I am still not buying yarn, but it’s not very blog-worthy to say “once again, nothing new!” I have finished the SuperSecretKnittingProject (which I swear you’ll see the second I get the OK), and my lovely Jaywalkers. Specs: DROPS Fabel 901, a Christmas gift from my cousin. I liked the yarn, and the fit is pretty good – I didn’t run into any “I can’t get this over my ankle” issues. The stitch pattern is the opposite of ribbing (little negative ease, little give), but they’re super-cute and I’m happy. The Fabel also softened up in the wash, so I’m liking it a lot, yarn-choice-wise. First Eye of Partridge heel, and yet another picot hem – I am wondering if I’ll ever get tired of how cute they are.
And just when you thought I had exhausted my fascination with self-striping yarn, I present you with Nancy Bush’s Oak Ribbed Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks, started at the end of March, due to be finished within hours of this writing. This may be the best story of my knitting career: I admit here that this pink and brown yarn almost made me fall off the yarn diet wagon after two and a half months, because as much as I loved the SuperSecretProject, I was ready to be knitting something else. Blogless Melanie sees my post and offers to swap with me – a week later, I have yarn and candy, courtesy of Melanie and Canada Post. Thank you, Melanie!
Two FOs complete means that I have knitted up 1100 yards and have about 4300 yards to go before I reach the magic “20,000 yards remaining in stash” threshold. I already have 3100 yards actively WIPping right now. How did that happen? Doesn’t that seem like a lot? Honestly, it’s probably Lizzy, the Noro sweater with just 3/4 of a front left to knit. It might also be that I had a tiny bout of startits – why finish something old when you can start something new and fresh? I can trace the source of the startitis to Sock Knitters Anonymous. The April challenge to knit an underappreciated pattern (15 or fewer projects in Ravelry on April 1) was irresistible to me: I have not one but two prime sock patterns ready for love in my queue. Look for an appearance shortly from Ann Budd’s Punctuated Rib Socks, found in the splendid Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn. I’d be far enough along to show you something, but I foolishly started the large instead of the small, so there’s been a little ripping and the re-knitting is still in progress. The other sock pattern? So underappreciated, I’ll be the first project…I feel I have to, since I’ve wanted to make them for years (See? I asked Melinda about them in 2004). I’d take a break from self-striping for that.
Where have I been? The answer is really good – everywhere. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone, knitting away this summer, and I got to do some of my knitting on a 10-state 12-day road trip from Ohio to Montana and back again. What else are you supposed to do when one of your knitbuds says “I’m moving to Montana?” You go with them, and you take your knitting with you, of course. The socks you see here managed to make it from cast-on to cast-off without being blogged; they’re a toe-up pair of Timberline Toes from Lucy Neatby (a sock so nice, I’ve knit it twice), in Regia that was a lovely gift from Lisa and the dogs, unused for far too long. With two pairs complete, I’m now fairly certain that I’ve gotten toe-up socks out of my system, at least for the moment. I wove in the (many) ends of my Smoking Hot Socks, and so they are also officially done. I loved this pattern from beginning to end. They were fun, engaging and quick – completed in a month (if you don’t count the ends). I’m ready to knit another pair.
But right now, my attention is focused on unfinished objects rather than new projects – after a long hiatus I’ve picked up my entrelac socks again. The sorry tale boil down to this – after doing half of the heel prep on sock #1 Easter weekend, 2007, I lost track of what I was doing, and had a devil of a time trying to figure it out. No matter what I did, the second triangle I was making to form the base of the heel didn’t look like the first. I e-mailed Janice (maker of three pairs of Step Above Socks), she was helpful, I was still sort of stuck. Then I came up withe the brilliant idea of faking myself out: why not start the second sock, work up to the heel and just keep going as though nothing were wrong – maybe that would jog my brain into remembering how everything was supposed to fit together? It worked(!).
I was not really planning on participating in the Ravelympics, but I’ve made so much progress on these socks I might not be able to help finishing them this month. Unless I run out of yarn. Now that I’m close to the toe on sock #2, I can see that I might not have enough yarn for the heels and toes. This is the second pair of Koigu socks in a row where I’ve run short – I think I have to start buying three skeins for a pair – or buy stock in Tums for the stress running short causes me. More travel knitting here, with photos to come as I upload them inbetween bouts of knitting. There’s been more, of course – I couldn’t go an entire summer without posting unless I got into multiple kinds of trouble…including spinning. Yes, you read that right. Stay tuned for more details – I promise it won’t be another three months before you hear from me again.
I’m not a quitter, but those sideways socks annoyed me. I wanted to finish them, yet I knew it would only end in heartbreak. So I did what I usually do when faced with knitting disappointment: rip, then distract myself with new techniques. First there was the Magic Cast On, which is pretty impressive, then there was the cable cast on, which is nice enough, then there were the mitered squares – absolutely scintillating in self-patterning yarn. And before I knew it, I had a whole freaking sock finished. Seriously, two weeks is some kind of record for me – these went so fast, May was almost NaKniSockMo – I am thisclose to a complete pair (and who knows what could happen in the next 10 hours?).
