Sunday, May 24, 2015

Faux Foot!

Inspired by the wooden foot form I saw at Abeja in Washington state and the idea of a custom dress form made with an old t-shirt and duct tape, I decided to try to use the idea to make a foot. 
Mom bought me a few designs from which to select. Originally I wanted houndstooth, but when she saw all the choices I couldn't make up my mind. 
In the end, we decided the argyle was the most appropriate. 
As I started the process I wasn't sure how to proceed. Basically, I got as far as putting on my old sock. 
Happily, my niece sprang into action and took over. She started wrapping it in the way her feet get wrapped for soccer. 
Layers were carefully added in small sections to conform to the shape of my foot. 
She went down to my toes and the up my calf. She said we couldn't go to the very top, but it was close enough. 
Once the entire foot was covered, she carefully cut down the back of my leg. She had to cut down into the heel a little in order to open it enough to take it off my foot. 
How awesome is the finished foot?! It actually looks like a foot. 
I think it's hysterical. 
She put a few handfuls of rice in the bottom for weight, then carefully stuffed it with fiberfill. 
She had to be careful not to overfill it and distort the shape. 
We popped a finished sock on the form and it fits very well. But then it should, since it's my foot!
It was actually a little tricky to get the sock onto the foot, but it probably just takes practice. 
I'll probably have to figure out a way to close the top up. 
Now I have a way to display finished socks. Or even test them as I'm knitting them instead of trying it on my actual foot. 
I'm also wondering whether this will help me embrace toe-up sock knitting as I'll be able to try the sock on the form to determine gusset shaping. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fake foot

We are on vacation in Washington state. Drinking ALL the wine! 

These first few nights we're staying at The Inn at Abeja, which is beautiful. 

When we checked in last night I saw this foot form. 
Maybe it's a shoe form?

I couldn't resist trying a sock on it. 
I was a bit surprised by how well it fit!

Then I wondered how the form compared to my foot. 
The width is probably the same, but the toes are longer. 

I guess it wouldn't be a good sock blocker. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sweater Surgery

I woke up this morning with a potentially brilliant idea. 

My iPhone suggested "dangerous " after I typed "potentially", Siri knows me so well. 
Anyway, I knit this Buttercup top last Summer. Halfway through I read that the pattern runs large. 

Turns out that is accurate. 

The body fit well, but the bodice was a bit plunging for my taste. 

After all that time knitting, I wore it anyway. 

The problem is the neckline has only grown more open with each wash and wear. Really, it's starting to be unwearable. 

On Wednesday, I was discussing the issue with a lady at knitting group who also knit one and is having the same issue. (Although she used a different yarn.)

She said she might just frog it, and I agreed that might be the way to go. Since the sweater is knit top-down you have to go through the entire garment to reach the neckline. 

Then this morning I woke up and thought, "Why not just frog the problem area?"

shouldn't have to cut anything since I want to save the "skirt."

Instead, I can find where I joined a new ball after the bodice, pick out the end, and unravel up. 

The skirt stitches will be placed on a lifeline until I'm ready to join the pieces together. I'm thinking Kitchener stitch. 

One potential problem is getting the stitch count of the new, smaller top to match the skirt so I can graft them. 

But, really, if I'm not going to wear it as-is I've got nothing to lose. 

At most, it might end up longer because I have to keep knitting to get the stitch counts to match. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ticking Away

Finally have my warp threaded again. Now to sley the reed, again. 
It's a good reminder not to act in haste. 

After my previous attempt with this yarn didn't work out, I cut it loose and pulled it all the way out. 

The next time I saw my weaving instructor she said, "Why don't you try a plain weave instead of a twill?"

And here I am, ticking away at returning to square one. 

Trying a 15 dent reed this time. I hope it doesn't turn to mush like my previous attempts. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Outlander Excitement

Did you watch the Outlander premier on Saturday?
I did! It was actually my second time watching the episode as I'd cracked and watched it on-demand earlier in the week.

My mother-in-law introduced the books to be back in 2002 or so. She told me it was about time travel, but that first one is a bodice ripper in my opinion. The "romance novel" aspects do get toned down in the later books.

