Category Archives: socks

Was this a good idea, or what?

Basketweave Scarf I did promise to give you still more eye candy after dumping my OMG!!HugeFinishedSweater photos here – so here we go. First, my next-to-last FO of the year, the Basketweave Scarf from Knitting Daily, completed with 2.5 skeins of yarn repurposed from my failed Lush turtleneck, seen so long ago. Was this a good idea, or what? So soft! So fun to knit! Such a shame I have only this one photo to show you – there are a few crappy cellphone pictures lurking here and there, but none can capture the lovely, soft reversible nature of this scarf, given to my cousin who had been asking for a scarf (and hat and mittens) as a NotChristmasGift because I didn’t have her name in the family draw but I cannot resist the genuine appreciation for handknits.

First Jaywalker FullIt also helped that my cousin had my name in the family draw, and she gifted me with not one but two colors of Garnstudio DROPS Fabel sock yarn – yay! As soon as I opened my gift I thought to myself: “I guess I’m making a pair of Jaywalkers.” And so it came to pass that I knitted one of the Interweb’s most venerable patterns with my very newest sock yarn, Fun, easy, and certainly the loudest socks I’ve made in a good while – which is just the way I like them, apparently.

Sadly, I’ve gotten in the habit of ravel-ing projects before blogging about them, because I’m fastidious about creating a Ravelry entry as close to the actual start date as possible (rule-follower much?). Anyhoo, I wanted to let you know that in the on-deck circle is a pair of Bells and Whistles socks from IK Holiday 2006 for my mom – lovely, but I’m still in the “shut up, I’m counting” lace knitting phase, so photos will have to wait until later this week when a full repeat is finished.

As for plans and resolutions, you might as well know that when I tallied up my stash after the Christmas frenzy was over, I was alarmed to discover that, instead of the 20,000 yard cap I was aiming for, I ended up with more than 25,000 yards of yarn stuffed in plastic bins (some of this is charming Lizzy, an FO that remains U). So, until I hit that 20,000 yard mark, no more yarn – even though it might take all year. What to knit? A lot more socks: I’d like to make six pairs in 2009, which means (say it with me) a sock a month – totally do-able! Punctuated Rib, Old Navy, Pot Pourri and Rivendell socks are in the queue, plus the Ribby Cardi, and the terrific Primordial Hat [rav link], which strikes me as a delicious companion to the Basketweave Scarf. That should get me close to 5000 yards down – and after all, my cousin did ask for a hat.

All this waiting is ridiculous.

I was recently tagged for the perennial “7 random things about you” meme by the lovely Kat; I soon realized that if I didn’t get off my butt and post, my 7 things would be FOs, such is the knitting production in these parts. So, off we go. [For those who can’t get enough lists, I give you ten knitterly things you don’t know about me – ed].

Sunset Fancy Socks Complete 1. My 60 GB iPod is almost full. I love music, all kinds – even bluegrass (which took some getting used to), and my dream job might be “producer who picks incidental music for Marketplace. They have excellent taste, and I consider it a point of pride that I have found and liked songs that have later appeared on Marketplace. Looking for good stuff? Try KCRW’s Today’s Top Tune. This item brought to you by Nancy Bush’s Gentleman’s Fancy socks in Trekking 108, completed in October for me and perhaps my favorite pair of socks yet.

2. My favorite word is “intransigent,” because I am, occasionally. Particularly with people who say making their own pie crust is too hard. Just try it! It’s better. I also have a favorite punctuation mark, the semicolon, because I’m nerdy like that.

3. In my stashbusting quest, I am completely taken with the idea of finished knitted objects giving you the opportunity to shop for yarn guilt-free, and have decided that henceforth two FOs will earn me the equivalent yarn for a future project. Gloria Cowl, finished This Gloria Cowl was made out of the last 2/3 of a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot which had been hanging out forever, and is now the newest knitted item for my loyal husband, willing to walk the dog on cold mornings because I provide a steady stream of handknits. [Yarn purchased as a result of these two FOs? Lamb’s Pride Shepherd’s Shades for the Bird in Hand Mittens. – ed.]

4. I always say that my favorite holiday is the start of Daylight Savings Time because we get an extra hour of sleep, but my real favorite holiday is Thanksgiving; all of the food and festivity and none of the stress of holiday shopping.

5. A few years ago, my husband and I were bored with cooking the same ten things over and over, so we decided to see how long we could go making something different for dinner every night. Turns out, the answer is “more than a year, even when you’re remodeling your kitchen.” We like Recipezaar because you can plug in ingredients (if you don’t feel like Googlecooking. The biggest thing we learned? If you plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals at a time, you save money and you’re a lot less likely to bail at the last minute and eat out because you have tasty choices at home.

