Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for May, 2009

Beginning the Calf Shaping

Posted by mtmom on May 31, 2009

The quality of fit is perhaps the most significant reason to handknit socks.  And, when a sock must come up to the knee, a good fit requires some shaping to accommodate changes in leg circumference.

Because they march in their work, bagpipers often have quite different calf vs ankle measurements.  This current pair, for instance, needs to fit calves that are 50% larger around than the ankles.  Hence, INCREASES!

RWatt 8" rear viewAt this point, I’ve added girth by 2 different methods:  changing needle size (went from wood 2.5 mm to metal 2.5 mm at 6″, and then to metal 2.75 mm at 6 1/2″ from base of heel) and adding stitches (M1R, k1 tbl, M1L, as suggested for raglan sweaters by Barbara G. Walker in her book, Knitting From the Top Down, starting at 7″ up).  I like the look of this increase line; quite inconspicuous.

You’ll get a better view once I’ve worked another inch or so, but I think you can see the ribs expanding outwards from the center.

The pins mark increments of 20 rounds, to help me make the second sock match the first.

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One down, Three to go

Posted by mtmom on May 28, 2009

Robert‘s socks are growing pretty steadily.  Ankle is now between 6 1/2″ and 7″ tall; total needs to be over 17″ for each sock.Robert's Sock, 6+ inches into the ankle

Meanwhile, I’ve tackled the least-damaged of Aaron‘s socks.  reinf heel

I reinforced the heel-back, where all the other socks boasted huge holes, using Wooly Nylon from my local sewing shop.  In times past, I’ve bought this online from Meg Swansen at Schoolhouse Press.  Hers is double thick, which I think I prefer when carrying along while knitting, but this is local, which is faster and philosophically desirable.  (Nice folks over at Odegaard’s.)nylon

And I fixed another small hole up near the cuff — this heathered yarn makes it hard to see individual stitches as I work.  The cuff will cover this when it’s folded down.





Posted in Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

A Distraction Arrives

Posted by mtmom on May 27, 2009

So, I’m progressing nicely on Robert‘s kilt hose . . .RWatt ribs

. . . when what should come in the post, but some delightful but distressed kilt hose made by fiber artist Debra Gilding of D&D Natural Fiber Co.    2 pairs of D&D kilt hose

(Chloe finds them Very Interesting.)

If you’ve never seen her work, you’ve GOT TO go on over and look!

She made the socks, Aaron made the holes in the heels.  (You can see these hose in the band’s main web-photo.)  And I’m going to mend them.worst heel

Even the coolest bagpipers wear out their socks!

These hose are made with such great craftsmanship!  Not only are the color patterns complex (Debra custom dyes and plies the yarns she uses in these socks!),

seam outer

but the seaming is virtually undetectable

on the outside

and, most especially for foot-comfort,

smooth on the inside.

green inside seam

I am SO impressed!  (And that’s alot of why I’m willing to take my time to mend these works of art.)

This is much better-done than the seam on the Argyle socks I submitted for Level II.  I wonder if she gives lessons. . . or tips?

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Robert’s First Foot

Posted by mtmom on May 26, 2009

I’ve been working feverishly on these kilt hose.  RWatt sock foot

I ripped that heel all the way once, resumed, then ripped part way twice, then, when I’d completly turned the heel and found the foot too long (sigh), I ripped it all the way back again, plus 2″ or more up the foot.  I had told myself that, if I had to rip again, I’d add in some reinforcing nylon next time, so I did.  And now, here we are, with one foot and about 1/2″ of ankle.  I recounted my stitches and plotted out some possible ribbing patterns.  I’ll be going with k7, p2, k2, p2 . . . with some modification at the ankle to narrow that portion even more.

(See the designer’s brain in action. . . .)  RWatt rib plans

By my calculations, I need to knit on these at least 1 1/2 hours per day, on average, to finish in time.  Must keep the intention flowing!

Posted in Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

“Congratulations! . . . “

Posted by mtmom on May 23, 2009

I passed Level 2!

(Not to leave you in suspense, it’s just that I really didn’t have much computer time yesterday.)

Some comments, excerpted from my completion letter:  “Your resubmitted swatches and written items were all nicely done.  The edges of your swathes were straight and even.  Seams were all neatly joined. …  The [resubmitted] written instructions read clearly and contain all necessary information. …  You made very good use of the Design’er’s Notes on swatch #16 to include special instructions.  The buttonholes are correctly worked.  The tubular edge on swatach #21 is very nicely done.”

