Archive for the 'socks' Category

The Iron Heel

October 13, 2010

I have been on a quest for a sturdy, easy to knit heel, ever since one of my first pairs of hand-knitted socks developed a hole.

I’ve tried using reinforcing thread on the bottom where I tend to wear through my socks. To avoid the thread going all the way around the sock, I was knitting across the heel, then pulling out a loop of reinforcing thread to use to knit across for every other row. I did that on several pairs. It works. It’s a PITA.

Then, I started experimenting with different heel types and different heel shapes. I was trying out a German heel one morning several months ago when inspiration hit. I quickly cast on for another pair of socks to try out my idea.

I made rapid progress on the first sock until I ran into an obstacle. When the heel is reversed with the gusset on the ankle instead of near the arch of the foot, the sock becomes too difficult to slip on the foot. Some tinkering required. The socks were set aside and other projects, including a little gift scarf, stepped in line.

Then we moved and knitting was set aside while we settled into the new/old house. Now, we’re situated and I’m whittling away at that stack of unfinished projects so that I can get back to my much preferred knitting monogamy. First Maia. Now, voila! Iron heel socks completed.

As you can see, I can get them on my feet. They fit well. The heel is simple to work with reinforcing thread and it cups the heel nicely.

Here’s how I worked the heel. I use a set of 5 dpn for my sock knitting. I split stitches evenly across the needles. You will need to adjust if you do something different, like magic loop or two circulars.

As you can see in the photos, the entire heel zone, from right behind the arch of the foot to the base of the ankle has been knit in a knit slip pattern with reinforcing thread. I continued the slip stitch sock heel pattern to the end of the gusset decreases. You could use stockinette and that would work out nicely too. Eye of the partridge heel stitch would also work, but would be a bit more complicated when you start to turn the heel.

To complete the heel, the sock is knitted toe-up until the foot is approximately 2 inches shorter than the total desired foot length. Then, work the heel flap using half the stitches as you normally would on a top-down heel-flap sock. This is where I added in the reinforcing thread. I worked back and forth on two needles, with the top of the foot, or instep stitches, just hanging out and being ignored on the other two needles.

Once the heel flap reaches the desired length — the total foot length you need — you will determine the stitch count for a third of the stitches. If you have 64 stitches around the entire sock, and you are working 32 stitches across the heel flap, as I did on this sock, split the heel flap stitches (in your mind) into three approximately equal sections: 11, 10, 11 stitches.

Now, work the 11 stitches across section 1, then work 9 of the stitches in section 2. Don’t knit the last stitch in section 2; instead, slip it, knit the first stitch in section 3, pass the slipped stitch over and turn the work. (Or, work an SSK if that’s your preference.)

{Note: I think you could adjust the way you split the stitches into thirds if you wanted a wider heel cup. However, that would require some adjustments to the number of rows between decreases as you work up the back of the ankle. I find that this narrow heel back fits very comfortably on my foot but of course, you may like something different.}

You will now purl across section two. Again, don’t purl the last stitch. Instead, purl it together with the adjacent stitch in section 1. Turn work, knit across to the last stitch, slip it, knit the first stitch in section 3, PSSO, turn, purl back, etc.

I maintained the slip stitch heel pattern, fitting in the heel stitch pattern’s slip, knit, psso and p2tog as best as I could. Eventually, you will eat up all the stitches on the two side sections of the heel flap and you will have an entirely reinforced heel cup. Cut your reinforcing thread, leaving a tail about three inches long. I work this tail into the knitting on the next row so I have less finishing to do when the sock is completed.

Now, pick up stitches as you normally would for a sock gusset (I grabbed 22 on each side) and start working all the way around the sock again, bringing the instep needles back into play. I maintained the slip stitch heel pattern on the two heel needles and maintained the sock pattern, which in this case was simply stockinette with an expansion joint — more on this later — on the two instep needles

Instead of working gusset decreases every other row as is typical on most socks, work the decreases on every third row. I found it looks nicer if (after you have picked up the stitches and worked a row all the way around in the back of the stitch, then worked another row all the way around in pattern) to start the decreases one stitch in from the end of each of the heel needles. I used a k2tog on one side and an ssk on the other. Continue to decrease every third row until you are back to your original stitch count.

