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I never thought it would happen, but I’ve finally come across sock yarn that doesn’t want to be a sock. The culprit is Smooshy by Dream In Color in the Butter Peeps colorway. Smooshy, along with MadelineTosh Sock, are my go to yarns for socks and I’ve never had them fight me the way this yarn is doing.

knit socks

I’ve had Butter Peeps in my stash for a long, long time. Yarn Rascal unearthed it when I was trying out the Mary Mary sock pattern on Ravelry. (I’d put the link in to the pattern but WordPress is acting strange lately and won’t let me).

The Mary Mary pattern is the perfect pattern for this colorway. So no matter how hard the yarn fights me I am determined to make it into this sock. After all, masochistic knitting is not new to me.

Since I knit socks from the toe up the first place the yarn gave me trouble was making the short-row toe look right. It did not want to make a nice neat short-row. So each toe of each sock was *worked, ripped, and worked again* repeat from * to * four times. I never have this much trouble with short-row toes.

The second problem is why I don’t “usually” buy sock patterns, though you would never know it what with all the sock books and loose patterns I have in the sock making area of my stash. I could knit socks forever and never complete all the sock patterns I have stashed. Yes, in addition to stashing yarn I stash patterns.

Back to the second problem: I can never get gauge. The gauge will say 9 stitches per inch on size US 1 needles (2.25 mm) and I can only average about 7. I would need to drop down 2 needle sizes to even begin to reach 9 stitches. I can hear the snapping of dpns as I write this. No, 2.25 mm is the tiniest I can go and stay sane. I use the word “sane” loosely.

Because I can’t get gauge and my sock size is 7.5 inches (19 cm) in circumference I need to adapt whatever sock pattern I am working from. This means studying the pattern, deciding how I can adapt it so it looks close to what it was. Sometimes that is easier in theory than in practice. Though, with this particular sock all I needed to do was drop the cable at both sides of the instep and replace it with broken garter stitch. For me, the look is still close enough to the original to be pleasing.

Since I was experiencing all sorts of idiosyncracies working on dpns—holes where there shouldn’t be holes, wonky stockinette stitches, and a strange puckering of fabric every so often— I decided to knit it on a 9 inch (23 cm) small circular needle. It helped tame the yarn somewhat, though the yarn still does not want to play nice with p2tog.

I have about 30 more rows to go before I have to work the short-row heel. I have zero expectation that it will work out well on the first go round. The last heel took three tries before it looked right.

Finally, I thought I’d share this picture of Yarn Rascal with you. Notice the gleam in the eyes, he is planning his evening activities in the yarn vault.

yarn rascal

The search for the elusive Rowan Glace continues. It’s now turned from a past time activity into an obsessive endeavor. With the blizzard dumping 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow in a 24 hour period, I had some time on my hands regarding indoor activities and that’s how I ended up in the attic.

I still have a few closets yet to be inventoried but I became obsessed with the idea that the yarn was in the attic. This was delusional thinking since I have never put a Rubbermaid bin full of yarn in the attic since I’ve lived here. But that didn’t stop me.

I folded down the attic steps and up I went. It was the middle of the blizzard and the sound of the wind was so much clearer up there. The sound of strong winds set my nerves on edge so the clarity of the sound was not comforting. In addition, the only light in the attic is in the middle of the ceiling, up high, with a 3 inch (8 centimeters) chain pull. Needless to say, I couldn’t reach it, so I was using the flashlight on my cell phone to see.

What I saw were bins and bins of Rubbermaid. Some were see-through, most weren’t. My first thought was I need to take out stock in this company. My second thought, as I looked at bins stacked on bins with some stacks as tall as me, was that this was an impossible and foolish undertaking. All of the bins in the attic came from my house when I moved here. Not one bin was added– where the heck would I find room to put it– since I’d lived here. Nonetheless this sane thought didn’t stop me.

