Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Knit all the Things

I can't be the only one. I'm not alone in this, right!?!

I spent weeks, even months looking forward to our vacation. An entire week off with my husband, two daughters, two sons, my mom and her friend, my uncle and his wife and children. This would be lovely, with us all from different parts of the country we rarely get to be with so many at the same time. A week in Colorado. We rented a home, a larger car, made plans to go to Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel, A Tiger/Rockies game or two...quality time with our loved ones. And lots of just time to be, to relax and visit.

I packed my Kindle, with a book nearly finished and 3 new ones borrowed and downloaded from the library. I like to read in bed before I sleep or early morning over the first cup of coffee. I left my computer at home to keep me focused.


My kindle is so much easier to read on than
the kindle app on my IPAD, probably
the best purchase of 2017


Then, well thought out I see now an overly ambitious array assortment of knitting projects of varying skill levels to keep my mind engaged or not. With the plan to finish Hanna's sweater, for car knitting. Two pair of socks [one pair had a sock finished and about 10 rows of the second, the other almost done with the first sock leg] for pick up and knit a bit knitting while visiting. Plus a very basic garter stitch shawl to calm my mind while we wind down the night back at the house visiting with my nuclear family.



info on individual projects in previous blog posts


Here I am now, returned home, needing a vacation from my vacation. It was so nice to see how much my cousins have grown and get to know them at this older stage. My favorite part was probably watching the camaraderie between my girls, they're 16 years apart in age with 4 boys between them and live too far apart, but have a mutual love and affection that will bless them for their entire lives. Each have matured into beautiful independent, intelligent, funny woman, as different as can be. Different in a way that helps them bloom in each others presence which only enhances their individual strengths. My son is charming and funny and I never get to see enough of him. I'm very thankful these three came with us, being adults they really could chose to vacation anywhere and they chose to be with us, makes me feel very lucky. 

So, you probably can guess I never finished the almost finished book, didn't finish Hanna's sweater, still have a second sock in each pair to do, and didn't even make a dent in my shawl. I'm not alone in this, right!?! Do you find you go on vacation to be too busy to be on vacation? 

I'm thankful for the time away, with my loved ones, but I'm so happy to be home. I returned home to a freshly painted house that needed to be put back in order, lots of laundry, catching up to do everywhere. But it was a great week. I did renew my commitment of life plan to make my home the perfect place to vacation. Maybe a house in the woods, near by a lake or river and close enough to wander into town to shop and go to museums. I'm almost there, living in the desert in the 2nd most populated city in New Mexico with a pond in my yard. You agree don't you? It'll do for now. Off to feed the Koi.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Shusui Shrug

The Shusui Shrug by Susanne Sommer, I am seriously obsessed with this pattern! I have done Brioche just enough to understand the concept. I by no means am an expert.  This shawl/shrug is changing that rapidly.

I first heard of this pattern on the Wool Work Shop youtube podcast.  The construction is very unique,  it has a combination of brioche and garter stitch.  Susanne has also provided a youtube video for the set up. That was a huge benefit for me. I started this shrug several times. Not because it was so hard but rather I had color combo issues.  I strongly advise totally different color choices for your light and dark. Really, like colors that you don't even think match.


Wollmeise PinBall Wizard and PotzBlitz
This was my first choice. I ordered this yarn specifically for this project. I was thinking summer trees turning into fall trees. The tone of the colors is much too similar. also having the color variations it's too jumbled to see the design of the pattern.



Knit Picks Hawthorn Speckle
Cosmic and Italian Ice
This was the second combo.
The colors are again too similar once knit up in the pattern, too much the same tone. You couldn't really see the pattern.





Knitpicks Hawthorne Kettle Dyed and Speckle
BLackBird and Cosmic
This is the winning combo. I decided to knit this for my daughter, Hanna. It reminds me a bit of a skeleton in this color combo. A win for this girl, I'm quite sure. Find my project on Ravelry to follow up dates.





