Thursday, May 31, 2007


As you may have noticed from the added photos in the last post, I finished the red Pinheads and Picot socks. They are super comfy, and even though today was a fairly warm day, I've been wearing them all evening. I just love how hand knitted socks feel on your feet, and whenever I get a pair done, I have to wear them right away. And talking about wearing your hand knitted socks, I ordered a pair of shoes that will allow me to wear them to work, too. When the weather cools down again, that is.
I think these will look very nice with wool socks. They are Red Wing Alexandrias -a brand I've never worn before, but they look comfy. Most of my shoes are SoftSpots, because they have really nice ones for wide feet. And I order all my shoes online, because so few store carry wide sizes any more. I could go on and on about this...

But there's something I've been wondering about when it comes to wearing your own handmade socks. Do you wear them to work? And do you have certain ones that you can wear to work and others not? (I'm thinking black or other more subtle colors that wouldn't be too obvious if you have any kind of a dress code.) I've wondered about this for a while, and would like to hear from you.

I also finished something else, namely the Clementine shawlette. I actually finished it over a week ago already, but didn't get a chance to take pictures, other than of the blocking.

I used sock yarn to knit this to get it a little heavier than lace weight. This took almost 200 g of yarn on 3.5 mm needles. I really enjoyed knitting it, it was fairly mindless with the easy to memorize pattern and all. I made a couple of changes to the pattern, though (hey, that's new! Who would have thought...) Other than knitting with a different weight yarn, I added two pattern repeats sideways, because with just 5 repeats it would have been way too narrow. I also added some short rows on the last row to make the join work better. The zig-zag pattern would pull otherwise, when you join it head to head. I thought I'd try short rows (very short, 6 stitches for each pattern repeat), and it worked. So the zig-zag is still a zig-zag even at the join.

Here's a couple of modeled shots, too. It works perfect for keeping me warm in my chilly office.

My husband says I look too serious... but look at those pretty skies and the slough in the back of our house getting all green! It's full of birds, as you might guess. So much so that we can't sleep with the windows open, because the birdies start screaming EARLY in the morning and wake us up.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Pinheads and Picot" sock pattern

Pinheads and Picot socks

*edited to add photos.
The socks are knitted using a main color and a contrast color. You will need about 100 g of the main color and a few grams of contrast color. The instructions are written for 60 stitches. Choose a stitch count that fits your foot and the yarn you are using. I used Inspirations Yarn Java on 2.5 mm needles, but this yarn is no longer available. It is similar in thickness to Koigu KPPPM, and some other a little thicker sock yarns. It is easiest to work the sock on a count that is divisible by 6, but any count divisible by 2 will work. (The flower pattern in the leg repeats 6 times. If your stitch count is not divisible by 6, the flowers will not be evenly spaced. It is up to you, if you feel that this is critical, or not.)

Abbreviations: MC = main color, CC = contrast color

Cast on 60 s using the main color and provisional cast on.

Picot: Knit 4 rows (you will have a total of 5 rows in main color, including the cast on). Knit 1 row in contrast color. Next row: *k2tog, YO*. Repeat *-* to the end of row. Knit 1 row. Switch back to main color, knit 4 rows. 5th row pick up the cast on stitches and knit together with live stitches. Pick out the waste yarn in the provisional cast on.

Leg: Knit 3 more rows in main color. Next row: *k1 MC, k1 CC*. Repeat *-* to the end of row. Next row: *k1, p1* (knit over MC stitches, purl over CC). Repeat *-* to the end of row. K 3 rows in MC.

Flower pattern: *k3, (YO, k1) 5 times, k2*. Repeat *-* to the end of row. Next row: *k3, (drop YO, pick up s) 5 times, place the 5 stitches back on left needle, knit through all 5 stitches: (k1, YO, k1, YO, k1); k2*. Repeat *-* to the end of row.

Knit 3 rows in MC. Next row: *k1 MC, k1 CC*. Repeat *-* to the end of row. Next row: *k1, p1* (knit over MC stitches, purl over CC). Repeat *-* to the end of row.

Knit 29 rows in MC, or to desired leg length. With the last 15 s of the 29th row, *k1 MC, k1 CC*, and continue through the first 15 s of the 30th row.

These 30 s are the beginning of the heel flap. Turn the sock. K3, *p1, k1* to the last 3 stitches (purl on top of MC, knit on top of CC), k3, turn. *Knit across, turn. K3, p to the last 3 s, k3, turn.* Repeat *-* until the height of the heel flap is 24 rows (including the 2-color set up row).

Turning the heel: Knit 2 stitches past the middle point of the heel flap (k17). Ssk, k1, turn. S1, p5, p2 tog, p1, turn. S1, k6, ssk, k1, turn. Continue in a similar manner until all the stitches have been used. 18 stitches remain on the needle.

Gusset: Knit across the heel flap and pick up 13 stitches from the side of the heel flap. Knit around the top and pick up 13 stitches on the other side. Knit in the round and decrease 1 s every 2 rows on both sides of the foot until 60 s remain.

Foot: Knit until the sock just covers your pinky toe.