Back to that expansion joint. On this pair of socks, I incorporated one 2-purl rib on either side of the the instep needles, starting at the end of the toe and continuing up the entire foot of the sock. I feel this helps the sock fit the entire foot quite smoothly. I used the expansion joint as the starting point for a simple diamond pattern in purl stitches on the leg of the sock. It was a simple way to give the top of this sock some interest without competing with the stripes of my (very own) hand-dyed yarn.

Jakob just had to get in on this photo shoot. Apparently, he felt he needed some credit for me inventing this heel. He likes to sit next to me on the sofa every morning for some mornin’-lovin’ and he was sitting next to me when I was working on the inspiration sock. So, thanks Bud.

If you find these instructions as clear as mud, let me know and I’ll try to help you out. I highly recommend trying this idea out if you are the type who wears out heels first and who wants your hand-knit socks to last as long as possible.

Everything is up-side-down

July 16, 2010

but at least it’s not inside out or backwards too. I need to explain myself so you understand where I’m coming from.

A while back, I knitted a pair of socks loosely based upon Lucy Neatby’s Mermaid pattern. Sometimes, in the morning, when I’m having a really hard time waking up, I’ll sit down with a simple knitting project and look at it. Just look. Not knit. In my half wakefulness, even I know that trying to knit is a dumb idea.

So, not knitting, I pulled that sock onto my foot. While I was looking at it, I couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on. I am really stupid when I first wake up.

It’s a top-down pattern, and while my heel fit nicely in the heel cup, my toes stuck out a gaping hole — a hole unadorned with knitting needles. Slowly, it dawned on me. I had pulled the sock on up-side-down and had my toes pointing out the ankle end of the sock. The soon to become toe of the sock was right there, around my ankle.

And in my morning stupor it also occurred to me that the particular heel I had chosen, a German heel from a pattern now unavailable in English (I can’t find it anyway. Here’s the link to the German version.) from Austermann, worked beautifully in the opposite direction and afforded the knitter the opportunity to knit an entire heel back and forth. The epiphany here (that pesky word again*) is that when the entire heel is knit back and forth, reinforcing thread can be added in with no fiddling what so ever. None.

If you knit the heel right-side-up with reinforcing thread, at least to my way of thinking, you end up with a large area of reinforcement at the back of your foot where it becomes bulky in your shoe and very little reinforcement under your heel, the spot where I wear my socks out.

Some photos would do a world of good to explain what I’m talking about. Here’s the heel in question. First a shot of the epiphany heel from the side.

Next, a shot of the epiphany heel from the bottom. Can you picture how, with perhaps a few less stitches, that “heel” would sit nicely around the ankle bone? Well, it did when I had the sock on up-side-down. Very well indeed. Which is why I was so confused that morning. It fit like it was made for me. (insert throat-clearing noise here)

Excited about the idea of easy “iron heel” socks, I started to knit another pair of Mermaid-similar socks using the same yarn. But, I wanted the spirals to go in opposite directions and I didn’t want to knit backwards, the one foolproof way I know to accomplish that feat. After a bazillion and one experiments, I had another little epiphany. Knit the pattern inside out. Then it will spiral the other way. It doesn’t look perfect, but that’s what I did.

On the reverse spiral sock, it’s simply a matter of turning knits into purls and knit two togethers into purl two togethers. I may not have the tension quite right, but it really does look pretty good when it’s stretched out and on my foot.

When I got to the heel, the inside out part combined with the upside down part — which really isn’t upside down at all, it just looks that way — threw me for a loop. I had to put it aside for a while. I should have just gone straight to the other sock, the one that’s knitted right-side-out. But I didn’t. I wadded it all up and threw it in a knitting bag and hid it in the closet. Oh yes, I am very mature.

Meanwhile, I dyed a bunch of yarn. I wanted to see how it knitted up, so I started another toe up sock with my modified iron heel and have almost completed the gusset decreases on this little baby.

You might notice a line running down the side of the foot. That’s another little epiphany I had back on the Japanese Fan pattern socks I knit. I call it the expansion joint. After completing the toe, I turned two of the knit stitches into two purl stitches on either side of the foot. These stitches are placed on the edges of the top side of the sock, just above the sole. The expansion joint gives just enough stretch to make the socks fit snugly over every bump and bulge on the foot without any tightness. It might not work with every pattern, but for the many sock patterns where the sole is all stockinette and the top is patterned, it is a nice little addition.

