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Studio Chic Knit Blog

I love to Knit SOCKS!

This time of year is one of my most very favorite. Yes, there is some really nice 70-ish weather going on in Portland, but there’s something else tickling the knitting fancy here at Studio Chic.

I’m back to sock knitting!

Like I’ve told anyone who’ll listen, if I had my druthers, I’d just knit socks all the live long day.

Yes, plain stockinette socks, the ones where the rounds just repeat over and over and over…

They are my mind candy, my yarn happy-hour cocktail, my oasis…

After a beautiful trip teaching at the Cordova Gansey Project in Alaska the last part of June, I came home to a little calm-before-the-storm time frame between design deadlines.

I brought home with me a sock I started using yarn from the Net Loft, in the Salmon colorway. It was my lovely perfect companion while I was so near the Copper River there, where the wild salmon spawn, and it is now my reminder of how much I love that area and its people.

This happiness of knitting on the road re-started my love affair with The Sock and I couldn’t wait to go, where else: stash diving! when I got home to Portland.

During last few months, I’ve winnowed out and organized my yarns and I’d put my nice (and seriously large) collection of Sock Yarns into their own space.

So I started digging and gathering and herding up all the orphan one-ups I’d had started and abandoned and was pleasantly surprised to find some finished ones:

SIP-2192-600
from l. to r.: my Salmon sock-in-progress, a finished prototype, a regular loved pair

Not so pleasantly surprised to find: not all the socks were the same size!

Since I haven’t been knitting socks for awhile I forgot something I wrote about in 2003:

• Not all same circumference needle sizes between manufacturers are consistent

• Not all sock yarns are created equal – even though they may be marked as “fingering” weight.

This invigorated me (instead of annoying me like it had done long ago – ahhh – maturity).

SO, now that I had a bee in my bonnet, I put together a pile of yarn I was most interested in using in the near future and did what any self-respecting geek would do: I made a DATABASE.

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This lovely table includes all the weight and yardage information about the selected skeins (some of which were wound in two or more balls and completely off the grid) and something I hadn’t paid attention to before, yardage per gram and weight of one finished sock.

Doing this enables me to determine the proper needle size and cast-on stitch count I need to get a properly proportioned sock. I especially like keeping track of the weight of a single sock, for reference now that I have a nice little Escali scale.

All my socks should all be the same size, yes?

Now I can “knit on in confidence” knowing my knitting is going to produce the right results.

Priceless…

Chic Knits Knit Blog
>>>> this recently kitchenered sock was started in 2007 and kitchenered July 8, 2016. Two more socks are ready to be grafted which requires fueling with miniature peanut butter cups, but of course…

the Denim Saga [part 5] – Real-time Shrinkage in Denim Yarn

I’ve always been drawn to those knitting techniques that are dangerous.

You know the ones – the ones where you cut the fabric to divide it (Steeking) or treat wool in the way opposite of normal to get a thicker, firmer fabric (like Felting).

Working with this denim yarn was right down that dangerous alley and I am game!

To achieve its optimum characteristic, towards the end of the project, the maker has to just jump off the cliff, jettison all common sense and deliberately torture the work. (All with no guarantees…)

At this point, I’m 1/3 done with the second sleeve of my indigo Cerisara Den-M-Nit cardi. It is looking long and lanky and a little flopsie and untidy. Even though I switched to bamboo needles early on, its fabric just doesn’t have the integrity and cohesive feel you normally would find on something you’re working the correct gauge on.

But just as I was starting to lose faith (which at this point in the project is rather ridiculous because I know I just won’t walk away), I remembered something.

Chic Knits Knit Blog

I had a big swatch I could torture and if successful, go forth to the finish line and “knit on, with confidence and hope, etc…” YAY!

When I switched to bamboo needles and yes, started over from the beginning, the garment was well on its way: the upper Back and Left Front and its Neckband were done. On its longest edges, it was a whooping 18×13 inches of idle loveliness. (For some reason, I could not bear to frog it!)

Now it was just begging for those final denim yarn game steps to prove to myself I could do it, I could master this Indigo Challenge!

So I processed it just like I planned on shrinking the cardi itself. I washed it in my top-loading machine with some old towels and dried it in the dryer.

