Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alaria Socks

Here's the latest free pattern, originally called Seaweed socks, but I changed the name to Alaria Socks because a well-known knitter already has a pattern out by the name of seaweed socks and I certainly wouldn't want to be confused with anyone well known.


Materials Needed:

US size 1 needle. Pattern may be worked with DPNs, magic loop, or two circs. Just keep multiples of six on your needles and you'll be fine. Socks can likewise be made smaller or larger by adding or subtracting multiples of six, or by using larger or smaller needles. The pair in the picture were made on size 2 needles, because I have large feet.

100G sock yarn, works best in variegated/handdyed colorway

Tapestry Needle for weaving in ends

Gauge-9 stitches per inch in stockinette. (7 if you're doing these on size 2)

Cast on 60

K1TBL, P1 around. (raised ribbing) Continue for an inch or two.

Begin pattern

Rows 1&2
K4, P2, repeat

Rows 3&4
K3, P3, repeat

Rows 5&6
K2, P4, repeat

Rows 7&8
K1, *P4, K2*, end w/K1

Rows 9&10
K1, *P3, K3*, end w/K2

Rows 11 & 12
K1, *P2, K4*, end w/K3.

Repeat until sock leg is 7-8 inches long or as long as desired.

Work heel.

Heel row one-knit 30. Turn work.
Heel row two-slip one, purl one, repeat to end.
Repeat these 2 rows 15 times more, or until heel flap is desired size.

Turn Heel
Row 1-Sl1, p17, p2tog, p1. Turn work.

Row 2-Sl1, k6, ssk, k1. Turn work.

Continue in this way until all heel stitches have been worked.


Pick up and knit 15 stitches along side of heel flap.

Knit across in Alaria pattern as set.

Pick up and knit 15 stitches.

Knit one row around. (When you reach the instep stitches, you will continue in pattern)

Knit one, SSK, knit to 3 stitches remaining before instep, K2TOG, K1.
Continue rows one and two, decreasing every other row and working pattern on instep, until you are down to 30 stitches on the foot. Continue in pattern until foot is two inches less than desired length.

Decrease Round: K1, ssk, k to 3 stitches remaining on needle, K2tog, K. Repeat for foot stitches.

K 1 round.

Repeat these 2 rounds until 8 stitches remain on instep needle, 16 stitches altogether. Graft toe. Weave in all ends. Block if desired. Cast on the other sock right away!


The textured nature of this sock makes it ideal for handspun, variegated, color-on-color, or handpainted yarns.

Alaria is a variety of kelp that grows profusely around the world. The kelp forests are a vital part of the environment, helping clean the oceans, feed fish and people, and sequester carbon dioxide.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Post-Olympic Letdown

I'm feeling a bit let down today. I hate to see the olympics come to an end as usual, I really enjoyed them this time. All the angst over China's politics has little to do with the event as sport for me, although maybe it should. That's something I should probably examine. Maybe later. I'm not going to blather about sport here, though, I have another blog for that. And I am planning an olympics post there in the next couple of days.

I've had some upsetting things happen to me recently regarding an acquaintance who used to be a fairly good friend. I have issues, anyone who reads this on a regular basis knows that, but like any good self-aware nutcase, I work on those issues. I also evolve. In the past few years (and I do believe this is part of being pre-menopausal) I have become less tolerant in what I'm willing to expose myself to. It's all turned into a nasty series of exchanges that I find somewhat hurtful but mostly puzzling. I'm having a hard time articulating this because I don't want to bring the drama here, but I really find it sad that a friendship can't just end without acrimony. I don't wish anyone ill. I don't hate anyone. I just don't want to read Jonah Goldberg quotes on my LiveJournal friends page any more.

I'm going to stop there because ugh, it's never that simple or that one-sided and I don't have the energy to deal with it or even sort it out in my mind now. There's truly no drama like online drama, though. The Bard would have a good time with today's technology.

