links and chains

I just saw that my last previous post was about seven weeks ago. That feels funny, because I've actually been working on lots of things — just not finishing much.

Partly that's because I keep adding on new things to do. My bead collection is a bit of a mess right now, because I've been sorting it into two new sets of drawers I got. They're not "crafty" at all — they're made by MasterCraft and I got them at Canadian Tire. They're the best thing I've found to sort beads, though.

That's got me thinking about jewelry making again, but the whole point of getting the drawers is that my beads are too disorganised to start a new project right now. So I went through my chain maille book (Chained by Rebecca Mojica), and ordered some jump rings in the appropriate sizes and colours from MetalDesignz. I figured since I'm on vacation this week and the Beaches Celtic Festival is this coming weekend, it was appropriate to get some chain maille jewelry done.

So far I've made a Helm chain necklace (about 50cm):

and a Helm Wave bracelet (about 23cm — I like my bracelets loose-fitting):

The bracelet was extra-fun to make. You start with a regular Helm chain that is about 40% longer than what you want the finished bracelet maille to be. In the photo, that's the aluminum links, which if you look closely have copper links every three repeats or so. Then you attach more copper links that form the visual "straight line" through the piece and make the aluminum parts wave.

Right now I'm working on a Byzantine chain necklace. I've played around with the Byzantine pattern before with spare jump rings, but this is the first time I'm actually going to make something with it. In its final form it will be the same length as the Helm chain necklace above:

As for the inevitable "how long did that take" question, the Helm necklace and the bracelet each came in at about two hours apiece. The necklace went a lot faster than I was led to believe from the instruction book, but that may be because I already have done some work with jump rings because of the beading I've done. The Byzantine chain is going more slowly, but that seems to be because the links are smaller and the chain pattern is both denser and a bit more complicated (the photo shows about 8cm).

So what about all those socks I was making? They're still on the go, although I admit I've had a lull lately (surprise 11-hour workdays plus having a sinus infection will do that). But I have got another pair done, the Longitudinal socks from Knitty:
If you squint at the sock on the left in the photo, you'll see there a few dark rows right in the centre. I made the leg section a bit longer than called for in the pattern and wound up being something like 4 metres short. I wound up getting some yarn that was close, but not a perfect match.

Having said that, I think these would be great socks for someone who wants to knit socks but doesn't have the confidence to do sock shaping yet. They're done entirely in garter stitch, and you just need to be able to increase, decrease, and graft. Yes, graft. In fact, these are great socks to learn how to graft on.

The stranded socks are started enough that the pattern is visible now:
That's just before I started the heel shaping. This pattern is about the third time I've tried toe-up socks, and I have to say I am not a convert. It's one time where I really can't figure out what everyone's raving about. I usually wind up doing the heels twice because I seem to have this magical power to make asymmetrical short-row heels, and contrary to the claims of adherents, I have a hard time getting the foot the right length.

The other three pairs of socks on the needles have all had good progress, but nothing worth taking a photo of. Next time I blog it will probably be to announce the BMP Space Invaders socks are done, which means I'll have one more item done for Knit That Shit. Can't wait.