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Finished Socks

I’ve had this summer cold for a little over a week now. Just when it seems to be getting better I get hit with it all over again. Nevertheless, I took some shots of the two pairs of socks I’ve finished.

knit socks broken garter rib

These are made from Zen Yarn Garden yarn. Thanks to Yarn Rascal for eating the skein band so I can’t tell you the colorway, but I can say that it is the merino cashmere blend. The pattern is my own and can be knit toe up or cuff down. The pattern is a simple broken garter stitch rib. Round 1: Knit. Round 2: K, p. Alternate the two rounds add your favorite heel and toes and you’ve got the socks.

knit socks roman road

These are also a simple pattern called Roman Road. Round 1- 4: Knit. Round 5: K1, p1. Round 6: P1, k1. Repeat from round 1 and you have the pattern. Along with using your favorite toe and heel this pattern works for both toe-up or cuff down socks.

knit socks roman road cu

Right now I don’t have socks on any needles and it feels like I am tempting fate a bit. I like to keep a travel project or two in the works for those emergency room and/or hospital stays. The large short-row shawl is taking all my knitting time. The shawl is in no way a travel project, but I am reluctant to put it down to start such a project for fear that I might have a moment of sanity in my life and never pick up and finish the shawl. But the anxiety of waiting for the axe to drop, so to speak, is starting to get to me.

Before I forget, the socks above were made with Dream In Color Smooshy in the Lapis Lazuli colorway. Yarn Rascal just happened to leave this yarn band intact.

 

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Movement

I wish I could tell you all the things that have been happening here but there are just so many.

The sock madness has halted. I am 32 rows short of completing the second sock of the second pair of socks. The unfinished sock is in a prominent place so it sits and stares at me and makes me feel guilty.

I have, what I thought would be an easy shawl on the needles. It’s all garter stitch and short-rows. I am here to tell you it is not as easy as I thought and since I am looking at ripping back to the beginning for the fifth time I can say that it is bordering on masochistic knitting. The problem is not the pattern it’s me, the knitter. Despite using stitch markers in large quantity I am still getting lost on where I am at in the pattern.

I am seriously thinking that the reason for all the trouble is that this is some cosmic karma thing and I am meant to be doing something else other than this shawl. Call it masochistic, but I am even more determined to knit this shawl. Usually when a project gives me this much trouble I put it in the time out bin where it can think about what a pain in the neck it is being. But if I did that then I would need to either A) pick up the sock and finish it, or B) work on the Shetland shawl. I will go to all lengths to not work on the Shetland shawl as that needs precise, fine-tuned concentration which is in short supply here at the moment.

I’ve recently been to the doctor and the news was not so good. I now have diabetes. Since I don’t want to take more medication because not everything plays nicely with my cancer medication I have persuaded him to give me three months to turn the diabetic numbers around.

After learning about diabetes, the only thing that I am doing to contribute to it is being kind of sedentary. He decided I should start a regular exercise routine. Easy for him to say. So my new morning ritual incorporates exercise. Today I tried yoga. I can see that while it is interesting it may not work for me. It seems that whenever I am on the floor in a downward dog pose, Yarn Rascal takes it as a signal to position himself between my body and the floor while licking my face. If I fall while in this position I will crush him to death. Doing yoga with Yarn Rascal is not going to work, I can see that. As long as I am on the floor the dog takes it as play time and cuddle time.

That leaves walking, tai chi, and working in the garden. There may be plenty of work to do in the garden this year. We have no bees in our area. The two apiaries near us have no honey bees. Bees pollinate the plants, especially tomato plants. As of now it looks like we will be hand pollinating all the plants this year. This is not a good turn of events climate-wise.

Well, that’s all the down time I have. I am going to try and excavate the exercise bike from my mother’s basement. Just attempting the extrication should qualify as some heavy duty exercise. It’s all about movement, my friends.

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The sock yarn that didn’t want to be socks is finally a pair of socks.

knit socks dream in color yarn

The actual color is not as yellow as the picture. It’s more a creamy butter color. The yarn is Dream In Color Smooshy in the Butter Peeps colorway. The pattern is http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mary-mary-8″>Mary Mary</a>. I don’t know why the http address is not coming out right, but a lot of things have been screw ball crazy on WordPress for me lately.

The modifications I made on the sock are small. I worked both a short-row toe and heel, changed the cable on the sides to a broken garter stitch and did a sewn bind off without a cuff. I knit them on a 9 inch (23) centimeters long US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needle. Despite the fact that the circular needle was 9 inches (23) centimeters I was able to comfortably use it to work my 7.5 inch (19) cm circumference.

I immediately started another pair of socks–anything to delay working on the Shetland Shawl project. I keep telling myself that I just need a little more of a break from intricate lace work.

On the home front, The Skipper has decided to replace all the windows on the second story of the house. I don’t normally get excited over window replacement unless the windows that are being replaced are in the two rooms where my over-flowing stash and wips and all things knitting and crocheting are housed. So let’s say I am really, really excited.