6. I have at various times considered graduate school in social work, hospitality management, law, business, and library science. The itch for hospitality management lasted about 29 minutes; library school still seems cool to me.

7. I’d love to live outside the United States for an extended period of time, even six months. Paris, anyone?

In the non-random department, I am steaming ahead on the last sleeve of Cable and Rib, thanks to the company of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I estimate that I’m about 86 percent done – when I reach buttonband territory, you’ll be the first to know.

There and back, with the socks to prove it.

Timberline Toes at Vista Point, Montana 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. Timberline Toes Again, complete 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.

Smoking Hot Socks, complete
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(!).

A Step Above, more progressI 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. Donna and Kristi at the Tri-state Marker 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.

Projects tagged with: “toe” and “up”

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?).

Smoking Hot Socks, almost done 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.

The siren song of garter stitch.

Without my really paying attention, I managed to complete two sleeves and almost the entire back for Lizzy, the Noro Silk Garden cardigan that I was noodling around with when we last saw each other. I had fantasies that I would be able to finish knitting the pieces for Lizzy in the month of April, and it looked likely except for one thing: the siren song of garter stitch.

Here is what I’ve learned about myself (the “knitting as a growth experience” part of the entry): the easiest project on the needles will invariably rise to the top of the working rotation. I can talk a big game about cables as easy to knit as stockinette or a lacy sock I am dying to make, but apparently there were days this month when purling was too hard, and Lizzy was cast ruthlessly aside in favor of the Better Mousetrap Socks by Debbie New from Interweave Knits Fall 2001; I would show you an FO picture, but the Internet seems to think that I’m the only person who wants to make them. It doesn’t look like much more than a strip of knitting, but simple decreases give you half a heel and toe on each side, then you graft the whole thing together, and voila – a garter stitch sock magically appears, thanks in large part to the inspiring gift of Trekking sock yarn from Theresa as a blog contest prize. Better Mousetrap Sock, in progress

Except not. In late-breaking news of the “knitting as a growth experience” variety, I started the second set of heel decreases and got the sneaking suspicion that while the adjustments I made to ensure the foot was the right shortness (it seems wrong to say “length” here, since that’s not my problem) appear to have worked, the sock itself will turn out to be too wide side to side, with potential bagginess looming all over the place. Damn.

Part of me wants to treat this as a learning experience and figure out how to customize the second sock to fit me so I can reknit the first one in all its garter-y goodness before the Michigan/Ohio State football game in November (yes, these are my secret “M – Go Blue!” socks to be worn in Buckeye country). Another part wants to finish the sock and give the sock and yarn to someone with size 6 or 7 EEE feet – let them knit the second one! And a third part of me wants to admit that the only way God meant for us to knit socks is top down or toe up, and rededicate the yarn to that purpose. What should I do?

Blame it on the Bossa Nova.

Tidepool Socks, Done So I told myself that a March finishing frenzy was inspiring me to actually finish things, and indeed I have finished something: the Tidepool Socks. Except for the harrowing hunt for coordinating yarn when I thought I would run out, these were a totally relaxing, fun knit. Details: Koigu KPPM p211 on size 1 bamboo needles, 72 stitch picot hemmed cuff, 68 stitch leg, 60 stitch foot. Koigu KPPM p213 for the heels and toes purchased from the charming Merilyn at Foxyknits. The heel is Dawn Brocco’s 6-point afterthought heel, which I continue to recommend wholeheartedly. Best of all, Mom loves them, so the hunt for more Koigu was worth it. Tidepool Heels

Whether it’s an abiding wish for spring, having my iPod serve up Eydie Gorme singing Blame it on the Bossa Nova, or a deep desire to just do something else, I have succumbed to cast on fever. More specifically, lace cast-on fever. It’s time. With just one pair of socks, one aborted shawl, and hundreds of patterns bookmarked, I have surprisingly little to show product-wise for my fascination with lace. Until now. Meet the (latest) project I love unreservedly, Nancy Bush’s Wishbone Socks. Much like the Little Tent Dishcloth, this is a project I was inspired to make from the moment I first saw Cassie’s version on Ravelry. Wishbone Sock, First Repeat
Piecework Magazine to the rescue – the pattern was published in their March/April 2008 issue. This is Apple Laine Apple Butter in Dark Chocolate – a little somber for spring, but I am so tickled to actually be using yarn I stashed in 2004, I don’t care.
To counteract any gloominess, I’ve also swatched for Lizzy, the Noro ruffled cardigan I’ve been yammering on about for the better part of a year. Not only have I swatched, I’ve washed and blocked my swatch to check my true gauge. Lizzy Swatch Properly informed, I also whipped out the better part of a sleeve in the car going back and forth to my parents’ house for Easter (total number of knots found in two skeins of Silk Garden: 2 Level of annoyance: low, because I am using Anja’s terrific “weave your ends in as you go” method). It occurs to me that I could have titled this entry “Let’s Get Ready to Ruffle!” How great would that have been?

