Trying to Get the Feeling Again

I took a little break from the sock plan after my last post. Clearly something wasn’t working and I felt the need for some space. I got a couple Etsy commissions and then seriously sidetracked with job searching, so it’s just the last week or so that I’ve been able to go back to the socks and try to sort out what’s wrong.

My first thought was that two-at-a-time really isn’t the worst plan. I don’t really enjoy knitting that way, but if my goal with this project is less to enjoy knitting and more to get useful pairs of socks out of it, then enjoyment was what needed to be sacrificed. I was not in the mood to either knit from both ends of the ball or try to weigh the yarn and divide it evenly, so I just went with knitting with two different yarns at once.




Next I figured that ankle socks might help ease my frustration as well. Less length means less to go wrong, and it’s not like I walk around in shorts all the time — or ever, really — so my feet are really the only place I need my socks to keep warm. I did these top-down and they’re the same size and they both fit and I didn’t have to cut the yarn or swear at anybody while I made them. They’re still technically not a pair according to my goal, but one of them is actually not a yarn that I had included in my goal in the first place, so…that mitigates…something, in my mind. Ahem.

After I finished these I decided to revisit the tragic heel-nipple socks. I needed a completely different heel, because these socks really felt tight through the instep, so a short-row or other heel that didn’t give me a little extra fabric to play with was out. I’ve done a bunch of toe-up pairs with gussets but I”ve been wanting to try one with more of a gusset/heel flap style heel for a while and seeing these in the new Knitty had me extra-motivated to give it a go. (I totally want to knit the whole pattern, too. I might need to rethink a couple of the yarns from the sock plan.)

I measured out where I’d need to start the heel.








I was expecting this type of heel to be some sort of magic, but it wasn’t. I mean, I kind of think all sock heels are magic to some extent, but I had never read how to do this before and it seemed like a very mysterious thing to me going in, but it was really straightforward to knit.




And then I went the ankle socks route again.




I like having this heel option for toe-up socks but I think the flap section it was a little shorter than it would have been if I’d knit these top-down with a traditional flap. I went right into the cuff after the heel, basically the reverse of what I did with the first socks above, and they’re a bit shallower. They stay on just fine and there has been exactly no heel weirdness, though, so I am calling these a raging success and seriously considering picking my year of socks project back up.


Pattern: None in particular. 64 stitches, 3*1 rib on the insole, 1*1 rib on the cuff
Yarn: Chewy Spaghetti Spaghetti, color Pragmatic, 43.5 g (so I guess a little less than half a skein? Ravelry doesn’t have the weight listed)
Needles: 2mm Karbonz 40″ circular
Started: 11/4/15
Finished: 1/18/16


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How to Screw Up a Fool-Proof Plan (Several Times)

1. Forget how to knit 2 things that are the same size, despite the fact that you’ve been knitting for years and have no trouble knitting multiple matching sized items when you’re knitting them for other people. Develop a plan to avoid Significantly Smaller Second Sock Syndrome by alternating knitting 2 different pairs.

2. Knit sock 1 from pair 2. Have every intention of going back to sock 2 from pair 1.

3. See that Jenny Lawson will be appearing in Minneapolis in like 6 hours. Decide to go. Decide to bring sock 2 from pair 2 instead because it’s simpler to knit.

4. Knit away happily all evening, from cast on to heel turn.

5. Get The Bloggess to hold your sock!


6. Finish this sock in pretty much 2 days. Try on the pair. Take a pretty picture.



7. Try not to admit that the second sock is a half-inch too short in the leg, because really you can live with that. Try even harder to not admit that it’s also a half-inch too short in the foot, because you can’t really ignore that part.

8. Admit it, set the socks aside, think about going back to the Jaywalkers. Decide the heartache is too much and you have to go with the fool-proof option.

