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Posts Tagged ‘socks’

What I Am Knitting

First, it’s wonderfully cold here. 19 F / -7 C. With the wind chill it is 6 F / -14 C. I love the way it makes my bare skin sting. I am probably alone in this appreciation, but it is so much better than hot and humid. I’m sure I was a penguin in another life.

The other day The Skipper came out of his man cave to show me a pair of socks I had knit for him a few years ago. He was shy at first. Holding the pair up and looking like a six year old boy who did something really bad. At first I didn’t recognize what he was holding. Then I looked closer and realized it was socks.

“What did you do to them”, I asked. They were so misshapen and large, too large even for the Jolly Green Giant.

“They were always a bit large”, he said. To which I pulled out my laptop, booted it up, and showed him the pictures of the perfect fitting socks when they were first made and on his feet. “No they weren’t”, I said.

He looked chastened.

“I’ll have to look in the stash for some yarn,” I said, remembering all the complaints he had about the size of my stash. “Maybe Yarn Rascal and I can find something.”

It was at that moment I realized that I now thought of the stash as “ours”: mine and Yarn Rascal’s. It felt right. After all, Yarn Rascal is in the stash every night, making sure everything gets rotated.

Yarn Rascal came up with a dark, dark blue partially used skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Of the various sock yarns I’ve tried with The Skipper, Shepherd Sock holds up the best to the beating he gives them. The Skipper’s feet are rather large. I only used about 100 yards of the skein for a hat project which roughly leaves me with 300 yards. I wonder if it will be enough to make a pair of sock for him.

So I have interrupted knitting the scarf I was so enjoying to play yarn chicken while knitting a pair of socks. If my luck goes as it usually does, I’ll get one complete sock and two-thirds of the second done then run out of yarn. The yarn was bought years ago. I think the colorway was Peacock. I don’t know if they still produce the colorway or not. If they do the chances of it matching unobtrusively are minimal. I have that feeling this is a doomed project, which makes knitting on it less than enjoyable. Additionally, I like working toe-up socks, but The Skipper’s need to be worked cuff down because he needs the heel flap and gusset for it to fit him properly. Yes, I can knit a toe-up sock with gusset and heel flap, but for some reason it doesn’t fit as well as the cuff down.

If this works I hope The Skipper will show the proper appreciating for the stash in the future. I don’t ask him to love it the way Yarn Rascal and I do, but I would like him to realize it’s importance. Especially now that so much yarn is on sale everywhere and there will be packages and packages of yarn arriving in the mail for the New Year.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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Yarn Rascal has been heavily into rearranging things in the Yarn Vault of late. He seems to be doing it by grouping like colors. I know what they say that dogs “can’t see color” but I don’t think that is true. Every dog I’ve had knew colors. The other night Yarn Rascal was into the browns and russets. I don’t have a lot of these particular colors but he managed to separate the few I have from the rest of the herd.

One particular skein he pulled out was Jill Draper’s sock yarn in Violin. It’s a lovely russet and it has a touch of cashmere in it. I used to stock up on Jill Draper sock yarn, but since she’s changed her base the colorways don’t seem as vibrant and clear. Needless to say what little I have left of Jill Draper I absolutely cherish and would only use if the pattern perfectly matched the yarn.

Well I did find a sock pattern on Ravelry that was just made to be paired with the Violin colorway. It was in the Free Pattern Testers and I almost applied to be a tester except that I have such difficulty getting 8 stitches per inch. I usually modify sock patterns that catch my eye to fit my usual gauge of 7 stitches per inch. I didn’t want to modify a test.

Last night I went on Ravelry thinking I would ask the designer to earburn me when the pattern was up for sale. No matter where I looked I couldn’t find the pattern. I thought the deadline of the test was early December, but I couldn’t find it. Naturally I don’t remember the name of the pattern but I tried all kinds of tag words that might call up the pattern. Nada. I even scoured the closed tests and came up with nothing.

I’m a wee bit disappointed because the forever shawl looks like it’s going to be complete this weekend, providing the knitting gods don’t get involved, and I wanted some small project to transition to. For now the Jill Draper stays in the yarn vault as one of those precious museum skeins.

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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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