Tastes and Toes

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing website.  I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Food Porn”, but this site is definitely full of it.  It’s called TasteSpotting and collects photos and descriptions of food sent in by people (and edited by humans), which you can then click on to get the recipe via a blog or something.  It’s so delicious.  I haven’t been able to stop looking at it for the last two days, but luckily this turned out to be productive, because last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch – can’t wait!) came out of it!  This is my first ever risotto (I won’t count being the designated stirrer of my friend’s lovely mushroom risotto).  It’s not a hard recipe, but not one you’d want to cook in summertime, as it involves a lot of standing at the stove and stirring.

 

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Leeks from Kitchen Grrrls.

It’s also the first time I’ve cooked leeks.  I think they are nice because they give bulk and nutrition, and feel like onions, but don’t have a super distinct flavour, so they let the lemon flavour of the risotto come through.

 

Here is the finished product:

I have to say, risotto doesn’t photograph very well…  But it tastes delicious!  I can’t wait for my lunch!

Now for the toes part:

If you’re a sock knitter, you may know what that is.  That is a sock being knitted from the toe up.  I’m pretty darn excited about this, as my boyfriend the Pilot will attest to – I keep interrupting whatever he is doing to point and say “It’s a toe!  It’s a toe!”.  I’m pretty sure he understands how exciting it is… Hmm..

 

Anyway, after numerous failed attempts at various ways of casting on, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which is indeed magic.  I tried two other ways, the Short Row Cast-On and the “Easy” Toe (not so easy for me), and the Magic Cast-On was definitely the easiest way to do it for me.

 

I decided to knit these socks toe up because Alice told me that the wool knits quite tightly, and also I want to use all of it!  I love the idea of toe up socks because of that – when I was knitting my last pair I just kept stressing out that I would run out of wool just before my toes or something!  So this method, because it starts right at the end of the toe means that I can keep increasing until the sock seems big enough around for me.

 

Right, back to work.

 

The Stockholm Scarf Experiment

Questions:

Once I started my Stockholm Scarf, I realised that I had some questions about the pattern:

a) Where do I hold the yarn when slipping stitches?  Does it get held to match the preceding stitches (in front for a purl, or back for a knit), or the following stitches (ditto)?

b) Do I slip the stitches knitwise, or purlwise?

Hypothesis:

I’m probably overthinking, and it doesn’t really matter what I do.  But on the other hand, I could knit 10 rows of 252 stitches and then discover I’ve done something terribly wrong.  That’s 2520 stitches, and that’s a lot of stitches to re-knit.

Method:

Knit a swatch with the following pattern variations (do click on the above link to look at a copy of the pattern, it may make more sense!).  I’ve included the pattern for Row 2 to give an example of how I did it (once again, look at the pattern link above for context!).  I want to see if there is a major difference between how the pattern turns out with a few different combinations of where I hold the yarn, and whether I’m slipping the stitches knitwise or purlwise…

1)  hold the yarn as for the preceding stitch, slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-purlwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

2) hold the yarn as for the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise.

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [hold yarn in back], S1-knitwise, [bring yarn to front] P2, PSSO

3)  move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one purlwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-purlwise, P2, PSSO

4) move the yarn *before* slipping one, to match the following stitch(es), slip one knitwise

e.g. ROW 2:  K1, P1, K1, YO, K1 [move yarn to front], S1-knitwise, P2, PSSO

Results:

As you can see in Figure 1 (a) and (b), there is not a huge difference between the different methods of doing these stitches.  Remember that there is not really a “right” and “wrong” side to this pattern, since it is reversible.  I just wanted to show what each side looks like.  The “right side” is the one where you are working rows 2 and 4 (the ones with all the flash stitches in them) and the “wrong side” is where you are knitting rows 1 and 3, with just knit and purl stitches.  Of course, if you’re knitting in the round like I am going to do, everything is the “right side”!  It shouldn’t make a difference to how the stitches look with the variations on where you’re holding your yarn, and how you’re slipping your stitches though…

Figure 1 (a) “Right Side”

Figure 1 (b) “Wrong Side”

Discussion:

So, you can judge for yourself.  They all look quite similar at a glance, but I have decided that I do prefer Variation 3, which is where you move your yarn to match the following stitches before slipping the stitch purlwise.  The main point of difference can be seen in the purly bits, they just look tidier and nicer than the other ways of doing these stitches, in my opinion.  A close up of this variation can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: “Close up of Variation 3”

I should also point out that I have knitted these swatches on 4mm needles, and have decided to knit the Stockholm Scarf on this size also.  I like the tighter stitches and the slight sturdiness of the fabric more than the somewhat loose fabric that the 5 mm needles were producing for me.   The original pattern calls for a 6 mm needle – wow!  I think I must be quite a loose knitter, because even with the 5mm needle I was losing stitches left right and centre.  I think that’s also to do with the Paton’s Totem Merino, which is quite thin for an 8ply/DK yarn…  Anyway, I’ve cast on more stitches than the pattern calls for  (it doesn’t matter how many stitches you have for this pattern, as long as they are a multiple of 7 when knitting in the round, or a multiple of 7 + 2 flat).  I think I have 301, hopefully it’s long enough!

Conclusion:

I hope this helps anyone else who is thinking of knitting the Stockholm Scarf pattern, and tends to overthink things as I do!  Hello and welcome if you are going to knit this along with me and Alice!  I also found this chart (Ravelry link) from Love and Knitologie to be very helpful for knitting in the round.  I’ve never been much into charts, but this totally makes sense to me!  Also, her scarf is teal too, so I’m biased!

Socks Set Up

I’m neeeeeearly there!  Every night this week, and most of Saturday I have been working on my very first pair of socks, and I’m nearly there!  I shall have some photos of the finished product for you soon, doing their job keeping my toes nice and warm (and just in time too, it’s getting chilly here!).  But for now, here is a work in progress photo:

As you can see, I have my set up set up…  2 socks on the go, my pattern at the ready, notebook and pen for recording details, crochet hook for catching dropped stitches, laptop with a tutorial of how to pick up the slipped stitches along the gusset (you can find it here, I recommend it!), my iPod with a nifty little row counting application, and of course, a cup of tea…

Hopefully I’ll find some time for knitting tonight, and have a picture of the finished objects soon!  I can’t wait to have them on my feet!