Thus I began my own archeological dig through time. My allergies came on full bloom the minute I started moving the bins around. Some of what I found were clothes, books, shoes, half-finished embroidery that was set to be a fire place screen, crewel work, half finished crochet projects, the framed invitation to my wedding, wedding album, and so on. At about the fifth bin of fond mementos, I thought I’d caught sight of something white and furry out of the corner of my eye. I heard some scrabbling of nails on the floor coming from the direction where the flash of white disappeared. Now, I don’t mind field mice and with the weather the way it was outside I figured let the poor thing stay. But it did cross my mind that I had never seen a white field mouse.

As I opened the seventh bin, I thought I again saw something white and furry out of the corner of my eye again only it was bigger this time. It disappeared around the corner of a stack of bins I had yet to get to. Again, the scampering sound of nails across the floor. I thought it might have been a squirrels tail, though the color didn’t match that of a squirrel.

Working my way through the tenth bin the elusive creature brushed my legs. I jumped a little only to look down and see Yarn Rascal. Little one is a climber and he had climbed the steps to the attic and was having a grand old time sniffing and checking out a brand new area of the house. It was clear to me, if not to Yarn Rascal, that while he got up the steps, he wasn’t able to get down them. Nor was I able to carry him down without killing both of us.

It took about 15 minutes of calling and thumping on the floor of the attic to get The Skipper’s attention. I handed a squiggling Yarn Rascal to him and told him fold up the steps so Rascal couldn’t get back up.

Around bin number 16 I became tired of my little trip down memory lane and wanted to get down from the attic. Only I couldn’t. Unfolding the steps from where I was wasn’t possible. I was marooned in the attic for a good half hour before I got The Skipper’s attention and had him unfold the stairs.

I have three more places to look, none of which is in an attic or basement. If I find the Rowan Glace I think I’m going to strangle it.

 

 

 

 

 

Searching

I’ve been looking for the Rowan Glace I know is lurking somewhere in one of my stashes. Having come up empty handed I thought I’d turn the task over to the master of the stashes, Yarn Rascal. After all, he spends his entire nights not sleeping but unearthing things from the yarn vault.

Lately he’s been in archeological mode. Finding and uncovering wips that I have long since forgotten about. He carefully drags them from the closet and displays them on the floor in the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom where I can’t help but see them. Two of them have caught my interest and if I can find the yarns, beads, and patterns I was using I would love to finish them. Yarn Rascal can’t help me find the beads because he will eat them. Nor can he help me locate the patterns because he will shred them as he does yarn ball bands. Anything that’s paper, including money, must be ripped into small fragments.

So last night I begged him to put his archeology hat away and find the Glace. Along with some archeological finds he unearthed a significant amount of yarn. Alas, none of it the Glace. While putting the yarns -sans ball bands- back into their respective places I realized that all the yarns Yarn Rascal had taken out were either Shetland, merino, or some other pure wool yarn. Not one was a combo of wool and silk or wool and cotton. None were cotton or linen yarns. The dog has his preferences and if it is not pure wool he ignores it. Until now I hadn’t recognized how particular he is in his choices.

Unfortunately for me, Glace is a pure cotton yarn and therefore not on Yarn Rascal’s radar. That means it’s up to me to find it. I’ll give it one more week of searching and then I’ll buy a skein. All I want it for is to swatch a baby dress idea that’s been kicking around my head and because it is a spring/summer sort of thing I’d like to use cotton yarn. Why is nothing every easy?

 

Long time, no write. I hope this is going to change. Some pesky health issues made keeping up with my blogging all but impossible. Finally I am feeling a bit better.

I did manage to finish the crochet baby blanket that my MIL had started before she passed away.

baby-blanket-edit

As I said, it has been a time since I crocheted and the pattern was all in her head. I kept with the pattern blocks as she had them. The Skipper has a blanket crocheted by her and I looked to that for guidance on how to stitch the blocks together. It seems as though she liked to crochet blocks together using single crochet. Wanting this blanket to be very much still hers and not mine, I connected the baby blanket blocks in like manner.

I also looked at the border on The Skippers blanket but realized I couldn’t reproduce it on the baby blanket as it would not work. While I am pretty sure my MIL’s border would have been more fancy, I decided to make the border out of single crochet. I felt this plain border would keep the emphasis on the blocks she had finished, thereby keeping the blanket as her creation.

