Thursday, May 16, 2013


 According to Norse mythology, fimbulvetr is the "winter of winters"--three years long--that precedes Ragnarok (the doom of the Gods) and the end of the known world. Conflicts and feuds break out, relationships founder, morality disappears, things get pretty chaotic. and it goes downhill from there. 

Last year, conflicts broke out, relationships foundered, stuff disappeared, things got pretty chaotic, and my life went downhill from there. In the aftermath, I moved from southern California to the heart of the midwest. Winter only lasts about four months here, it only seems endless. The house I now live in is drafty, and the person who owns it prefers to keep the ambient temperature low. Once I got here, I decided slippers were more important than a hat. These, over a pair of heavy socks, didn't quite keep my feet warm when it's less than -20- degrees outside, and less than 62 degrees in, but they came close.

Now that it's 80+ degrees, I finally got around to writing up the pattern. Make at your own risk: it hasn't been tested, and I don't always corral the correct numbers when I'm figuring things out. I'll try to make a pattern test pair (and corrections) before the next fimbulvetr comes along.

Description: toe-up slippers, with laces
Size Women's U.S. 9

Yarn: (I used about 3/4 skein of Bernat Vintage)
Needles: U.S. #6, or size needed for gauge
1 stitch marker
Gauge: 20 stitches and 32 rows = 4” in stockinette

“Toe-Up” Cast On
Knitting in the round
Knit stitches
Purl stitches
Yarn over eyelet stitches

Special Stitches:
M1R: Increase one stitch by knitting in the right side of the stitch in the row below
M1L: Increase one stitch by knitting in the left side of the stitch in the row below

Pattern: repeat of 3 stitches, plus 2
Round 1: knit
Round 2: *p1, k2, end p1
Round 3: knit
Round 4: k1,*k2, p1, k1
(If knitting back and forth, all odd rows should be purled)

Using Judi's Magic Cast-On, cast on 12 stitches over two needles. Place marker to indicate beginning of round.
Round 1: knit
Round 2: k1, m1R, k4, m1L, k2, m1R, k4, m1L, k1 (16 stitches on needles)
Round 3: knit
Round 4: k1, m1R, k6, m1L, k2, m1R, k6, m1L, k1 (20 stitches on needles)
Round 6: knit
Round 7: k1, m1R, k8, m1L, k2, m1R, k8, m1L, k1 (24 stitches on needles)
Round 8: knit
Round 9: knit
Round 10: k1, m1R, k10 m1L, k2, m1R, k10, m1L, k10, k1 (28 stitches on needles)
Round 11: knit
Round 12: knit
Round 14: k1, m1R, k12 m1L, k2, m1R, k12, m1L, k12, k1 (32 stitches on needles)
Round 15: knit
Round 16: knit
Round 18: k1, m1R, k14 m1L, k2, m1R, k14 m1L, k14, k1 (36 stitches on needles)
Round 18: knit
Round: 19: knit
Round 20: knit
Round 21: k1, m1R, k16, m1L, k2, m1R, k14, m1L, k16, k1 (40 stitches on needles)

Round 1: knit
Round 2: (p1, k2, six times) p1, k21
Round 3: knit
Round 4: (k2, p1 six times) k22
Repeat rounds 1-4 six more times, or until desired length is reached (approximately 65% of total)
Heel Shaping
The heel will be worked on the 20 stitches that make up the sole of the foot. On odd rows, slip the first stitch as if to purl, on even rows, slip the first stitch as if to knit.
Row 1: turn work, slip1, purl 19
Row 2: slip1, k1, ssk, k16
Row 3: slip1, p1, p2tog, k15
Row 4: slipl, k1, ssk, k14
Row 5: slip1, p1, p2tog, k13
Row 6: slip1, k1, ssk, k12
Row 7: slip1, p1, p2tog, k11
Row 8: slip1, k1, ssk, k10
Row 9: slip1, p1, p2tog, k9
Row 10: slip1, k1, ssk, k8
Row 11, slip1, p1, p2tog, k7
Row 12: slip1, k1, ssk, k6
Row 13: slip1, p1, p2tog, k5
Row 14: slip1, k1, ssk, k4
Row 15: slip 1, k1, p2tog, k3
Row 16, slip 1, k1, ssk, k2