The Marge (or, “at least it’s not pink”).

Honeycomb Cabled Hat, cables This is the reversible cabled hat from Dove Knits; she’s knocked out a number of shockingly beautiful FOs since this pattern was posted just three weeks ago – this little number is the tip of the iceberg. Plus, it has the added bonus of looking just like Marge Simpson’s beehive while under construction.

I made just one change to the pattern – I added a cable repeat to provide a better fit for my husband’s taller/larger head. I also used a provisional cast to begin so that I could start the second hat using live stitches, rather than stitches picked up from the cast on edge. Take note: this is an excellent first cable project, and a terrific item to practice cabling without a needle, which is the way I roll. I was so tickled that the cables actually twisted both ways that it almost reignited my Cable and Rib fire – almost. Honeycomb Cabled Hat, ribs

In other knitting news, I’ve been knitting a pair of Tidepool socks for my mom for what feels like forever. About a month ago, I discovered to my horror that I was going to run out of yarn, and spent hours scouring the Internet for a suitable heel and toe substitute – I looked that thousands of skeins of yarn. Apparently, I am the only person in the Western world who thinks that “hot pink” means this color – everyone else thinks that’s “shocking pink.” This is why I now have four newly-acquired skeins of Koigu in my stash – say hot pink, get some other pink. I love these socks, but I’m honestly a little bit sick of looking at pink Koigu. I know, cry me a river.

1102 days down, 112 days to go.

My fabled knitting slump lasted all of three days, during which it might have looked as though I cast on approximately 40 times for Lizard Ridge – but that didn’t really get my mojo working, so I shelved the squares for later.
It also might have seemed I was reviewing every sock pattern written in the last four years: my current favorites are Ann Budd’s Seduction Socks (pdf) and a new-to-me treat for variegated yarn, Mad Color Weave. I may or may not be carrying a printout of that very pattern around in my car at this moment in case spontaneous knitting breaks out.

This would have once again been a perfect opportunity for a pattern choice flowchart: I wanted lacy, but not too open, or textured but not too complex, preferably with some detail running down the leg into the foot. Must use stash yarn. Points given for toe-up construction. Bonus if it features or can be adapted to a picot hem. Dark horses included the Uptown Boot Socks (I saw a pair made from the very yarn I had in mind on Flickr – why redo what’s been done?), and Veronik Avery’s Spiral Boot Socks (adapting them to toe-up so I didn’t run out of yarn seemed like a lot of work). Apparently my flowchart needs an option that says “if this is a pattern for boot socks, cast on immediately.”

Instead, I finished the back of Cable and Rib. See more pictures here, including a shot I have helpfully titled “So big, you can see it from space“.

Why yes, I do still think it's pretty I realize that I can’t call this an FO in any way, shape or form – but it’s a little bit of a rush nonetheless. To review: this is the project that has languished for almost exactly three years as you read this, since 2004 when I was swept away by the greatness of Tara Jon Manning’s Men in Knits. I like symmetry, and I like patterns – it just never occurred to me that to get a nice, densely textured fabric you would knit the same six stitch, four row chart over and over. And over.

I said I was going to finish this in 2007, and I’m sticking to that – which means I have 112 days in which to knit two fronts, two sleeves, seam, and knit on the button band. If you are laughing at the depth of my folly, go sit in the back where I can’t see you. I have a plan. First, the twoCable detail fronts should take just over three weeks apiece at my current breakneck pace. That leaves five weeks for two sleeves, and lets me declare December “Button Band Month,” so I can try to avoid staying up until 2 a.m. during the holiday season for a finishing party. Second, Tara Jon, are you serious? Knit the (honking) sleeves onto the (huge) body, down from the shoulders? I noticed this detail a long time ago, but confronting it once more now makes me think that this project is going to be so big that my knitting bag will be a rolling suitcase. So much for inconspicuously knitting in public.

Rockin’ Girl Blogger Isabelle was nice enough to nominate me as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger – thanks! I resemble that remark, and I’d like to nominate any knitter out there who’s also on the cusp of finishing a huge, languishing UFO. You’ve earned it.

Frankly, my dear, I think I’m in a slump.

Picot Timberline Toes Finished1. 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.Picot Timberline Heels
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.

Picot hems for everyone!

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.

Kureyon-170-D 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.

Timberline Toes First Sock
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!