Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Don't Do The Math

A lot of knitterly people I know are good at math. Perhaps it's because math is so integral to the design and execution of the projects we make. Or perhaps we math types are drawn to knitting because each stitch is a discrete operation, and each project has a finite solution. Or perhaps I just like to hang with smart and creative people :-)

Until recently, I had been enjoying some good knitting math. I've been working on my River Run Shawl more regularly than usual, counting down the number of rows left until the body was complete. I found my enthusiasm to work on the project was inversely proportional to the number of remaining rows - the smaller that row count got, the more I worked on the project. And Ta Da! I finally finished the body of the shawl - can I get a Halleluja!

The last body row of the shawl ended with 424 live stitches, which get bound off concurrently with the addition of the border. "So," my mind starts to wander to the dark side of math, "I wonder how long it will take me to put this border on?"

My initial quick assessment was a bit depressing, and quite incorrect. Without reading the pattern, I assumed that I would be binding off one shawl stitch with each border row. That would mean 424 border rows are on the horizon - "Ugh," thought my mind. At least the border rows are only about 30 stitches long, and only 3 out of every eight are beaded. "So," my mind says, "I can deal with this." Then I read the pattern.

Turns out that the directions call for one shawl stitch to be bound off with every other border row. That doubles the row count to 848!
So," my increasingly annoying mind asks, "How many more hours of work are we talking here girlfriend?" I need to find the "off" button for my brain, but first I had to find out the answer. I timed myself completing 2 reps of the border, and then extrapolated that data over the remaining 104 reps of the border and got the answer.

39 hours.

"Cripes," said my mind. "I wish you hadn't done the math."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Toes!

I've finished the first half of my new Pedicure Socks, and I have happy toes!!!

This pattern has turned out to be way fun! It starts with I-Cord to form the toe strap, and you work the top of the foot for a couple of inches. Next you pick up the opposite side of the I-Cord and knit the sole of the foot for a couple of inches - and this gives you this pretty hour glass.

At this point, you fold the hourglass in half to join the two halves and work in the round to form the foot, heel, leg, and cuff. As you can see in the full photo below, this design is asymetrical - just like our feet. Consequently, this design is right and left differentiated, which provides a little design challenge for me!

I'm using our new Sweet Butter yarn for this pair, and love the way it feels to work with and wear! I look forward to launching this pattern as part of our Holiday Gift KAL - these socks will make great presents... this pair is a present for ME! :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Heel that makes me Squeel!

I'm working on a new sock design for our Holiday Gift KAL. This sock has a VERY different toe treatment than we have done in the past, so I wanted a new heel, too! Enter the Fleegle Heel.

This heel technique is truly elegant in its simplicity - it results in a very tidy turn with no wraps to mess with and no unwanted peep holes. The real piece de resistance is that there are absolutely NO GAPS where the completed heel is rejoined to the top of the foot to be worked in the round once again. Amazing.

This is a toe-up heel. It begins with paired increases as you approach the heel to create a gusset. Then, short rows are worked to turn the heel, but the short row turn gaps are cleverly hidden with decreases to yield a smooth finish as you can see in my photo. You can read more about it on Fleegle's Blog. I'm hooked!

The yellow yarn I'm using is our new Sock-aholic Sweet in Sweet Butter. I love the feel of it, and so do my feet :-)

In my next post I'll reveal the results of my attempt to knit backwards. The word "attempt" kinda gives it away...


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our First Shawl KAL

Woo hoo! What an exciting week. First we introduced our new yarn, and now we've rolled out the information about our next KAL! The After Hours Shawl is our first project designed for our new yarn, and our first shawl project.

I can't remember what it was that inspired me to design a shawl - I guess it just seemed like a fun, mathematical sort of project that I could sink my teeth into. (Plus, I like to take a break from socks every now and then!) I had no idea whether I could make a decent sized shawl from one skein of yarn, but by using larger needles, the pattern yielded a full-sized shawl. The lacework is definitely more open than you see in most shawls, but it still drapes well, looks pretty, and makes you feel like a Princess when you put it on :-)

Our new Sweet yarn is really perfect for this type of a project. The bamboo and silk in the blend enhance the yarn's draping properties. The shawl is also accented with 04/0 beads around the border to give it a bit more weight. It hangs beautifully!

And kudos to Mr. Wendy, who once again has done a great job photographing our projects.

The Knit-Along for this shawl starts on 9/1. For details, you can visit
The Store or The Ravelry Group. We would love to have you join us for this quick-knit project!

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Yarn!!!!

A while back I asked members of the online Sock-aholic group what type of fibers they would like to have in a sock yarn - and here's why!

Introducing: Sock-aholic Sweet!

I'm so excited to be rolling this out! :-)

Sock-aholic Sweet is our new fingering weight yarn which has been created exclusively for Knitters Brewing Company. It is a super soft blend of 60% Superwash Merino, 15% Nylon, 15% Bamboo, and 10% Silk.

This yarn has a wonderful feel to it. It's a 6-ply (3 by 2 plies) fingering weight yarn, that knits to the same gauge as our original Sock-aholic (7 to 9 sts/inch on size 1 - 2 needles), and it is hanked at approximately 390 yards. It has a beautiful sheen due to the silk content, and the bamboo adds a light airyness and moisture wicking properties that make this a great year round sock yarn.

We are currently offering Sweet in 8 cool colors, and tomorrow I'll be announcing our new KAL which will feature this awesome yarn!

Now... why is it called Sweet you ask? One reason is that when I got my hands on it for he first time , I said, "This is SO Sweet!" The other reason is more in keeping with our shop's cocktail theme. When we were on vacation in Barbados earlier this year, one of the guides told us that people on the island don't get drunk, they get "sweet!" How perfect is that?