Loving this combo!!!!I

I'm working away, ticking off all the repeats in the first section. I am using the Knit Companion app, I like to for any pattern that has multiple charts or instructions. I have the paid version and it is well worth it. I like that I can create new pages with my chosen parts of the pattern, really letting me focus on the immediate instructions.  As an example I pulled the repeat of rows R3-6 out of the section on Page 2 to of the pattern, originally this section has rows R1-6. Then I added in colored highlights to make it very clear which were light colored rows and which were dark.

A snippet of the pattern, in the app, so you can see what I mean.

The app enables so many other things. A row counter, a highlighter with many color choices, a pop-up legend and notes section, row bars you can move along as you go, so many I couldn't possibly cover them all. Check out the Knit Companion app. It's so good.

Until next time, Happy Knitting, Happy Life.



Friday, August 11, 2017

Traveling Socks

I usually have a pretty simple sock going that I work on while out and about.  It is basically my standard Basic Top Down Socks on DPNs with some variation to add patterns to the legs for interest and/or various sizes. I use the pattern somewhat like a recipe, I change the ingredients on a whim.

Using Knitpicks Hawthorne Multi in Happy Valley

This sock has 64 stitches with a K2, P2 ribbing for 20 rows. I then did a 2 stitch cable repeat around which switches the ribbing to K1, *P2, K2,* P1. I'm sure it would of been equally effective to just change the ribbing directly to the P2, K2. Anyway, I worked the new repeat for 12 rows and then repeated the cable section in reverse to leave me with the original K2, P2 rib. the leg for this sock ended being about 7 inches.

a close up of the cable section

Usually I prefer to just carryon with the Slip Stitch Heelflap. I varied here as well, maintaining the K2, P2 ribbing. I did adjust the stitch orientation so that the flap began and ended with a K1. just so everything was centered. 

Ribbed Heelflap

I guess I was extra ambitious as I went with a Reverse Stockinette section in the gusset. After picking up all my stitches I counted off the 16 stitches for either side of the sole I intended to end with and placed markers. Working the entire decrease section in the reverse stockinette [using P2tog and P2togTBL decreases in place of the K2tog and SSK] the top of the foot in the K1, *P2, K2,* P1-ribbing and the sole in stockinette. It left a very pretty detail which I will repeat again.

Gusset section worked in Reverse Stockinette

I'm pleased with the sock overall and have already started the second sock. I never have had "Second Sock Syndrome."



Happy Knitting!


Note- The "*" indicates repeated stitches around, P2tog= purl two stitches together, P2togTBL= purl 2 stitches together through the back loop, K2tog= knit 2 stitches together, SSK= slip as if to knit- twice and knit the 2 stitches together through the back loop




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Catching Up with a touch of Starter-itis

I'm working my way through a serious case of starter-itis with my knitting.  There are so many great patterns. I'm spending far too much time scouring the inter-webs for new ones, not to mention all the ones I already had in my queue. Every time I finish a really big knitted thing I start this panicked need   interest to have another big project on the needles. and a searching I will go. The starter-iris is not calmed by having new yarns to admire, and pet, and sniff, and cuddle, and KNIT! I added knew skeins last week and this week I've placed another order as well as a preorder. I really need to reign it in, I'm a bit out of control.


And, I blame think having used 7 skeins of my hoarded Wollmeise for the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry that everyone (including myself and several of my friends) seems to making right now, created a definite shortage that had to be rectified! So....I've picked up several skeins of Wollmeise from The Loopy Ewe and a few more not pictured. DON'T TELL!

Lace-Orient, Die Autser, Pure- Allegria, Pithaya, & NO whales in CO

I started making the Shusui Shrug bySusanne Sommer. I like the challenge of the pattern. It's far from
my usual style. But this yarn was completely wrong!! This stayed in thought process for less than 24 hours.  I knew I hated the combo. So, I frogged it, and restarted another project with the yarn and ordered different yarn from Knitpicks to try this pattern again.

