Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sock Summit Spectacular!

Finally out, the Summer 2011 Tangled Magazine issue! It is a Sock Summit issue with an 80's music  theme. A dozen gorgeous socks, all named after 80's rock bands and artists such as David Bowie, The Clash, The Cure and (don't laugh, I was a big fan) Spandau Ballet.

I was very excited that my socks were chosen to represent the Go-Go's, one of the most successful girl bands ever. I think they fit the bill, being all girly and frilly, but as you can see, also totally badass :). Check out the pictures in their official site, the ladies are still rockin'!

Here is the Ravelry Pattern Page. Go ahead and give them some love (please?)

But back to the socks; The Go-Go's have elements you will recognize from the Talinay Gloves and the September clue in the 2010 KALendar. The construction is traditional cuff down, the leaf lace pattern whips around the front of the leg towards the toe, there is a round flap toe and a hybrid toe (part wedge, part star). And yes, a little frilly edge! (which is totally optional). And the best part, is that I knit the first one while flying from Hawaii on my honeymoon. (Apparently, airports are very inspirational to me, since Elly happened at Denver airport). I remember a cute old lady stopping by my seat to tell me I was "doing a real good job" on the socks.

Being at heart a practical person, I made the socks to be really stretchy, to fit just about any size cuff. In fact, I made a point to have just about anybody at work try them on.
To fully enable your sock shopping, here is a discount code: Use it to get a $1 discount in any pay-per-download coupon at tangled! Just enter code Socksummit11 (good for any pattern, not just this one!). I hope you enjoy it - I do have my eyes in a couple of the patterns already, and a mound of sock yarn that needs some serious lovin'.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clue 11: USA part I

And we arrive to the USA finally! The next two clues will add some size to the shawl and frame the edge. I really wanted to go with the idea of the bridges, and the stars and stripes, and throw in some reference to the natives, even though in Verne's book they are just a cliche. I put it all in the blender, and out came the clue. A bridge with stripes of stars and arrowheads!

The 2x2 gathered stitches that form the star portions can put some tension on the fabric, because they are not as elastic as the openwork. The arrowheads do compensate for it, but still, in a square, a tight ring about the middle can cause an unsightly puckering of the center portion. Thus, my recommendation to swatch a little. I found it necessary to swap needles when knitting my silk triangle, which has a much less elastic fabric, but for loose knitters, a good merino lace may take a more aggressive blocking due to the elasticity of the wool.

Star Stitch Pictorial
Though I tried to add a picture to the clue itself, here is a little pictorial on how to do the 2x2 stitch (I promise to learn to post videos soon!)
Fig 1: K2tog as usual
Fig 2: do not drop the stitches just worked from the needles
Fig 3: insert right needle through the back loop of the stitches just worked
Fig 4: k2tog-tbl
Fig 5:  The stitch will appear a bit nubby, the pattern won’t reveal itself until you work a few rows .

Fig 5: a swatch that did not make the cut, showing the 2x2 stitch well blocked
This clue should be easily accomplished in about 3 weeks, so I will announce a release date for clue 12 very soon... as soon as my August schedule is out. There is a little trip at the end of the month and I don't want to shoot myself on the foot by scheduling the clue out the day I am supposed to be elsewhere! to compensate, clue 12 will be somewhere between longer and much longer! The big surprise is that clue 12 will give you the very American option to supersize it!!!

Elly Beading Contest
Just in case you are not lurking the list, I want to make sure you read the hilarious Shakespearean verses that Susan (ttegnirps) dedicated to the Eternal Dilemma: To Bead, or not to Bead

To bead, or not to bead – that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the shawl to suffer the
Dropped stitch and heartache of outrageous nupps
Or to take hook against a sea of beads,
And by crochet, knit them. To bead, to guess
No more – and by guess to say we choose
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That shawls are heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.

I am sure the ghost of Hamlet's father will be haunting her dreams forever. Probably laughing.

Deserttyrtle beaded the center of the scarabs, and thinks about the rib

Lynne4444 frothy pink lace was beaded from the WS

MandyzMoon beaded the decreases

Martik has more spare beading but beaded the edge

ttgenirps, our resident Bard, went for the twisted rib
A quick review of the entries, just to remind everybody how hard it is going to be to decide. No matter which one I decide for, I will place a link to this page in the pattern so all of you relentless customizers can choose from this smorgasbord of beading styles.
I have not made my mind up completely up yet either, but I will announce the winner by next weekend. It seems like I foolishly placed the deadline smack in the middle of a really busy stretch at work with almost no days off on sight, so I want to give myself a chance to chew on this and work on my time off (ha! what is that?) on refining the pattern and the chart so we can get it released soon.

