Category Archives: knitting

Snow Day/Sock Day

A couple weeks ago we had hopefully our last big storm of the year, and I got to enjoy probably my last weather-related day off for a good while. It started while I was at work and snowed all day. By the time I got home the roads were slushy and icing up, and at 6 a.m. the next day things did not look like they had improved. I made myself a second cup of coffee and a giant to-do list and set about seeing what I could accomplish, knitting-wise and otherwise.

 

I cleaned out the fridge.

 

IMG_2768

I stared in horror. I made an elaborate grocery list.

 

I worked on my latest socks.

 

IMG_2757

These socks have taken quite a journey. They started out as Whiz Bang but I just didn’t care for the pattern — both the actual look of the sock and the written instructions — and the fit was totally wrong for me. I liked the slipped stitch idea, so I tried something similar that I kind of made up as I went, but that didn’t make me happy either. All that work to try to avoid pooling, and this is what the yarn looks like with just plain knitting; perfect little single-round stripes. These are gorgeous and they will probably be done today and I can’t wait.

 

Cleaning out the fridge led to a serious attack on the dishes because oh damn I guess all the dishes were actually in the fridge this whole time and I got the sink to completely empty, scrubbed and shiny, and there is one thing that a clean, empty sink always makes me want to do.

 

IMG_2769

 

IMG_2774

 

I washed all my socks. ALLLLLLLL of them. Of course, seeing them all in a nice clean pile in the dresser every morning has made me want to wear them every day, so now most of them need to be washed again. Vicious cycle and all that. But I’ve learned some very important things about my socks in the last few weeks!

 

First, remember these?

IMG_1984_Fotor

And how I was all upset that the second one was too small? Turns out my habit of putting socks on the absolute second I finish them and making a final pronouncement on how well I did knitting them isn’t the most helpful. After a bath, these both fit me just perfectly, so my year of socks project has a surprise finished pair to add to the total.

 

Pattern: just my standard socks for me, 64 stitches, cuff-down, aiming for about a 7″ circumference unstretched
Yarn: Barking Dog Opposites Attract, colorway Bonnie & Clyde
Needles: 2 mm Karbonz DPN’s
Started: 10/21/15
Finished: some time in November 2015
’15-’16:17 Progress: 3 completed pairs, 2 half-finished pairs, 1 pair this close, out of what should be I think 8 pairs by now?

 

The other thing I’ve learned — or I guess I should say admitted, since I kind of already knew — is that the few pairs I have that I’ve been ignoring the fit issues with for one reason or another really do need fixing. I have a few pairs that are just a squidge too small, and one pair that is just unacceptably small, and I’ve typically avoided acknowledging this by only wearing them in shoes. I guess it’s that the shoes keep the socks in place so they can’t do that thing where the heel keeps sliding forward towards the toes like it wants to fold your foot in half. But also my feet are just…different since I knit them. Maybe it’s arthritis, maybe it’s wearing heels less the last few years, maybe it’s working jobs that have had me on my feet all day, maybe 35 is just a cranky and intolerant age for me, but these socks don’t fit right, dammit, and I want them to fit right, so I am going to fix them somehow. Stay tuned.

Look, Ma! Both hands!

YOU GUUUUUYYYYYSSSSSS

 

YOU GUYS

 

I LEARNED HOW TO KNIT WITH THE YARN IN  MY LEFT HAND!

 

IMG_2648

This was like learning to knit all over again.

 

But I put it to good use.

 

IMG_2827

These are Kiemurakukkaset and I knit them for the soxcetera colorwork KAL. They were SO MUCH FUN and they’re not entirely finished but man I feel like I’ve leveled up, knitting-wise. I heard the old City of Heroes sound and everything.

I also decided to wash just one to start with so I could get a good sense of the difference it makes. I trust you can tell which one I tested this on. I didn’t even really block this! I just gave it a soak and a squeeze and a bit of a stretch in every direction, and then I just let it lie flat. My gauge is for sure all over the place even after washing, but I will say I definitely think this is a Thing I Can Do now.

As you can see, even aside from blocking these still are not quite done, so the finished object post is still to come. So many progress shots here tho if you’d like them.

The Best Way Out is Always Through

The fallout from last week’s attempt at organizing the next-to-the-couch yarn basket has been staring at me from the coffee table, and this weekend I finally had to do something about it.

The big problem — from both a yarn storage and a project finishing standpoint —  is that when you throw a bunch of half-knit yarn into a basket, eventually it just becomes a yarn tribble. Two solutions to this: don’t half-knit things, and/or don’t store half-knit yarn in a giant basket with no separation strategy.

Neither of these is a likely long-term solution for me, let’s be honest. Still, I felt motivated in one particular direction — which was NOT the “store your yarn neatly like a reasonable person, Aoife” direction — and I’m gonna stick with that for a bit and see what it gets me.

