Ever since Knit Picks introduced their Chroma yarn last year, I’ve been enjoying trying out the different colorways on small 1-2 ball projects. In the process, I discovered that while I love the worsted weight of this yarn, I am not so crazy about the fingering weight. All the worsted weight projects I tried turned out well. The yarn has a great feel, very soft and smooth. I learned some new techniques — mittens, a keyhole scarf with a ruffle, and more.
Best experience was an entrelac cowl. I actually had to learn entrelac first, but it wasn’t so difficult. The pattern (Lacy Entrelac Infinity Scarf by Michele Bernstein) was designed specifically for the Chroma yarn, so the changes in color were automatic rather than having to break off one color and start a new one. That made knitting it a whole lot easier. It became fun and addictive, and I took the project along with me to a conference where I worked happily away during the sessions as well as breaks. Cowl and I had a great time in Philadelphia.
Kudos by the way to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) for a “green” conference. This meant no papers or handouts to carry around, thus room in my tote bag for more important stuff (like my knitting). More important, it meant that all the slides and session notes were available online after the conference, so I could knit during the sessions and not have to worry about hastily scrawling notes. This being a really easy pattern, I could focus my attention on the speaker. And last but by no means least, knitting in public at a conference is a great way to make acquaintances and “network.”
As for that fingering weight… I bought one ball and tried it out on what I call my “Up and Down Rainbow Sox.” The finished sock is Cat Bordhi’s basic sock (from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles) knitted cuff down. I never do them that way anymore, so it was going back to the way I first learned. (Well, not quite all the way back — I learned on dpns. That was BC — before Cat.) I remembered that I did not really like doing up the toe with the Kitchener stitch, but the real annoying thing was the yarn. It has a thick-and-thin quality that didn’t work for making tight stitches on small needles. I decided to do the second sock toe-up, since Cat’s method makes a nice rounded toe, but the knitting isn’t any more pleasant with this yarn. Maybe it would work for a shawl or a scarf, but I would not use Chroma again for socks. Oh well, live and learn.
Cat Bordhi has done it again, come up with yet another take on sock knitting. This time, she has taken all the angst out of wraps and turns for the short row heel with her Sweet Tomato Heel. I don’t know about you, but even when I can remember where to put the yarn for the wraps, I rarely can find the wraps on the way back to knit them to avoid holes. Cat taught us how to do it correctly in a class she gave at the Lion Studio last October, but… I am a timid knitter, hanging on to my stitches with a death grip, not really wanting to risk lifting the wrap up and over the stitch to knit them together. I am always afraid they will slip off the tip of my needle.
Clearly, I am not the only one of Cat’s students to feel this way. She invented the Sweet Tomato with us in mind, and let me tell you, it is wonderfully easy. Here is my first attempt:
No gusset, no holes, no wraps to pick up. Just a nice series of wedges and a lovely rounded heel that fits. Cat has produced a serial e-book that explains the technique and shows how to apply it in some very clever patterns.
Read about it and order it from Cat’s website or from Ravelry. The best part about the e-book is the instant gratification factor — you download each part as it is completed rather than having to wait for the whole book. It also includes links to videos to demonstrate the techniques. Cat has created a Ravelry group that already has hundreds of members, where you can discuss the technique, post pictures of your heels, and ask questions. Cat is very active and generous with her time and advice. When I posted this picture to the show-your-heels forum, I got a very nice note back from her, suggesting a way to avoid the slight “laddering” effect that I always seem to get when switching from one needle to the next. Now that’s a teacher. Thanks, Cat!
Back to my Discovery Sock project. Not as recent as I thought, this sock was actually done in 2009. I was fascinated by the idea of making a sock that would actually fit my foot. There is a learning curve, but once you get that sock to fit you transfer all the info to the cardboard foot and that becomes your “pattern” for any sock you want to make.
Last October I was lucky enough to take a master class with Cat Bordhi herself, at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in New York. As expected, she was a terrific teacher. It was hard to concentrate on making my little learning socks. Cat had so much info to give us, so many tips and tricks, that I kept putting my knitting down to scribble notes.
Probably the most valuable thing I learned was that I had been making my socks much too large, and that I would get a better fit if I either used fewer stitches or went down a needle size or two. It was a real “duh!” moment, but my socks work a whole lot better these days. So it was a discovery sock in more ways than one.
It has been a long time since Meredith’s “basic training” session (March 17), and I had hopes to be up and running before now! My new goal is this Thursday, May 26 our first Personnel Development Day here at the Gladys Marcus Library. I want Fiber Fumes to be part of it. We are a craftsy bunch and I want this to be a place to talk about it and show off our fibery interests. This isn’t meant to be my blog, it is for all of us. But here’s a picture of one of my recent projects, just to get us started.