I am now “eligible to apply for Level III,” but haven’t saved up enough knitting-dollars yet.  It’s probably just as well, because I’m currently feverishly working toward a knitting deadline:  the pipers come back to town in early July and I want to finish the commissioned kilt hose before they arrive.  Then I’ll also have time to make any alterations before they leave. RWatt sock

This particular pair is for Robert Watt from Northern Ireland.

Some of the other instructors have expressed interest in handknit pairs as well, but I don’t know if I’ll want to do this.  A custom pair can take 90 knitting-hours and that’s alot of “production knitting” time — not usually my favorite.

The yarn is very nice to work with:  Satakieli 100% worsted-spun wool from Finland.Satakieli green

I also finished a knit cap. honey hat on Ch, profile

I enjoyed the knit, once I figured out the placement of the double-decreases and especially after I realized my in-pattern top-decreases were working out.

I may write this one up, but I’d want to check with Arenda first — she used this stitch pattern in some socks in last spring’s Cast On.

honey hat on Ch, top

Posted in Cap/Hat, Celtic, Knitting, Master Knitter, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

It’s Here!

Posted by mtmom on May 22, 2009

mk2 box

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Narrow-Ankled Dimpled Diamonds (Part 2) and Pattern FAQ

Posted by mtmom on May 17, 2009

More non-competition variations for my “Dimpled Diamonds” sock pattern, released to participants in Sock Madness 3 on Tuesday, 12 March, now that the round has closed.

(I’m writing only the *modifications*, for you to pencil them into your margins.)  I enjoyed knitting this pattern, and I sincerely  hope that you will too!

Dimpled Diamonds Socks

If you are working the size specified in the  Sock Madness pattern and want to narrow the ankle section only, use these numbers after you turn the heel:

Rd 5:  K 18, sl(p)3 . . . .

Rd 8:  K2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, ssk, k2.

Rd 9:  K 14, sl(p)3 . . . .

Rd 12:  K2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, ssk, k2.

Rd 13:  K 10, sl(p)3 . . . .

Rd 16:  K2, k2tog, k to last 4 sts, ssk, k2.

Rd 17:  K 6, sl(p)3 . . . .

Rd 21:  K 3, sl(p)3 . . . .

Your final expansion rd will be Rd 25, instead of Rd 29 like the other sizes, but the same directions will work for you.  Follow them as written in the pattern from here on.


For a narrower foot overall, see previous post from 5/13.


Dimpled Diamond pattern FAQ:

Q:  What does the term “touch-down stitch” or “anchor stitch” refer to?  A:  That is my own term for the single knit stitch after a long run of slipped stitches; not a special technique, just a shorthand term that I can then use later on in the pattern.

Q:  When you “knit under” the strand, are you knitting that as a new stitch?  A:  No, you’re knitting a stitch in the current row, but reaching your right needle tip under that loose strand on the front 2 rounds down before you do it.  This tucks the strand around behind the new stitch, thus the term “tuck stitch”.  Your stitch-count should not change.

Q:  Does it matter exactly where I start the arch-shaping?  A:  No, but be sure to do it before the heel, so that your stitch-count will match the pattern as you go forward and your arch/instep will have enough room in the sock.


No news yet on my resubmitted Level 2 materials.  DH mailed the box on Friday and I don’t expect the reviewer to receive it until the middle of next week.  I’ll work on and post about other stuff in the meantime . . . .

Posted in Sock Madness | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Video about Free Patterns at Berroco

Posted by mtmom on May 15, 2009

Today, I enjoyed watching this short video hosted on the Berroco site; it’s about How to Find Free Patterns (knit or crochet) at Berroco. Their (weekly?) KnitBits newsletter led me there.

[Embedding is not working — I think you can follow the link, though]

And Greetings from my little Lady of Leisure.  cat

Posted in fun | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Level 2: Resubmit #8 (and LAST!)

Posted by mtmom on May 14, 2009

I think I’ve done all the re-writes successfully, and now I’ve finished the last re-knitting (hurray!).