The entire heel cup has reinforcing thread. It goes quite quickly. No need to fiddle about. Just add it in when you start the heel flap. Continue it around when you turn the heel. I also continued the heel stitch pattern up the back. I thought this might make a nice cushioned spot under the heel of my foot. I’ll finish the last couple of decreases and switch to a circular needle to try them on. I think though, it’s going to be nice.

And in closing, here’s a little glam shot of the yarn I dyed, the very cool nostepinne I got as a gift from Kim and the foot of the sock.

The nostepinne is amazing. It makes a wonderfully coherent yarn ball that stays together much better than the machine-wound ones I’ve made. And it’s cute. Cute counts for a lot.

Do you like my iron heel? I would be interested in your thoughts.

Should I have dropped the reinforcing yarn, but continued the heel stitch up the back of the ankle to the end of the gusset decreases? I may rip it out and try that to see how it looks.

*Someday, I’m going to do one of those word map things again where the size of the word in the word map reflects the number of uses, and epiphany is going to stand out in huge big letters. Cool.

Twelve and three quarters to go

November 23, 2009

I’m counting the sold skein of Poison Nr. 5 Wollmeise as my second stash-busting project. It’s gone. I didn’t knit it; but, it’s gone. That’s good for something.

Project number 1 is finished. The socks are ridiculously short in my opinion. I had yarn leftover. I tried to pick up the cast on edge and add a pattern to the top. No matter what I did, it looked stupid. An add on. A mistake. Too tight. Too frilly.

I made them the exact same height as the other pair of Socks that Rock lightweight thinking that I would use every last bit of this lovely yarn. The other pair was either the second or third pair of socks I knit. Was my tension way tighter or something? I have about one third of the total weight of each sock left over in additional yarn. I could have made the legs a full two or three inches longer. Bummer.

With no leg extension idea I liked and the pressure on to get through 15 projects ASAP (so I can buy yarn with abandon once again), short socks it is. If I have to reknit the heels, I’ll have plenty of yarn for that. I did use a pale brown reinforcing yarn on the heels already, so hopefully, it will be a long time before I need to make repairs.

I always reinforce the heels on my socks now. I’m trying short row heels because this style of heel makes reinforcing easier. However, my wraps look like crap. [There’s a poem in there somewhere.]

Perhaps it was the top down construction that caused my wraps to look so yucky. Nope. Toe up is no better as far as improving my wraps. I even tried a different wrapping technique on the current, in-progress pair. But, in spite of how crappy they look, knowing how many times I tinked and knitted the wraps on the Socks that Rock pair, I just forged forward. I feel guilty. Such shoddy workpersonship with such a lovely yarn.

Yes, it is Wollmeise.

My photo doesn’t do the color justice. It’s deeper and more purple and much more rich.

The pattern was taken from Barbara Walker and is called, if I’m remembering correctly, Japanese fan. It waves. Back and forth. I had to insert a row of purl ribbing down the sides of the foot to help balance out the waves. Without the ribbing, the waves made my foot look quite disturbingly misshapen.

It will be OK on the leg after I am knitting pattern all the way around. I hope.

I have a ton of yarn. Wollmeise comes in huge skeins. The pattern doesn’t show up too well in this dark color. However, I was thinking the length of this pair could make up for the lack of length in the prior pair. There is a purl row between pattern repeats. I may use that as a shaping spot and go for some really tall socks. After a few more rows, I am going to increase needle size so the pattern expands a bit too.

With my pasty white legs (as the RNK calls them) as a foil, the lace pattern should show up quite a bit more.

Hmmm. With all this prospective length, maybe I can’t quite count this pair as a quarter done. Oh well, close enough.

I haven’t been posting because

June 22, 2009

I was getting ready for a major trip, and then I left for that trip, and now I am away on that trip. Now that I am here — here being close to Carlton River, Tasmania, Australia — I have time to do things like work, knit and perhaps post on the blog again.

I am house sitting for a woman who owns 80 acres out in the country. She has a very nice home with a wood stove (an important item because it is winter here) and lovely ocean views off in the distance. I am caring for her dog, her pet mouse and her two horses. There is a nearby neighbor who I see occasionally, but, she’s working nights now.

Here’s my view:
deckview

And the mouse, and the dog and the horses:

He's a sweet little fellow

He's a sweet little fellow

Also a very nice guy to be around

Also a very nice guy to be around

They thought they could push me around, but I've had none of it from them, especially the little mare. She's so mare-like.