I went into just one of the rooms to contemplate the mess situation. I had a full on panic attack at the thought of having to bring some kind of order to it. The Skipper, trying to help, suggested I sort what I was going to keep from what I was going to get rid of. Get rid of???? Nay, kind sir, there is not a scrap of yarn, nor any other knitting or crocheting accoutrements I can part with. Yarn Rascal sat on his small mountain of yarn and watched as the blood drained from my face and I almost fell into a faint at the thought that I might have to part with any of it. I mean I have plans for all this yarn.

The Skipper said if I lived to be 100 I would never use it all. That, of course, is not the point. Like a connoisseur of fine wine or fine art, all of the yarn—except the bags of yarn from my mother’s weaving stash–so almost all of the yarn, was acquired at a great price and with considerable thought, especially if it was on sale. It takes almost a full three seconds to look at, contemplate, then hit the buy button if I know what I am looking for. If I am unsure, it could be a full 10 or 15 minutes of looking and contemplating. Just acquiring yarn is an art unto itself.

I pointed out that some of the yarn is the only one left of its type because it was discontinued. While I may not immediately have a project in mind for it right now, I am waiting and thinking about what sort of project will perfectly fit it. I mean some of my stash is museum quality. I could see that Yarn Rascal understood but The Skipper did not.

If you want a hot stock tip, invest in the Rubbermaid company. From the looks of things, I am going to buy loads of their containers.

 

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I hoard yarn. Often I buy a skein or five with no idea of what they will become. But I always love the colors and the fiber make up. Most often a I hoard fingering weight yarn, and thanks to Yarn Rascal for unearthing skeins from the farthest recesses of the yarn vault, I realize I have quite a hoard of DK weight too. Skeins purchased like this can gently nestle in the vault for years before the right project comes along. This is exactly what happened to my Dream in Color Smooshy fingering weight yarn in the Butter Peeps colorway. I knew that some day a pattern would come along and wham-bang I would have this yarn waiting for it.

The project just recently appeared on Kiwi Yarns. She made a sock and was looking for a test knitter. When I saw her beautiful pattern I knew that her pattern and my yarn had to meet in blessed knitting. So she was gracious enough to send me the pattern.

mary mary

The pattern and sock are in knitting heaven. The colorway’s pink smudges always fall in the right areas to enhance the texture of the pattern and highlight its structure.

While a heavenly choir of knitting angels sang, I went to find my double-pointed needles to begin the task. I have a small milk bottle filled with double-pointed needles that are long, short, and in all sizes. I found and tried the needle size given in the directions only to find I could not get gauge. The heavenly choir sputtered and then fell silent. I was getting two stitches over gauge on US 1 needles. I needed 9 stitches per inch and I was getting 11. Dropping down one size would only reduce my gauge count by one and I needed it reduced by two. I emptied the contents of the milk bottle on the table and spent some time searching for US 00. Nada. I wasn’t too surprised. Then I searched for US O just to see if by some miracle I could get gauge. I found three workable US 0 double-pointed needles and two that had the same teeth marks in them as Yarn Rascal’s chew bones. I did a gauge check on the three that hadn’t been chewed and as I predicted I only got one stitch closer to gauge.

Waiting for the size US 0 needles to arrive I studied the pattern. If I decreased the cast on by 4 stitches I could produce a sock that would fit me. But, could I find a way to decrease 4 stitches and not have their loss be noticeable and ruin the beautiful pattern. By the time the needles arrived I technically had the same pattern with just 4 stitches missing.

I am now knitting the cuff of the toe-up sock. After I am done with that, I will be working on the after-thought heel. I have never done an after-thought heel. This one seems to have a little more to it than just a straight after-thought heel. Since the instep and the leg came out beautifully I am eager to get the heel completed. I am going into uncharted knitting territory and the designer had issues herself with this heel. Still, the design of the heel will look really good on the sock if it can be worked out.

So tomorrow I hope to hear that heavenly choir of knitting angels warming up when I pick up the needles to begin the heel or it’s going to be a very long day, possibly with tears.

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I can’t believe it is Friday already. I’m still working on things that needed doing on Monday.

Knitting progresses in a masochistic way. From have no socks on the needles I’ve gone to having two. One is toe-up the other is cuff down. The toe-up is a test knit so it is the one I am mostly concentrating on. So far it’s proven to be a little devil. One of the purl stitches is coming out wonky and for the love of me I can’t figure out what I am doing differently on that specific purl. Instead of ripping back (be still my forthcoming migraine) I am going to drop the stitch back to where it was behaving and with crochet hook in hand bring it back up. Then I’ll do an eastern purl to keep it in line for the rest of the sock.

Because the sock is a test knit, I can’t show it to you right now, but it is a wonderful pattern. When I first saw the pattern on Kiwi Yarns blog I knew exactly what yarn it would pair with in my stash. I am delighted to report that yarn and pattern are working together nicely.

On the masochistic side, I had to go down to  US 0 double-pointed needles to come as close to  gauge as I could get. Still, I was off one stitch. That meant I had to modify the pattern without modifying it. I studied the pattern until I figured out where I could lose 4 stitches without them being noticed.