And what to my wondrous eyes should appear?

Working with Den-M-Nit Yarn

A rousing SUCCESS!

Now, instead of a wiggly, slightly sloppy feeling piece, it had morphed into a firm and symmetric and LOVELY testament that the someone who invented this wonderful stuff Indeed Knew What They were Talking About!

Most fascintating and joyful of all?

THE COLOR SHIFT!

Working with Den-M-Nit Yarn

This was the thing I was most skeptical about – I just didn’t believe it was going to look like the promotional shots in all the marketing.

But indeed – it is softer (still dark) and variegated and full of beautiful depth.

Now I’m ready to finish that Last Sleeve with a bang!

…to be continued…

The Denim Saga
[part 1] – About that Yarn
[part 2] – The Sweater Awakens
[part 3] – Knitting with Indigo Denim Yarn
[part 4] – Picking Up Stitches using Denim Yarn
[part 5] – Real-time Shrinkage in Denim Yarn

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the Denim Saga [part 4] – Picking Up Stitches using Denim Yarn

Like many of the knitters I know, I have a dedicated bag that goes with me almost anytime I leave the house. I LOVE to knit in public.

Newest addition to it? Besides the current indigo WIP, along comes that apron I wrote about in the last post so my clothes stay neat and blue-free. I’ve been taking it all everywhere and getting lots done.

Captain Den-M-Knit approves! (Love love love this label!)

Chic Knits Knit Blog

But why is the Captain sporting that little Mona Lisa grin?

Methinks he agrees that knitting with indigo yarn is FUN but maybe also that knitting in public at a place with dangerous treats is just redonkulous (even with an apron!).

To wit, witness this scene at my local coffee house

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This is me not being able to resist a fabulous treat at the counter then faced with the messy reality at the table. But, OH, the sacrifices one must make for their knitting!

But I digress…

My Cerisara WIP is finally starting to look like a cardi! After another seven inches of body knitting, I cast off and am now onto the first sleeve.

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Picking Up Stitches Using Indigo Yarn
Before I could get going with the sleeve knitting, I realized there was going to be a challenging step I had not considered when I started this sweater.

The Cerisara pattern is part of what I call Chic Knits’ the Sweater Organic™ series.

These sweaters all have something in common: they are seamlessly grown while knitting. All begin with an initial piece, then progressive sections are added by picking up stitches on the original section.

[[[You can see Chic Knits The Sweater Organic Bundle here.]]]

For my indigo Cerisara, the next section added, after the Body is finished, is a sleeve and it is started by picking up stitches around the armhole, then working down to the cuff, in-the-round.

However, if you recall, in compensating for the shrinkage factor of the denim yarn, I added extra length to the armhole, which now throws off the pick up ratio given by the pattern (3 sts picked up for every 4 rows worked).

How to adjust? Not too hard actually – the same principles of the initial calculation when I wrote the pattern would work here as well.

How to Determine a Pick-Up Ratio While Adding Stitches to Rows Worked
• Take number of Rows worked
• Determine number of Stitches needed
• Divide Stitches by Rows

In this case, on the first side, the armhole measured in rows to shoulder = 64 rows.

Stitches needed: 41

SO: 41 / 64 = 0.64 which is approximately 0.66 OR 2/3

(You can visually round out the above numbers to 4/6 pretty quickly which gives the same result).

Now, since this doesn’t produce the exact number of stitches the pattern calls for, some adjustment would probably (and was) necessary on the first row worked after the pick-up row.

But this was simple – in most of my Sweater Organic patterns, the first row worked is a purl row (or mostly purls) and it’s easy to p2tog (or add a stitch) as needed to achieve the needed overall beginning count.

Fabulous!

Now that I had the proper stitch count, I could get going on those sleeves.

But wait just a minute please. What about all that Sleeve Shaping in the near future?~!

THAT would be the most challenging part of the equation yet…


Coming Up in [part 5]: Real-time Shrinkage in Denim Yarn

…to be continued…

The Denim Saga
[part 1] – About that Yarn
[part 2] – The Sweater Awakens
[part 3] – Knitting with Indigo Denim Yarn
[part 4] – Picking Up Stitches using Denim Yarn
[part 5] – Real-time Shrinkage in Denim Yarn

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