They thought they could push me around, but I've had none of it from them, especially the little mare. She's so mare-like.

And here’s the nearby beach, where the neighbor took me the other day. Lovely.

The weather has been fantastic, especially for winter!

The weather has been fantastic, especially for winter!

The resident non-knitter is back in Colorado caring for our two horses, two dogs and our cat. He’s handling all the lawn care, house upkeep and the like. Thank goodness it’s him on that end! I got my fill of those duties when I was there and he was here. It’s the only way we could do the house sit, swap turns as it were. It was a lot more work on that end, and not only because I was preparing for the trip. There it’s summer and there is grass to be mowed, weeds to pull and all my work right there.

It has been a nice respite so far. I’ve been asked a number of times what I do with myself to occupy my time. Well, this morning, I talked to the RNK on the phone three times. Granted, this was a bit unusual, but he was setting up Skype to make unlimited phone calls to the land line here. Normally I only talk to him twice.

I called one of the Tasmanian knitters I met on Ravlery, and who I did a magic yarn ball swap which I will post pictures of someday. Haven’t quite gotten them off the phone and onto the computer yet. I spoke to the sister of the woman who owns the house. I talked to my mom.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying like the dickens to get this post finished so I can get on to work. Several projects in the running right now and I just realized, I need to have the RNK check my cell phone messages for me too. I’ve got two web pages to build, two to update, a feature article to write and a newsletter to layout. Hopefully, I’ll get much of this out of the way before I have to start on the newsletter for my gorilla client right after 6 July.

When I’m not working or caring for animals or myself, I’ve been knitting. I’m working on a very subversive project. A pair of socks that were confiscated by not one, not two, not three, but four Qantas flight attendants. I pointed out when they challenged me over this terrorist act of knitting on the plane, that I was in fact using size 0, bamboo needles and a toothpick would be more deadly. With a straight face, the lead attendant, a man, replied, “yes, it is the very size of the needles that is so worrisome.”

I’m still pondering that one. I just can’t, for the life of me, figure out what is worrisome about a set of bamboo needles that are so fragile that I was in fear of breaking them as I worked. Stick them in a flight attendant’s hand as she passed me my beverage? Hold a fellow passenger hostage with a knitting needle at their neck? In either case, a sharp brush of the hand would have rendered the implement useless and I would have been disarmed. Oh yeah, there are five needles. It would take five swats to completely disarm me. Maybe six if they missed once. And it could be muscle under all my fat. I could be a deadly assassin, hidden by the demeanor of a slightly overweight, flabby, middle-aged woman who looks out of breath even while engaged in the strenuous act of sitting in an airplane seat.

neon Opal and Charlene Schurch's book, "More Sensational Knittd Socks" which coincidentally, has about the same color scheme as the Opal yarn in the title

On the other hand, perhaps it was the color of the yarn they found offensive. I picked up this Opal Neon on sale a while back for $10.50 a ball. The colors are brighter in person than they were on the web site. I was a bit shocked when I opened the package. It will be a garish pair of socks. Not for the squeamish. Dangerous stuff.

Perhaps the enforcer steward feared I was going to flash the completed socks at the pilot and blind him. No worries. Wasn’t there a flight en route to the UK just the other day on which the pilot died of a heart attack mid route? I think the co-pilots carried on and the flight attendants continued to serve beverages and meals and not one of the passengers was any wiser until they saw the ambulance greeting the plane. Garish as these socks are, I think the co-pilots would have had the good sense to avert their eyes and carry on with the flight.

Ah well. I will carry on with my subversive activities. Hope to finish them soon and them move on to a tamer project. Cromarty* anyone?

* From Alice Starmore, “Fisherman Knits” or some such title. Ravel it. There are some lovely examples out there.

Note: Pattern row will be worked on the WS

December 8, 2008

texturedtest1

The Textured Raglan looked like a nice easy knit from the picture on the Shibui site. Heck, I had just finished the Refined Raglan (about halfway down the page) and how different could they be? Ahh, gentle readers. One little line in the pattern says it all:

Note: Pattern row will be worked on the WS except for this left side portion.

I pondered this. I even asked fellow knitters what it meant. Of course, they scoffed. Anyone who has followed a knitting pattern knows that more often than not, something has little or no meaning until you are actually doing it. In the doing, it comes together. In the reading, it does not.

