Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Icy sleeves for Fire & Ice

What? The end of August already? There're mooncakes being sold at Fairway and it's getting dark way too soon. Yikes!

I've decided to put off starting anything new until I've finished the Fire & Ice sweater. I've given myself the much the spring and all of summer to dye, spin and knit this sweater.

I've just finished spinning and knitting one sleeve:

The bottom half of it is in basketweave.

I love the diagonal woven effect. This stitch constricts since it's got a whole line of crossovers on every other row. With this in mind, I opened up the stitches to a stockinette right below my elbow. This allows the sleeve be fitted for my forearm an then to widen up for my elbow and upper arms without having to increase a single stitch! I'm not sure if that makes me smart or lazy. Probably a little bit of both :P

I decided to stick with just the ice colourway since I didn't want the sleeves to compete with the cabling on the body.
Here's the body up to near the armpit. It's going to be a yoke sweater. For once, I'm knitting a yoke from the bottom up. I did it this way partly because I wasn't sure how the cabling would fit on the sweater. But mostly I did it because I was undecided what kinda collar/neckline I wanted to use. I'm still undecided. I guess the yarn will tell me once I get to that point.

Close up of the cables:

Sleeves and sweater body together:

Last night I began spinning up the yarn for the second sleeve. Hopefully the sleeve will be spun and knitted up by the end of the week. However, I've got a pretty packed schedule and anyways, I still haven't figured out what sort of collar I'm going to use.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Socks for a unrequited summer

My Carved Jade Socks are finally done. I made the final push through the final few inches last night with the help of a glass of red wine and lots of good, dark, organic chocolate. The knitting juice was definitely needed to get through the home stretch. Not a glass too soon. I woke up to another soggy, grey Saturday morning.

Why, dear summer must you be so mean and cold? Why must you nip at my tomato plants. I've offered you a garden full of edible sunshine. I've waxed poetic about your long weeks of sexy heat. I've sacrificed a day timer of weekends to frolic with you. And this? This is how you return my love? With cold, miserable rain and then slaps of unbearable heat?

Was it something I said? Are you still upset because I told winter that I loved her best? I had to. Did you see the torrents of rain she was sending over this way? Did you see her tightrope walking just above the freezing mark? Tempting me with peekaboo glimpses of good ice-climbing weather? I thought we were over this. You're no better than spring :P

So now I have a new pair of Carved Jade socks to see me through the end of this stoneyhearted season. For more background info on the socks, check out this earlier entry
Here's the photo montage of my new socks. Enjoy!

The requisite front view

The requisite back view.

Requisite bird's eye view

Requisite art shot.

Shhhh. It's the elusive Carved Jade toothless shark.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Carved Jade Socks

At the Saltspring Island Natural Fibre Fair, I picked up a few gems, including a couple of skeins of sock yarn from Indigo Moon. Trish Moon, dyeing diva, has just begun offering a line of hand-dyed superwash fingering sock yarn. Like the rest of her products, many are dyed with natural dyes.

Most striped or variegated sock yarn aren't my cup of tea. I find them a tad too funky and, well, too stripey (I know, that's probably not a real word). However, Trish's colourways are right up my alley. I fell madly in love with this as soon as I saw it.
It was labeled "Olive" but it reminded me of the gorgeous, subtle colours of unworked jade.

At under $13 a pop, I picked up 2 skeins and happily let my imagination whiz about with ideas. I finally decided on a pair of 'Carved Jade Socks'

The socks are inspired by the incredible carved jade pieces I saw during my China trip last year.
Jade Disc inside the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Carved Dragon Ball. These pieces are moving spheres carved within each other. It's just mindboggling what goes into making a piece like this.

Carved Jade piece. This is one of my favorite jade pieces that I got to see. It's so delicate and intricate.

With those pieces in mind, I unvented a simple stitch pattern that combined twisted stitches and a basic lace movement to create the effect of jade carvings. I say unvented because chances are, it's a stitch pattern that has been unvented already.

Here's one sock done and waiting for a mate. It's a basic toe-up pattern with a Turkish Cast on, basic increased toe and short row heel.

I guess it got tired of waiting all by itself and climbed onto my foot:)

Here's the second one on the needles and slowly getting worked up. My dance card has been busy this past week and the Fire & Ice sweater has been monopolizing my attention lately. However, I'm set on finishing this by tonight. However, it is gorgeous and sunny outside and I'm already thinking mojitos on the patio.
Odds are 3-1 that I get it done by tonight.
Any takers?