. They do not pay, but have a large readership.
Yarnival: A blog carnival for knitters. You submit a blog entry of yours to the site and a host pulls together different blog posts that go together to share with a bigger audience. The submission page has a lot of ads, but if you can bear it, check it out.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
When I found this crazy pattern that looks like you have runs in your socks, on purpose, I knew what I had to do. I had some bold yarn with long and short repeats in my stash... naturally, a perfect match.
I don't normally work socks cuff-down, but every once in a while I give myself permission. It's a nice change, though I swear my foot came out a tiny bit short.
After reading about other people's gauge issues with this pattern, I cast on and worked ribbing with a US size 2 needle, then switched to a US size 1 for the leg. I finished the first sock and I'm now worried the ribbing is loose and they won't stay up. We'll see.
For the second sock, I cast on using size 2 and worked the ribbing loosely with size 1. I think this is the better option for me, and I'm trying not to care that the socks are slightly different.
I also chose to work the foot in plain stockinette, 64 sts. I was afraid the drop stitch texture would get in the way with a shoe. On to the stats...
Pattern by Gigi Silva from Socktopia.
Yarn: Mulberry Bush from Spinning Yarns Online.
Needles: US sizes 1 and 2.
Enjoyment: High. I am shocked by how much I like these socks!
Friday, October 12, 2007
This is the homespun yarn she donated for the contest I had a while back - I'm happy to finally share a picture with you.
I think all of my spinning mojo is focused on knitting these days. Yes, I am okay with it. I am happy to be knitting and writing new patterns (tease) lately.
New patterns? Yes, coming soon.
And while we're on the subject of happy, here are some other objects of joy...
Last night I got to go to Crumbs where I scored two cupcakes: strawberry cream cheese and oreo. What can I say except that I have a real weakness for cupcakes?
I also wanted to share a picture of my brother and sister-in-law's puppy Daisy. She is only 9 weeks old!
She is half Labrador and half Labradoodle, which is to say she is 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Poodle. My brother decided she is a "Labradoodle-dor" and I agree.
She's hard to photograph because she is black and never sits still. trust me, she's a cutie.
I say this like a puppy could be ugly. Like you could look at the picture and think, "How terrible! Her coat looks silky soft and I bet she showers kisses on you like it's your birthday." Yes, it's true. She is terrible in that way.
My only real complaint is that there is nothing I can knit for her.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I packed my stuff up the night before, because our call time was set for 6am. My alarm clock was set for 4:30am. My mood was set for excitement mixed with a mild dread.
It is important to pack properly if you are going to be an extra. I'm always amazed when I see people hanging out on set, staring into space with nothing to do. Or worse, trying to talk to others about how "Brad Pitt got his start as an extra."
The kit that day:
-one business casual outfit to wear (Khaki pants, light blue blouse)
-one to change into in case they don't like the first (Navy dress)
-one book (Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri)
-one journal (unlined, for ideas, sketches, whatever)
-a sudoku book
-a different pair of earrings (for the dress)
-various hair clips
-this sock with corresponding pattern notes
I'm normally cranky getting up at 7. Getting up at 4:30 is just confusing. I make it to our location right on time. The thing I forgot, is a sweater. It's chilly and dark out. My first outfit is rejected and I change outside in a freezing tent on the muddy, horse trodden field where base camp is set. Wardrobe then approves my dress.
Time for breakfast. Except I can't gather the desire to eat at 6:30 in the morning. I observe this to not be a problem for the rest of the background players. Trays stacked with breakfast burritos, paper cups of orange and cranberry juice, mounds of bacon and sausage all pass by and get shoveled in quickly. Then they go back for more and more. There is rarely any shame with us extras and free food.
I put a banana in my bag for later. I eat a few spoonfuls of unsweetened oatmeal. I am proud of my choices, though I am foolish for feeling this way.
Before I can get cracking on the sock, they corral us onto buses that take us to our shoot location. The journey lasts about 20 minutes and the woman next to me has an unpleasant smell about her. Nothing unusual about this, of course. Somehow it contributes to my claustrophobia and I can't wait to get off the bus.
While we wait at our new holding area, I whip out the book and start reading. A man playing a construction worker approaches me. I tell him he looks convincing in his role. Of course, I look like mine as well: "civilian." I put my book away and we chat about this and that. A rumor circulates that the show just got canceled. This is to be the very last episode, making this the third time I have appeared in the very last episode of something. 1. Providence. 2. Alias. Now, 3. Jericho.
We get the call to go on set and work. We are all placed evenly throughout the town square. I am to hide behind a tree until the main stars walk by a hot dog stand, which is my cue to cross the street in front of them. It is here I see one of the roles is for "man with dog."
I become obsessed with the dog, some kind of white and tan spaniel with a good dose of enthusiasm. I watch him work. He walks down the street convincingly in his role as "dog". After the director yells "cut!" the dog and man return to their mark, the dog with the same enthusiasm he had walking in the scene. Every take, the dog does it like it's the first time. I daresay some other extras could learn from this dog.
I say this because we have to re-do the scene countless times. Every time we are supposed to basically do the same thing. However, every take is different on my route. I run into different people as I do my walk. One time, I am almost run over by "woman with bicycle." I don't get it.