I was doing and suddenly, this boring little 2 row repeat with the raglan decreases all happening every other row on a K row, and the pattern, a KKKPKP just going round and round and round . . . got turned on it’s ear.

Perhaps, there those of you with more knitting experience are having a little chuckle right now. You grasped the implications of that little “Note:” in the pattern right off.

For the rest of us, let me illustrate. The “different” stitch marker shows the start of the round. You can see the neck stitches bound off, creating that cute little scoop neckline that looks oh, so comfortable:

textured-top1

A schematic explains how the knitting shifts from round and round to back and forth:

mind-games

Oh, delight is mine!

The pattern has become new again. With a two-row pattern and the start of the round in the “middle” of the back and forth, not at an edge, this turns the pattern partially backwards, and partially in side out. For me, the decrease row on the left side of the sweater is now most easily accomplished by knitting backwards. On the right side of the sweater, the pattern KKKPKP becomes PPPKPK.

No big changes. It simply requires the knitter to start thinking. Try doing what you’ve been doing backwards for a while, then try it inside out. Too much fun!! I am easily amused.

None-the-less, this is especially exciting because the sweater has long been in Stage 4 (see prior post), the hating phase where I believe the most appropriate finishing touch will occur when I light the match. At least the knitting is fun.

All of this “new” stuff at the very last part of the pattern. It makes me want to look at other patterns designed by Kirsten Christianson.

In fact, I did. Isn’t this a cute little sweater? I think I might like it better in a longer length. Can you imagine the fun of taking a cable pattern, and then looking at it inside out and backwards? Do you suppose this happens at the start of that V-neck?

Such simple pleasures knitting brings.

Let’s get artsy

December 1, 2008

If you are reading this blog, chances are you read other knitting blogs. Me too. If you’re like me, I’m sure you find many of the knitting blogs out there in blog-land to be highly scintillating.

Last week, as a means of avoiding work (did I really put that in writing?), I was surfing about on all the blogs I’ve bookmarked over the past two years and I deduced these facts about what makes a knitting blog scintillating. These items are of course, in addition to, great knitting. That’s a given. In my mind, a successful knitting blog should interest, if not downright inspire, the reader to knit. In addition, a great blog, and by great I mean “way beyond good,” must also contain:
1. Superlative writing.
2. Gorgeous photography.
3. Some combination of the above.

Duh. Nothing like stating the obvious. Bear with me; putting the obvious in writing helps me process information. My brain sifts and categorizes and thinks things over in the background when I’m doing all sorts of other things. And this is what sifted to the top after a leisurely holiday weekend of knitting, hiking, knitting in the car, watching movies, knitting while watching moves, relaxing and knitting while relaxing (I got some knitting in!):

You can’t beat the Yarn Harlot for good, entertaining, knitting blog writing. Simply put, she’s the best: she’s witty, she’s interesting and she expresses the nuances of a knitting obsession so eloquently that I enjoy me more after reading her blog. What a gift! The photography isn’t bad either.

For some of the most sumptuous knitting photography on the web, there’s brooklyn tweed. His closeups of stitch patterns and stitch definition knock my socks off. And, the writing isn’t bad either — I always end up chasing down a link and learning something in the process. I will someday knit that spiral yoke pullover. I will. (Ravel it for even more inspiration.)

I know there are dozens and dozens and dozens of other wonderful knitting blogs out there. Really, I mean I know. I looked at most of them instead of working last week. At the end of the weekend these two stood out in my memory as the two I should keep in mind for inspiration. You, gentle reader, may be stuck reading this blog for a few more lifetimes until I get it right, however.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of the recently finished Sixth Sense Socks with an attempt to emulate (the sincerest form of flattery) the lovely photographs (after the first one) of brooklyn tweed.

6thsense

6thartsy

6thheel

6thstitch

I doubled the yarn for the bottom half of the heel and then tapered away the “double” after the garter stitch portion of the pattern. The result is a very cushy and not-too-bulky heel that should wear very nicely. Knitting good. Not great; but good. Photography needs some work. I must resolve lighting and flash issues before this blog moves up a notch.

In my effort to grab some artsy photos of Jakob, little Opal cast her magic spell once again. Sorry Jakob, that nose of yours challenges my photo skills. A first stab:

opalinbed

And then, a much-improved attempt, at least from a composition and lighting standpoint:

opalhiding

She is such a cute little shit.

Do you ever get the blahs?

