Review Luxe knits : the accessories

Luxe knits : the accessories : couture adornments to knit & crochet 9781600595851 by Laura Zukaite looked interesting on the shelf. When I actually flipped through it at the public library, I realized I wasn’t going to bother to check it out. I don’t see myself making any of these items; they just aren’t me. There is also an amazing amount of smocking in the book. It seems like at least 50% of the patterns involve smocking (this is without the book in front of me to actually check). The author includes her original sketches with the patterns and it is interesting see her idea and how she created it in the pattern. I also found myself liking some of her drawings, but being less enamored of them when knit.

German Twisted Cast On

My standard cast on is the long tail. I did it with two hands for years, which always made me not quite coordinated. At some point I checked out the DVD A knitting glossary / with Elizabeth Zimmermann & Meg Swansen ; a Schoolhouse video.Pittsville, WI : Schoolhouse Press, c2005.One of the items was the German Long Tail cast one which makes a stretchy edge, perfect for top down socks. Meg Swansen movements were so fluid and so fast and she made it look so easy. I watched it over and over and over, pausing regularly until I figured out what she was doing (and therefore also how to do the long tail more easily).

Lucy Neatby shows how to do it. It starts with a very brief review of the long tail cast on. I like Swansen’s technique better, but it is harder to follow the short video. Neatby’s video is focused better and her hands go slowly for longer, making it a better instruction.

A couple more videos that also show how to do it. The first is by The Knit Witch. She mentions that she usually does it over two needles, but I never do that and it works well for me.

And one more video by knitpurlhunter, which begins with a clear comparison of what long tail cast on and German twisted cast on look like on the needle.

Review: The Handknitter’s Yarn Guide

The handknitter’s yarn guide : a visual reference to yarns and fibers 9781250003072 by Nikki Gabriel would be a fabulous addition to the Guild library. It is definitely a reference book, not a reading book. The author covers basic yarn categories by weight and then by fiber type. For each fiber, there is a general description and then additional information on qualities, use and care, pros and cons of the fiber and sometimes burn test information. Most yarns include pictures of the yarn knit in stockinette, with a cable and in lace. Each fiber is generally shown in three weights. The book includes information on blends as well. One of the great aspects for spinners (or knitters working with handspun or who have just lost track of the yarn label) is the gauge and yardage guide, which includes recommended needle size correlated with wraps per inch. The book also includes a “textured yarn” section, including bouclé, chenille, ribbon, eyelash, flamme and ladder yarns.

Llama is oddly missing from the animal fiber section and isn’t even mentioned in he alpaca section or the “rare and curious fibers” section. This is the only problem I noted in the book.

This book would be great reference in any yarn shop to help people make informed decision about yarns with which they lack familiarity.

Offset rib socks

Last June I went to a conference which involved a lot of hours in the car with co-workers. On the way back, I started a pair of socks. I had thought I had carefully put a pattern on my mobile device to use, but I missed some part of it (I don’t recall exactly what was wrong) so I just winged it.

2012-11-014I used Cascade Heritage Paints sock yarn in Briar Rose (9904). I think I got it at the  anniversary sale at my LYS a couple months before. I wasn’t positive whether the socks would be mine or DJ’s. I neglected to take pictures of the before skein, so this is what is left over. Since I wanted to see the color repeats, I needed to reskein it.

2012-11-011

2012-11-002I did a basic top down, heel flap sock (based on having read the Yarn Harlot’s sock recipe years ago and making socks since then and my faulty memory). I cast on 60 stitches, using probably size 1 needles (although I don’t recall if it was primarily 2.mm or 2.5mm—I say primarily because I had some issue with losing needles once I got home). I did a 2×2 ribbing for 12 rounds (1″).

My pattern, which I am calling offset rib1, was as follows:
rounds 1-5: k3 p2 (repeat)
rounds 6-10: p2 k3

Continue until leg measures 8″.

2012-11-004Make a standard heel flap, etc. and continue with foot. I tend to make the sole a couple stitches less than the pattern on the instep, because straight stockinette doesn’t pull together as much as ribbing. When I get to the toe I either do my ssk & k2tog only on the top for a round or I shift stitches slightly so that they are even on top and bottom.

I knit the foot until it was about 7″ from the heel flap and then started decreasing for the toe (standard toe with kitchener stitch closing the sock).

2012-09-033

I liked the socks but my sister had been doing a lot for my Mom, so i decided they were hers. I was not sad when she said they were a bit big and so they were mine. They have turned into the socks I pull out first from the drawer to wear.

2012-09-030

1 I’m sure this is in countless pattern books, but I didn’t use one of those books, so I figure I can call this whatever I want.