I pulled out my in-progress third Muriwai, freed its half-ball from the horrors of the basket, and worked on the border to the end of the ball. Honestly, how damn quick is it to knit a couple rounds with super bulky yarn? What excuse do I even have for putting this down halfway through a ball? Anyways, this took about 20 minutes and now there’s no mile-long end to tangle in the basket. I think I should get a little credit for finding the rest of the yarn — still neatly in its plastic bag! — and putting all of it together so next time I want to work on this I don’t have to search.

IMG_2670

These things take really boring pictures.

 

I was looking through all the yarn bins over the weekend and doing a quick reshuffle to get things that need attention nearer to the top of the heap, and I figured it was finally time to turn Francis Revisited into something wearable.

Zoe helped.

IMG_2673

This one will take a bit of knitting, since I need to work on the body and the sleeves. It’s just stockinette in the round for the most part, though, so it shouldn’t take too much time. She says almost 5 years to the day after starting this mostly-stockinette-in-the-round sweater.

The greatest accomplishment of my weekend, though, was stumbling upon the old Noro striped blanket that I worked on for about 5 minutes in 2013 and haven’t looked at since.

My first thought was, “Fuck it. This is more square than I want it to be and I am never going to finish it.”

I took it off the needles, and my second thought was, “Fuck! This is way bigger than I thought it was.”

 

IMG_2658

 

My third thought was, “If I fold the corners back like a note in 3rd grade, this might could be a pillow.”

And might it could, my friends.

And might it could, my friends.

THIS THING IS GREAT!!!!!

We have a marble coffee table, and I have a weird maybe arthritic heel, so a pillow is a real necessity. I have thankfully had the loan of Dan’s Spider-Man pillow for the last year, but oh my people let me tell you. THIS PILLOW! IS! FANTASTIC! It has half a small bag of stuffing in it AND half a large bag of stuffing in it! I just kept stuffing until I couldn’t stuff anymore, and I regret NOTHING. I am sure the cats will try to pull the stuffing out, but such is life. Plus I figure if I give it a hot water wash from time to time and treat it roughly it should felt up a bit and keep its inside where they belong.

Pattern: Um…I started with maybe a circular cast on and did yo increases to make the corners? And then did like garter stitch but with 2 knit rounds for every purl ridge?
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, colorway 215; Patons Classic Wool in Aran & Natural Mix
Needles: US 9 KP interchangeables that have somehow avoided the Great KP Needle Plague of Aught-leven to Present, probably partly because they were stuck in this project for the last 2 years
Started: 10/12/13
Finished: 2/29/16

 

Current Situation

IMG_2633_Fotor

One-third through a new semester. Halfway through a yarn basket organization/untangling. (Please, somebody, stop me from trying to store yarn in this basket. I’m seeing if “shove all the little half-skeins into a cut-off piece of pantyhose and hope that that contains them” is a good strategy to prevent every innocent peek into a container of yarn turning into a days long search-and-rescue effort. Will report back with progress.) Surrounded by notes for school, yarn for a hat for Dan, my coffee can of knitting needles (nearly as disorganized as the yarn basket, though blessedly less tangled). Occupying a just finished and actually-matching-size-wise pair of Jaywalkers. Overall, not too shabby.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Funky Monkey! Handpaints, color Apple (That’s my actual skein on the yarn page!)
Needles: 2mm Karbonz 40″ circular
Started: 10/1/15
Finished: 2/20/16
Should Have Been Finished: 10/21/15
Current ’15-’16:17 Progress: Dismal. 2 of what should be 7 or 8 pairs by now.

In other current things, my friend Shannon started a knitting podcast and you should all check it out because it’s fantastic and she’s adorable and she mentions me in one episode and now I feel FAMOUS.

Also I made some new hats for the Etsy shop and one of these days I’ll be home and not forgetful while it’s light enough out to take good pictures and actually get them listed.

IMG_2625

Also also this cat continues to be almost pointlessly cute:

IMG_2508

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.

 

IMG_2549_Fotor_Fotor_Collage

 

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.

 

IMG_2534_Fotor

 

I PICKED UP ALL THE STITCHES PERFECTLY THE FIRST TIME LIKE SOME SORT OF MIRACLE!

 

IMG_2541_Fotor

 

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.

 

IMG_2554_Fotor

 

And then I went the ankle socks route again.

 

IMG_2562_Fotor

 

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

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!

bloggess2

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

 

IMG_1984_Fotor

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.

IMG_1980

 

IMG_1981

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

12240984_1102534829756760_8014663966328686534_o

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!

17. REALIZE YOU LEFT HALF THAT SOCK UN-BOUND-OFF AND YOU CUT THE YARN AND FOR FUCK’S SAKE WHY DO THESE SOCKS HATE YOU SO MUCH

IMG_2202

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.

 

IMG_2208

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!

 

IMG_2214

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

IMG_2210

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.

 

IMG_2134

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.

 

IMG_2138

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.

’15-’16: 17

It begins.

 

IMG_1920

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:

IMG_2115

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:

IMG_1927

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.

Onward!

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.

IMG_1874

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.

 

12019976_1071162342894009_1733984139531245642_n

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:

IMG_1912

IMG_1915

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.