October 23, 2008

As in, everything feels OK physically, it’s just that the whole world feels a little off-kilter from your current perspective. Or maybe a better description would be that everything feels a little unsettled, like every aspect of your life is wrong. Hmm. Maybe that’s more than a little unsettled. Anyway, today is one of those days.

The good news. I am confident it will pass. The bad news. Who knows when.

Meanwhile, I’m chugging along with work and finally have caught my breath enough to fit a post in. That doesn’t mean the office is clean. Hah! Far from it. It looks like wild banshees had a paper-throwing contest in here and I lost. Not only do I have papers scattered in little semi-organized piles EVERYWHERE, the little wildebeest, Opal, found some business cards in my customer sample stash. She did her best to shred as many as she could drag out of the stack before I caught her. 16 pt card stock. Nice heavy chewing weight. Little tiny pieces.

Meanwhile, as a means of calming her down so I can get some work done (i.e. she trained me) I have been letting her use my nice comfortable padded chair while I sit on the hard wooden one. I even washed a thick fleece blanket so I could wrap her up in it after she settles. Here’s how it looks:

Opal takes over the nice chair

“Now calm yourself!” I tell her. As if she responds to commands.

This is a really comfortable chair.

“You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.” Sometimes it works.

I think a dog could go right to sleep in this chair.

Meanwhile, I have gotten some knitting done. Here are the last two pairs of socks:

The Knittery Cashmere Merino in Seabreeze

The pair above used The Knittery cashmere merino yarn. It is so soft!! Lovely stuff. The pattern is Embossed Leaves from Winter 2005 Interweave Knits. If the top looks all stretched out on one sock, that’s because I wore it every time I worked on the other sock. I am not one for delayed gratification.

The pair that follows used Evelyn Clark’s Girlfriend socks pattern. I’m not wild about the frilly hem. Oh well. I did it and I am wearing them. The yarn is Sundara’s sock yarn in Ocean that I won in a contest on Cara’s JanuaryOne blog.

Girlfriend Socks from Evelyn Clark

And because I haven’t put a picture of them up before and they are so wonderful, here are two pairs of socks knitted by the lovely Chris in Germany and sent to me as gifts. Doesn’t this help to make up for the fact that I fell so woefully short of my summer of socks goal!

Till Eulenspiegel in Regia

The Joker in Handgefaerbt

She made a tiny little sock that I have on my keychain that matches The Joker pair. But alas, I forgot to take a picture of it. So, that will have to wait until another post. Which I presume I will do. Someday. Maybe even with a shorter time lapse between posts.

I am currently working on a pair of socks using the Sixth Sense Socks pattern I got via the Six Sox Knitalong. Designed by Susan Pierce Lawrence, this is a very soothing pattern to knit and it looks great in the Jojoland Melody yarn I am using. Nice subtle color changes and pleasing in spite of the fact that the colors are not all that similar between socks (a challenge for my anal-retentive side). Fortunately, they are not unpleasantly dissimilar either.

And finally, one last parting paragraph on the election. Are you as angry as I am that one of the vice-presidential nominees is dumber than a bag of rocks? Can you believe she thinks the earth is 6,500 years old and that she doesn’t believe in evolution? If they get elected, and if she trips McCain on a steep flight of stairs–don’t put it past her–can you picture how that will go over with foreign heads of state? “Hi there, had any moose meat lately? Got any soccer moms in your country? Joe six-pack’s doing great over here except for the fact that he doesn’t have any beer money any more. Spent it all on gas.” OK, I exaggerate–but only slightly!!! Could this be attributing to my general malaise? I guess November 4 will tell.

Way back in May

August 29, 2008

I set a goal of knitting 10 pairs of socks between then and the end of September. Meanwhile, I promptly abandoned all sock knitting and went on to sweater knitting. I think this is an incredibly graphic reminder to myself that I like to set goals and promptly sabotage them. All by myself. Weird.

Once again, it just underscores how knitting teaches you more than how to make things from skinny little wound up fibers and a couple of sticks. Or not. I’m already thinking of ways to redefine that goal to make sure I “meet” it. For example, is there an equivalency relationship between a sweater and pairs of socks. Could I count the sweater as 3 pairs? Maybe 4 or even 5?

But really now. Isn’t this all moot? I set a goal. As soon as I set it, I abandoned it and went on to something new. I didn’t seem to learn anything from this process except that I’m weird and perhaps, (note to self here) that I shouldn’t set goals for my hobbies. Food for thought.

