Category Archives: YAPOPVS (yet another pair of plain vanilla socks)

Shouldn’t I be working on a certain sweater?

Lo, I have finished the neverending socks – all it took was a visit to my sister- and brother-in-law’s house (six hours from my house to theirs, by car) and approximately ten to twelve additional hours of TV watching (Big is a good movie to knit to, Armageddon is not, in case you were wondering. Food Network good, ESPN bad – you get the idea). They have cable, we do not, so it was heaping helpings of TV all around. They are just hours away from being mailed – the recipient saw that and it was good.

Sadly, though I was in New York state (just for reference, when they call it a New York Strip Steak, that’s a cut of meat, not the point of origin) I did not go to either Rhinebeck or my own personal Rhinebeck, the Yarn Shop of Geneva. I did not even drive by the Yarn Shop of Geneva, so great was my interest in the socks I have been working on since July. If you’re reading this ladies, I’m sorry – look for me when trout fishing season rolls around. To make up for that tragic oversight, I took something special for the trip back as a reward.

That’s my Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Peacock, and I’m following Michelle’s basic sock recipe, a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a while, because I like ribbing (don’t look at me like that – this is different, non-boring ribbing). So far, so good. You would think the hard part would be teaching yourself the German Twisted cast-on in a car speeding down the New York State Thruway (here’s a hint: twist more than you think you need to, and that’s about right) but no.

Until today, I couldn’t figure out how to purl through the back loop, mostly because my Google efforts were inscrutable to the search engine gods. And I wanted to start right now! So, no Purl TBL on this pair, but it will be my first set of short row heels – two fabulous new knitting skills in such a small project (and technically it’s three, since I now know how to purl TBL).

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m losing my enthusiasm for knitting a pile of Christmas gifts. Hats and scarves will always be there, but there’s only one Man-Along, and I wouldn’t mind at all if Knit One Purl Too’s Winding Without a Swift Specialist* (my husband) got a sweater out of it. He wouldn’t either. working on a beautiful cabled sweater in lovely yarn is hardly torture. At least I am not knitting sweaters like this.

*Who has categorically declared that he will wind no more Cherry Tree Hill Supersock for me – I am on my own if I buy more because it is “the most tangle-prone yarn ever.” Don’t take it personally Supersock.

What big feet you have!

First things first: the first Ribtips sock is done (look for a picture shortly) almost done (maybe ten rows to go before grafting), and let me just say I had no idea size 9 1/2 feet were so much bigger than size 6 feet – how could I have been so naive about how long this was going to take? I think realizing the foot was going to be longer than the cuff was a clue that I was in for more knitting than I expected. But it’s looking gift-worthy, so I’m pleased.

Second, the sadly shredded sock first mentioned here? I was in denial – that yarn was shredded as well, and left a hopelessly tangled mess – my dog was efficient. I have relegated the partially-finished second sock (sob!) to a dark corner of my stash, not to be spoken of anytime soon. When I started knitting again in earnest, I wanted nothing more than a pair of those swank self-patterning jacquard socks; thankfully, I have some backup Regia – now all I need is the time to knit it.

Third: In just a few short days, the Knit One, Purl Too staff (me, husband and dog) are hitting the road to Yellow Springs, Ohio for A Wool Gathering. I am also in denial about how I have convinced the entire family to go to a knitting-related event that lasts multiple days. Woo! Also? It’s at a dairy that makes their own gelato – woo woo! This is my first real vacation in quite some time – I’m a little excited.

[Fourth (shhh!): My husband doesn’t know this, but I’m about to frog the 3/4″ of the Man-along Cable Rib cardie and start over – I got a little too creative with my stitch counting, and refuse to continue with a sweater that will only get more wonky as time goes on. This does not bode well for a January 1 finish, but I’ve gotten religion as far as using selvedge stitches for seaming is concerned, so there you have it.]

In other news, out of curiosity, I looked into thrummed mittens (I always want to say “strummed” – is that disrespectful?), mostly because I am about to frog a charity mitten I had almost finished, but didn’t like the looks of. I liked the dots on Stephanie’s mittens, and even through she’s promised a thrumming report, I’m a girl that likes to do her own research. Here is a free pattern for thrummed mittens from Yarn Forward, and I now understand that they are essentially, stuffed. so now, not only do I think “strummed,” I think “turkey” when I see mittens. “Strummed, stuffed turkey” – I’m hopeless, and potentialy senile. Is it just me, or do thrummed mittens seem like cheating in the two-color knitting department? Not that I’m bitter about giving up (temporarily) on the two-color sweater or anything, but working with short lengths of roving gives very little opportunity for the yarn/roving to tangle and frustrate the knitter. Easier knitting? What fun is that?