Shusui Shrug worked through set up and first repeat section 

For the new project I started the Match & Move by Martina Behm. I made a slight adjustment using a yarn over for the increase instead of Knit into the Front and Back. I debated about adding a lace section similar to the Free your Fade by Andrea Mowry. In the end I decided to just stick with the garter stitch. It will be good Game of Thrones knitting!!!

Match & Move in Wollmeise Pure-Pinball Wizard & Potzblitz


I like so many of Martina's patterns. The Nevum is one of the most worn shawls that I've knit. I knit it with a teal color Wollmeise Lace quite awhile ago and plan to knit it again with the Orient I just purchased.  I love the way the Nuvem sits on the shoulders, the unusual shape is like a rectangle with corners tucked into the short ends.  The ruffled edge is charming and feminine while not being fussy.

Nuvem Schematic from Martina Behm's Pattern pictures on Ravelry




I have several other projects going now, too. I have two pairs of socks, and a scarf that I'm working on in conjunction with my classes.  Usually I like to have 3 projects. Socks for on the go, a complex pattern to challenge my mind and a interesting but simple TV watching project. 

The run down on my other current projects; 

I volunteer at the local Senior Circle. It is organized and ran by the hospital, Mountainview Regional,  here in Las Cruces. I have a class twice a week, it is an independent study style class. Everyone is welcome to work on any project and if they run into trouble or simply don't know how to find and fix their mistakes, I help.  I try to teach not only how to locate the mistake but how to fix it as well, not to just fix it for them. 

I have seen much growth from this style class and think it is really special. In addition to working on whatever they like we have a sampler scarf going.  I have written out different stitch patterns with a mind to learning new techniques and stitches.  Each section is bordered with garter stitch, this enables the adjustment of stitch counts for the patterns to be made without showing.  The garter stitches also act as a frame, giving a nice cohesive look.

My Sampler Circle Scarf using a Quillin Fiber Arts bamboo-wool blend
I can't remember the actual yarn, the label is long gone.

For my current On the Go Sock I'm using my Basic Sock Pattern. I added a few things for some flare. I will add more info on a future post about that flare! Here's a sneak peek.

Knitpicks Hawthorne Fingering Multi in Happy Valley


The Last project on my needles is also a sock. This one is Kym's Birthday Socks.  I used one of my favorite stitch patterns, rewrote it so it worked in the round and created the sock pattern from there. I really like the results. I find I did have to go up a needle size from my usual #1 to a #1.5.

FIberstory Fave in Lagoon
I couldn't quite capture the color correctly

Whew, that was a lot! I have so many more things swirling around in my head though.....another day.






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Basic Sock Pattern

I've finally decided to post the sock pattern I use for teaching. I use this pattern all the time to teach anyone I come across that would like to knit socks. I've tried to be very clear about each instruction, adding to it little by little to clarify as my students have asked questions.  I myself generally use this pattern for all my socks. I sometimes change it up by adding a pattern of some kind to the leg portion.


I'm going to include it here in my blog so others can easily access it. I've also added it to my Ravelry Designs if you would like to print from a PDF. I've included the Kitchener Grafting instructions for easy reference.

This pair I knit using Opal yarns

Basic Top Down Socks on Dpns
by Kym Hretz

Materials:
100 grams, 425 yards, fingering weight sock yarn of your choice
, Size 1 US (2.25mm) double pointed needles or size required for gauge
Gauge:
32 sts= 4 inches

Abbreviations:
CO= Cast On
K= Knit
P= Purl
S1= Slip 1 Stitch as if to purl
K2tog= Knit two stitches together
K2togTBL= Knit two stitches together through the back loop
SSK= Slip Slip Knit 2 together

Cast On
CO 64 (72) sts.using the Old Norwegian Cast On. (I always cast on over two needles for a bit more stretch.) Join and mark beginning of round.

Leg
Work in K2, P2 rib for 7 inches or desired leg length.