Swatch #21, original

Swatch #21, original

Evaluator’s notes:  “The decrease in the ribbing for fiting the curve is a very creative solution.  However, it interferes with the continuity of the rib pattern.  Adjusting the number of stitches along the curve would give a better result.  The tail weave in the seam [is] very bulky.  Tails need to be clipped.”

What you can’t necessarily see from the front is the fact that the 3 knit stitches in the crook of the curve have no purls between them.  (It’s more obvious from the back, but I don’t have a photo to show you.)  I decreased them at about 1/2 and 3/4 of the way through the ribbing to draw the fabric together.

Swatch #21, re-ribbed

Swatch #21, re-ribbed

This band has 1 stitch fewer, but is ribbed throughout and has a tubular bind-off.

And, don’t worry, I’ll trim off those tails before shipping it!  I don’t want to miss anything in my rush, now that the end is in sight. . . .

Last step:  cover letter.  Maybe tonight?

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Narrow Dimpled Diamonds — Part 1

Posted by mtmom on May 13, 2009

Dimpled Diamonds Socks

Dimpled Diamonds Socks

At least 2 knitters have finished their socks (wow!), so I think it’s “safe” now to post some non-competition-appropriate variations.

First installment is a version that is narrower overall, as I made my prototype.  This width takes less yarn:  I used only 74 grams/280 yards of Shepherd Sock stripey yarn.  Later on, I plan to post changes to narrow only the ankle.

Errata found so far:    — Mark these on your pattern!!

  • The center-back marker needs to go after st #19 and not after #18. I think all the instructions after that are correct (the “k18, slip 3,…” ones), once the marker is in the right place.  You’ll know your Rd 5 is right if you slip the last 2 sts on heel ndl and the 1st st on instep ndl and your touch-down st is directly above the tuck-st of previous set.
  • Toe, Round 2, the bracketed instructions should read: “k1, kfb, k to last 3 sts on ndl, kfb, k2”.
  • Foot, Rd 9, instep should end with “k4”, to make 5 knit sts altogether.
  • Ankle, Rd 3, the marker should go after st #19, and the plain round before the final expansion is Rd 28, not Rd 29.


Competitors must work the pattern as written, but non-competitors who want an overall narrower foot on their Dimpled Diamonds socks may make the following modifications.

Same toe, but stop when you reach 29 + 29 = 58 sts.

Patt Rd 1: K 5, sl(p)3 . . . .  (You fill in the rest; be symmetrical.)

Patt Rd 3: K5, dip-&-tuck . . . .

Patt Rd 5: K2, sl(p)3 . . . .

Patt Rd 7: K2, dip-&-tuck . . . .

Patt Rd 9: K 3, sl(p)5 . . . .

Patt Rd 11: K 5, dip-&-tuck . . . .

At 5 – 5 1/2″, add 3 pairs of sole sts, as directed, unto 29+35= 64 sts.

Work heel as directed, but on 35 sts.  So your first turn will be between sts #34 and #35.

Ankle choices:
Slim = decrease a pair of sts on rd 8 and on rd 12, unto 60 sts.
Avg = increase 1 pair of sts on rd 4, unto 66 sts; perhaps use smaller ndl on cuff-top.
Wider = inc 1 pair of sts on rd 4, also unto 66 sts; larger ndls throughout ankle and cuff.

You can probably work out the ankle pattern expansions yourselves by eye, having gotten this far with the Quilted Lattice stitch-pattern, but you can contact me via the Comments section if you need further assistance on this.


I do not have numbers specifically for wider feet.   Perhaps either the medium or narrow sizes, worked at a larger gauge and/or in a thicker yarn, would work for you.  Or, if you feel more confident, add more stitches in the toe and add more reps to the Quilted Lattice pattern on the instep; just make sure you have a multiple of 6 stitches by the time your pattern joins up at the ankle-back.


Customizing for higher insteps may be accomplished by adding more stitches at mid-foot and decreasing them (or not, if you also want a wider ankle) at ankle-back.  Just make sure you have a multiple of 6 sts before the pattern joins up at center-back.


I will post modifications for narrowing the ankle portion on the medium-width sock after all the official competitors have passed that point in their race.


More spring images.

Those aspen buds I posted last week have been growing.  aspen baby leaves

But we also have some “volunteers” coming up in undesireable places.  patio aspen

I think I’ve finished my last resubmission knitting!  More later.

Posted in Sock Madness | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »