Socks on Parade

Ahoy, my lovelies. We’re about to embark on a voyage to Sock Island and back. Or Sock Hill or Sock Oblivion. Sock Seattle – wherever you want to go with Sock attached to it.

If you are one of the two readers of this blog you are aware that one of my goals for 2012 was to knit more socks. And I have accomplished that in a big way people. Since the first of the year I have finished five pairs of socks. Yes! I am the champion. I nearly have enough handknit socks to wear one every day of the week. Since my state has been like living on the surface of the Sun this summer I have not worn many socks since March (?) but I could if I wanted to and that’s what counts. Let the parade begin.

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This is the most recently completed addition to the Smith Sock Family but it is destined for adoption. It was crafted for one of my students who convincingly begged for a pair. Done. The pattern comes from the Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor and was the first fancy sock pattern I’ve tackled. The book is truly big and chocked full of sock patterns in various, sizes, colors and styles from kid to Christmas. I enjoyed knitting this pattern. The ribbed effect it produces is very easy on the eyes and very easy to produce. Kathleen also wrote clear instructions for the short-row heel which I finally understand even though I took a short-row heel class at the much-revered Sock Summit last year in Portland. I will be making more socks from this book. She has several patterns for worsted weight socks which I guess would work with boots or the Birkenstock. It seems like they would be thick for the regular shoe. I’m sure Kathleen knows best.

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Here are some lovely tweed socks made with Knitpicks Essential Tweed in a colorway that appears to be burgundy. These were made using the Yarn Harlot’s Basic Sock Recipe from her book Knitting Rules. I have made several socks using her very detailed instructions and I like them. I figured out the ideal number of stitches to cast on and my socks now fit like a dream. I love her recipe because she tells you how to fit the socks to your feet. Very helpful. I loved working with this yarn and have enough leftover for either another pair of socks, an American Girl something or a festive addition to the heel, toe and cuff of a subsequent pair. That pattern is also from the Big Book, tra la.

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These were made from some Paton’s self-striping yarn. I love the colors and pattern. I wasn’t so sure at first but these are probably my first or second favorite socks. This is the pair that finally had the right number of stitches to fit and feel like they were going to stay up. I am excited to wear these once the ball of fire cools down a little.

These are more socks from the Harlot’s basic recipe – I was on a roll. The yarn is more from our friends at Knitpicks. This is  Felici in Marsh or something. I think this colorway has been discontinued. They do that frequently with the Felici yarn so now if I like it I buy it. Fall into the consumerism trap much? Yes, yes I do.

My current sock project is a selection from my Yarn of the Month Club. I have ripped it out twice. Once I screwed up the pattern, the second time the sock was just huge so I’ve gone down a needle size. I was very impressed with the pattern (the little I knit of it) and proud of how well I knit it. Photos to come! It’s just a baby right now.

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Pardon me

I have been remiss in tending to this blog and was shocked to realize my last blog post happened in March. I had hoped my vow to blog regularly would be stronger. Oh well, here’s to new beginnings.

But first, a soapbox. It appears that the members of the U.S. Olympics Committee think knitters are, in the words of Kay Gardiner on her Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, “ruining the Olympics.” Here’s a snippet from a letter they wrote to Ravelry.com, which hosts its own Ravelympics during each installment of the Olympic games. Knitters pick a project and try to complete it during the course of the games. Here’s an excerpt from the letter Ravelry received from the Olympics claiming copyright infringement:

We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

Keep in mind that the afghan marathons and scarf hockey occurs while paying consumers watch the games and their accompanying advertisements. And keep in mind that the person writing this letter is probably not a knitter so he or she doesn’t know how awesome or life-changing it is. They are probably just boobs.

In response, the knitters are making Stephen Colbert a lifetime supply of socks if he does a People Who Are Destroying America segment about this. His twitter handle is @StephenAtHome. If you feel strongly about this subject please tweet and ask him to support the knitters. Or make him a pair of socks. He wears a size 11.

Will this case of rampant boobery by the Olympics make me not watch? No. I will giggle uncontrollably when I hear reports of the truckload of socks arriving at Stephen Colbert’s door. And I will relish the upcoming apology from the Olympic Committee to knitters everywhere following the storm of bad publicity that’s already been unleashed.

The lesson here? Mess with the knitting and it will mess with you.

Spring has sprung …

Let’s take stock people. Tomorrow is the vernal equinox – meaning equal hours of day and night – and the first day of spring – meaning time to clean out and take stock. And so, I will conduct a brief review of the progress of my knitting resolutions.

1. Knit more, play on the Internet less.

This has happened to an extent, mainly because I rarely look at the Internet at night anymore. Nighttime is knit time – among other things. 🙂 I have added far fewer patterns to my Ravelry favorites recently. But I haven’t been knitting from any of those saved patterns either unless you count American Girl clothes, which I do. Much more progress could be made in this area. I am currently wanting this fairly badly: tea leaves

A new sweater for the American Girl doll belonging to Ashlynn Smith. This outfit also fulfilled a year-old request for pants.

2. Make more from the yarn of the month club.

Success, albeit slow. I recently completely a set of fingerless mittens and am working on a hat from the club. Had I been in possession of or known the location of the size 4 needles I do possess, I would probably be nearly done with the hat. I’ve also wound all the yarn for the kits I already have. They are ready and waiting in the bedroom. I’m trying to decide between a scarf and a shawl and when I get the current pair of socks done I’m moving on to the yomc socks.

3. Make mittens.

No mittens have been made unless you count the fingerless mitts mentioned in the No. 2 entry. However, I have conquered my fear of making thumbs so hopefully completing a pair of mittens is in my future. The yarn still languishes.

4. Replenish the Drawer of Advanced Planning.

I have kicked number four in the rear. After pillaging this drawer at Christmas, I diligently worked to beef it up again. It currently includes two baby sweaters, a skewed shawl, one neck warmer and a pair of fingerless mittens. I cannot believe I have presents done for so many various people this early. Bring on Christmas! It will not make me its bitch this year. It won’t!

5. Finish last year’s projects.

I did make a great stride here in finishing long-promised and expected golf club covers. I charted two of the designs for these clubs, had big problems when trying to teach myself stranded knitting and basically knit each cover two to three times. I also had problems with the pom-poms and decided they wouldn’t hold up under the frequent and manly removal from their golf club resting spots. So I scrapped them. They were delivered in February to a huge fan fair and warm reception. This isn’t technically last year’s project it’s more like 2006’s project. But they are finally done – huzzah – and I can now move on with my life.

Regarding other projects from last year, I’ve finished little things, but no big things. The world’s longest-running blanket project is still running, I am not done with my Placed Cable Aran sweater and I need to do more work on a Christmas sock I started for someone in November. Oh well, the year’s not done yet, but unfortunately for the sweater and blanket, winter is.

6. Charity Knitting.

Nothing done here. I was supposed to knit a hat every month. No hats so far. But again, the year is still young.

7. Become more comfortable with sock knitting.

I’ve become more comfortable with my basic sock-knitting pattern and can finish a pair in under three months (it’s usually the purse knitting) but I’ve yet to try any more sophisticated patterns. That’s my plan after the current pair is complete. By the way, here’s the first sock of the current pair watching the Summit League Tournament.

And that concludes the knitting resolution update. I’ll admit I’m sort of impressed with myself. Here’s to an even more productive second quarter.

Blasting through the stash

While not officially stated in my New Year’s goals, reducing the amount of yarn in my home is a major campaign for 2012. Prior to a fall home reno, the yarn had wormed its way into every room in the house. It’s still there technically, but no actual yarn resides in the kitchen. In order to make myself look less loony to muggles (non-knitters) I have tried to reduce the amount on display, with some success.

But now to the point. This little sweater was knit with one and a half skeins of either Rowan or Debbie Bliss baby weight yarn. It was also a chance for me to try out the 80 bajillion baby sweater patterns I have placed in my Ravelry favorite page. The pattern is the Baby Boy 5-Hour Sweater. Here are my Ravelry deets.

 

And just for the record, this is the fifth finished knitted thing for 2012. It was started in 2011 but that doesn’t count right now because I make the rules. Of course the Beem is the real rule-maker.

 

Gratuitous dog photo

Four knitted things

Since Jan. 1 I have finished four knitted things. Now that’s finished, not started. Let’s keep that clear because two of these knitted things were supposed to be Christmas presents. Exhibit A and B:

These patterns are Turn A Square by Jared Flood and the Hitchhiker shawl pattern by Martina Behm. The hat was supposed to be part of my brother’s Christmas present, as blogged previously, the scarf was supposed to be part of my sister-in-law’s gift. She got a wrapped up pattern and skein of yarn instead. This caused some giggles but was not ideal by any means. Apparently before Christmas she was looking for a scarf but they were all too expensive. Knitsmith to the rescue, albeit a bit late. It’s a good thing she was only needing a scarf and not being attacked by aliens or something. Being rescued from alien attack is something you want right away, not two weeks later.  Anyway, these are both done and I have resolved to only take on three knit for Christmas projects past Aug. 1 next year. And start them before Nov. 1. Let’s be sensible.

The completion of these projects subtracts two skeins of yarn from the stash. Considering how much the stash has grown in the last year that is fantastic. I went to one fiber festival and the sock summit and picked up some presents for myself at both. I’m also slightly addicted to the yarn sites on the Triple Dubs. You understand where this is going. I have a small house and people aren’t fooled when you tell them big piles of yarn are chairs.

Anyway, I’ve knocked out two more projects this weekend: a scarf and a cowl.

The cowl will go in the Drawer of Advanced Planning. The scarf will shortly be a birthday gift. It’s just a simple garter stitch. The cowl was worked in the round until I ran out of yarn.

So there you have it – Jan. 9 and I’ve already finished four knitted things. I hope this trend of mass production knitting continues for me and for you if you’re so inclined.

Finish it already

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter F – for Finish. I am currently working on what could very shortly be the fourth finished knitted thing of 2012. This is impressive since it is only Jan. 8. That’s right, I have just complemented myself. That’s how I roll. I should not allow myself to get a swelled head about this accomplishment however, due to the myriad unfinished things dating back to years beyond 2011. Many of these unfinished items reside in the sewing room.

For several months I’ve believed that I would enjoy sewing if only I had the time and energy to do it. I am beginning to doubt the truth of this statement as I have yet to actually sew in spite of some available time and occasional energy. I see many projects I want to sew. This, http://www.purlbee.com/little-forest-quilt/for instance, would be a lovely addition to the front entrance. Every time I think of working on a project like this I remember the two quilt tops, one tie, a purse and pants needing to be hemmed that are on the to do list ahead it, or the American Girl clothes I want to sew for an upcoming birthday and I stay in the chair with the knitting.

I have flirted with putting together projects that only need sewing so that I can work on them right way when I get up or during my lunch hour. So far, this is another pipe dream.

What is the point of this post you ask? Merely to remind myself of the big pile of unfinished things weighing me down. I’m also just musing out loud about whether any of this will ever achieve completion or continue to languish in a basket. Should I scrap it all, donate it and just focus on the knitting and scrapping? It seems like a big defeat and an overall waste. This may seem very silly but whether I’m going to continue to stock the craft room as if I sew or whether I’m going to let it all go and give the space over to either less clutter or other priorities is a big question I’m pondering. My mother sewed beautifully and appeared to love it. (She also didn’t let quite as many projects pile up as I do. And tried to warn me of the folly of doing so.) People think I sew infrequently as I actually do. Letting go of it feels like letting go of part of her legacy, and a part of her that still lives in me, so it’s difficult. Maybe I should just put it away for awhile and see how I feel in six months. Maybe I should just give myself a break. Stay tuned.

New Year, Old Sock

Ok, so I forgot that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog more. Didn’t write it, but I’m going to do it.

This is the current sock, begun last year and continued this year. I keep the socks in my purse so if I have to wait somewhere, need a little knitting break during the day or find myself in a car full of knitting-supportive people, I can pull it out and get some stitches in.

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This sock is made from some Knit Picks Felici I think. Anyway, this colorway is probably discontinued. I usually agonize over whether to order a specific Felici colorway until it’s discontinued. Smart planning. Check out the cute owl stitch marker, a gift from new crocheter Catherine Bigbee.

Anyway, this sock is made using the Yarn Harlot’s basic sock recipe. This is the pattern I usually use for socks. I get a good fit with it for the most part. I am going to try to step out (Get it? Socks, step out? Ha ha. ) and knit some socks from a different pattern this year. This may involve lace or cables. Contain yourselves.

The sock started out going really fast and has now stalled somewhat. However, I am nearly to the heel. I love the yarn. It’s really soft and appears to fly around the needle. I’m using one of those really tiny circulars instead of DPNs. I’m not sure how well I like the baby circulars. I think they make my wrist hurt but they’re easier to manage than the DPNs. Although I feel less clever while working with them. It only takes the Yarn Harlot 20 hours to finish a pair of socks, but I think in that 20 hours she actually knits on them. Imagine.