New Pattern Release: Babylon Shawlette

Introducing my latest pattern: the Babylon Shawlette!

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Knit from a single skein of sock yarn, this shawlette started out life destined to be a pair of socks … but the yarn wanted more. In sock form, the colors pooled and flashed in an unacceptably foul manner. No matter what I did, the yarn would not cooperate.

 

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PatternBabylon Shawlette

DesignerRachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (biggie skein)

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Design/Skills Needed: This sinuous shawlette is designed to show off unusual colorways while fighting pooling and flashing with a varying-width edging and tapered ends.  Short rows at the center back curve the shawlette into a shoulder-hugging crescent and add interest to the pattern.  Babylon is worked from tip to tip in one piece — no finishing or picking up stitches! The neck edge has a worked-as-you-go i-cord border for comfort at prevent too much curling.

The trickiest bit of the edging is the yarn-over at the beginning of each wrong-side row.  It’s important to wrap the yarn the same way you would to do a normal stitch–that way, it stays open and creates a pretty loopy edge. The extra effort is worth it: a pretty edge that doesn’t roll and isn’t garter stitch, yay!

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FO Friday: July 2011 STR Socks

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I continue to enjoy my Blue Moon Fiber Arts sock club socks.  This yarn is deceptively pretty, with purples and lime greens hidden in the foilage.

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Project: July 2011 STR Socks

Pattern: Fences

Designer: JC Briar

Available: sometime in July 2012

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight

Pattern was great, quick and easy knit.  I shortened the toe (as I almost always do) to fit my squared-off Dutch feet.

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Fantasy Queue: Knitty First Fall 2011

A few weeks ago, I was anxiously awaiting the new patterns from Knitty’s First Fall 2011.  Then they came out.  If I sound a little underwhelmed …. well, I am.  I hate to admit it, but this really isn’t my favorite issue of Knitty.  Which is to say, instead of wanting to make nearly ALL of them, only about half call me with their siren song.  I’m used to unremitting “ohhs” and “ahhs” when I page through a new issue of Knitty — this one has a few “hmms” and “uh, what?”  That said, there are many more patterns that I could ever reasonably make, so for this post I answer this question: If I had unlimited time and money, what would I knit, and with what yarn?

Chasing Snakes

Often I’m drawn to complex sock patterns with a whole lot going on. Recently, I learned the folly of my ways … and then up pops this little number. Bold cabling in a non-traditional irregular sinuous pattern zig-zags down the leg, while the rest of the sock takes a background role. If I were being very, very good I would use some of my stashed yarn for new socks … but in my fantasy queue I spring for some Stroll Tonal in “Canopy.”

Double Heelix

Love the unique and interesting spiral heel-first approach on these socks! The pair featured in knitty are striking, but I REALLY love the “flavor 3” variation — especially since it uses Socks That Rock Lightweight in “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” This is the March 2011 sock club colorway, that I’ve already used to make socks and an ipod nano cozy.  I would definitely have to do a Flavor 3 pair for myself — maybe use my sock club coupon to pick up some STR in “Fire on the Mountain” with “Korppi” for the dark background color.

 

Cast On Monday: the all-BMFA edition

Last week, I sat down and took a good hard look at my Transition Point socks (from the May 2011 BMFA Sock Club shipment). I’d finished the leg on the first sock, and had started the heel turn.  I had been trying on the leg obsessively as I worked, because I’d already frogged and restarted twice due to fit issues. So, the leg fit … but it didn’t feel very good the diagonal slipped-stitch lines pulled and tugged, and although I’m not crazy-sensitive, I am bothered by binding clothing. Then there the odd zig-zag pooling, which was disruptive to the pattern … which, if I am honest, I found a bit over-worked.  Too much going on, without enough coherence. Seed stitch on a sock is another question mark — it just isn’t as stretchy and it’s bumpy next to the skin.  I knew every time I wore these socks (which wouldn’t be that often, because of the binding problem), I would have the seed stitch impressed into my feet after I took them off. So, I took a deep breath, pulled out the needles, and sent this project to the Frog Pond for permanent retirement — consider this an un-cast-on annoucement :).

One thing I do love about knitting is that a project may be over and done, but the yarn is still salvageable. I wound the kinky frogged yarn gently around the cake, and set it aside.  Then, yesterday, I realized that I do still love the colors in the skein, especially when they are mixed up together. Then I thought about how much I like all the one-skein sock yarn shawls out there, and then I thought about this great lace edging I’ve been meaning to use for something … so last night I cast on for a new Remily Knits design: a sideways-knit one-skein shawlette for variegated yarn.