Heel and Gusset
Round 1:
Pick up and knit 8 slipped stitches along the left side of the heel, plus the last stitch in the row below, k20, pick up and knit the first stitch in the row below the slipped stitches on the right side of the heel, pick up and knit the 8 slipped stitches along the side of the heel) knit 16
Round 2: (p1, k2, six times) p1, k2, ssk, k7, (p1, k2 six times), p1, k7, k2tog, k1
Round 3: knit
Round 4: (k2, p1 six times) k3, ssk, k4, (k2, p1 six times), k7, k2tog, k3
Round 5: knit
Round 6: (k2, p1 six times) k3, ssk, k2, (k2, p1 six times), k5, k2tog, k3

Round 1: knit
Round 2: (p1, k2, thirteen times)
Round 3: knit
Round 4: (k2, p1, thirteen times)
Repeat once, (eight rounds in all)
Round 1: purl
Round 2: knit
Round 3: purl
Round 4: knit
Round 5: purl
Round 6: knit
Round 7: (eyelet row) k2 (yo, k5 seven times)
Round 8: knit
Round 8: purl
Round 10: knit
Round 11: purl
Round 12: knit

Bind off.

Ties (make 2)
Make approximately 24” of 4 stitch i-cord

Weave in ends, wash and block, thread ties through eyelets

Please let me know of any pattern problems or inaccuracies. As with all of my patterns, (so far) this one is free. Make slippers for yourself or to give away, don't claim the pattern as your own,  sell it, or the slippers you make from it, or I'll be sending Loki and his big brother Thor after you, and you won't like that, one bit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Inches to Go Before I Sheep

Dr. Who's Cane is That?

I’ve been trying to think of what to do with the yarn left over from Half a Sheep. It’s not really good for socks, don’t have enough for a sweater, and hats or critters don’t have enough row repeats to be identifiable. A friend showed me a knitted cane "cozy." What a really cool idea!

Since I have to use a cane, dressing it in a Time Lord’s scarf is full of win. I’m not using the original pattern though: my cane is straight with a derby handle,
there is no way her pattern will work with it’s shape.

click for a closer lookAs I was playing around with how to make a cane “scarf” work, which color repeat, or which part of the color repeats to use, how many stitches to cast on, etc., I decided I want it to drape like the Doctor’s scarf, too.

So I cast on 16 stitches (gauge is 4.5/in.) and I’m doing 1/2 of each of the color repeats from the season 12 scarf. After some trial and error, I decided to knit it flat; and will seam the part that goes around the cane once it’s done. The rest (about 2/3rds of the total length) I’ll leave flat, loop over the handle, let hang, and add tassels. As much as I hate seaming, it’s going to look better and be
easier than trying to work such a small circumference in the round.

Update 9/26/12: The knitting has been done for a month, and I DID have enough yarn. I accidentally left my cane at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago, and so haven't seamed or "fitted," or tasseled it yet. I want to have the actual cane to do that, so I can block it to shape on the cane itself. Soon, I hope.

Further Update: 10/20/12
Blocked it, whip stitched the “around the cane” part to make a tube,added tassels to the “loose” end. I did the tassels in groups of three three colors each, placing one every other stitch, and changing the colors with each one so they were “evenly” represented. I had just enough (literally!) of the green to finish it, and less than yard left of the brown and the tan.
This one’s been FUN.
I've really enjoyed the looks and comments I've gotten on my scarf covered cane. No one has realized it's a play on Dr. Who yet; if I make it to a science fiction convention in a couple of weeks, perhaps that will change.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nac Mac Feegle's Figurative Fire Stopper

It's finished, and no longer a secret, so I can post about it now. I made this for a friend who said she's always "putting out fires" at work. I am quite pleased with myself; this is the first arumigumi/toy type thing I've ever made, let alone designed. I'm glad I used wool, because blocking was pretty important to make all the bits look the way they are supposed to look. If using acrylic, I recommend dipping the parts other than the canister in a very thin solution of either Elmer's glue and water or laundry starch, so they can be shaped.