By mid-morning, I find myself hiding behind the tree for a while, so I eat the banana. A toddler in the role of "toddler" starts to cry. A woman leans in to whisper to me, "When I was a kid, I would have gotten beaten for that." I nod in agreement, though I don't know why I am doing this. Maybe I am afraid she will beat me if I disagree with her.
And that's when a crazy person starts shouting at us from a building across the street. He yells four-letter words in various combinations with the word "Hollywood." He does this because we are all over his street, in his way. Ironically, this drags out the production. If he would remain quiet, we could finish the scene and leave. It's hard to reason with crazy though. We get half a dozen more takes, and they are occasionally peppered with a shout or two from Mr. crazy. We just keep rolling as if we don't hear him.
It's not until we break for lunch that I finally get to work on the sock. That is to say, the cast and crew break for lunch. We are told to sit at holding and to not eat anything. I knit an inch or two while the extras speculate about when we'll get to eat. Very, very slowly they start to let us go. They are not obligated to feed us now, because they released us from the job. The extras naturally get snippy, even though many of them had three consecutive breakfasts.
About a week later I finished this here Schaefer Anne diamond-studded knee sock. I know I keep saying it, but I freaking LOVE this yarn. By the way, the Loopy Ewe just did a big update and added many more Anne colors. Remember, once they're gone, they are gone. The yarn I used I think they are calling Rain Clouds. Personally, I am longing for Tea Leaves.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
we have a winner
Originally uploaded by damclean
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. I'm really excited about the suggestions and look forward to compiling the ideas this week - so be on the lookout for the "Stitcher's Market" to be posted here soon.
As promised, this is a real contest with a real prize. The yarn is on the way here from Stacy who spun it for the winner. I'm sorry I do not have a picture of it yet - I'm actually pretty curious myself. As soon as the yarn gets here I will share the photo for the rest of the curious too.
Thanks to a random number generator we have a winner: Josiane. Congrats! Please get in touch so I can send it out to you as soon as it gets here.
Better luck next time to the folks who didn't win. The good news is that you helped contribute to the Big List which will be free to all. Thank you!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Originally uploaded by OctaviusPie
I now consider myself a sock pattern writer though I have not officially released a sock pattern yet. Yes, I am imaginative in that way.
It may just be in my head, but I have been playing around with stitches on tiny needles and a lot has just been clicking. Most of this stuff is old hat to real socksters, but pretty exciting to me. So here's what I learned about writing sock patterns: (so far)
1. swatch swatch swatch swatch. Gauge is critical. Seeing what stitches work well with different yarns is critical.
2. If you name your pattern after a character or creature in the Harry Potter series, people will desperately want to knit your socks. Same goes for colorways you dye your yarns and hope to sell.
3. I know cuff-down has real merits. Toe-up is just better. There, I said it. Something about being able to try on the foot as you go makes a lot of sense.
4. Blocking socks is a really good idea. Even if you don't own sock blockers, you can still use the old pin them into shape method. Your lace never looked so good.
5. Never mix complicated yarn with complicated stitches. Unless you want a fugly sock, that is. If you're going to hand knit your own precious socks try to avoid looking like you regurgitated on them. I don't care how expensive the yarn was.
6. If they don't fit, you must rip. What's the point otherwise? Pull out the knitting as if it never happened. Or else gift the socks to a horse, who may fit into them better. Your choice.
7. Measure the ball of your foot before you cast on. Then subtract for a nice snug fit. Some say 10%, I like half an inch.
8. If you deviate from a pattern, write it down. Never assume you'll remember. If you make a mistake in the first one, think carefully if you want to repeat the mistake in the second. Is having a matching pair that important? It may be.
9. Don't use the cheapest wool ever created. You won't want to wear them when you're finished.
10. I'm a little tired of self-striping yarn. Not really helpful, but technically something I've learned.
Of course, I may be wrong. Every single one of these things could be challenged. I accept that. But for now, I stand by this list.
TO DO: I want to try the 2 circulars method. I like the idea of going faster, having fewer edges in between needles, and knitting two at once, so they really really match. Am I an addict now? Yes.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I have what you could call fourth sock syndrome.
I already knit three of these, do I really have to knit another one?
Well, yes. Even though I am happy with the first pair, I have come up with a better toe and heel. Also, better ribbing at the top.
And because this is just way too much stockinette, there is a diamond pattern traveling up the new legs.
Want to see?
Soon enough. Let's just enjoy the first finished pair. Thank you.
Yarn: Schaefer Anne. Pattern: Originally made from following the Twisted Sister's sock workbook.
New pattern: completely altered cast-on, toe, heel, stitch pattern, rib and bind off. Available very soon.
Have you already heard how incredible this yarn is? Stats: 560 yds, so 1 hank makes 1+ pair of socks. 60% merino wool superwash, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon. 7-8 st. to the inch on US #0-2. Machine or hand wash.
"Anne" is a major joy to knit with. Soft, warm, light, fuzzy, shiny, everything perfect.
If you want to try it, know that they only do limited dye runs, so once a color is gone, it's gone for good. When you see a color you like, grab it fast. If you wait to think about it, you'll regret it. Pick up this lovely yarn here. "Thank" me later (!)