Fair Isle SocksThese socks sat around waiting to be bound off. I finally did it this week using the elastic bind-off from page 47 of “A Treasury of Magical Knitting” by Cat Bordhi.

The border designs came from Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle knitting. The repeats for each band fit within the total number of stitches so there are no partial repeats. Here’s a picture of the back of the leg
where each round began.

OK, I’ll admit it – I love looking at these socks. Here’s a another picture from the front.

Yep, still working on these darn socks

First_sockAfter a couple of months struggling with these Fair Isle socks, there’s light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a freight train). All that’s left is to cast off the ribbing of the first sock, complete about 20% of the other sock and then block both.

I won’t mention how many times I redid these toe-up socks to get them to fit properly. While at the NwRSA conference I was showing some classmates the other pair and mentioned I was going to rip the yarn down to the toe and heard gasps. I just sighed and mentioned that they didn’t fit. Besides, one reason I love knitting is because I control the project and if I want to redo it, I can.

This time I added four more stitches at the toe and then four more before starting the leg. The first three bands after the heel do not have increases while the two upper purple bands have 4 increases just before and after the design within the band (two in the back of the leg and one at each side).

I’m hoping to wrap these up this week and move on to my next project, Jade Starmore’s Firebird Cardigan.

Actually this week I got a bit of a head start by winding a skein of each color and clipping a sample for a home-made color card. After doing this, I transformed the black and white chart into a color version using a cross-stitch program called Pattern Maker. Now I’m all set to start the swatch.

Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to write up my class notes. I was too busy knitting. Maybe I’ll get around to it this week.

Life goes on

It’s been a quite week.Thief_1

Pacific NW Sunday Magazine has a touching article about loosing a pet. Many of the author’s sentiments about her dog are similar to what I’ve been feeling about my relationship with Toby.

Thanks for all your messages.

Time will lessen the pain.


Firebirds_yarn_1Ever since I saw  Vanessa’s version of Firebirds at Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat last February, I’ve been thinking about ordering it from Virtual Yarns. She did an amazing job.

The photos on the VY
website don’t convey the full beauty of these sweaters. You have to see them in person to appreciate the amazing colors. Vanessa has made several of them and all were truly stunning.

Fi_feetEarlier this week I kept plugging away at the socks. After finishing the foot and heel of the second sock I realized that the toe of the first one was a bit sloppy so I ripped it out and started over.

Yesterday, I finally started the leg but didn’t get very far before ripping it out after trying one on. The ankle was just too tight with the two color stranding. I remedied the problem by increasing four stitches on the first row after finishing the heel.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going to the NWRSA conference in Tacoma. I’ll be taking “Variations on a Theme, Part II” with Myrna Stahman and “Spinning for Socks” with Carol Rhoades. Myrna is working on another book that I’ve been looking forward to seeing. Maybe she’ll have more info on when it will be available. Last year she displayed the most amazing lace nightgown.

Bull’s-eye heels



Here’s what the short-row stripes look like from both sides. It’s not perfect but good enough since most people won’t be looking that closely at my heels.

PGR’s book says that the stripe at the tip of the heel needs to have an odd number of rows in order for the others to line up properly. I tried four different row widths and found that one with only one stripe worked the best.


Here’s the chart that I worked out. The yellow rows are the dark stripes (purple/pink) and the white rows are the light stripes (yellow/peach). The chart starts at the bottom right corner and is worked back and forth, ending at the top left.

Before starting the heel, I completed one light color row around the sock. Still knitting with the light color, I knitted the first decreasing row, which completed one two-row stripe. At this point I broke off the dark yarn, which was still on the right side, to start the first dark stripe. I continued the two row stripe sequence with both yarns being carried on the left side until I reached the last purl row of the descending side. This stripe only has one row, leaving the light colored yarn on the left side.

