Swatching Up A Storm

I’ve got to admit, I was not very good about swatching before starting a project for many years. Most likely because I was using cheap worsted weight acrylic yarn that doesn’t really change gauge much for so long that I didn’t think it was necessary. Using real yarn has taught me the value of doing a gauge swatch first. That and reading the book Custom Knits Accessories by Wendy Bernard. I rarely follow a pattern to the letter, so swatching is pretty important.

I’ve even started washing the swatches to see how the yarn does in a normal wash cycle, so I know whether or not it will be okay to wash the final product. Much better to find out that a small square shrinks than having an oddly misshapen hat or glove at the end of laundry day.

I’m casting on two projects this weekend:Starry Stole (swatch 1) and Zooey (swatch 2). I knit the swatches Wednesday, hand-washed them yesterday, and now I am ready to measure once more to be sure and cast on.

Oh, and my other swatch project is still going strong. Up to 297 out of 400 right now according to my Google+ Photo Album. Only 103 more to go.

Snug and Cozy

Well, my camera is anyway. It is way too warm still to be thinking of snug and cozy for anything else.

Speaking of my camera, I have a new one that takes awesome pictures and doesn’t run on a pack of AA batteries a week. This camera, if you happen to be so interested. It was on a good sale last week. I’m not taking a picture of my camera. That is just too weird.

You know what I did take a picture of? The cover I made for my camera. A few pictures, actually. Like this one of the front:

And this one from the side:

And this one of the soft inside:

I used a plain cotton for the outer part, and some faux fur on the inside to make it nice and cushioned. I added a button and some suede thread for a looped closure. The way the flap covers the top, I can use the wrist strap of the camera to carry it in the case. A quick and easy way to have a camera case that didn’t cost anything and is much brighter than the cases offered at the store.

Souvenirs For The Feet

Remember way back in June/July when I went to France? Well, in the small town we stayed in for our second week, there was a yarn shop, Au Fil et a Mesure, just a few blocks down from the house. Since I had much more down time there than in Paris (because there aren’t so many places you just HAVE to see in a small town), I decided to pick up some yarn and needles.

Sixteen balls of DMC Natura and a set of sock needles, to be exact. I decided my souvenirs would be socks made of French yarn on French needles. I had already picked up some wool to make Cassy’s Zooey hats for my mom and I while I was in Paris, but that project would have been a bit involved to pick up and put down whenever I had a few free moments.

So I set about making Cassy’s Earlybirds (btw, Cassy blogs atKnit the Hell Out and designs some amazing things that I just happen to be mildly obsessed with.) for four different people in four different colors. Not all at the same time of course.

I made mine in green:

Reddish-purplish for Mama:

Blue for Terry:

And purple for Gaga:

(Clicking on the pictures will take you to their respective project pages. Which should eventually be all updated with the specifics of each sock.)

It’s been a long time since I had made socks before I decided to do this. These were also the first time I had made socks in actual sock-weight yarn. Before they were out of some awful acrylic stuff like I was using to make everything at that point because ALL my yarn came from Wal-Mart. Not like there was much of anywhere else to get it where I started knitting anyway.

Even the heels are cute in this yarn. The only thing I did majorly different from the pattern is using a cable needle on the cables. I knit pretty tightly and was having a terrible time trying not to pull the stitch out while it was dropped. I still like making gloves better, because they seem to take less time, but I think I may be warming up to sock-making in general.