All are happy with the blanket.

Just A Quick Hello

I have not had the time lately to post and I really miss it. But everything here has been at sixes and sevens and I haven’t been able to steal a moment.

My mother-in-law who died was in the middle of crocheting a baby blanket for the newest great grandchild and my sister-in-law asked if I would like to finish it. I was honored to be asked. The package with blanket-in-progress arrived yesterday. As is usual with those who crochet or knit a lot, my mother-in-law was crocheting from her own pattern in her head. It wasn’t hard to figure out where she was going with the squares that will make up the blanket. Nor was it difficult to discern the same hook size she was using. I practiced until my crocheting looked like hers with the same gauge and all. Then I got to work.

I am not first and foremost a crocheter. The squares are done in the granny square style so they are not overly complicated. However, at the end of the round I am at a loss as to how to join the last round and begin the new round. Her joins are flawless and not noticeable at all. I am pretty sure the end of one round and beginning of the next takes place in a corner but the ways I’ve tried are clearly not like hers.

I’d love to show you a picture of the blanket but the battery in my camera is dead and I still haven’t loaded the photo software into the computer after fixing the hard drive. I’m telling you life has just been crazy.

I have this feeling of dread creeping over me that the great grandchild will be in college before I get this thing figured out. That would be completely unacceptable.

I’m off to scour youtube and see of they have any videos on ending and beginning a crochet round.

 

I assure you, knitting is taking place. I am working on the Cameron Shetland Shawl by Susan Miller.

the-cameron-shawl

I am working from the center out, which means I only need navigate 125 stitches at a time. The stitch repeat is only 10 or 12 stitches. Oh the numerous ways a 10 to 12 stitch repeat can go wrong. Let’s count them, shall we?

1) Knit the wrong row entirely. Repeat this periodically throughout the 242 row process.
2) Knit while someone is talking to you.
3) Knit while watching television.
4) Dog steals knitting and dismantles it to his liking. Dismantle what dog has dismantled and try to pick up stitches from life line.
5) Realize you can’t see life line because it is a very pale lavender and fades away completely against the white frothy-ness of the Shetland yarn. Starting from the beginning is the only answer. Do not cry. It is too early in the process for crying.
6) Toss stash for a darker life line yarn. Come up empty. Have an argument with yourself over whether to shelve the knitting until you go to the store and get a darker yarn or to continue with the very pale lavender because you’re afraid a darker cotton yarn might unintentionally stain the white Shetland yarn. When the migraine appears, knitting is done for the night effectively ending the debate. Take two headache pills. Go to bed.
7) Memorize the repeat of a row, only memorize it wrong. When you get to the end of the row notice the stitch count is off. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line and try to pick up the tiny white stitches. Make a cup of Chamomile tea, drink it slowly while repeating the words “It’s okay. Everything will be fine.” Put the knitting away for the night.
8) Memorize repeat of row, memorize it correctly. At end of row stitch count is off. Carefully review row. Repeat the review at least 3 more times. Fail to see where the mistake is. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line. Crying is now allowed.

Of the 242 rows I managed to knit 60 rows successfully.

Perhaps it is just where I live but the state of knitting seems to be on the wane. The large Barnes and Noble store near me no longer carries any knitting magazines. Vogue Knits, Interweave Knits, Verena, Debbie Bliss, Knitting Universe are all gone from the shelves. None of the workers I asked had a clue, but one said that knitting magazines “just don’t sell”.

I went to the local Joann’s Fabric store to see if they had any knitting magazines and they too had none. When I asked about it, I got the same answer that they don’t sell.

I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. My own automatic magazine buying stopped a long time ago. I did like to flip through the knitting magazines, occasionally buying one if there was a technique in it that particularly interested me.

I suppose the internet has made it hard for the print magazines to exist. But I do miss flipping through the issues looking at the projects and the advertisements. Not having the magazines out there is just one more way in which knitting loses its visibility.

 

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