Archive for the 'Vintage' Category

Why I’m Not Posting Tonight

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Actually, if you’re here, you probably already know why.

But in case you’ve been under a rock… this is the reason. (Um… and in case you didn’t realize it, that is a link. To the Yarn Harlot’s blog entry for today. Which explains all. And then some.)

Guess what I’m doing?

Printing patterns, that’s what.

If you ask me which pattern… I might have to slap you. Or maybe that’s me I should be slapping. Yes. Sorry. There, that’s better. I was maybe a little giddy.

As I was saying… if you ask me which pattern… it’s this one. The one that necessitated the knitting of this pile of leaves.

The ones that spun off into these. That is - these.

What else? Wasn’t there something else I wanted to say? Oh, yes. About yesterday’s post. If you use IE and were getting red-x image boxes… kindly disregard. There weren’t supposed to be any pictures there. Those were empty picture tags that I had left lying around. Firefox quietly suppresses them, so I didn’t realize IE was being so much less forgiving of my sloppy habits. They’re gone now, and I’ll try to be good in future.

Also, I’m still struggling with color-balance issues. Those pictures look sufficiently purple on The BoyTM’s perfectly-calibrated super-duper whizz-o monitor, but on every other machine I have access to they’re still more blue than they ought to be. So unless you’re willing to bring in The BoyTM to calibrate your monitor to match… please pretend there’s more purple in them than is perhaps visible to the naked eye at the moment. OK?

I do plan to do some color-correcting work on them at some point.

After I finish printing all these patterns.

Bells are Ringing

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

As some of you may have guessed (clue = Pattern Purdah…) I actually finished this sock weeks ago. In fact, I finished writing it up some time ago. But with the end of Octvember looming over me I just couldn’t bring myself to blog it until it was not only well and truly out my door but also well on its way out Jennifer’s door. There have just been too many jinxes lately, too many inconveniently timed computer crises and illnesses and production problems and holidays and overall insanities. A little extra superstition never hurt anyone (except my Uncle Blair, but that’s a story for another time).

It is a relief to me to be able to take the lid off this one, I can tell you.

So without further ado, I give you… our penultimate club sock for 2007: The Nine Tailors. Not anywhere near as labor-intensive as Vintage, believe it or not, but undoubtedly my thinkiest-geekiest design to date.

The Nine Tailors - Side View

I’m not going to go into exhaustive detail about the plot connections right now because, um, been there done that - not only here on the blog over the past few months (for a refresher, check out the change-ringing category, dating back to February) but really intensively on paper during the past few weeks - and I swear I’m still a little dizzy from organizing the material.

(”We give ourselves mental vertigo… so you don’t have to!”)

At any rate, to cut to the chase - the change-ringing method Kent Treble Bob Major appears in two forms here: as a coded colorwork panel…

The Nine Tailors - Color Panel

…and as a twisted mini-cable:

The Nine Tailors - Top

The Nine Tailors - Mini-Cable

Here is one of the angels of the Angel Roof…

The Nine Tailors - Angel

… with emeralds nestled at its feet - some of you know why, and I hope others will find out why.

As stipulated a while back the sock has a flap and gusset heel:

The Nine Tailors - Heel

And as usual there are optional decorative features on toe and heel - on the heel it’s the continuation of the twist pattern (looks very cool with an open-backed clog!), and on the toe it’s this little eyelet bell:

The Nine Tailors - Bell

I’ll have more to say about this sock in particular and about my further adventures in campanological knitting in general… but for now I’m feeling kinda burnt-out from this one, and I think I’d better go have a nice lie-down before I leap back into the next project on the needles, the club sock for… Decuary.

News and More Teasers

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Sorry about all this doling out, but I’ve been working hard, HONEST, and I thought a few pictures at a time would still be better than nothing.

What I’ve been working hard on? Web page updates, mostly. Check out the main page for its lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong-overdue facelift. I mean… the look is the same, but the information is a whole lot less obsolete.