My mother-in-law is amazed at how excited people are about the TV series. She says she's been telling people about the books for years. That fits in with what I've been reading about them. They built a following through word of mouth.

Having allowed myself to get sucked into the hype on social media and the Starz website, I decide it would be a good idea to try a couple recipes from the Outlander Kitchen blog to get into the spirit of things.

I tried the Claire's Spoon Bread recipe (above) and the Scotch Eggs recipe (below)
Neither recipe was very difficult, but I don't know that I'd bother making either again.

Now, in the case of the Spoon Bread, I might have messed it up. The recipe calls for putting the batter in a 9" pie plate or ramekins. As you see, I used my 8" square stoneware pan that I bought at the King Arthur Flour store.

Maybe the size and shape of my pan messed it up, but it came out awfully thin.
Another issue is the taste. Mine tastes a little fizzy and metallic. I think it has to to with the leavening agent is baking soda and lemon juice. Maybe I measured incorrectly or my baking soda is old, but it's just weird.
As for the Scotch Eggs, which I've always viewed suspiciously (if I'm being honest). The first one I ate on Sunday was very tasty, although I thought it could use some gravy. Actually, I only ate half of one, which might have been a good idea.
I tried another one today and it was just too strong a flavor. I don't know if it's cured in the fridge, or because I tried to reheat it in a frying pan, but I'm eying the remaining two with a little bit of reluctance.

Oh well, my recipe experiments weren't as transcendent as I'd hoped. But the night wasn't a total loss!

Show producer Ronald D Moore was live tweeting during the first showing of the premier episode!
Since I'd already watched, I was able to follow the conversation on Twitter.
I noticed he was also responding to I sent him one. And he responded!
I feel so special!
Looking back, my question might have been a little dumb, but then I guess maybe not since he answered. A lot of people favorited and retweeted his answer to me, so maybe I'm not the only one who wondered about it.
Someone else responded to me that it had to have been choreographed because it looked so effortless. That, of course, makes total sense.

Between Wendy Knits following my work Instagram account and Ronald D Moore responding to me on Twitter, I had a pretty rocking social media weekend!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shawl Struggles

Back in January I bought the pattern for the Carradal Shawl on Ravelry.
It is designed by Lucy Hauge and is part of her Celtic Cable Shawls eBook.
Carradal is the first one that really caught my eye. All the ones after seem more beautiful than the next. This probably means I should buy the eBook, but I figured I should knit this shawl first!

I like the combination of the stripes at the top and the beautiful cable at the bottom. The size is appealing as well. It looks like a shawl you can wrap up in.
I'm kinda of tired of all these shawlets that are really glorified scarves! If I'm going to knit a shawl I want it to be usable. 

I was sure that I was going to use this soft yellow Ella Rae Lace Merino yarn with the lavender as the contrasting color. Some days the dark purple seemed better, but usually it was the lavender.

All these months I keep saying Carradal would be my next project. Finally, I decided it would be my now project!

Swatching commenced, and that's when the trouble began.

Neither the lavender or the dark purple was making my heart leap. I proceeded to wind and add in several other colors of Lace Merino in an attempt to find a good contrast.
I settled on the fuchsia, which was the last color I tried.

Then things went from bad to worse. I couldn't get a combination of the proper gauge and a pleasing fabric.
To get even close to the gauge in the pattern I had to go up to a US10 needle! That made a very floppy and open fabric. I can't believe it is what the designer had in mind.

Using a needle that would give me a nice fabric, even if it wasn't the proper gauge, is in theory, an option. However, I'm not sure about the math that would be involved in keeping the shawl the proper size. I don't want to spend all that time knitting only to end up with a shawl that is too small to use.

Sadly, I realized I wouldn't be able to use the Lace Merino for this pattern. My mind was a little boggled that I didn't have the proper weight yarn in enough quantity to make the larger size.

Finally, I hit on some alpaca that I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. The gauge is much closer than I got with the Lace Merino, and the fabric is pleasing.
It is a single, massive, hank of silver yarn, so my shawl will be one color, but that should work out fine.

My only concern now is that the alpaca will fuzz up and obscure the cable. I guess only time will tell.