At long last, the Broadripple socks are done, and I love them. Even though I started them at the end of February, it seems like they’ve gone very fast. I recommend the Broadripple sock pattern as a great first sock pattern – a relief from the possibility of endless stockinette. I made some small changes to the pattern to customize the fit (read: make them smaller), and fit they do. Surprise! Perhaps the most valuable lesson in making the was my growing understanding of sock construction and “the sock formula” – you could look at knitting a sock like assembling a puzzle, and it’s fun! The Broadripple knitalong has almost 300 knitters, and is about to spin off an ongoing sockalong, Six Sox, a sock every other month for a year – exciting! I’m back to my Lush sweater, and thinking about what I’d like to knit from the summer issue of Interweave Knits…if I can keep from casting on from another sock.
Well, one needle, to be exact – my back was turned for two minutes and one of my Brittany Birch doublepoints was in pieces, courtesy of my dog. Conveniently, I was on the heel flap of my second Broadripple sock,
and won’t require all five needles again unless I want to make, oh, another pair of socks. Five needles has spoiled me – I so prefer it to four.
And I adore making socks – it’s so quick and so practical – after all, I wear socks almost every day. After this pair is complete, since I have two more pairs worth of Fixation, I might make Matt’s Fixation Socks. Of course, I’d need (say it with me) a new set of needles to be truly happy.
But to be honest, my heart is elsewhere. Where, you ask? Despite the fact that I have two sweaters on the needles, after perusing a copy of Alice Starmore’s Stillwater (thank you, interlibrary loan), my heart belongs to Rambling Rose (Victoria is a fine knitter, by the way – check out her other stuff). As an aside, one of my neighbors has a Rambling Rose because a friend knit it for her – I’m such a geek that when she showed it to me I was all “That has to be an Alice Starmore!” As soon as I saw the picture in Stillwater, I said “That’s Rebecca’s sweater!” and I knew I had to make one of my own.
I am in love with this sweater enough to struggle through the process of learning to knit it, so I will most likely tackle one of these two hats (or one of these) for practice with my stranded knitting techniques before I forge ahead on the sweater itself. KBTH has an exceptional teddy-bear sized Fair Isle sweater that would even allow me to practice steeking, but I have no bears to dress, alas.
Little did I know that a suggestion for a Broadripple sock knitalong on Friday would blossom into a co-hosted (thanks, Susan!) festival of knitting joy…with 54 members(!) by Saturday evening. Wowie wow – the need to knit the Broadripple sock is great indeed.
I have avoided second-sock syndrome, and nearly completed the cuff on ornery Broadripple number two that proved so hard to get a handle on recently, and I am ribbing away on the cuff for my Lush turtlenck sleeve – pictures to follow once the beginning knitalong frenzy subsides.
Are you interested in joining up? Visit the group page, steal the button – be a part of the “spring has sprung” madness – Broadripple goodness for everyone!
All I’ve done over the last five days is cast on, knit a little and rip out what I’ve knitted. Either the cast-on row is too tight, or too loose, or I once again accidentally short-row my work (I knitted the wrong way around on the second Broadripple sock this time). So, no knitting pictures today, unless you count my newest knitting partner: This is our new puppy, Duffle – an unexpected addition to the family who seems to be fitting in well and shows an appropriate, appreciative level of interest in my knitting.
The other cast-knit-rip project has been the first sleeve for the Lush turtleneck – I thought I might try knitting the sleeve in the round to avoid endless seaming, so I was thankful for these instructions on knitting with two circulars. I got started, then realized that my circs were too short. Now I’m thinking I might knit flat simply to avoid any change in gauge between knitting flat and in the round. Oy, I should just stop thinking and knit – this is definitely beginner’s mind at work.
I liked knitting my first sock, and I found a stash-busting Koigu Sock pattern and a pattern I may not be able to resist: “They Don’t Suck” Socks. And another late entry: a sock in which you decrease for the heel just as you would the toe.
Two finds courtesy of the Knitting Beyond the Hebrides list: a beginner’s guide to lace knitting (and reading charts); I don’t see myself as much of a lace knitter, but I know good instructions when I see them. And, Shilasdair hand dyed yarn from the Isle of Skye; I think the harder it is to get a yarn, the more attractive I find it. Call it yarn yearning, but aren’t those beautiful colors? Finally, Haven’t you always wanted to know what different yarns look like under the microscope? Pictures next time, I promise!
I vowed to myself that I would not post again until this sock was complete, and here I am – whee! The sock fits nicely, in part because I shortened the cuff from seven inches to five, shortened the heel flap to fifteen rows, and made the foot just five inches long before starting the toe. Yes, I have tiny feet. The fit is the best part, other than the successful grafting of the toe, and the relentless use of DPNs.
For the last six weeks, I’ve knitted only on DPNs in progressively smaller sizes, first with the hat and mittens, and then with these socks. You know what? It gets easier, and after awhile, I was all “La la la, double points, how boring.” But the finished product is not boring at all. One further note: I knitted this on Brittany Birch size 3s, which I believe are the size called for in the pattern. Oh so long ago, I knitted a Fixation test swatch and I knew I liked the fabric, but I noticed as I knit that I seemed to be running low on yarn – had I knit the sock to the size called for in the pattern, I would have run out(!) of yarn. The (slightly) loose knitter strikes again!