  • Vintage: available!
  • Kitri’s Mantilla: available!
  • Blue Stocking: no longer in beta (not since, um, end of March, thank you very much, you’d think I’d have thought of this one before…)!
  • FlockSock Sock Club - 2008 signups open! (Though I have yet to put up the Actual Page for this - still working to nail down a few details and get same in sync with Jennifer. That’s next.)

So go! Drool! Buy! I’ll wait here! Is that relentlessly commercial and enabling enough?

OK, how about the manipulative approach, then: Poor Ptolemy needs cat food….

Oh, never mind. You know what I mean.

Here, have a little Rhinebeck eye candy, and stuff. You’ve earned it.

Cookie Dough Booth

Indigo-Dyed Coopworth Locks

Got Soap

Another Yarn Booth

Alpaca Xing

More soon. I promise.

Wine From These Grapes

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Hoo Boy, I can feel my Absentee Landlord mode creeping up on me. I refuse to count the hours. Something tells me I’m not going to describe this in all the loving detail I’d ordinarily lavish on it. (Hmmmm… maybe this isn’t such a bad thing?) Anyway - here’s Vintage.

Vintage Sock in Claret
Vintage Sock in “Claret”

It’s an unusually labor-intensive sock even for me, I’m afraid; and I kinda feel compelled to apologize for that because it’s labor-intensive in so many of the ways I ordinarily make a point of avoiding - like ends to weave in, and fiddly little bits to sew together. But… sometimes you gotta make sacrifices to get the right look - and this sock has certain structural advantages that I find exciting, and that I think go some way to make up for the extra work. I know I’ve been hinting about this for a while. Here’s what I’ve been on about:

Vintage Sock - Grapes and Heel

See those grapes spreading over the instep and ankle in front? See the inverted-wineglass heel? Those two things work together to give this sock a degree of ease and comfort that I don’t think I’ve ever encountered, or even imagined, before. If you know anything about sock structure you know that the short-row heel (and that’s what this is, though the upper part is gussied up some) is traditionally considered pretty shallow, and that the cuban heel (you can see why for this particular sock I prefer to refer to it as an inverted wineglass) is very snug above the heel cup. (This is part of what makes The Blue Stocking so form-fitting.) Well… neither of those is an issue on this sock, because the grapes add a huge amount of ease to the ankle fit. See how there’s no pulling at all at the stress point of the heel angle? At its widest point the grapes panel more than DOUBLES the stitch count of the upper. But because the grapes are staggered, one row pulling in while the next one spreads out, it isn’t at all baggy. I’d back this baby to slip on easily and fit comfortably on the deepest heel and the highest instep (and the daintiest paw at the other end of the spectrum) you care to produce.

Sorry if that sounds boastful, but I can’t help it - I’m proud of this. I wish somebody would invent a fit-and-feel plug-in so you could FEEL what I mean, because I know the pictures can’t adequately convey it. (Mind you, I will be the first to admit that when I first drew this sock it never occurred to me that it would work this way; there’s a great big element of luck about it, but OTOH I don’t think you get quite that lucky if you’re not applying some degree of skill and judgment as well. There. Got that out of my system.)

Of course, you could do something like that without having to sew on a whole forest of leaves and weave in a gazillion ends (and I suspect I’ll be playing with this sort of fit scheme on future designs)… but hey, I like leaves, so do me something.

Some more details:

Vintage Sock - Back

Vintage Sock - Tendrils

Vintage Sock - Tendrils

Vintage Sock - Cuff Edge

Sorry - that last is a little fuzzy (rush rush rush rush…), but you can sort of see the i-cord bind-off incorporating the leaf tails. (For my sins, I paid for my hubris about the heel-angle fit by making the i-cord edge - you guessed it - a bit too tight. Have fixed this in writing the pattern, though.) There’s a ribbed cuff underneath there - no problem about the sock staying up.