9. Cast on new socks 2-at-time style on 1 needle. As the skein is so tangled you have to cut off a good sized bit before you can even cast on, decide that toe-up with a short-row heel is the way to go, because you don’t need to be adding in running out of yarn halfway through to your list of troubles.

10. Knit along happily, knowing that your socks may be short, but they will be the same length, for fucking once.

11. Realize once you’re halfway through the heel of the first sock that you have too many stitches in the heel. Then notice that about an inch and a half back, you somehow moved the last 3*1 rib repeat from the instep to the sole. Swear unceasingly as you rip out the heel, ladder down that one stupid purl stitch and pick it back up correctly, and redistribute your stitches evenly.




12. Partway through the leg, remember why you hate knitting socks this way.


13. Do ridiculous things to try to fix this tangle, including pulling one of the socks off the needles so that you can thread them back through this mess separately and try to undo it all.

14. Realize that you can’t undo it all, but you have now undone several rounds on the sock you pulled off the needle, so your socks won’t be the same length anymore.

15. Cut the yarn, untangle what you can, rejoin, knit until  you feel like the sock is probably tall enough and you probably have enough left for Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

16. Bind off! Shift the needle around! Bind off some more! Cut the yarn — look how much of it is left! you planned that so well! — feeling SO DAMN GLAD to be done with these socks! Pull the tail through the last stitch on one sock! Shift the needle around to do the same on the other!



18. Take a breath. It’s OK. You can deal with this. Undo that bind off and another round of knitting just to be safe. Redo the stretchy bind off. You’re fine!

19. Get to the last 8 stitches. You are very much not fine, you can feel the end of the yarn trying to slip out of your fingers as you knit. Finish off with a regular bind off and see just how close you cut it here.



20. It doesn’t matter. No one will be able to tell when you’re wearing them. Put them on! They’re so comfy! I mean, sure, one is several rounds longer because you fucked up so much. And maybe the legs are a little loose? And the ankles a smidge tight? But it’s fine! Look at them! They’re beautiful!



21. After wearing them for about 3 minutes: heel nipples.


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Only the Best Reasons

Oh, my friends! I have gotten a little behind on my previously scheduled knitting. But let me explain, because I promise you I have the most excellent reasons.





Look at this face.



Meet Budderickton Woodpileford-Smythe, Viscount Basementshire. Buddy, as we are calling him even tho he is clearly a DISTINGUISHED and REFINED GENTLEMAN, I mean just LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE GLASSES STEMS ON HIS FACE, has been spending who knows exactly how long* living in the wood pile** behind our house. I only discovered this fact at the beginning of October, but once I did I immediately embarked on a campaign of laying wet food, tuna, and dried shrimp out in a strategic line across the yard and into a basement bedroom for just long enough that I could scoot behind him and close the basement door. I am not going to lie, it took most of the month with me putting out food and/or crouching in the other basement bedroom with the door cracked just enough that I could see if he had sneakled inside, but I GOT HIM! Now he is mine and I will call him Squishy*** and he will be my Squishy****.

Well, he will be all mine in like 3 more weeks. It’s going to be Thanksgiving weekend before all the various topical treatments and shots and such are done and we’re allowed to bring him fully into the fold. In the meantime, he lives mostly in that basement bedroom — tho with SO MANY visits for belly rubs and chicken treats every day –  and we are trying to let him and Zoe see and sniff and maybe hiss a little at each other on a regular basis while we also give them both like way extra double triple love and scratches and fishy-smelling treat things.

In other distractions, I’ve had a commission and some photos I’ve been working on for the Etsy shop. I am plugging away at my every-3-weeks socks, but life and work have gotten a bit in the way.

I’m sure you understand.

I mean, what would you do if you had to choose between knitting and THIS FACE?

photo 1

*The vet said he was a year and a half? He was clearly an indoor cat at some point because OH MY GOD YOU GUYS SO FRIENDLY, but.