Heel Flap
Divide For Heel
, place one half of the stitches 32 (36), on a single needle. Leave the next two needles of 16 stitches each to work on later.  You will be working only on the 32 (36) heel flap stitches flat, back and forth. 


Round 1: *Sl1, K1 repeat from * to end.
Turn.
Round 2: Sl1, purl to end. Turn.

Repeat these 2 rounds till you have worked 32 (36) rounds (count the slipped stitches which should be 16 (18).
Work Round 1, one more time.




Turning the Heel
You are working in short rows to shape a little cup for the heel.
Starting on the wrong side.

Round 1: S1 then purl halfway across the heel flap plus 2=18 (20).P2tog, P1. Turn.
Round 2: Sl1, K5, K2tog TBL, K1. Turn.
Round 3: Sl1, P across towards the gap, stop at the first stitch before gap,  P2tog, P1. Turn.
Round 4: Sl1, K across to 1 stitch before the gap. K2togTBL  across the gap. K1. Turn.
Rounds 5-12: repeat rounds 3 & 4
Round 13: Sl1, P across towards the gap, stop at the first stitch before gap, P2tog. Turn.
Round 14: Sl1, K across to 1 stitch before the gap. K2togTBL across the gap.

You should have 18 (20) Stitches.

Picking up gusset Stitches
You will pick up the stitches on each side of the heel flap. By slipping the first stitch of each row on the heel flap, you have made a lovely chain edge which will be easy to pick up.

You should be able to get 18 (20) stitches on each side, but don't worry if you get more or less than this, it's more important to have no holes.

Knit across those instep stitches that have been on hold, or continue them in ribbing, then pick up and knit the same number of stitches on the other side of the heel flap. Knit one half of the heel flap stitches 9 (11) onto this needle. Mark the center as the beginning of the round. You should have approximately 84 stitches.

You are back to working in the round.

Gusset
Round 1: knit around
Round 2: Needle 1; Knit to 3 sts from the end , K2tog, K1. Needles 2 & 3; Knit across the instep sts. 
Needle 4, Knit 1st stitch, SSK, knit to end of needle.

Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 until you have 64 (72) sts again.

Knit all rounds until the foot measures 2½" less than your total foot length. Example; if your foot length measures (9.5” knit until sock measures 7” from heel.

Shape Toe:.
Round 1: K to 3 sts from end of first needle, K2tog, K1. K first st on instep needle SSK, knit to 3 sts from end of instep needle, K2tog, K1.
Last needle, K1, SSK, K to end.
Round 2: Knit around.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have 24 (28) sts (6 (7) on each of 4 needles.
Kitchener Graft Stitches
Thread blunt needle with yarn 3x width of your work. Have two sets of stitches you want to join on two needles, with wrong sides of work facing.
To start: Thread yarn through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl, pull yarn through. Leave stitch on needle. Thread yarn through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit. Leave stitch on needle.
  • 1:  Thread yarn through first st on front needle as if to knit.
    Slip stitch off needle.
  • 2:  Thread yarn through next st on front needle as if to purl.
    Leave stitch on needle.
  • 3:  Thread yarn through first st on back needle as if to purl.
  •     Slip stitch off needle.
  • 4:  Thread yarn through next st on back needle as if to knit.
  •     Leave stitch on needle.
Repeat these 4 steps. Until 2 stitches left (one on each needle) then repeat only 1 & 3.

  • 1:  Thread yarn through first st on front needle as if to knit.
    Slip stitch off needle.

  • 3:  Thread yarn through first st on back needle as if to purl.
  •     Slip stitch off needle.
Chant (Optional): “Front-Knit-OFF, Front-Purl-ON, Back-Purl-OFF, Back-Knit-ON” OR "Knit, purl, purl, knit". You will find your own groove.

Weave in all ends and make another sock to complete the pair!!



Feel Free to ask any questions you may have. Otherwise you'll probably find me off knitting on a pair of socks somewhere.