Wednesday, June 25, 2014

That Darn Cat! Blocking with a cat in the house

I guess it's my own fault, but I am so mad at my cat!

I rumbled around in my craft room to look for some needles that I really, really wanted to use and found this sweater nearly done. So in my scattered brain, I decided it was time to finish this sweater instead of starting the next one.  The good news is that these were the needles I was looking for, so I would be killing two birds with one needles -- or rather two needles with one sweater.

It only took one evening to finish the knitting on the sweater.  I usually print out the pattern that I am using to include with the knitting as well as note in my knitting journal all the details (i.e., needle size, yarn, pattern). Therefore it was easy to pick where I left off. It is not unusual for me to work on several projects at once. I guess I am easily distracted by pretty yarns and colors.

So last night, I laid the sweater out with the plans prior to blocking. I spent a good hour on my knees (not easy at my age) soaking, pinning, and shaping, and I am very pleased with the outcome. Why didn't I finish this sweater last fall when I did most of the knitting?  I left it laid out and went to bed.

So this morning, I got up to get ready for work. I should have known better than to leave the sweater laid out so nicely. In the night, my psychotic little black cat decided it needed the usual amount of cat hair deposited on it.  Now, I can live with that. Most of my clothes (my bedding, my carpet, my towels, my dishes) have cat hair on it. But I guess this sweater needed some Neko's extra attention. He had thrown up on it.  Now in the middle of the sweater is a large brown pile of half-digested cat food. (No, I did not take a picture of that so you can stop looking for it.)

He actually seemed rather proud of himself too.
Bet you didn't know a cat
could laugh.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Broken Rib Socks

I still have to do a pair of socks every now and then. Besides, socks are the best travelling project. Ken and I just took a long weekend to Albuquerque, and I knitted all the way down and all the way back. I finished the blue pair and started the red pair. I am making these socks for a friend of mine who says she is addicted to socks. She doesn't knit, so I am going to send these to her. Just don't tell her, okay?

The pattern is basically the same as the Skylah Lace Panel Socks (April 4, 2014) with just the lace replaced with the rib pattern.  One of the nice things about this rib pattern is that you can continue it to the top of the leg without having to do a cuff.  The rib also gives the socks a nice snug fit without bagging or being too tight. 

This is also a good pattern for men's socks because it is not 'too fancy' -- as my son says -- especially it is done in a solid color.    

Peggy's Broken Rib Socks 

  • 100 Grams of Sock Yarn.  I used Plymouth Yarn Diversity
    US #2/2.75mm circular needles or double-pointed needles (I do the double-pointed thing only because I have been knitting socks forever and am pretty fast on my DPNs. However use any method that you are comfortable with.)
  • Stitch marker
  • Yarn needle
Knitting Gauge: 7 - 8 sts = 1"
SIZE: One size will fit an average adult foot. 

Cast on 28 stitches, using your favorite cast on method for socks. I use the magic cast-on because the tip of the toe looks so flawless.  You can watch this method on YouTube. There are several demonstrations, such as:

Round 1: Knit.
Round 2: On needle 1, knit 1, knit in the front and back of the next stitch. Knit to the last two stitches on the needle. Knit in the front and back of the next stitch, knit 1. Repeat on needle 2. 
Round 3: Knit. If using DPNs, knit the stitches on Needle 1.  Knit 8 stitches on Needle 2. Add a third needle and knit the remaining 8 stitches.
Round 4: If using DPNs, on Needle 1, knit 2, m1R, knit across to last 2 stitches. M1L, K2. On needle 2, knit 2, m1R, knit across. On needle 3, knit across to last 2 stitches. M1L, K2.
If using circular needles, k2, m1R, k across needle, until 2 stitches remain, m1L, k2. Repeat on second needle.

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until you have a total of 24 stitches on Needle 1.

Next Round: Knit 2, place marker. Knit to last two stitches, place marker, K2. Knit the rest of the round.