Haven’t had a chance to knit prototypes in the other colorways, though I do hope to have them swatched for Rhinebeck (guess who’s not going to be driving…!). But here are the sketches and yarn palettes. Don’t hate me because I’m still beautiful - hate me because I have a genius Yarn Slave and so much lovely sock yarn to play with!

Vintage Sock - Pinot Palette
Vintage Sock in “Pinot”

Vintage Sock - Chablis Palette
Vintage Sock in “Chablis”

Back to work. No guarantees re posting during the next few days - it’ll be catch as catch can….

No Excuses

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Today, for the first time, I made myself haul the pre-Rhinebeck to-do list out of my head and shove it onto paper. I have to tell you it is not a pretty sight. We’re moving along at a good clip, and for all I know we may even be kind of on schedule - but still, from here it looks an awful lot like squeezing 10 gallons of accomplishment into a one-pint window of opportunity.

Therefore it is that I make no excuses whatsoever for doing the Comment Cheat. That is - there were some good questions in yesterday’s comments, and as I answered them via e-mail it struck me that the replies might make interesting (and non-labor-intensive…) post fodder.

Herewith, therefore, yesterday’s Shawl Blocking Q&A.

Astrid said:

I’d love to hear more about your washing and blocking process. Is the white stuff under the shawl in the sink fabric to help lift it out of the water gently? Is the pale blue yarn used for a preliminary tugging into shape? What is your blocking surface? And why did you add big yellow beads to the tips? (Just kidding!)

Yes, the cloth underneath is for lifting it out and doing the first squeezing out without putting strain on the yarn. I would use a net bag, but couldn’t put my hand on one in a hurry, and the muslin I use as a ground for blocking small swatches was in the right place at the right time. The pale blue yarn is Caron’s Simply Soft, which I use for knitting illustrations and which is pretty damn strong - couldn’t find my ball of Strong Nylon String which I was going to use like blocking wires a la Early Harlot, so I used the yarn instead. Next time I block a big piece I’m damn well springing for wires! The yarn worked as well as string, but string isn’t good enough for this.

Surface: I actually bought a lot of those interlocking floor tiles a while ago, but at the moment I don’t have a big enough piece of cat-proof floor-space available. So instead I just used the same guest bed where I’ve been doing the dry-pinning. I have a big heavy white canvas shower curtain thingie (cost me a whole quarter at a yard sale! and the moment I saw it I knew what I’d be using it for), so I laid that out first and just pinned over it. Someday I’m going to mark a grid on it.

Soaked the whole piece for about 15-20 minutes in very warm water (didn’t bother with the hot bath after all, because the black yarn felt fine to me once it was knitted up), with a small drop of shampoo and a small handful of conditioner. (Hair’s hair, after all. Mind you, I still wouldn’t do this with just any old shampoo, but I use Mane & Tail, which is pretty simple stuff, actually intended for both animals and humans - and I find it makes a really nice wool wash. Cheap, too. And not stinky.)

Rinsed slightly. Gathered it up in its protective cloth and squeezed. Wrapped in a big towel and squeezed some more. Laid it out on the surface, pinned out the strings, adjusted, adjusted some more, and then got down to details.

If I’d had wires I’d have gotten a more even line at the bottom and more of a convex curve. As it is, I mostly just blocked for dimensions. The bottom shaping isn’t critical, so I didn’t get obsessive about pinning it - the drape should make that a moot point.

What - you didn’t LIKE the yellow beads? And here I thought they added such a… special… touch….

Lynne said:

Am I correct that you ran your blocking lines (the pale bluish [at least on my monitor] yarn) before you started the soaking/wetting process? Makes a whole lot of sense!

Yup - beats wrassling it through with all that damp lace. Never understood why more people don’t do it that way - I have a note about it in the pattern. ‘Course, you can’t do that with wires, which I must say I do wish I’d had for this. Couldn’t find my ball of Strong String, either, so used Caron Simply Soft which made a fine substitute. But wires would have been way better.