Gauge = 12 stitches/inch in stockinette
I used Brown Sheep Sport on U.S. 0 (2mm) needles

Yarn: Sport/Fingering weight
Red: about  25 yards 
Light Grey: About 1 yard
Black or Dark Grey: About 1 yard

(I used Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport for the canister, Regia 4 ply Solids for the other bits, because that's what I happened to have on hand.) Embroidery floss would work well for the bits, too.)

Size: 3" high and 1" in diameter (Edit: I don't know how I originally managed to say this thing was 4" high. Sorry about that.)

With main color (red), using the magic circle cast on, cast on 6 stitches
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: kfb 6 times (12 stitches total)
Round 3: kfb, k1, repeat around (18 stitches total)
Round 4: kfb, k2, repeat around (24 stitches total)
Round 5: kfb, k3, repeat around (28 stitches total)*
Round 6: purl
Round 7: k5, s1, psso, four times (24 stitches total)**
Rounds 8- 30: knit

Stop knitting and stuff; evenly and fairly tightly, because poking stuffing down a very small hole after the following decreases is pure drudgery

Beginning with round 31:
Decrease 4 stitches every other round, until four stitches are left on the needle
Fasten off  by cutting the yarn, pulling it (loosely!) through the remaining stitches, and knotting
Tuck the yarn end down into the body of the work. Cram in some more stuffing to fill the newly created space

Handle: cast on 4 stitches. Work 8 rounds of i-cord
Rounds 9 & 11: Knit
Rounds 10 & 12: Purl
Work 8 more rounds of i-cord
Fasten off: cut yarn, pull end through the stitches

Part 1: (Crochet)  With lighter grey, chain 20 stitches, or desired length
Part 2: (Knit) Insert needle into 3rd chain from the end. Cast on 3 stitches
Work seven rounds of i-cord around the end of the crocheted chain
Increase by one stitch on rounds 3, 5, and 7 (final row of i-cord will have 6 stitches)
Fasten off: cut yarn, pull loosely through all stitches, leaving a tail of about  6" yarn for assembling

Mount: (Crochet)
Chain 20 (or as many stitches needed to fit loosely around the canister) join to form ring
Round 1: Chain 2 (forms first stitch) hdc in each stitch around, slip stitch to close ring
Round 2: Chain 3, slip stitch in first chain from hook to form a small picot
Fasten off: Cut yarn, pull through final stitch

Assembling and Finishing:
1: Attach small end of hose to handle by pulling "tail" of yarn between the stitches at the center of the handle, knot
2: Fold the handle in half (centering on the flat area between the two i-cord portions. Attach to canister by placing on one side of the "neck. Pull the "tail of yarn from the "hose" to the outside of the center, weave it through the stitches at the base of the neck. Lash it around the handle (like sewing on a button with a post; I don't know how else to describe it) three times, between three of the four stitches at the top of the canister
3. Slide the mount over the cylinder and the hose, to desired position. (It should sit about 1/3 of the way down the canister.) Position the picot over the hose. Tack in place if desired
4. Weave in and trim ends
5. Block and shape, stiffen with glue or starch if desired
6. Give to friend
7. Enjoy the squee

*originally read "kfb, k2," which is incorrect
**the decreases are a refinement I thought of after I created this thing, to keep the cylinder more--cylindrical

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shh! It's a Secret!

I'm working on creating a little bit of amigurumi for a new--but already--close friend. Don't tell. It's geeky and kind of punnish, and I think it's hilarious.

Hints: It will be tiny, and mostly red. The main part will be knitted in the round, gauge is 12 stitches to the inch. Ravelry doesn't have any (though they have everything else) so I have to design my own.

I should have updated a while back, but life DOES get in the way. The project is made, gifted and a big hit. The person I made it for was grumbling that she keeps having to put out fires that other people make. We joked about her needing a teeny tiny fire extinguisher to keep on her desk. Since I had no idea where to find such a thing, no money to buy one if I did, AND I knit--

I present to you the nac mac Feegle Figurative Fire Stopper. (Not to be used in the event of an actual, non-figurative fire.)

Techniques used: Knitting: slip-ring cast on, knit, purl, increasing, knitting in the round, decreasing, i-cord. Crochet: chain, hdc.

Recipe for making your own in a future post.

Method To My Madness

Mostly Unrelated Picture. Just for Fun.