Continue these two rounds, increasing 1 stitch on each side until you have a total of 60 stitches total.

Yes, I will finish the second sock,
but I have to start a sweater first.

 Begin Rib Panel
Working on the 30 stitches on top of the sock, work the rib pattern, continuing stockinette stitch on the sole of the sock.

Rib Panel


Round 1 (over 5 stitches) – P1, k3, p1
Round 2 – P1, k1, p1, k1, p1.

Continue the rib pattern until the sock measures from the toe is 2½” less than the total length of your foot.


While continuing the rib pattern, knit across instep stitches, and then increase one stitch on each side on the sole stitches. Increase stitches every other row until you have increased 10 stitches on each side of the sole.

Turn the Heel:

You will now work only on the sole part of the sock, leaving the instep stitches with the rib panel along for now. Begin on a knit side.
Row 1: Slip the first stitch, k 8. *K1, sl1 purlwise* five times, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 2: Slip the first stitch, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise* 5 times , SSK, k1, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise*, 6 times, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 6: Slip 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 7: Slip 1, k1, *k1, sl1 purlwise* 7 times, SSK, k1, turn
Row 8: Slip 1, p 16, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 9: Slip 1, k1, *k1, s1 purlwise* 8 times, SSK, k1, turn
Row 10: Slip 1, p18, p2tog, p1, turn
Continue in this manner, working back and forth until all of the extra stitches from the gusset increases are worked and the original number of stitches is on your needle again.

Leg and Cuff:

You should be back to 60 stitches. Extend the rib pattern to the entire sock, working the sock to the total desired length. 

Bind off loosely.  Weave in the ends, and then block the socks as you normally would (I just put the socks on my feet and enjoy them! My feet are the best blocking equipment I have.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Justin Sock Yarn Hat

I opened my sock drawer the other day and noticed that I have knitted so many socks over the last 20 years that I could never wear them out.  Then I looked at my sock yarn stash and realized that I could make at least three times as many socks as I have now. Lovely colors, soft feel, gentle textures, but I could never knit all them up.

So I decided to use the yarn to do something other than socks. I love hats – which I have more of than even socks --  but I have a little side business of selling hats, so it made sense. I have seen pictures of these slouchy hats and have even seen some patterns for them.  I worked on the design to be as close to what I want and finally think I got it right.  I used my sons as models. One thing they wanted was the hat to fit closer around the ears. So I extended the use of the smaller needles into the body of the hat which is why you don’t switch needles after the cuff.

I always name my hats after people in my life. I named this hat after my friend Justin from work. He looks good in hats.  I also needed a name that could also be unused for a woman’s hat.  

Size:                       Men’s  (women’s) size. Hat has a lot of stretch so one size fits most
Yarn:                      Any kind of sock yarn
Needles:              Circular needle size 2 (2.75mm) 16”
                                Circular needle size 6 (4mm) 16”
                                DPN Size 6 (4mm) set of 4
                                Yarn needle
Gauge:                 5 stitches/inch in stockinette, size 6 needles. (Gauge is not critical but should be close.  I have used this pattern with size 5, 6, and 7 needles, with success.) I always start with size 2 needles for the brim.

With size 2 circular needles, CO on 132 (120) stitches.  Join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work a 2x2 rib (Knit 2, Purl 2) for one inch. 
Work in stockinette (knit every row) for one more inch. 

Switch to size 6 needles and continue in stockinette stitch until the entire hat measures 9” or desired length. If you stop at 7”, you will have a skull cap; if you extend beyond 10”, your hat will have more slouch.

Crown: (switch to DPNs when necessary)
Row 1:  *K2tog, K 18 (16), SSK*. Repeat 5 more times.
Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit.
Row 3:  *K2tog, K 16 (14), SSK*. Repeat 5 more times.

Continue in this pattern, reducing the number of knit stitches between the decreases by 2 until 6 stitches remain.   Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Cut yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and secure tightly.  Weave in ends.