Naturally, I didn’t have US 0 dpns in my bag full of dpns so I had to race out to buy them. It is a rule in masochistic knitting that no matter how many knitting needles I have I will not have the kind or size needed for the specific project at hand. As I stepped out the door I was greeted by a wind chill of -25 degrees (-31 Celsius). My eyeballs almost froze. But again, this is part of the beauty of masochistic knitting: the weather shall be perfectly horrible on the day I need to get any knitting supply.

The Arctic blast is suppose to stay with us all weekend. That’s okay. I plan to be wrapped in my hand knit shawls, with my hand knit fingerless mitts on, knitting teeny-tiny stitches on my teeny-tiny US 0 needles.

 

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Can one really be a knitter and never have knit a sock? The rational answer is absolutely. But if practicing the Art of Masochistic Knitting the answer is of course not. Socks pose special little dilemmas that other projects don’t. For instance, the toe.

I have made two drawers full of socks over the years: one for The Skipper and one for me. Except for 2 pairs, all were worked toe-up. My basic go-to toe is the short-row. I’ve never had a problem with it until lately. The short-rows and wraps on the last three pairs of socks were creating holes. I changed the type of short-row from wrap to yarn over and it seemed to work…more or less. The holes were not there but the inside of the sock lacked the reinforcement to make it wear longer before toes started peeking through. Also, the yarn over short rows worked well for my small size, but on Skipper size socks it was less effective.

Last night after I completed the Back of Feelin’ Groovy, I decided to use the notorious sock yarn I had left over from my Train to Maine hat and cast on a pair of socks for The Skipper. The yarn is Dream In Color Smooshy in the Peacock Shadow colorway. The colorway gave me a bit of a problem when knitting the hat. While it didn’t stain my hands, it stained the needles. After completing the hat, I decided to see how much the yarn bled. I put it in a bath and lo and behold no bleeding. I squeezed and prodded the yarn in the water and still no bleeding. I laid it on a white towel, working the majority of the water out of the yarn by gently stomping on it and no bleeding. Not even a hint of blue transferred to the towel. I let it dry, hanging from a nail in the ceiling of the cellar, well away from Yarn Rascal who was way too attentive to the washing and stomping process.

It wasn’t long after I cast on my usual provisional short-row cast on that I realized I needed a different starter. I possess enough written material on socks both from the toe-up and cuff down that it could be considered encyclopedic. If it’s been written about I either have the book or the article tucked away in a folder. Within the tomes of this written wisdom are a myriad of ways in which to cast on for a toe-up sock. Here is the beauty of when knitting crosses over from being a relaxing, enjoyable pastime to the Art of Masochistic Knitting. In all that material I could not find the specific cast on I was picturing in my head. I had stumbled across it on the internet months ago and I didn’t bookmark or print it out.

In my quest to be a more flexible individual, I talked myself into abandoning the cast on I wanted and instead give a try to those that were at hand. Surely one would work.

Fast forward a few hours–two to be precise. The blue of the yarn was starting to stain the needles and this time my hands. At one point, I inadvertently made a Cat’s Cradle from four double-double pointed needles and the yarn. Hardly the look one wants when trying to knit the toe of a sock. Blessedly, when I glanced at the clock I realized that it was bedtime and I could put the whole mess away. Which I did, making sure everything was secured in Rubber Maid bin with locking top to prevent Yarn Rascal from gaining the yarn during the night. The Cat’s Cradle thing really, really interested him. He desperately wanted the yarn and needles.

I went upstairs to bed, determined not to think about the cast on for the sock. But before I changed into my PJs I had the computer turned on and was scouring every knitting internet site I know looking for the one I had in mind. In the meanwhile, Yarn Rascal could be heard downstairs trying to break into the bin with the needles and yarn.

The moment I finally found the cast on the computer started making popping sounds from one of it USB ports while Yarn Rascal simultaneously squealed with delight. He had breached the bin. I dashed downstairs saving him and the yarn from certain disaster by bringing him to the bedroom and closing the door. He was informed that he was in lockdown for the rest of the night. When I went back to the computer it was still popping only worse. I prayed that it would just work for a few more moments while I sent the cast on info wirelessly to the printer. That’s when the printer sent back its wireless message that it was out of ink. Printing failed. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and realized I was at the pinnacle of the Art of Masochistic Knitting.

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Last month I finished the Lace Leaf Shawl by Mary Henderson.

shawl 1

It started out as a KAL with Claire and a few friends back in April. I love the way it turned out.

shawl 3

The yarn is Schachenmayr Select in Tahiti. One ball is all you need to create the shawl.

shawl 2

Clair had a drawing to see who among the KALers was lucky enough to receive two skeins of lovely merino yarn. I never win a thing so I was surprised when I was picked! The yarn was lovely and I knew immediately upon seeing it what I wanted to make.

socks

I’d love to be able to tell you the yarn and colorway, but Yarn Rascal ate the labels before I could jot down the information. Both with the holidays and the full moon he was a little besides himself when he ransacked the craft room and broke into the yarn vault. He did receive an end of year Golden Paw Award for his effort.

Picture2

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