Category Archives: sockapal2za

Aren’t you finished yet?

the beauty shot Well, yes. Here (click on all pictures to get a closer look), in what is record time for me are the beautimous SockaPal2za socks. Considering that I am still part of knitalongs that started years ago, I think I should get a gold star for my singleminded dedication to completing these in a timely fashion. The ingredients for successful project mania included three seasons of Alias, which means I watched a shocking amount of TV in the course of knitting these (apparently spycraft and lace knitting go together like peanut butter and chocolate).

sockapal2za_button.gif The details: Two and a half skeins of ArtYarns SuperMerino in color 115, a riot of pink, on size 4 Clover Bamboo needles (which were pink by the end of the project – heh). a lace closeup If you wanted to do toe-up socks, you could probably get away with two skeins because you could just end the leg when you ran out of yarn, but it’s not exactly a hardship to knit with this stuff, so I was happy to have a third skein on hand. The pattern was Ellie’s Holey Socks from the Knitlist, well-written and easy to follow, extra points for intructions on ensuring the lace pattern on each sock mirrors the other. That was a nice touch. [note: I didn't use this version of the pattern (I used this one - they're the same), so finding this link was the first time I saw a picture of someone else's finished Holey Socks - isn't it reassuring that mine look like that?]

toes ahoy What’s next? Dude, I have so many UFOs my mail gets delivered to Area 51. I’m about to turn the heel on the second rainbow Opal sock, so I think I’ll plow ahead with those. Two sleeves and a turtleneck are between me and a finished sweater; I’d be lying if I said this was my favorite project, but I can’t wait to see if I can make a sweater that fits – the suspense is killing me. Then it’s back to the Bearfoot Retro Ribs. Once I’m well into the second sock (rather than at the heel of the first), then and only then will I cast on for something new…what will the new thing be? A Christmas stocking (see pattern details here) by request for my husband’s godson a fine heel flap (I am his official Fairy Godmother, which puts me squarely in charge of Treats, Surprises and Special Things. Can I finish my first piece of two-color knitting in 80 days or less, plus get some of my many other goodies off the needles? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…Why not? eighty days is a long time, and after all, I’m on a project-finishing roll here.

Great expectations.

Or the entry that could be titled “Lace socks keep me humble.” My SOP (standard operating procedure) for sock knitting is to use the Twisted German cast on and the knit one row flat before joining; I use the K2tog method of joining, BTW, b/c IFILF (I find it less fiddly).

In the first attempt at these socks, I neglected to note that because the ribbing for the cuff is not reversible, you will be at the wrong end of the row and your 12-stitch repeat when joining after knitting back. I gamely turned a blind eye to this fact and worked several inches of the lace pattern backwards, telling myself it would work out all right in the end. This is what it looked like shortly before I frogged, not happy with overall quality but wanting proof I was actually knitting.

the second sock is better, don't you think?
Now, I’m at the heel of sock #1, and here is what I know: Fear has no place in knitting; being afraid of screwing something up is your subconscious saying “this is a technique you should practice more.” Before I got into the swing of things again with my cabled sweater recently, I disliked working on it – too fiddly, not as much fun as more mindless knitting. Then my hands and my brain tapped into the fun again, and I enjoyed the cabley goodness like we had always been best friends.

The same thing is happening with this lovely sock. At first, with all my difficulties, I resisted the charms of the lace even though I find lace beautiful. I said “perhaps this is not for me: too fiddly.” After all, when you drop a yarn over, that little guy is gone, leaving the innocent knitter to say “why do I have four stitches here when I should have five?” What a pain, all this thinking! Then I gave in to the Zen; I dug out my row counter and my stitch markers, admitting that using the right tools would make the job easier. And it has been; these socks have gone from “not my favorites” to ones I want for myself. I’m back on the lace bandwagon. If you want more lacey goodness (and who doesn’t, really?) Here’s a closeup of the eyelet pattern; this is the pattern I’m using after considering many, many others.

I neglected to mention that my trip to Threadbear Fiber Arts included a gander at the ubersocks: the Broadripples that started it all. I think my gushing over these gave Rob a little crisis of confidence: if people love them so much, how can he ever do anything better? Confidential to Rob in Lansing: Creativity is a renewable resource – don’t worry that you’ll run out. That reminds me that I can practice being creative – perhaps I’ll need to look at The Artist’s Way again – after I’m finished with Don Quixote, of course.

All about the socks (mine and hers and his).