**Why do we have a wood pile? We don’t have a fireplace or a woodstove. Life is a mystery.

***Budderickton Woodpileford-Smythe, Viscount Basementshire



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A Small Adjustment to the Plan

So! Here we are, 3 weeks into October and also my plan to knit a pair of socks every 3 weeks. And how are we doing? Pretty well but also not fantastic.

My first yarn was Funky Monkey! Handpaints in Apple. I’ve never worked with this yarn and I wasn’t sure how it would pool, so my first thought was Jaywalkers to see if I could get some stripes going. It worked! There’s definitely pooling but the chevron pattern is breaking that up with some striping and I was feeling very happy about things in general until last night. I was almost done with the leg and figured a measurement check was in order because, well, I have a problem with different sized socks.



Checking your gauge: A good idea.

A note to sock knitters who do not live alone: if you are knitting a pattern you know has practically no stretch and you have a history of knitting second socks significantly smaller than first socks, please promise me you will only try such second socks on when your housemate is around. If my husband hadn’t been here last night to pull this sock off of me, I would probably still be trying to figure out how to walk on a pile of carbon fiber DPNs without impaling myself.

I had 2 options: run over my deadline or let go and move on.



Plan B: Another good idea.

This is Barking Dog Opposites Attract in Bonnie & Clyde and I’m just knitting it up plain and so far I LOVE IT.

I think if I knit this sock, then the second Jaywalker, and then the second one of these, I should be good. I want to believe this. I need to believe this. I will follow this plan and all my gauge issues will magically disappear and I will have matching sized socks and it will be glorious.


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’15-’16: 17

It begins.



If all goes according to plan, over the next year these 17 yarns will become 34 socks.

Here is some proof I have actually started on this project:


That’s #14, Funky Monkey Handpaints, and it’s going to become some Jaywalkers. It’s barely even a cast-on right now, but no worries.

Before starting on a new year of socks, I finished these:


But one is so ridiculously smaller than the other that I might have to go back and fix it. Maybe. Someday. We’ll see. No time to rethink the past now, gotta think about this future year of socks waiting for me.



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Blanket Break

This thing is now entirely too big for me to take a decent picture of all of it. On the plus side, I now live in a place that’s big enough for me to spread it out completely.


As I have worked through my full supply of minis, it is time to focus on making more leftovers. I’ve got 5 pairs in progress, so that’s the obvious place to start. Yesterday I had a migraine that only got worse throughout the day AND I had a long drive to do boring errands, and I think we all know what happens with a combination like that.



2 skeins of SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock, 1 of Vice Paradigm

You really can’t expect me to leave the house with a migraine and come home with just a migraine and a toilet seat, no sir.

Then tonight I was getting organized to re-open my Etsy shop and I was looking for some yarn for a custom order and…well…I probably don’t have to tell you what my living room floor looks like right now. Anyway, my point is I decided to be very organized and smart about things and put all my sock yarn that I want to make socks out of in 1 place. I pulled out a few skeins I’m thinking will be better as shawls, and this is what I’m left with, including the in-progress socks and the 3 new skeins:



That, my friends, represents 17 as-yet-unknit pairs of socks. I think it might be time for another Year Of Socks project. If I finish the half-knit ones during Selfish September (go on and have a good laugh at the idea of me finishing Daughter of the Regiment in that time frame even without 4 other pairs to finish, I’ll wait), that’d be 3 weeks/pair starting October 1. Even setting aside the shawl yarns, that’s quite a lot of knitting I’m facing just from 1 category of yarn. But the blanket is only going to get hungrier and just think of the leftovers I’ll have when I’m done. Actually, I should think of all the time I’m probably going to spend snowed in this winter. Seventeen pairs might not be enough to keep me busy.


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Selfish September

I’ve just finished up 2 big gift projects. I have one more small-ish gift to knit that goes with the other two, but reaching the end of a few months of selfless knitting has me thinking about all the things I want for myself now. I’m going to knock out that last small gift soon, but mostly I’m taking the rest of the month to start, finish, or at least make progress on some stuff just for me.