Toe: On the top of the sock, *k1 MC, k1 CC*, repeat *-*. Wrap the last stitch on the top side without knitting, turn. *P1, k1* to the next to last stitch, wrap the stitch and turn. Continue in stockinette with MC, working a short row toe until 12 stitches remain in the center. Turn the toe and knit until all the wrapped stitches have been used up. Kitchener stitch the opening shut.

Weave in ends.

Copyright Lotta Breyer, 2007.

You may copy and use this pattern for your own personal use, but, please, don’t sell, distribute, or copy it for others without my permission.

Monday, May 21, 2007


For some reason the comments in the last post aren't working, but if you'd like to leave one, please e-mail me through the link in the left side bar. I think it's a Blogger issue that hopefully will get fixed sometime soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm here...

Sorry for disappearing like that for two weeks, but I was in Quebec for a while on a work trip, and didn't really have internet connection at all, while I was there. A beautiful city, by the way. It was my first visit to Canada, and I really liked it. Except for the airports. Canadians are almost worse than Finnish people, I think they actually like standing in line. There was a line everywhere. Slow and long. Oh, well. I made all my flights (thanks to long lay-overs), and enjoyed the trip.

As usual, I got a lot of knitting done while in the air and at the airports (I wasn't knitting while standing in line, though, which is probably why I didn't actually finish anything.) I'm going through a spout of startitis, and so I started another new project before finishing the previous one. But I wanted something good for travel knitting, which a sweater is usually not, because you have to measure so often. And what would be more perfect than a scarf! I'd had my eyes on the Clementine shawlette from the Interweave Knits spring 07 issue. I decided to use the blue sock yarn ("Sea glass") that I recently dyed. I ran out of yarn, though, and had to dye some more, when I got home to be able to finish.
This shawlette is knit in two pieces starting from both ends, and then grafted together. I've got a little more to go on one side, but that should be a nice Sunday evening project.

Talking about Interweave Knits, I think the patterns get weirder and weirder in every issue, and I've actually decided to let my subscription expire. I'm voting with my dollars, because I feel that the number of quality patterns is diminishing in the magazine, and it's not what I want to read any more. The only pearls in the bunch in the last issue were Veronik's Spiral boot socks and Kate Gilbert's Syncopated hats. But what is up with Blouson? or the Wing top? They look more like a combination of all the mistakes and bad knitting or design that I always try to avoid. Every magazine is going to have something that I wouldn't necessarily want to knit, but I think the majority of the patterns shoud be decent. At least so that they are inspiring and nice to look at, even though I may not want to wear the particular piece of clothing myself. What I want to see is well thought through designs and clever details, not a bunch of stuff thrown together without a single thought towards fit or novel ideas. I can't wait to see what Eunny can do with this magazine...

About the red socks in the last post, I will definitely write up the pattern, it's very easy. I'm trying to decide how to write my patterns, though. Should I write them in great detail so that even a beginning knitter can figure out what to do, or less detail so that you would have to know how to do certain things without explanation. Such as, "rnd 87, begin neck steek". Should I explain how to do a steek? Also sock heels, somebody who has knitted at least a few pairs of socks, knows how a heel works and only needs a few numbers to be able to replicate the heel in the pattern. And experienced knitters have a bad habit of changing the pattern anyway, especially when it comes to the heel -everybody's got their own favorite. Anyhow, I'm sort of leaning towards the "less details" way of writing them, mostly because it takes so long to write a pattern describing every little technique, but then the patterns would be less universal, and maybe not usable by less experienced knitters. What do you think?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spring weather

We feel lucky to just have missed the severe storms that were moving across the area this weekend. Some towns got about 10 inches of rain, and there were several tornadoes going around. But as is typical of South Dakota spring weather, it fluctuates so much that you literally don't know what to wear each morning. I'm compromizing with one warm foot and one cool foot:

Or maybe it's just that I only have one of these done... :) Here's a detail shot of the cuff:

I got the idea for using the blue as an effect yarn from doing a provisional cast on and using the blue as my waste yarn. It just looked really nice together with the red, and I decided to give it a shot. I have to say, that I tried a few different things, before ending up with this design. The picot was pretty clear in my mind, but the rest of it I made up as I was knitting, and I think each part I ended up frogging at least once or twice.

Here's the heel detail:

And the toes:

I have to admit that I'm quite pleased with the result. And as always, this yarn is a pleasure to knit with. (Sorry I can't link to the yarn any more, it has been removed from the store web site. I'm looking for new sources of undyed yarns, so if you know of any good ones, please let me know!)

I might have to slow down with the second sock a little, because there's a competing project. I know, I know, I have more than enough unfinished projects that really should be competing, but Maud corrupted me. She knit this beautiful spring green sweater that really hit the nerve with me. I had to run and buy the yarn for it and start right away.

The pattern is Amelia's (Anna's) Pippa. It has a similar small cable that I tried in the pink swatch in the last post:

I'm using Rowan wool cotton instead of Debbie Bliss Baby cashmerino. The gauge is very similar and the LYS had a better color available in the wool cotton. Plus it's one of my favorite yarns, so it all worked out ok. I'm not quite sure, if I have enough yarn, but I'm using the age old method of knitting really fast to try to make it last longer. ;)