Hang on to your shorts; I think this may set the record for “number of pictures Donna can stuff into one entry.” The only sad part? You’re about to see virtually my entire stash of sock yarn (Yes, Susan, this is almost everything – you do indeed have fifty times the sock yarn I do!). I spent part of yesterday unearthing potential yarn choices for me Sockapal2za pal. Let’s take a look! First, I went deep into the stash for the yarn that’s been marinating the longest: two different colors of Koigu, one (pink) purchased from Rob and Matt, and the other (blue) infamous for being the one that put me on my first yarn diet. This is some Sockotta I received thanks to a fortuitous swap with another Socklister, still unkitted after at least a year (I think I am in the “last in, first out” sock yarn stashing camp; witness the Opal socknitting frenzy). Perfect for summer, but is it the right yarn for my pal? Maybe, maybe not. Since I’m finishing the socks in September, my sock pal could enjoy warming her tootsies in this Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Wilderness. It’s soft, knits up quickly, and would be obscenely comfortable – are the colors too masculine? Plus, I’m kind of in the middle of a pair of Bearfoot socks right now (see below for action shots). Here’s awesome sock yarn from Debbie at DZined. This is the last of my swell hemp yarn stash – I may make a pilgrimage to KnitFest for more, or I may have to keep this for myself! This Lang Jawoll was a delightful find on last year’s trip to The Fifth Stitch in Defiance; Ellen Upp’s store is off the beaten track for me, but she has sock yarns I don’t see anywhere else (thankfully, there’s mail order). Should I use self-patterning yarn, though? Isn’t that cheating? Sock pal, will you love your socks if they’re stockinette? And yet, even as I worry about the self-patterning yarn, here’s some that’s won my heart: Regia, won earlier this year from the lovely Lisa and her dawgs. I have fantasies of wearing socks made out of this yarn to work, hidden under sedate suit trousers – so my sock pal might be out of luck here.
What to do (Duffle was unimpressed with my quandry over what to choose.)?

I would be remiss if I didn’t share progress on my current socks – the first Opal sock is sooo long I had to fold it to get a decent photo (hee!), and very close to the toe decreases. Here’s a view of the lovely heel, in which I bossed around my knitting and broke the yarn to achieve to pattern repeat I wanted. We are all about the small knitting victories here at Knit One, Purl Too.

I’m also (finally) about to turn the heel on the first Retro Rib sock (Closeup of incredibly hard-to-photograph fabric) for Knit One, Purl Too’s Yarn Expedition Expediter – my husband. He’s calling it a July vacation to Acadia National Park in Maine; I’m calling it an excuse to visit Green Mountain Spinnery, Peace Fleece, Halcyon Yarn, Cottage Craft…you get the idea. And, sock pal? I think you’re getting Koigu – nothing’s too good for you!

Bonus link: Though it’s hard to believe I’d be looking at winter garments when it’s so hot out, check out these cool handwarmers in Berroco Air – I thought Berroco was “all foofy yarn, all the time” – who knew?

Must. knit. sock. now.

Tuesday, June 7: Laurie puts the sock yarn in the mail along with this stunning card – how did she know that every damn day is like that around here for me?

Friday, June 10: I receive the yarn in the mail. Do I think it’s lovely? Bet your sweet bippy I do; I am gripped with what could only be called “cast-on fever” (of the German Twisted variety, of course). I open the envelope after dinner and spend the trip to a local ice cream stand for dessert casting on (60 stitches, if you care).

Saturday, June 11: I knitted while we went grocery shopping: “You have to drive, because I have to work on the sock!” I knitted while watching Seinfeld reruns (“These pretzels are making me thirsty!”). I brought my knitting along in case it would be okay to knit while we went out with friends for ice cream (give me a break – it’s hot here!). There wasn’t really time, but I knit on the way to the friends’ house and back. And when I got home. (I increased to 68 stitches after the cuff, by the way.)

Sunday, June 12: Errands and volunteering on Sunday morning meant I couldn’t start knitting until close to lunchtime. But guess what i did Sunday afternoon? You bet! I was a knitting fool, or crazy like a knitting fox, whichever you prefer. More Seinfeld reruns and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle kept me company, along with the Knit One, Purl Too peanut gallery (aka my husband).

Monday, June 13: In an effort to use up vacation time, I am taking Mondays off this month. What a sweet deal! I polished off the Seinfeld reruns and (say it with me) knit some more and then watched Office Space before my weekly Stitch ‘n Bitch. I don’t need to tell you what I did there. And this is where it got me: Not only is this progress photo a triumph of Photoshop, this is living proof that these are evidently the InstaSocks.

Which is a good thing, because I have succumbed to the Sockapalooza 2 virus, and I will cast on for that pair of socks soon enough.
sockapal2za_button.gif Even though I am a slow knitter, the Sockapalooza exchange seems do-able (is it wrong that I specifically asked for a sock pal with small feet? Don’t hate me, big-footed knitters – I think you’re great, but I’d finish your socks in December!). Plus, it’s so incredible to receive a pair of handknit socks made for me. [I also have to confess that I'm not sure I appreciate the true scope of the Secret Pal exchanges - it seemed to start out as wee trinkets you could fit in an envelope as a surprise for your pal, and it looks as though it's become a "Christmas in July" sort of thing, with entire bags of yarn and flotillas of books from wishlists winging back and forth. I love other knitters, but if I'm buying a bag of yarn for anyone, I'm starting with me. Send comments to youareaknittingspoilsportwithoutasenseofhumor@knitonepurltoo.com -- Ed.] I am all about the small gestures, which is why I heart Laurie and her lovely gift of sock yarn. P.S. Opal, I was wrong about you – I think we’re going to have a beautiful future together.