It’s also been a bit of a sick September so far, so today I bring you pictures entirely from where I’ve been plunked on the couch for about 4 days straight.




I finished the skirt on the first Daughter of the Regiment sock! And I’m fairly sure I did most of it almost right! I feel like I’m very close to the end now but that’s probably because I haven’t read ahead in the pattern in a while. These were never meant to be a quick knit anyway.



I was tearing apart the yarn bins looking for a specific skein the other day. I didn’t find it (found a decent substitute, tho), but I did find this leftover Cascade Eco and the last bits of wool from my spinning days. I thought I’d permanently misplaced both, but now I’m thinking thrummed slippers.




I needed some emergency supplies from Jimmy Beans last month, so I grabbed some clearance yarn to bump me over the free shipping threshold. This is Schachenmayr Lumio Cotton on its way to being yet another Muriwai. I’m curious to see what I think of the reflective thread once this is done. Honestly, I didn’t notice it even had that when I ordered, since I was just thinking, “clearance, cotton, bulky, oh hey that looks like it meets my cost requirements nicely.” Life is an adventure.



And I started a new pair of socks. I liked the yarn in the ball, kind of autumn-y, kind of jewel tone-y, but knit up I think it’s ugly as sin. It could almost be a stained glass window but then it fails. Idunno, there’s just something I kind of hate about it. But. It’s Kroy and I love me some Kroy, so I figured if I make these into knee socks I can wear them with my rubber boots and make them part of my farming wardrobe and then I never really have to look at them.


And as you can see in the background I’m also working on the sock yarn blanket again. It’s starting to get cool here finally and I have been stuck shivering on the couch, so it seemed like a good time for something that would keep me warm but not require much thought. I’m almost out of fresh minis again, tho. Anybody up for a Sick, Selfish September sock yarn swap? It’s cool if you’re not feeling sick or selfish. I’m handling both of those well enough right now.









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Socks It Is, Then: A Sad Sad Story In Pictures

Photo on 8-1-15 at 12.04 PM


Photo on 8-1-15 at 12.04 PM #2


Photo on 8-1-15 at 12.04 PM #3


Photo on 8-1-15 at 12.04 PM #4




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I Don’t Know What It Is About My Shoulders

I mean, I get that they’re wider than clothing manufacturers expect for someone who’s my size everywhere else. It’s been years since I bought a button-down shirt because I have to choose between wearing a tent or not being able to move my arms. In fact, I pretty much never buy anything for my upper body that isn’t knit and very stretchy.

And I don’t know a whole lot about sweater construction yet. I’ve only knit a handful of sweaters for myself and they have all been from patterns I followed pretty much exactly, and only one of them had set-in sleeves, and that one I had to modify but I totally guessed and just turned out lucky. So, deciding to knit a set-in sleeve sweater with no pattern was a bit of a gamble to begin with.

It hasn’t been paying off so far. First, I tried knitting the front and back separately (which took several tries before I had something I felt kind of fit), picking up stitches around the arm and knitting the sleeve top down. I wanted a green body and black sleeves so this seemed like the simplest approach to get that.



But everything got weird and bunchy around the shoulders, so that had to be ripped out.

Then I tried knitting the sleeves bottom up, joining to the body and knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless set-in sleeves. This would mean green shoulders instead of black, which wasn’t my preference, but I figured I’d deal as long as it fit. The approach that had worked perfectly when I knit Apocalypta was less successful this time, however.


Photo on 11-11-14 at 5.16 PM


So, I ripped it all out again and then took way too long finally putting my measurements into my customfit account and generating a pattern I could (1) work from for the shoulders and sleeves on this sweater and (2) use to knit a bunch more fingering-weight, scoop-neck pullovers, of which I would like an entire closet full someday, please and thank you. This was going to solve so many problems at once! Yay!