I knit weird. When I first learned to knit, back in the dark ages when we had to hunt and skin our own acrylics and polyesters---using flint tipped needles--chasing them down the dark and fetid aisles of the local general store, I was taught by my great Aunt Fern. She was an amazing teacher, and I was a pretty good student back then. I didn't realize that the "method" she taught me was "all wrong," at least according to some people, for whom rules are more important than either product or process. I've taught a lot of other people to knit weird, too.

Many years later--after Ravelry, and a proliferation of LYS brought civilization to us savages--I discovered that I could get my hands on other fibers to knit, and that patterns for complex designs involving textures and shaping require some changes in method. The end results look just like something made with the more"standard" versions, so any one who doesn't like my methods can go chew on a big ol' hank of wormy chenille, and stay the heck out of my way. I'll be over here, knitting for people who appreciate it, and having a lovely time.

I still think "my way" is easier all around than any other, and as much as I enjoy wrapping yarn around sticks and pulling it off again, I like to actually make stuff that can be used in some way or another. (You! In the back. Stop sniggering, unless you're thinking about cheezombie's slugs, which are very cool.) Put most simply, I knit in the backs of my stitches. I purl in the front of them; so the motions to make a purl stitch are the exact mirror of the ones for the knit. (That's WHY I knit in the back; if the next row needs to be purled, it sets the stitch up correctly.) That's all. Sometimes I knit from right to left instead of left to right too, but (I think) that's not all that odd.

The first cast-on I learned was the backward loop (wait! There's more than one?) Then I discovered knit, followed by cable (what? they're not the same thing?) cast ons, and used those for a very long time. Even more years later, I learned long tail and Judi's Magic, and crochet, and provisional, all of which cover pretty much everything I've wanted to knit so far, though I'm sure there are others out there.

Years later, I taught myself a whole bunch of other techniques for laces and insertions, short row shaping and steeking, edgings and colorwork and all that complicated stuff, plus how to read patterns and "convert" stitches to "my" style as necessary. From there, it was logical leap to begin writing my own patterns, and I'll probably start charting them soon. I can read charts, but I'm not very good at it. It's still a "foreign" language that I haven't learned to think in, yet.

I like making stuff up, even when the math is hard.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Socks of Doom

Pattern: Jane's Hedgerow Socks
Yarn: Regia 4 Ply Fadig, colorway: Bark

Gauge: 28 stitches/40 rows = 4" in stockinette
Needles: U.S. 0 (you'll probably want to use 1s unless your knitting is loose and sloppy like mine) circular(s) or dpns
Techniques: Magic Loop, Toe Up Gusseted Heel, Jeni's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

My, What Lovely...Feet You Have!

I have made socks for three of my four sisters. I've been putting off making a pair for the remaining sister for several years. I want to make her socks. I tried to make her socks. I failed. When I originally asked her what she would like, she told me she wanted:

Long Wearing.


I love my sister. I want to make her happy. I want her to have socks that she really likes. I tried. Hard. I managed--in spite of the fact that I am half blind-- so black yarn is virtually impossible for me to knit with, and have ADHD--so endless swathes of tiny stockinette stitches make me really stabbity--to complete one sock. I did have to put a hot pink toe on it to keep from losing my mind completely, but I got it done.

It languished in the craft pile for several years. I had cataract surgery, and got new glasses. I discovered cuboid needles, which help me make my usually straggly stitches a lot more evenly sized. I got medication for the ADHD, so can now focus on repetitious stuff for long periods of time. But I can't make myself knit that second sock, I still don't hate myself enough to endure the drudgery that it entails. I threw out the one I'd made so it would stop taunting me; I didn't even try to salvage the yarn.

The other knitted gifts I've been making keep giving me a vague sense of nagging guilt. I finally decided that I do very much want to make this sister a pair of socks, but I have to honor myself as a crafter, first. I hunted Ravelry for a pattern that would be reasonably plain, and my stash for a dark neutral nylon reinforced wool fingering weight yarn.

I switched the pattern from top down to toe up, and my gauge is 7 (rather than 8) stitches to the inch on U.S. 0 needles. I wanted a rounder toe than the standard one that increases by four stitches every other row, and that took some research and a lot of experimentation before I got a result I like. Bonus (which may have subconsciously led me to picking this pattern) the sister's name is Jane.