Some more links: the Poncho Page, for those (not me) experiencing the poncho craze. Continuing the sock theme, a diary of sock yarns, by Teresa Lau. If you’re in London this week, go to knitting night, Friday, March 26 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for me. Because I was curious, here’s the copyright FAQ for knitters, and a review of Barbara Walker’s stitch treasuries (they’re all good, #2 may be the best).
I worked so furiously on my Broadripple sock that I neglected to take a heel flap or gusset pickup picture, but if you need an illustrated gusset pickup tutorial, that’s the one I used. Here is the sock now, into the foot and mere inches from the toe. Inches, I tell you. This is a multi-state sock, having traveled with me to Baltimore and Washington D.C. for work – I KIPed, but less than I thought I might, so I made up for it as soon as I returned home.
So here is my knitter’s dilemma, which I’ve now encountered at some point with every project: by the time you reach the end, you know what you would do differently and have to resist frogging to make improvements and remove mistakes. My lace pattern is not perfect. I decreased too many stitches when gusseting (I have no idea how, but I think it has something to do with trying to count and carry on a conversation), and even though I picked up extra stitches, there are tiny holes in the corners of my heel.
To fix it all, I’d be frogging back to the cuff.
Thankfully, Fixation is a forgiving yarn. I’ve also mastered the invisible increase, which allowed me to add back in the stitches I over-decreased out. I’m knitting faster, which is good – I’m “steady” up from “slow”. But I have no idea how knitters avoid working endlessly on the same projects, driving them to perfection…without becoming the kind of knitters who make ill-fitting items sans gauge swatches that fit no one but their imaginary friends. I exaggerate, but it’s a serious question. As I learn more, I’m looking for a happy medium between obsessive and sloppy.
Links this week are all about the Critter Knitters Knitathon 2004. I have a boxful of acrylic yarn I’ve been thinking of donating to charity (it’s royal blue and gold – eep!); why not knit some of it up first? The Critter Knitters Pattern Library should help wth that, and I love Liz’s Super Duper Simple 18″ Square Knitted Critter Blanket – surely I can get one of those done before the end of July?
Yesterday was an excellent day for knitting in my house: I’m halfway through the heel flap on my first Broadripple sock (for the life of me, I cannot remember whether I’ve done seven or eight repeats of the heel pattern – c’est la vie). Though the yarn will give me a thicker sock than I generally wear, I can’t say enough about how nice these are to knit and how much I like the yarn.
I’ve been good about sticking to my yarn diet, except for a tiny Regia sock yarn purchase (that’s color 5272, by the way), so I was incredibly excited when my husband called me at work and said “Just how much yarn did you buy?”
I knew the answer – none! It was the Slip Stitch box from the Great Stash Redistribution Project organized by the lovely Amy. It was chock full of good stuff and weird stuff, yarn and needles and even sachets to make your yarn smell pretty. The box was brimming over with…creativity – does that sound too sentimental? In any case, I helped myself to a few skeins of Cashmerino Aran, some sock yarn and…wait for it – the Woolcraft This Morning book that has the patten for Alice Starmore’s Marina cardigan. Though this book occasionally pops up in remainder bins, it’s basically out of print, and the only other source for the pattern is another out-of-print book, The Scottish Collection. So, I jumped on it, though Marina is currently out of my league – a knitter’s reach must always exceed her grasp.
I left behind just over 1000 yards of navy Anny Blatt wool and 150 more yards of Anny Blatt Chicago (a navy yarn with multicolored slubs), and navy mohair. It’s beautiful stuff and was a destashing gift from my mom, but I just don’t wear a lot of navy anymore, and I don’t have a project in mind for it. I know someone will, so enjoy! Even though having a large stash makes me strangely anxious (perhaps because I think I should be knitting faster), letting go of this yarn made me a little sad – what if I miss out on making something great? Then I remembered: I’ve heard there could be plans afoot to make more yarn. This knitting thing seems to be taking off.
In other news yesterday, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns arrived via interlibrary loan; a second look convinces me that it would be an extremely handy addition to my library. Something else to acquire: what some people claim is the best knitting equipment bag, ever and it comes from BassPro. And a virtual visit to the Red Cross Knitting Museum, complete with vintage patterns. Finally, what else to do with your finished sweater but take pictures of your friends wearing it: the sweater project.
I’m sure this qualifies as “startitis,” but as soon as I realized that I already had the Cascade Fixation yarn needed to make the Broadripple sock pattern from Knitty, I had them on my needles. I’m not a fast knitter, but I am persistent, so you can see I’ve made progress.
You’ll also notice that I’m obviously going through a “green period”; Picasso had his “blue period” and I seem to be attracted to all the various shades of green I can find – while I was starting this sock last week, we even painted our bedroom green. Thanks to Laura Ashley paints, three of the walls are a lighter Lemongrass, and the fourth is a darker Apple 3. I feel so postmodern with a multicolored bedroom, but I am so ready for spring…and it matches my sock.
Unsure of what to do with your orphan acrylic yarn? Erin’s Afghans Plus will take your knitted afghan squares, or your leftover yarn. What a nice idea!