But even this didn’t work. I put in my measurements (I had my husband take them so they wouldn’t be distorted by me twisting around and messing up the measuring tape! We watched the videos and were pretty certain we did everything right!) and my exact gauge from the entire body of this sweater I had already knitted and blocked, not just a swatch, and I still ended up with something that needed a good 2 or 3 inches of fabric taken off the top.


Photo on 7-26-15 at 2_Fotor

Here you see one shoulder just like the pattern said and the other shoulder pinned up to more like how it actually should fit. Also my “if this fucking sweater doesn’t start cooperating soon, I swear it is becoming socks” face.


I don’t get what the problem is here at all. Given that I have a pattern made to fit my exact body, I am sure it must be something to do with the measurements I entered, but that’s as far as I can work it out. And I don’t totally know what I can do to solve the issue, aside from always knitting raglans, which seem to fit me fine. With socks, I just kept knitting them until I figured out all my little quirks and could knit a pair that fit me perfectly. But sweaters take way too much yarn and time to try that approach here, and it’s also way less comfortable to wear a sweater that doesn’t quite fit than to wear a pair of socks that don’t quite fit.


Anyway, I pulled out the seams — again — and unraveled several rows — again — and did 3-needle bind-offs because fuck binding off each side and then seaming — again — for serious.


Photo on 7-28-15 at 10_Fotor

It’s a little better this time. I guess you could say it’s better enough. There’s still a bit too much fabric in the front and I couldn’t rip out quite as much as I needed to in the back because it would have meant refiguring the bind-off for the back of the neck and a few decreases and I really didn’t want to mess around with that.

So. We are now back to the original plan for a green body and black sleeves, which I will pick up and knit top down because now that I’ve changed the shoulders, I have no idea how I would begin to knit the sleeves flat and seam them.

Wish me luck. Or wish the sweater luck, I guess, because I swear if this fucking sweater doesn’t start cooperating soon it is becoming socks.


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Slow & Steady

Well. As I reported last time, we’re starting to figure out what normal feels like in Iowa. Except with the weather. I am remaining in denial about what constitutes “normal” Iowa weather. You can check the weather report every 10 minutes and every time it will somehow be different and also wrong. I give up. But unpacking-wise, organizing and settling in-wise, and especially knitting-wise, everything is moving forward around here, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.


Secret gift project #1 is entering the final stage.



Secret gift project #2 is well under way.



Secret gift project #3 is still in pre-project stage. (Does anyone know where I packed most of my knitting needles? I could really use some help on that front.)



I know that showing pictures of secret projects makes them a little less secret. And I’m sure two of those are easy enough to guess what they are. But they’re such a big portion of what I’m knitting right now that it’s going to be pictures with some details slightly obscured or no pictures at all, and I tend to come down on the side of pictures, so.


Not everything is selfless gift knitting, though. The Green Lantern sweater back is done and I have reclaimed the stitches for the front.



It’s also pretty obvious that this yarn has been reknit into the back of this sweater like 4 times now. Here’s hoping a good long soak will fix that, or that I never have to walk past anyone while wearing this. “Back to the wall at all times” is a heroic posture, right?


Progress is being greatly aided by 2 things: rewatching Scandal (SCANDAL!!!!! SCANDAL SCANDAL SCANDAL!!!!!! go watch Scandal right now you guys and then let’s talk about it!!!!!) and my accountability buddy. My friend Jess and I check in about once a week to make sure we’re making craft progress of some kind. (The less we say about progress made on that original list the better tho.)

Some weeks have been rougher than others. Some weeks all I can say is that I thought about knitting at one point, but having an accountability buddy at least means that I’m thinking about knitting at least once a week, which makes it much more likely I actually will knit at some point that week, which leads to the little bits of progress I’m talking about here, so: “accountability buddy” is definitely on my list of indispensable knitting accessories now.

I can’t recommend this highly enough. Get yourselves an accountability buddy, you guys!

And then watch Scandal with them!


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