As proof, here are Sock #1 and Sock #2 together – there’s no sleight-of-hand or Photoshop trickery going on. These are Monika Steinbauer’s genius Smoking Hot Socks (e-mail her for the pattern, or it’s also available as a Ravelry download) in Trekking XXL 140. I found the garter stitch strip to be sort of understated, colorwise; this incarnation of the Trekking is kind of obnoxiously loud, and I love it. I also have to say that this is an ideal sock pattern for the adventurous or easily bored knitter, because each section of the sock knits up differently – just when you’re tired of the toe, it’s time to slip stitch, then you turn the heel, then you work a pile of mitered squares, then you’re done! Monika recommends a Jojo short row heel, but I went with my favorite tried and true Sherman heel – other than that, I’m knitting the pattern as written.
All I want to do now is knit lots of toe up socks, which seems in direct conflict with my other goal of finishing 14 things this year. Sad but true, waiting for ten more pairs of socks from a slow knitter like me might put us into May 2009, so I’ll need to balance my new obsession with my, er, production schedule. I think I’m going to be one of those knitters with a project scheduled for every day of the week. Then again, I might become one of those knitters who goes out and buys more sock needles.
1. I finished my first pair of socks for 2007 while I was on vacation this past week.
2. They’re Lucy Neatby’s Timberline Toes pattern from Cool Socks, Warm Feet.
3. I used ONline Tropic sock yarn, color 924.
4. I loved the pattern and the colors, but the yarn was a little splitty.
5. My only modifications were adding a picot cuff (yay!), and a rounder toe.
6. The garter stitch heel is a tad deep over 60 percent of the stitches, but the fit is so close to perfect that I don’t care.
7. In fact, I love these socks so much that I wore them twice in three days.
8. They make me smile every time I look at my feet.
9. Now I have just two WIPs: the Step Above Socks, and Cable and Rib.
10. I’m at a transition point with both projects (one triangle away from the heel of the first sock and almost done with the back of the sweater).
11. Coincidentally, the bloom is off of both of them; I have the urge to start something new.
12. I could start Lizard Ridge.
13. But I only have the yarn for three squares right now, so it’s likely to be a WIP for a long time. [Dear Santa, Send Noro – ed.]
14. I don’t really need another long term WIP – it might do me in.
15. I could start a Flower Basket Shawl – perfect summer knitting.
16. In fact, I went through a weeklong period earlier this month where I thought I would die if I didn’t start a shawl.
17. I looked at what seemed like every shawl pattern I had ever bookmarked; I felt the urge to develop a flowchart to define my preferences.
18. Apparently it was “the bigger the better” as far as shawls for me – The Sampler Shawl and the Fir Cone Square from Folk Shawls were top contenders.
19. Not to be obvious, but it seems I have learned nothing from Cable and Rib in all its bigness. 20. I may not be happy until my shawl’s border has a border.
21. See item 14., specifically “it might do me in.” A huge honking shawl is probably not a good idea.
22. I could start a sweater for myself – mmm, fall knitting.
23. I’m smaller than my husband, so I could talk myself into believing that a sweater for me does not really equal a huge, honking project.
24. Starting either Lizzy or the Ribby Cardi would scratch an itch, but I’m dismayed to see knitters reporting in with technical issues with both garments (Lizzy may benefit from waist shaping; the Ribby needs careful attention to sizing for best results).
25. My instincts for perfect fit are battling it out with my desire for mindless knitting.
26. Embarrassingly, I seem to consider math to alter a pattern or paying attention to detail too much work.
27. Honestly, starting a whole new sweater would make me feel like I should admit I will never, ever finish Cable and Rib.
28. Crap. I had no idea a nice pair of socks could do this to any self-respecting knitter.
Here is July in a nutshell: Getting promoted (yay!) meant moving offices away from most of my colleagues (boo!) to an office in the basement (double boo!) which at first appeared ugly (boo!) and was shockingly muggy (double boo!) until a hidden switch was flipped from “winter” to “summer.” The office turned out to be quite nice after a paint job, furniture rearranging feng shui, and some attitude adjustment from yours truly. As my friend’s mom would say “You can do this, or you can do it and enjoy it.” In other words, attitude is everything. And new yarn helps.
I am not much for the impulse buys, but while I was in the throes of The Big Office Move Which I Was Just Sure Would Negatively Impact My Enjoyment Levels, I thought “I have to get my hair cut anyway, perhaps I’ll just pop into the yarn store down the street and see what their Kureyon looks like.” You know, take the edge off. Surprisingly, because they don’t carry a lot of yarn to begin with, my ExtremelyLYS had Kureyon 170 – my current Kureyon fave. I have plans to make a striped sweater like Michelle’s, but I settled for one skein to start a Lizard Ridge (or a Lizard Ridge yarn collection, depending on when I decide to cast on). I am battling between “afghan squares as summer knitting” and “I promised Cable and Rib would be done this year.” Sigh.