It really is a foot. It's not a strange pink tree root. I promise.

Patterm Adaptations:
Rounded Toe: 
Judy's Magic Cast On: 10 stitches each needle. (20 stitches)
Round 1: knit
Rounds 2-5: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (36 stitches in round 5)
Round 6, 8, and 10: knit
Rounds 7, 9, and 11: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (48 stitches)
Rounds 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, and 20: knit
Rounds 14, and 17: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (56 stitches)

The trick to making a rounded toe with paired increases on top and bottom is to divide the rounds into 3 or 4 segments (depending on how many stitches are desired for the foot) and knitting first none, then 1, then two, then 3 (for more 60 stitches) even rounds in between the increase rounds. Once the desired total of stitches is reached, end with one or more even rounds before starting the pattern repeats.

Work top of sock in pattern, and bottom of sock in stockinette until it measures 65% of desired finished length. (I want my finished sock to be about 10.25" long, so fudging the math just a bit:

10.25 inches = 102.5 rounds x 65% - the 20 for the toe = 48

The pattern stitch for this sock is very simple:

Round 1: k1, p1, k2, p2, repeat to end of round
Round 2: k2, p1, k2, P2, repeat to end of round

So I've got four more rows to knit before I start the heel, which is going to be the Toe Up Gusseted Heel from Maia Spins.

I'll edit this post and add more pictures when I get to that part.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Second Verse

Update 7/09/12: And now they are done. I like the way the turned out more better this time. And they fit. Perfectly.

Not quite the same as the first, but "Do Over" is such a depressing name for a project.  Halfway through the second sock, I (a) didn't really like the pattern and (b) realized they were going to be too bloody big. 

Cascade Fixation stretches. A LOT. So I frogged and started over. (Yes, that IS why I am called Rana Catesbeiana, at least in part. I generally frog everything at least once.)

The pattern I'm using instead is Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder. More or less.

Gauge is 24 stitches/36 rows = 4” on U.S. 2 needles.

Cast on = 48 stitches
Cuff = 18 rows; k3, p1 rib
Leg = 40 rows;  in pattern
Heel = 18 rows; eye of partridge, with slip stitch, p1 edges
Gusset = pick up 10 stitches on each side
Foot = 36 rows (plus gusset decreases, so 58 in all)
Toe = 24 rows (decreasing to 16 stitches)

The four stitch, four row pattern breaks up the pooling of the clown barf quite nicely. I’m using a k3, p1 rib for the cuff, a heel flap, paired decreases for the toe, grafting to bind off.

If you want help figuring out the number of stitches/rows for various parts in a different yarn/size/gauge, leave a comment and let me know.

I'll keep the notes and pics from the first verse for the record, but the sock and a half are no more. They are expired. They are ex-socks.

*  *  *  *  *

Version One, nicknamed 5 x 5, circa 4/20/12

When the character Faith from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is asked how she is, she answers, "five by five." It comes from old radio slang, and pretty much means, "all is well." I don't know if that actually describes these socks (well, it didn't actually describe Faith either) but the pattern repeat is five stitches by five rows, and I like it.

And it's clown barf! which is always well.

I had a couple of criteria in mind when designing these socks. Two yarns, one plain and one not so plain had to play nice together. Cascade fixation is a bit of a challenge for a sock, because it's fairly substantial, and rather textured at the same time. I ganked the cuff pattern from Columbia by Catherine Gamroth. I didn't think the abrupt change from the pattern to stockinette would work with my two sibling yarns, so I kept a repeat of it winding down the heel, while smoothing a variation into the foot.

I had planned to make the toe in lime green also, but that yarn was in another room and the Atlanta Braves were winning. I didn't want to stop knitting or watching, either one. I may put a green toe on the second sock, we shall see.

All is well, and all is well, and all manner of things will be well.

I'm using roughly 90 grams of Cascade Fixation or  similar DK/8 ply yarn, and U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm) needles. One at a time, magic loop.

Gauge = 5.5 stitches/8 rows to the inch, more or less.

Pattern and more pics to follow.

(Edit to update: or not. If I try again with different yarn, I'll write a new post.)