Mitten bonus: I’ve wanted to make the Broad Street mittens from Knitty ever since I saw the pattern Here are some handy tips if you want to make them too.

In the “tips” department, file away these Salt Peanuts tips – now that Theresa has finished her Salt Peanuts, I am inspired to knit this all over again (thankfully, it’s already in my stash). Salt Peanuts bonus: The Salt Peanuts knitalong.

Bonus bonus link:A really good-looking twisted-rib sock pattern. Yes, that’s right, more ribbing!

Every day is a holiday…in September.

At first, I thought I was in a knitting slump. It was so hot that even my Fixation sock was sticking to my Brittany needles, so it was going….very…slowly. But as I come to the end of sock #1, I’ve already begun thinking about what’s next, and I have to admit two things:

1. I may not be in the frame of mind this fall to teach my hands a fiddly technique like two-handed, two-color knitting.

2. In knitting terms, the holidays are right around the corner – I better get started on holiday gift knitting.

Longtime readers will remember that i finished my last 2003 holiday gift in the car on the way to Christmas dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. Oy. That was the capper on an all-too-hurried holiday season, so this year, I’m saying I’d like to finish knitting gifts by November 1. I have several on my list already:

Danny Oulette’s Crossing Cables socks in Mountain Colors’ Bearfoot Granite Peak for a friend with big feet.

A cabled hat from Knitter’s Stash for another friend in cranberry Classic Elite Montera , and the Nordic Sweetheart Hat for her husband (so I will get some two color practice, even if the Lopi goes back in the stash. Besides, Nanette says smaller-gauge two-color projects are better for beginners, and who am I to argue with the expert? I’ve wanted to make that hat for awhile – so there you are, another project rationalized).

A doubleknitski hat for my brother in law, and a hat for my sister-in-law (perhaps the Frugalhaus cabled hat).

All these hat people have been waiting for quite awhile – I started blithley tossing off “I’ll knit you a hat” prior to the *last* holiday season, so I feel some urgency to put up or shut up, knitting-wise. So Nanette is having sock month, Michele is having post every day for a month month; I think September will be “get started on my holiday knitting” month for me.

So, of course. what did I do? After organizing my knitting basket, I started something else. It’s just the back, and it’s an inch if I’m lucky, but isn’t it beautiful? It’s the Cabled Rib Cardigan from Men in Knits in Blackwater Abbey Yarns’ Bluestack, a lovely tweedy grape, with flecks of brown and red and blue. A knitting slump, even a small one, is helpless in the face of such great material. I can’t help but pick it up, something which makes Knit One Purl Too’s Yarn Purchasing Watchdog (my husband) very, very excited. Is this a holiday gift? Realistically, no – but I’ll have fun trying (isn’t that the same thing they say about making babies?).

Bonus link: The cable needle as fine jewelry; I prefer cabling without, and I still can’t look away.

Pick a little, talk a little.

I love that Brainylady Alison can be bothered to post while in Borneo, and I can barely manage once a week even though I’m rarely out of sight of a computer.

Two major things happened since we saw each other last. First, while swatching for my Lopi sweater, I taught myself to pick. One step closer to my quest for two-handed Fair Isle joy. If you want to learn how to pick (rather than throw) I recommend the Philosopher’s Wool video – you get an excellent view of Ann Bourgeois picking away, and the sweaters are mighty inspiring. That was an “aha!” moment for me when I saw it last year, though I didn’t really try it until last week; I had added incentive because two rounds with two colors in one hand left me with a tangled mess.

So, I have undone my original swatch, and am following the directions for Anne Featonby’s two-handed Fair Isle class more closely – a few rounds of picking one color with your dominant hand, a few rounds of throwing the other color with your other hand, and then practice alternating stitches. Practice, practice, practice. I’m trying not to rush, recognizing that I’ll feel comfortable with it eventually, but progress is so slow that it’s hard to stay motivated, even though I know in my heart that any sweater on size 11 needles will eventually have its share of zooming along.

The gauge leaves me with a fabric I’m tempted to describe as airy (I can see through it, at least). I think I was getting a Starmore-esque bulletproof fabric for the Lopi when I originally swatched with 8s (20 sts/4 in with Lopi – the wearer would work up a sweat in January!)…I’m going to set aside my worries and follow the pattern, until I see something go horribly wrong. After all, those Alafoss people know what they’re doing, right?