My real impulse buy, because I have already admitted I am not over the self-striping sock yarn, was a skein of Online Supersocke Tropic, in what Knit One Purl Too’s Yarn Evaluation Specialist (aka my husband) is calling “hippie, crunchy granola colors” for a pair of Lucy Neatby’s Timberline Toes. I love these colors because they almost don’t go together, yet the overall effect is pretty harmonious – the beautiful in the unexpected. Plus, there’s pink. If this is not enough for you, there are additional sock pron shots here, including a delicious shot of the garter stitch short row heel, turned at several LaGuardia departure gates while a recent flight was delayed. Dear American Airlines: Thanks for sucking the last bit of excitement out of air travel for me. On the bright side, passengers boarding other flights were complimenting the sock, so it wasn’t all bad.
The biggest surprise for me was the fabulousness of the picot hem. I have admired many from afar, but for one reason or another, had not picot-ed until this pair of socks. I’m in like Flynn now; it’s easy and fun, plus I think my first picot hems and the bits of garter stitch elevate these socks out of the “plain vanilla” category. Hooray! There’s a poll here, just for fun. If you can’t see it in your feed reader, please click through to vote!
There may be no nicer feeling than finishing a project, particularly when the finished object in question is *cough* a few days late (mostly due to my monumental inability to accurately measure my knitting). My disappointment, however, was outweighed by 1. my new love affair with the short row heel and toe and 2. the arrival of my own pair of sockpal socks (yay!).
Oh, short row, how I love you. In the Sherman heel, we see you in your Platonic form, perfect and uncomplicated with bothersome wraps, if a little boxy. There is no picking up of heel stitches, no messy decreasing at the gusset. In a measure of how much my passion for the short row technique grew, after I cast off these socks, I was immediately ready to make another pair for myself. The only thing stopping me is that I have already picked my post-Paloooza project, and I already have two pairs of socks in progress. I am so tempted to rip out the flaps on my mom’s socks and short row ’em. I may need some sort of intervention.
In addition to the socks, my pal will be receiving a custom-sized set of sock blockers created by Knit One Purl Too’s Sock Accoutrement Supply Staff (aka, my husband) especially for her tiny feet with the assistance of Photoshop and power tools. Can you believe it? If my husband were a knitter, rather than simply the world’s Most Enthusiastic Knitting Groupie, his first sweater would proably be an Alice Starmore. I hope you love your socks, pal – I miss them already.
My feelings of loss were short-lived, however, because my wonderful pal, Jen from Knitting for Sanity, gifted me with a beautiful pair of Friday Harbor socks (Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road) in Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool Quarters (see a detail shot here). I know spring has barely arrived, but these socks (which fit perfectly, by the way) have me ready for fall. They’re (for lack of a better word) perfect, Jen – thank you! And also? Number of pairs of Nancy Bush socks I own: 2. Number of pairs knitted by me? 0. Must remedy that…but that’s a story for my next post, with a working title I Went to New York and Boston and Came Home With Yarn – Is That Wrong?
Things I have said over the last two weeks:
“Wow, two sock legs at once takes a long time.”
“I am so looking forward to short row heels – the Dream Socks pattern is genius.”
“Hey, I can do the backwards yarnover now.”
“The first half of these heels is going pretty well.”
“Do you think when Priscilla Gibson-Roberts knits three together, it looks this crappy?”
“This can’t be right.”
“Oops – $)#_*$, I dropped a stitch.”
“I’m not ripping back – I’m fixing instead.”
“Aaaagh! I ripped it back.”
“Maybe I should try the Sherman heel.”
You know, at this point, it’s little comfort to me that a. I may have mastered the short-row heel. b. I have knitted something on the order of three socks worth of knitting for my pal (something like six leg swatches from different patterns, 3/4 of a Crusoe, two Dream Socks legs), because I don’t think I’m going to be done on time with the two socks I am currently knitting. Maybe. Maybe not.
For reasons that are a mystery even to me, I persist with the “try new techniques even under a deadline” plan – I did not want to do a flap heel, so I knitted the first half of Priscilla’s Dream Sock heel, oh, four or five times before I had to admit that the k3tog (and even the substitute for k3tog suggested by Sally Melville here) on the second half was not up to my “must look good for the sock pal” standards. So I took the good advice Janine offered with sock pattern featureing the Sherman heel above. “If you’re not sure you understand it, why not experiement with a swatch?” So I did.
I tried the Sherman, and I tried the PGR. I’m sorry Priscilla, it’s not you, it’s me – I liked the Sherman heel better. Even in Bernat CottonTots, it looked neater and there were no holes. So now I knew what my preference was without having to rip back, adjust or reknit for what felt like the 10,000th time. I think the extra work was worth it.