So, as I mentioned in my last thing, I participated in the Ravelympics. I got the Seaweed Socks done. The pattern's mostly written, too, it should appear here in the next few days.

I actually wore them yesterday, they were a bit too hot for the weather but very comfy.

Also finished off the yarn I was spinning from rolags. I made that into another Ravelympics project and ended up with 700 yards of light fingering weight yarn out of 7.4 ounces.

I'm actually very, very pleased with this yarn. Now, what to make out of it? It's too nice for socks. Very drapey, very shiny. Maybe some sort of lace stole.

I took a photo of my puffyfoot after a day's work. Mainly because I had a perfect imprint of the cucumber lace sock on it.

I just love how my toes are all caddywompus. Gotta love nerve damage. The swelling is worst when the weather is very hot.

I've been waking up at night with hideous pain in my knee. Deep, dull throbbing. It goes away pretty soon so I figured I'm probably twisting it in my sleep then it wakes me up. Bears watching, though. If it continues I may give the dreaded ortho a call.

Here's a picture of my kids from the family reunion.


They're extremely silly. Here they are with all the cousins from their generation.


They're like the giants in the land of the munchkins.

This coming weekend is the annual Mensa Regional Gathering here in Pittsburgh. I'm in charge of getting the wine, beer and coffee. The wine is bought and in the garage, the coffee is ordered, and the beer will be purchased and brought to the hotel on Thursday. It should be a good time. Hopefully I'll get to spend the majority of my time in the hot tub, and perhaps I'll get a chance to wear the luna moth shawl. I'm not looking forward to the prospect of going to the dance, though. That will be very sad for me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It takes time to do the poisoning

I've been remiss, life's been very hectic. Kid chaos, family gatherings, more kid chaos, and finally, the olympics.

I love the olympics and spend as much time watching them as possible, winter or summer doesn't matter. I just love watching them. Blogging suffers, as does knitting to some extent, but I can do extra spinning.

I joined the Ravelympics on Ravelry this year, in the events "handspun heptathalon" and "sock put". I combined the two into one, spinning yarn to make into socks. The result is Seaweed Socks, pattern coming soon.


The fiber is a combination of electric blue and dark green combed top, mixed with a carded roving in blues, purples, greens, sparkle, and a bit of yellow here and there. I weighed, pulled the fiber into random lengths, divided them into equal amounts, and spun two singles which I then plied. I like the result, some of the dreaded stripes but in a different way. I wanted it to be reminiscent of a kelp forest with bands of light and shadow and that's kinda what happened. At least if I squint, it is.




Anyway. Yesterday I was really tired of knitting on the same pair of socks, so I spun some yarn. I had this cool three color roving, two shades of brown and cream together that I'd been carding and put aside for a while. I finished it up. It's a sport/DK weight, probably 450-500 yards. Haven't measured yet but it's a BIG skein.


I'm really trying to stretch myself as a fiber "artist". I have a lot of interesting stash fiber even after the fire sale a couple of months ago, and I combined some of it to make rolags that I'm going to spin. (Rolags are like mini-batts, they're what you get when you use hand cards to prepare fiber.) In this case, I just made a few passes with the cards because I wanted the color to be somewhat disparate. I can't wait to see how this spins up.

Here's the fibers I'm working with-

and here's the first batch of rolags.


Sparkly, huh?

Ok, back to work/olympics. Today's my day off, after all.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Observation of the Day

Arising from a thread on Shapely Prose in which the key to happiness is being discussed.

"There is no key to happiness, because happiness is not locked."

Monday, August 04, 2008

I aint dead yet

Just not much to say. Very out of sorts. Knitting on 3 pair of socks and preparing to participate in the knitting olympics over on ravelry. Pretty depressed, coming to terms with stuff. Worried, broke, etc. Nothing worth blogging about. I did post an entry over on the fritz blitz (see sidebar), our husband-wife sports blog.

So hopefully I'll have some real content soon, but I'm not making any promises. Things are feeling pretty bleak just now.

Updated to add,
Read This.