Sunday, January 24, 2016

CMS/Colloquium knitting: Stripey Socks!

I don't have any CMS knitting to report on from this week, since I finished my self-striping socks in Colloquium the week before.  I'm thrilled with how they look and how they fit!
I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of heel I wanted to knit - I didn't want to interrupt the striping pattern, so a traditional heel flap and gusset was out.  I tried a fleegle heel on the first sock, and that made the stripes very narrow in a way I didn't like, so that was out, too.  I thought I didn't want an afterthought/forethought heel because those tend to be way too tight around the arch of my foot.  I ended up doing a lot of internet research on sock patterns for self-striping yarns and ways to make short-row heels fit better.  I settled on a mini-gusset for a forethought heel, from a fantastic sock article by Kate Atherley in Knitty (link below).  Then I knitted a round heel.  I was a bit amused to see that the round heel put a green dot on the underside of my heel - it's visible in the picture above.
The round heels pucker when the socks are flat, but they fit really well on my feet.

Here's how much yarn I have left over.  I used almost all of it!

Pattern: My own toe-up, forethought heel sock pattern, using the toe from Fleegle's basic recipe, the section of Knitty's Socks 102 article on "Adding Gussets to a Short Row Heel for Better Fit," and for the heel, the round toe/heel instructions from More Sensational Knitted Socks
Size: 64 sts for foot and leg
Yarn: KnitPicks Felici self-striping sock yarn in "Wizard"
Needles: 2.5mm sock DPNs
Started/Completed: July 2015/January 2016
Modifications: I added an additional 6 stitches on each side of the top of the foot for the gusset.  Then I started the ribbing on the "back" half of the leg (the half without the extra gusset stitches) immediately after knitting in the waste yarn for the heel, while keeping the front half stockinette until I had decreased away all of the gusset stitches, then switched to 1x1 ribbing for the front as well.  This helped eliminate a bit of bagging at the back ankle, without drawing attention to the fact that gusset decreases were happening.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Handmade Christmas Part 2

I made Christmas sweaters for my niece, who is 2, and my nephew, who is now 7 months old.  The one for my nephew is the 12-month size of Trellis, heavily modified for symmetry and to reduce seaming.  The yarn is Berroco Vintage, which I didn't really love knitting with.  I chose it because it's the right weight, it's machine washable, and it's only 40% wool (which means it's 60% synthetic, hence the not loving it) and for a while it looked like my nephew was going to have really sensitive skin, so I didn't want to knit him something 100% wool that he might be allergic to. Also, I really, really do love this color green.  Robert really liked the finished sweater, and tried to request one in his size.  He might eventually get one, but probably not any time soon.
For my niece, I used the kids raglan recipe from The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.  I knit the smallest size.  I was inspired by this sweater (knit by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee several years ago).  The colored yarn is Liberty Wool color #7864.  I loved knitting with this yarn.  The grey yarn is Valley Yarns Charlemont, held double.  I found these cute little star buttons that I think are perfect for this sweater.
I really kind of want a sweater exactly like this.  Too bad I already have a lot of sweaters (and plans for more sweaters that aren't this one).

Here's a picture of the back of my nephew's sweater.  It's symmetric, which makes me happy!  The one thing I'm not in love with about this sweater is the seam at the back of the collar, which is visible in this photo if you look closely.  The instructions said to graft it, which I did in stockinette after spending over an hour researching grafting in seed stitch.  Turns out a true seed stitch graft isn't possible.  This was highly disappointing to me, but I can't think of any solution.

We also received a few handmade gifts, including this succulent sitting in a knitted felted succulent sweater.  Isn't it adorable?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Handmade Christmas Part 1

I made two little bear carriers from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book.  One for my niece (whose back you see in the top photo) and one for my cousin's daughter.  Both girls are two, and even though the book says the carrier will fit children 3 though 8, it fit both of them just fine.
I left the soft part of the velcro off the straps until Christmas day, because without trying it on one of the girls, I had no sense of where I should put it.  I bought one yard of velcro tape total, and ended up cutting the soft side into 16 equal pieces.  I sewed the first one on each strap about 15" from the end, and then spaced three more evenly between the first one and the end of the strap.  (Hopefully this information will be helpful for someone else sewing this as a gift for a toddler!)

The bear carriers went over well!  I didn't get any good photos, because I was using my phone camera and two-year-olds move fast, so all of my pictures ended up pretty blurry.  This was a pretty easy and satisfying project.  I'll definitely make it again if I need a gift for a young child!