Lynne also said:

You are enjoying dragging this out and teasing us, aren’t you? Tcha…

Possibly not quite as much as you might think - the suspense is kinda killing me too, you know. But I’m so crazed, and doing so many things at once, I really can’t spend the concentrated time on this that I’d like to. (In fact, what with scrambling to do taxes and what-not, I didn’t get to experiment with draping tonight after all - but did get half of the remaining edging done. What is WRONG with the IRS, anyway - don’t they know about Rhinebeck? What were they THINKING, scheduling a tax deadline the same week?) OTOH, might as well make a virtue of necessity and get some mileage out of the fact that it has to happen in instalments.

Astrid said:

As for the Mystery Object, my mind is stuck on un-plying tools, and I can’t get past it.

(… and a number of other people had some very interesting and creative thoughts on that subject too….)

Yeah, well, there’s a reason I said what I did about torturing yourselves. The Mystery Object is so completely arcane and far-fetched that I would be astonished if anyone actually figured it out. It’s a special-purpose implement for facilitating the modification of one small component of a device that I haven’t mentioned at all yet. I have no excuse whatsoever for putting up such a total red herring on the blog, except that it’s, well, kinda funny-looking, and I like being silly now and then. All will be revealed in due course.

And now, having both begun and ended with disclaimers on the subject, I will cease to pretend to refrain from making excuses and will get the hell back to work.

P.S. - the final batch of yarns for Vintage just arrived; the palette is now complete - and gorgeous. If I can possibly manage it I’ll show you the whole deal tomorrow.

Inching Along - III: More of the Same

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

More Kitri Shawl Leaf Edging

Both Leaf Edges

That’s it for edging, for now; must complete insertion and bottom edge before any more beading or finishing can take place.

More Entomological Specimens

More Leaf Specimens

The four on the right are done in a shade that’s a hair darker than the lightest color shown yesterday (as seen here at the top of this picture). Much experimenting and fiddling with leaf color balances for the three different Vintage colorways. For the Claret version I’m still awaiting a deeper, more primary green; for the white wine version a couple of warmer tan-browns. With the blessing, Jennifer will be overnighting these to me today, after which… you’ll be seeing still MORE leaves.

I’m starting to have a nice little pile:

Pile o' Leaves

Makes me want to jump right in.

BTW, note that some of these are posing purl-side-up. Being stockinette, they will naturally tend to curl. The entomological blocking is not intended so much to counteract that as to coax the points into their proper shape and relationship - in the long run the curling is going to be a normal part of how the leaves hang. Kind of like… real autumn leaves, y’know? I need to do some controlled “de-blocking” here, to make sure it’s going to work the way I think it is; but it’s possible, curl-wise, that the best look for these is going to be purl-side-out.

Oh, and a reminder for those who were wondering: “Vintage” is not a club sock. It is going to be a free-range standalone kit, available to the too-long-neglected public in three colorways: Claret, Pinot and Chablis; it joins the light and dark versions of “Oktoberfest” in our Open Bar line of Potable Socks. (You didn’t know we had such a line? Neither did I. It “just growed,” and now I’m envisioning various cocktail possibilities to round it out. To be thought about after Rh*n*b*ck….)

More Invisible Stuff

Continuing, but unphotographed and unphotogenic:

  • Pattern Writing
  • Pattern Printing
  • Pattern Assembly

In general bloggy/Rh*n*b*ck-y news, I’ve been meaning to mention that Jennifer and I are both Squares in this year’s Blogger Bingo, and that we are also contributing some of the prizes.

And in Blog Milestone News, I’m delighted to announce that the 1,000th comment was left yesterday by Cathy-Cate. Cathy, as soon as I get out from under I’ll be sending you a little something to beguile your convalescence…