Thursday, June 28, 2012


OK, maybe it’s not the craziest birthday present ever. That would maybe be, like, an elephant riding a unicycle wearing lederhosen and trumpeting “You Are My Sunshine” while holding out a bouquet of flowers or something.
But still, pretty crazy.
Yesterday, this arrived on my doorstep. That’s right, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY 50g balls of Palette, each a different color. My mom, who is also a knitter, is trying to inspire my fledgling designer self with every color under the sun. I think it might be working.
What do I do with it?!?!?!?!?!!!11!!? Puff all the hexipuffs? Knit toys? Massive clown barf sweater? Yarn bomb my building’s lobby?
Here are some pictures of the awesomeness:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hexipuffs - Worsted & Bulky Weight

If you're not knitting The Beekeeper's Quilt yet, you probably will be soon.  This is a pattern that's sucking 'em in left and right, and for good reason!  It's a fun way to use up your scraps and creates the cutest little finished object with each motif.

The pattern is written for sock yarn, but what if you want to use up those worsted and bulky weight yarn scraps you've got lying around?  Face it, we've all got some Vanna's Choice we bought when we starting knitting that really shouldn't be used for anything else.The solution, of course is to PUFF ALL THE SCRAPS!  Even the worsted weight ones.

Therefore, after much trial and error, here is the recipe I have come up with.   This creates a puff that is 3" in diameter (1.5" on each side).  That's the same size I get knitting my sock yarn puffs on US size 3 (3.25mm) needles.

I recommend using the type of increases described in My Puffy Recipe (M1T and M1A) instead of the kfb used in the official pattern.  Kfb tends to result in a puff that's shorter on the bottom than it is on the top.

Aran or Lighter Bulky Weight Yarn
Cast on 14 stitches total (7 stitches per needle) on US size 8 (5.0mm) needles 
Increase per pattern until you have 26 stitches total (13 stitches per needle)
Decrease per pattern until 14 stitches total (7 stitches per needle) remain 
Use bind-off described in pattern

Worsted Weight Yarn
As described above, but cast on 16 stitches (8 stitches per needle) and increase to 32 stitches (16 stitches per needle).

More Moore!

Sacre Bleu! (Pardon my French.)

Anyway, I was suddenly hit with inspiration to make a Christopher Moore-themed set of patterns.  I don't think anyone has done that yet, and there is a lot to work with in his books.  His characters and storylines are so unique and colorful, the possibilites are almost endless!

Of course, this will require a re-reading of several of his best works.  For science.

What do you think of a Christopher Moore pattern series?  Check out the LSG post here if you'd like to weigh in on Ravelry. (Please note, LSG includes lots of swearing and irreverence, just like Mr. Moore's books.  If you dislike that sort of thing, please don't click over.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Pattern in the Works!

You guys!  You guys!  I am so excited.  I have just designed my first pair of lace socks.  There are charts and everything.  I'm hoping to put it through test knitting and have it available by the end of July.

And the best part?  It uses Bugga! (The name actually includes the exclamation point at the end.  I'm also really excited, but that's just a happy coincidence.)  The inspiration for these socks came not just from any Bugga!,  but from one of the limited edition nudibranch colorways that Sanguine Gryphon did just before it went extinct in December, 2011.  Specifically, the Easton studio version of Dermatobranchus Ornatus.  It's a beautiful tan/pink variegated yarn with a low amount of contrast.  It's dark now, but I'll take some pictures in the sunlight tomorrow.

Even though the Sanguine Gryphon is now DOA, don't fret! You can still buy Bugga! in a very large array of colors from the companies that came out of the Sanguine Gryphon split: The Verdant Gryphon and Cephalopod Yarns.

This color just looked at me and begged to be a nice pair of snug, cuddly lace socks.  I hope you'll have as much fun knitting them as I'm having designing them!

TTFN (ta ta for now)!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sock Knitting: It Ain't Rocket Surgery

What's rocket surgery?  It's just a phrase my family uses to mean something brainy and complicated.  We make a lot of verbal whoopsies in my clan, including frequent blending of metaphors and reversing of words in sentences.  This came about when one of us couldn't decide if something "wasn't rocket science" or "wasn't brain surgery."  Meaning that you don't need an IQ of 160 to figure it out.

Socks are like that, although I didn't think so at first, and I know many other people feel the same way.  I thought I would share my sock knitting light-bulb moment.

I'm working on knitting my seventh pair of socks right now, and my third pair of Yarnissima socks.  Let me start out by saying that I love Yarnissima, a.k.a. Marjan Hammink.  Her designs are creative and unique, and typically well-written - especially considering the fact that English is not her first language.

In fact, the first pair of socks I ever knit was her design, KawKawEsque.  I wanted something ribbed that would provide a snug fit, but didn't want to get bored knitting vanilla socks.  Also, since I had no idea what I was doing, I was afraid of using a "recipe."  I needed someone to lay out all the steps for me, and I felt that this pattern did it nicely.

However, that pattern made knitting socks seem much more complicated than it really is.  Was all the knitting through the back loop important to the structure of the sock, or does she just like the way it looks?  Do I have to do short rows to make a heel? What is going on with this gusset thing?  Why am I constantly shifting stitches between needles?  I didn't know what was necessary to the creation of a sock and what was a creative part of an original pattern.

Then I saw people knitting socks without a pattern, like my friend Malia, and I was blown away.  I didn't understand how someone could knit a sock without constantly referring to a written set of directions.  They are so complicated!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU'RE GOING TO DIE AAAAAUUUUGGHHH!!!11!!!1!

It wasn't until I knit my husband a pair of socks using Sherry Menton's fantastic Elementary Watson Socks pattern that I really and truly "got it."  That pattern and its introduction to the Fleegle heel  really made a light bulb go on in my head.  In truth, a sock is just two tubes of varying width connected by a corner.  Everything else is just decoration.

Once I realized that, I was able to calm down and enjoy my sock knitting.  I can now buy a pattern like Spina di Pesce and say, "Provisional cast-on and anatomical toe?  I don't feel like it.  Substitute Judy's Magic Cast-On and standard toe increases." I can decide whether I want to cable the gusset.  I can use a  Fleegle heel instead of short rows if I feel like it.

It's a sock, not rocket surgery.  My take-away, after my extensive experience knitting 6.25 pairs of socks, is this: If you want to learn a new technique, or get fancy, do it!  Complex socks have their time and place, and they help you grow as a knitter.  But if you're not in the mood, mix and match toes and heels and gussets and foot patterns in a way that's comfortable for you.  Relax and knit something gorgeous and cozy.

Off to finish my Spina di Pesce. Happy sock knitting!