And speaking of releases...
It looks like a pattern that has lain in waiting for a little bit is due to be released this week!!! I can't tell you just yet... but I will announce soon... and it is... SOCKS!!! and there will be a coupon! yay!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A pause for Elly

I am taking a break from our 2011 KAL to show you the progress on the Elly Shawlette and launch the "beading challenge" we spoke about.
You will remember that I sketched the basic math for the shawl during a layover at Denver airport. I had just heard that one of our co-workers had major surgery involving her neck and face, to remove some deep-seated tumors. As expected, she has been very self-conscious of the scars and the damage caused by the surgery, so I thought a pretty little scarf may help cheer her up. And, if I can make some other people happy as well, all the better!
Elly is a short and long crescent type shawl, began at the border and shaped with short rows in the style that Susanna IC has made famous with shawls like Annis, or Oslo Walk.
The beauty of this is that once I started working from my sketches and numbers, I did not have to make a single correction, and it came out just like I thought it would! Some patterns are just meant to be.
You will recognize the edge as a modified version of Egypt. Months ago, while swatching for this, I noticed how the swatch tended to form a point in the lower border, and I thought it would make a pretty edging. So I recycled and modified that swatch.

Here is Elly laid out to block. The lower edge is pinned down, leaving the straight edge free; It curves naturally forming the crescent. This shape, long and shallow, can be worn like a scarf, wound around your neck, or like a light shawl gently draped over the shoulders. The slight curve helps keep the shawl on your shoulders, and it is long enough to set with a pin.
(Oh, yeah, the other stuff... are the pieces of my sister's summer top waiting to be finished. It is going to be a LOT of finishing!)
The border is pinned, the straight edge is free

The yarn is Wollmeise Sock in Spina de Pesce colorway, knit very loosely on size 7 needles. I used just a bit over 300 yards, so it is a great pattern for lace remnants. If you are going to use it as a scarf, you can probably go all the way up to DK weight (or even worsted, but it may turn out to be enormously long) and tighten the gauge somewhat for more dense fabric. The lace edge will still show very well in thicker yarn. It will also show well yarns with some variegation (let's face, nearly nothing shows well "clown barf" yarn).
Yup, no pictures wearing it or on the dress form. If you have not heard yet, we are having some massive dust storms (don't miss the video on the link!). Everything is covered in lunar dust, and the light outside has just not been right for pictures.

Here is the swatch!
I am going to experimentally place the swatch here. You can click on the picture and download it, then enlarge it for printing, we will see how this works.
*please note that this chart is set to be knit "as written", no need to flip stitch meaning in the WS* However, if this hurts your eyes and would much rather have the usual, RS view of the chart, let me know and if there is significant support I will change the chart in the final pattern. Nothing is written in stone!
Have fun experimenting with beads on this pattern. Post your swatch with beads in the Ravelry group (2011 KAL), and hopefully we can use one of them for a beaded version of the shawlette - The "Dressed Up" Elly. The one you saw in the picture will be the "Everyday Elly", and probably I will also include a "Lazy Elly" (wrong side all purled). Does it sound like fun? Once this is done, and I have gone through test knitting, it will be a free pattern for everybody to enjoy :)

USA Spoiler

It seems like giving some "heads up" on special issues pertaining the upcoming clues has been helpful. So here is something I want you to know about USA: It has a tendency to pull the fabric a little bit, so you will probably need to go up one or two needle sizes for the USA clues. By the time we go back to the edge, we will revert to the previous, smaller size. So start looking for the needles! I do give some instructions for a small swatch so you can judge for yourself. I am almost through both USA clues, and I have moved up one needle size.

Off to Iowa!

Next week I will be visiting some family in Northern Iowa, maybe a short hop to Minnesota. I know my husband has vision of dancing sweet corn and big beefy steaks, and temperatures under 100F. I am looking forward for some green, nonthorny vegetation. I do miss the lovely outdoors we used to enjoy in Minnesota, but I do not miss one bit of the endless snow and cold winter.
Also dreaming of some peace and quiet to get some serious knitting done! Life here has been so hectic; We finally closed on our project rental home, and we have been very busy tearing it apart and evicting the cockroaches. I volunteered to do some "light manual labor", but my husband's definition of "light" was rather loose, so I spent two backbreaking hours removing a stubborn glued wood floor (he manning a rotary hammer, me picking up all the pieces and manually unglueing the stray bits). I am hurting in places I did not know could hurt. My husband is loving it. So I am glad not to have to feel guilty about not doing construction work for a few days.
Ask me later about the flight with the two little ones. I have an ace on my sleeve. God bless Pokemon.