To start the ascending row, I broke off the light colored yarn from the left side and started my two row sequence again. I continued working back and forth until I completed the fourth dark stripe. Next,  I knitted across the top of the heel with the light color until I reached the last two yarn-overs on the left side. I knitted them together with the last stitch and then continued around the instep. When I returned to the beginning of the heel, I knitted the first stitch with the next two yarn-overs and continued knitting until the end of the heel. At this point, I’m now ready to start the “Fair Isle” pattern on the leg.



Friday we had to say good-bye.

He fought hard during surgery but the tumor had spread to other organs and his little heart finally gave out after two successful attempt to revive him. He always was a charming fellow with a scrappy will to live.

He will forever be in our hearts.


Short row stripes

Thanks for all your positive thoughts and messages.

So much has happened during the past week. Everything seemed so hopeless but my “little” guy has hung on. Earlier this week we had another vet visit and she suggested getting an ultrasound. We did that on Friday and got useful  information. The tumor is on his spleen which surprisingly, can be removed. Apparently cats can survive without it. The only other worry at this moment is the spots on his lungs. Chances are that these spots are also cancer but another type. Soon we’ll need to decide whether surgery on the spleen would help his chances. With all this being said, things aren’t quite as dire as before. He’s been responding to his medicine and should be OK a little while longer.

Heel chartThis week I had a few chances to continue working on my “Fair Isle” socks. These are the ones with the striped feet that I started a couple of weeks ago.

I’m trying to get the stripes to line up on the short row heels but this is proving to be a puzzle. In Simple Socks, PGR says to knit even numbered rows so that when you get to the heels you can evenly split a  stripe between the ascending and descending side. She uses a four row stripe as an example. She knits the first two rows of the stripe before starting the short row heel and then finish with the last two rows.

I can see how this would work with four rows but I’m having trouble with ones that have two rows. To think this out, I started sketching it on a graph. PGR says that the middle row of the hour glass needs to be an odd number of rows so that the stripes line up.  I tried to knit an even number of rows (two) at this point but she’s right; the stripes don’t exactly line up. I’ve also tried one row in the middle but that doesn’t quite work either. I end up with two many yellow rows on the ascending side.

I forgot to take picture before ripping out my attempts but you can get an idea of the problem from my first sock I knitted several years ago. These were made out of Regia self-striping sock yarn. I wasn’t trying to get the stripes to line up but they did on the right side. The left side didn’t line up quite as well but still not too bad. This is what I’m trying to do with my current sock, but with two row stripes. Notice the brown stripe in that cuts across the instep. It’s only one row wide. Part of the puzzle includes trying to get this stripe on the instep to be exactly two rows like the others.

By the way, my new computer is acting up so I’ve had trouble returning e-mails promptly. Hopefully I’ll be able to it  get fixed soon.

Never enough time

Str_fi_1I started on the Fair Isle pattern with Socks That Rock yarn.

The colors are not quite what I expected; seems like there’s a little more brown in the cobalt bloom and a little more peach in the citrine compared to the sock in picture on the pattern.

This yarn has a wonderful slick feel that’s not like any wool sock yarn I’ve used in the past; more lustrous than Opal or Lorna’s Laces and more dense then Koigu.

Fortunately, just before starting these socks this week, I stumbled across this article by Judy Becker (via a post on Knitter’s Review) on a “better” cast on for toe-up socks. I gave it a go and think it will now be my preferred method. I did, however make one slight modification by eliminating the slip knot. To create the first stitch, I hung a loop of yarn over the top needle and twisted the yarn end around the other strand.

Small projects like this sock always keep me thinking about the other things on my knitting “to do” list. Here what’s on the top of my list, but in no particular order.

  • Mitten and hat from the Japanese book using the Twined Knitting TechniqueTwoendbooks
  • Convertible fingerless gloves with a two color design around the palmPopuppaws
  • A sweater from Virtual Yarns
  • Finish the frosted flowers sweater from Vogue Knitting
  • Reduce my stockpile of wool rovings and tops

There’s just never enough hours in the day.