The other thing I’ve accomplished? A pretty spiffy looking heel turning on the first ribtip sock. I now firmly believe that it’s possible to correct any knitting error with enough patience and time. Inadvertent short-row gap? Uneven gusset pickup? History! And Fixation is like elastic-waist pants: hiding a multitude of sins. I wish I weren’t smack in the middle of my Magic Stripe socks, also heel flap models. I feel ready for a little peasant heel 6-point decrease action.

And in the back of my mind, I’m also thinking “You can knit the Veronik Avery cabled chair in the latest IK out of Briggs & Little 2-ply for about $30.” How I wish I had an extra pair of hands…

Bonus link: A step-by-step photo tour on how to spin with a drop spindle

Does this look like ribbing to you?

In an ingenious move, I swapped a pair of handknit socks for some web design work. While I can move pixels around with the best of them, there’s a darn steep learning curve in designing, and I was more than happy to hand off what I considered the hard work.

I’m making a pair of “Ribtips” socks, pattern courtesy of Rob, a 2×2 rib in Fixation colorway 9880. These socks are helping me confront my Fear of Ribbing. As a relatively new knitter, I feel a certain amount of reassurance when I know I’ve mastered a technique. Whenever I knit ribbing, the first few rows look wonky, leading me to ask questions like “was my cast-on too loose?” or “am I a bad knitter?” however, pressing on yields fine results. See? These were also Knitting in Public – I took them through three airports and one college campus for a conference. By the way, I’d just like you to boggle along with me for a moment – I took these photos with my Palm Pilot. My new Palm Pilot, which has throwaway features like a digital camera, takes better pictures than my digital camera. Which I should just throw away. Ba-dum-bum. Thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

Bonus link: a (quite beautiful) car covered with yarn.

Knit faster!

I didn’t realize how much I really wanted to go to Sockfest until it was happening; same deal with Maryland Sheep and Wool – even though I have zero interest in spinning, and MS&W is a spinner’s mecca, I was jonesing for a fiber road trip. So I thought “My brother in law lives in New York state; how about Rhinebeck in November?” How about “He lives 200 miles away from Rhinebeck – New York is a bigger state than I thought!” So, maybe not. Maybe Michigan Fiber is more realistic. Or even KnitFest; Toledo is the gateway to knitting, apparently.

Fiber road trip or no, I’ve been knitting up a storm; it’s hard for me to tell whether or not I’m knitting faster, but I think so, because I’ve produced six seven inches of sock in a week (plus, I turned the heel on my birthday). See? That’s Lion Brand Magic Stripe on size 1 needles – I never thought I would use size 1s, but they feel great. Magic Stripes is heavier than average sock yarn; I’m slightly worried as a loose knitter that I’ll need to use 00 needles with regular sock yarn to get a fabric I like that wears well. Small needles are fine, but I have my limits.

In large-needle news, I am almost half done with the sleeve on my Lush pullover – two more sets of decreases then it’s knitknitknit till the shoulder shaping.
Whee! My new skill for the week is learning how to do an invisible increase on the purled side of the work – cool, no? I owe my newfound knowledge to the Knitter’s Companion, a surprise gift from a friend (a knitter, of course) that’s proving invaluable.

I’ve mentioned before that I have some sweaters my mom made me when I was in high school that are beautiful but terribly oversized. Unraveling a sweater might be just the tutorial I need to begin their transformation into something even more lovely.

And, just for laughs, here’s my wishlist from this thread on the Knitter’s Review forums: if you were given $500 and had to spend it on knitting supplies, what would you buy?

I’d buy the Alice Starmore Rambling Rose Fair Isle cardigan kit from Virtual Yarns, plus the yarn to make Little Rivers (also from Starmore’s Stillwater). A Charlotte’s Web Shawl kit in Koigu from Threadbear Fiber Arts, a complete set of Crystal Palace circular bamboo needles (well, 0 to 8, probably in the 24′ length), 0 and 1 40″ Addi Turbos to try Magic Looping, the Big Book of Vogue Knitting, The Knitter’s Guide to Finishing Techniques by Nancy Wiseman, The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson, a subscription to Interweave Knits, The Sock Calendar from Jackie E-S of Heartstrings Fiber Arts, some Lorna’s Laces sock yarn, because I’ve never used it, some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (ditto). And I’d use the remainder of the money to take designer Kathy Zimmerman to lunch, because I think her cabled designs are so beautiful; I want to thank her. That should do it 🙂

Thanks to Knit One Purl Too’s Knitting Supplies Procurement Specialist (my husband), and some Barnes and Noble gift card action for my birthday, I’m getting a subscription to IK and The Art of Fair Isle Knitting – yay! More birthday surprises unveiled shortly – stay tuned.