After much ado, I’m pleased to present Plicate.
We had a little photo shoot yesterday, and Lauren deserves great acclaim for willingly donning wooly things on the first really scorching day of the year. I haven’t the slightest idea how she managed. I was totally un-wool-covered, and I almost keeled over from the heat.
On the off chance it’s not too hot to even think of touching wool where you are (or, if you’ve given in and cranked up the a/c to the point where you’re actually just a bit chilly), you can now make one of your own. It’s soft and squishy, works up quickly (it’s another of those where you won’t need to look at the chart once you get the hang of the pattern), and can be adjusted to fit your notions of the proper amount of scrunching in the back. And don’t worry, there are careful instructions on just how to do the gathers at the back.
- May 29, 2011
- tags: Yarn
Alrighty, as promised, a list of a few of my favorite fat sock yarns. Now it’s important to note, these are not the only good fat sock yarns out there. I’m sure there are others, and I’m always looking for more. So, with no further ado, and in no particular order, some of my favorites.
Nichole by Schaefer: I love this yarn with an unreasonable passion. It’s thick and smooshy, but still fits in shoes (at least my shoes, your shoes may vary). It has a bit of nylon so it lasts forever. I’ve had some socks in this for years and they’re still going strong. And, in case that wasn’t enough, the yardage is super generous (5 oz, 405 yards) so you can make a nice tall pair of socks, even for big feet, out of just one skein.
Everlasting 8 Ply by Dream in Color: This is a new(ish) yarn, and one well worth seeking out. Eight tiny plies give it fabulous stitch definition. There’s a 12 ply version too (I’m making socks with that right now, and they’re ridiculously thick and smooshy), but the 8 ply version is much closer to a traditional sock weight, though still substantial. This is another one with generous yardage (420 yards). The colors are fabulous too (with lots of rich dark shades that might appeal to guys).
Socks that Rock Mediumweight by Blue Moon Fiber Arts: This is another old favorite. The yarn itself is really tightly plied giving a a nice dense yarn with good stitch definition. Blue Moon has a massive and ever changing range of colors (you could go a bit crazy trying to collect them all if you have that sort of inclination) and absolutely fabulous customer service. I have worn holes in some of my older Blue Moon socks, but since I started adding reinforcing thread in the heels, they’ve held up much better.
DK Lively by Hazelknits: This one’s new to me (I found it when picking yarns for Book the Second), but I’m completely taken with it. It has the sort of tight dense structure that I look for in a fat sock yarn, plus a bit of nylon for durability. The colors are delicious, and Wendee is amazingly helpful. Keep an eye on the yardage (275 yards). You may be able to get a pair out of one skein, but you may need two.
Cashbah by Hand Maiden: I reach for my Casbah socks more than any of my others. They strike the perfect balance between soft and sturdy. They’ve developed just a bit of a fuzzy halo (after many many wears and washes), but they have held up marvelously. The colors absolutely glow, and the cashmere makes them exceptionally warm. I’ve got more in my stash and can’t wait to use it again.
On a lot of my recent patterns, I’ve included a wee little chart like this. The shaded column on the left is gauge (in stitches per inch). The shaded row on the top lists the various sizes the pattern is written in. The cells in the middle tell you what size finished object you’ll get if you make a given size at a given gauge. So with this chart, if you were working at a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch, and you make the size medium, you’ll get a hat with a finished size of 20 inches.
This demonstrates one of the most basic things about knitting, and one of the things I think a surprisingly large number of knitters haven’t quite internalized. You can really fine tune your sizing through yarn choice and gauge. Now this isn’t magic (it’s math) and it doesn’t work for everything. But it is an awfully handy tool to have in your box of tricks when you want to nudge the size of something just a bit.
The socks I’m working on now are a perfect illustration of this. Let’s look.
The gray socks on the top have a 64 stitch foot. The blue socks on the bottom have 54 stitch foot. Yet as you can see, the blue socks are quite a bit bigger than the gray socks. This is because the gray socks are worked at a gauge of 8 stitches to the inch, and the blue socks are worked at a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch.
This only works because the socks use radcially different yarns. The gray socks are a traditional sock weight, and the blue socks are a heavy dk. So both socks are knit up at an appropriate density (nice firm fabric suitable for socks) for the given yarn. You can’t just use the gray yarn at 6 stitches per inch (it would feel like walking on little wires, and it would wear through in a few hours) or the blue yarn at 8 stitches per inch (you’d break your needles and the fabric would be stiff like cardboard).
