Saturday, February 23, 2013

Thing A Month - February - Magic Loop Socks, Phase One

Dear Neuro,

I had a great time learning the Magic Loop technique this month! Thanks to your terrific head start and encouragement, I made it through my first pair!

I wanted to start out with a very simple sock pattern, and let the yarn do all the work whilst I was fussing with the needles and cord.  Here are the completed socks from those efforts:

Who thinks of these things??  I thought it was a very original technique, and if you don't like working with DPNs it is a great way to still be able to make socks.  I happen to like DPNs very much, but that's how I learned.  All other things being equal, I still prefer DPNs, at least for this straightforward, cuff-down pattern.

One advantage of Magic Loop is that, when all your DPNs are presently in use on other projects, you can always start one more pair of socks with the circular needle!!!  (You can see how this is going to get me into UFO trouble already!)

However, I am presently looking for a pattern/yarn combination so that I can experiment with colorwork and this technique, to see if it is any less fiddly than with DPNs.  My null hypothesis is that both techniques are equally fiddly.  This will be Magic Loop, Phase Three - more to come soon!

In the meantime, I thought I might start preparing myself for our March Thing A Month theme, 2 socks on 2 circular needles.  For Magic Loop, Phase Two, I will be attempting 2 socks on 1 circular needle:

(I was going to make these socks at some point anyway, so have just moved them up in the queue, somewhat.)

I can't wait to see how your toe-ups turn out!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

And Inbetween

Whilst I continue to ponder and produce the Magic Loop socks, I have an inbetween project I wanted to make for a colleague who is retiring in a few weeks and is headed to warmer climes.  This pretty shawlette is Multnomah, and it's made with Fiesta Baby Boom yarn in a color called Spirit Dancer.  It is a terrific, enjoyable, and satisfying pattern -  garter stitch forever, then feather-and-fan for even longer. Great for TV/movie/lecture watching.  Also - no more than 4 stitch markers are needed at any one time!

The stripe you see in the photo is the beam of sunlight that I thought I'd leave in just to prove that the sun does come out here once in a while this time of year (even if it is only one beam!).

I'm closing in on the toe of the second Magic Loop sock, so will have more to show and discuss soon!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thing A Month - February - Magic Loop

Dear Neuro,

I'm a little behind in starting my February project for Thing A Month. My assignment is Magic Loop.  This is  a technique for knitting smaller things in the round on one large circular needle, instead of on 4 or 5 double-pointed needles.  I love my DPNs, and have not had a need for Magic Loop, so have never learned it!  Thanks to your head start/practice kit, I was able to mess around first:

Several YouTube videos later, and after much practice, I took some sock yarn and got started:

My first impressions are that, once you get used to this technique, it is fun and pretty straightforward.  At this point, I still prefer DPNs, but I've got a lot of sock yet to go on this one.  Also, I find colorwork socks extremely fiddley on DPNs - I wonder if Magic Loop is a good approach for that, what do you think?

Also, here is the last of the Warm South America projects, a Wingspan in yarn that you and I hand-dyed several years ago with MIL Oogy:

Lots of other stuff on the needles, but with the goal of finishing the Magic Loop socks this month - and it's a short month! - I need to remain somewhat focused!

I hope your February project is going well thus far!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Thing A Month - January - BFF Scarf

Dear Neuro,

What fun we are having with our 2013 theme, Thing A Month!  And – we are also learning new stuff along the way!  You have already learned about the Left Leaning Decrease, which I had no idea even existed, yet without which I am left with crookedey decreases!  Who knew???

I really enjoyed our January BFF Scarf collaboration project!   It was fun selecting the yarns and colors (and even having to do it all over again when faced with mysterious yarn shortages), and devising a pattern that would be both fun and relevant.  I infrequently deviate from written patterns, and even more rarely make up my own, but in the spirit of trying something new I forged ahead (gauge be damned, evidently – oh well!).

I knew from the outset that I wanted to do something science-y, and in the process of looking around I happened across ChemKnits and her various molecule knitting charts.  As soon as I saw the caffeine molecule, I started thinking about how much we both enjoy drinking coffee and knew I had to do something to incorporate that design.  The addition of the glucose molecule (which we also enjoy!) and a few modifications led to the creation of the Our Favorite Things loop.  Look how beautiful these are together:

As you had noted to me earlier, and that I should also include here so that our readers can see the many relationships between coffee and knitting, caffeine is an adenosine antagonist.  That means that it hogs the adenosine receptor and restricts its usual activities of regulating certain biological processes.  This isn’t always a bad thing – caffeine is a stimulant, and allows us to feel energized and also mentally satisfied in many instances.  It may also have some anti-inflammatory abilities, which would also be just splendid! 

We all know about glucose – but even "evil" sugar, in appropriate doses, is essential for normal biological functioning.  There is also some evidence that appropriate levels of glucose intake are associated with improved cognitive function.  If that is true, I am going to need a lot coffee, glucose, and research for my February magic loop project!  I’ll have a separate post (or two!) on that shortly.