In the midst of all this, the July 2011 BMFA Sock Club shipment arrived! I can’t share photos yet (there are no-spoiler rules to preserve the surprise for all club members), but I can say that I love the yarn, and that one of the two patterns REALLY appealing to me.  I cast on some new socks Saturday.

FO Friday: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Socks

1930 STR March 2011

The March 2011 Rockin’ Sock Club kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts was extremely colorful, to say the least!  The colorway had a great name: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

1932 STR March 2011

Two great patterns, as usual, made it extremely hard to choose … but ultimately I decided on one and got to work.  I love how the basic p1, k3 rib can get so excited with a slipped stitch here and there.

1956 Intrepid Traveler socks

Project: Mar 2011 RSC Socks

Pattern: Intrepid Traveler

Designer: Gail Marracci

Available: to club members now (join up! it’s fun!) and to the general public in 2012

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

I’m proud to say I finished this kit’s socks *before* this month’s kit has even shipped!  Even though they weren’t a “priority” project, they trucked right along.  Inexplicably, the two socks pooled and flashed differently. This colorway is so wild, it really doesn’t matter.

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FO Friday: Social Network Socks

This was the first of six shipments in the 2011 Rockin’ Sock Club.  This is my second year as a Notorious Sock Knitter.  I really enjoy the “surprise” aspect of being in a sock club, but even more, I love the challenge of being open to new colors and (this year especially!) new color combinations. Left to my own devices, I would likely knit lovely things in shades of green/blue/purple for the rest of time. Sometimes it’s good to knit outside my normal color scheme, and a sock club is the perfect way to do this.  The January shipment (above) had two skeins, and two colorwork patterns to go with them. At first glance, it was “interesting” but certainly not within my usual corner of the color wheel!

I chose a pattern and got to work.  They have been my “steady in the background” project for a while.  Because the yarn is mediumweight, they worked up quickly, even with very little concentrated knitting time. I finished second sock the same day that the March 2011 shipment arrived … I can’t WAIT until it’s cool to share photos! Talk about colorful. (The club has rules to protect overseas subscribers from being spoiled.)

Project: Jan 2011 RSC Socks

Pattern: Social Network

Designer: Lucy Neatby

Available: to club members now (join up! it’s fun!) and to the general public in 2012

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Aubergenius  and Pinkie Swear

These are socks for lounging, not for shoes.  Cushy garter-stitch heels and toes, plus the sturdy two-color cable-net pattern, and the slipped-stitch cuff, all mean these socks practically stand up on their own! I’m reminded of Dr. Seuss’s story with the “pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them.”

That story scared the bejesus out of me as a kid, even though the whole point was that you needn’t be scared.  Frankly, I thought that story was terrifying, and the pictures only made it worse. Somehow my stand-up-alone socks don’t rate as scary though.

1941 Social Network socks

FO Friday: Rockin’ Socks in Firecracker

This week I finished a pair of socks!  My Firecracker Corners are on my feet as I type, and I love them.  The yarn and pattern were part of the July 2010 shipment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts (aka BMFA)  Rockin’ Sock Club. There were six shipments last year, and (alas) until this week I’d only completed two pairs of socks!  For Christmas my dear sweet husband who knows and loves me well gave me a membership in the 2011 Rockin’ Sock Club, and I’m expecting the first shipment soon … so I thought I had better get my rear in gear and finish the pair of socks I’ve had on the needles since July (gasp!).

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Pattern: Dusty Corners

Designer: Linda Welch

Available: to 2010 Rockin’ Sock Club members only for now (available to the general public sometime after July 2011)

Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in Firecracker (a club colorway)

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As usual with any socks that I’ve let languish, when I finally pick them up again I’m done so quickly I can’t quite believe I let them sit so long.  Something about the purple-red with surprising bits of pale blue really made me happy as I knit along.  The pattern was simple, but attractive. I especially appreciated the contrast between the 1×2 cable and the larger mostly-stockinette waves within the variegated colorway.  I did get a bit of a self-striping effect on both socks, but not so much as to detract from their overall beauty.

I wanted very badly to cast on a new pair of socks as soon as I finished these, but I managed to refrain.  (Honesty moment: I did wind yarn for a rogue pair of socks! But I didn’t cast on.) Given that I’m planning to join a Mystery Sock-a-long that starts in just a few days, and of course I’m expecting the January shipment from BMFA … I really shouldn’t put needles into ANY socks just yet.  Instead, I’ve picked up a few other sad WIPs that are in need of attention. With any luck, I’ll get to share them here on a future FO Friday.