But, with a bit of planning, this approach can let you use a wider range of patterns and yarns than you might think. Let’s say you’ve fallen madly in love with a pattern that comes in a 64 stitch size and calls for a gauge of 8 stitches per inch. That gives about an 8 inch sock. What if your feet aren’t 8 inches? If you’ve got bigger feet, pick a thicker yarn and work at a gauge of closer to 7.5 or 7 stitches per inch. If you’ve got smaller feet, pick a thinner yarn and work at a gauge of closer to 8.5 or 9 stitches per inch. This trick lets you fine tune the final size without having to adjust the pattern itself. Especially for something like a sock where a half inch one way or the other can make all the difference, it works beautifully.
Now I can’t speak to the skinny yarns (I’ve got big feet and I’m a lazy knitter), but I have a nice little list of excellent thick sock yarns. I’ll come back and post them later if people are interested (and I’d love to hear from you folks with tiny feet or more patience about which skinny sock yarns are your favorite).
Thanks to a truly butt-numbing amount of time spent in the car this weekend, the first sock is done, and the second is well underway. The thick yarn has totally spoiled me. These felt like they took no time at all (and the contrast to the other socks on the needles, the cable-filled gray ones, couldn’t me more dramatic). I’ve written them up for testing, and if you want to make your own you can volunteer over here. With any luck at all, I’ll have them finished some time in the next few days. Just in time for it to get really really hot and to ensure that no one in their right mind wants to wear wooly socks.
The plan had been to show you the sock from last time (now slightly taller, how shall you contain your excitement). To this end, I whacked the sock on a blocker, clipped it in place, opened the curtains, and clicked away for a minute. All pretty standard stuff. Such actions are quite a normal part of my life these days. I’ve stopped questioning them. Then I took the card out of my camera, wandered over to my computer, and shoved it in. Again, I’ve done this hundreds of times.
The card didn’t stop moving with a meaty thud as it hit the back of the slot. There was no satisfying bit of resistance to tell me I’d put it in the right spot.
As indeed, I had not.
See? That’s the side of my computer. That large slot on the top is for cds. That small slot on the bottom is for sd cards. That thing in the top slot is my sd card.
This is not the recommended approach.
Flipping genius I tell you. I was quite pleased with myself. I composed an impromptu ode to my cleverness. I used exceptionally creative language. I preformed an improvisational dance to celebrate my coordination. I deeply alarmed the cats.
I did, in my defense, then grab my camera and document the situation. Apparently I’ve become rather used to this notion of sharing the mundane details of my everyday catastrophes with you. I’m not sure what this says about me, but that’s a discussion for another day. For today, my ineptitude is excellent blog fodder.
The first attempt to fix the problem involved tipping the computer on its side and gently shaking it to see if the card would fall out. It would not. Then came a wee bit of tapping to see if I could propel it out with a bit of momentum (think ketchup bottle). That also failed.
At this point, I tried a bit more swearing, just on the off chance the card could be convinced to climb out on its own through a sense of shame or fear. Alas, this also failed.
The next approach involved tweezers. These, perhaps not surprisingly, actually served to make the situation worse as they simply nudged the card farther in.
I then began to entertain notions of disassembling the computer. Now that’s not actually all that hard to do, and I have no issues with opening up the machine. But in this case it seemed like a poor choice as the card was not just inside the computer but inside the cd drive (not somewhere that tends to be terribly accessible). Also, this computer is still under warranty, and I had a sneaking suspicion taking a screwdriver to it could change that.
Finally, and after a dissapointingly long time, I seized upon a whole different approach. I decided I would stick a tiny (size 000) needle in the cd slot, angle it down behind the card, and flick the card out. Rather to my surprise, it totally worked. See?
Admittedly a crappy picture, but rather a trick to document one handed while preforming a delicate maneuver.
The card, the computer, and the knitting needle all seem to be fine.
And of course I am not suggesting that this is an approved technique. I am, in fact, recommending strongly against shoving small bits of metal into your computer or any other electronic devices. A bit of googling seems to suggest that I am not the only one to have made this mistake. Others seem to resolve it with either a paperclip or a bit of cardboard. It’s much easier to find a knitting needle in this house. And now I know what the 000 needles are good for.