Meanwhile, contest update: Vicki has agreed that the person who wins the prize she donated in the contest (scroll down a few posts to read “It’s a Contest Now” and to enter) can choose either two cat toy patterns or a lace pattern. She’s on Ravelry as SimpleKnits. Great patterns by the way!

Photo spree of yarn spree

July 14, 2008

Even though work has been hectic and I haven’t had much time to post, that hasn’t kept me from having a few yarn sprees. The highlight took place on a trip to St. Louis to visit mom. We went to three yarn stores: Knit and Caboodle in downtown St. Charles, a small knit shop very close to my mom’s house where I bought her some nice needles and . . . drum roll please . . . The Loopy Ewe!!!

I was too excited to remember to take my Little Loopy inside for pictures and I had a hard time conversing with people–such a shame because everyone was so nice!! I was so overwhelmed at all the choices. Take a nerdy, computer-geek knitter into a the mecca of sock knitting and the ability to interact like a normal human being vanishes. Oh well. As you can see, the inability to speak does not correlate with an inability to shop.

Shopping at The Loopy Ewe

I got some lovely Collinette merino blend and Claudia Handpaints sock yarn at Knit and Caboodle. [Note: Opal’s tail in the photo. She can’t stand me paying attention to anything other than her!]

Shopping at The Loopy Ewe

There are a couple of skeins not shown because these are for Chris in Germany and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Chris is quite an enabler. She told me about The Knitting Goddess in the UK who has a lovely Yak/Merino sock yarn (the three skeins on the left). She also packages up same difference yarn which has two smaller skeins in the same colors but different (two same difference yarns shown on the right).

Goddess Knits

I also heard through one of my knitting lists about a special sale on qiviut/merino at Cottage Craft Angora Mills in Quebec. I hope I have enough to make a sweater:

Qiviut/Merino blend

Oh dear, when I went to check their URL I saw that they now have a qiviut/angora blend special introductory offer. Sounds wickedly nice!

And finally, there was a fiber festival this past weekend just a few miles from home and I came home a happy shopper with yarn, books, heel salve, patterns and gadgets. How’s that for a home-town spree in the yarn-barren San Luis Valley!

Great prices!

Lovely yarns from Crazy Monkey Creations in Colorado Springs!

They, Crazy Monkey Creations, sold the two big 840 yard skeins as closeouts for $6 each! The blue one is an alpaca blend. I really liked the feel of their 65% Merino/35% bamboo sock yarn too. What fun!

Great sale from a store originally located in Winslow,AZ.

What more could a knitter need?

Lest you think I have not been knitting, here’s the latest two pairs of socks:

Kroy Patton in blues

Rainy Day Lace Socks in KTS4 Yarn from KIM!! She's the best.

This last pair is a DK weight merino I received from Kim in the Knitter’s Tea Swap 4. The pattern is Rainy Day Lace from MagKnits. I tried to find the link for you because this is a fun pattern to knit. Alas, my google skills are weak this morning. I’ll see if I can find it and post it later.

I really enjoyed the knitting with the colors in Kim’s yarn. She did a great job of dyeing this skien. The picture just doesn’t do it justice. I picked the Rainy Day pattern because all the soft blues, grays, purples and greens reminded me of light summer rain on garden flowers. I am thinking of these as “slipper” socks because they are so soft and cushy. I may even try to find some soles to sew on to protect them so they last a long time.

Well, the most exciting knitting project will have to be on hold for later this week. A clue: it involves a small dog and a sweater.

Diving dog

May 27, 2008

The sweater is finished and put away for summer:

Finished!

Sweater in the Wind

The strangely ugly Austermann Step socks are finished:

Socks done.

Opal loves to climb on me.

Although these are about the most unattractive socks I have ever seen, I am in love. They are extremely comfortable. I think it is the combination of the Milanese Lace pattern which makes for a very cushioney feel and the Austermann Step yarn which is infused with jojoba and aloe vera. I wore these inside my work boots when I scooped horse poop in the coral yesterday. A delight!! (The socks, that is. Not the poop.) The work boots have a seam near the top of the foot that usually makes a little red spot on my foot by the time I take them off; but, not yesterday!

I even started a new pair of socks. Can you tell I had a nice relaxing holiday?

I specifically picked this yarn, even though it is by far NOT the most exciting in my stash because it will be a very quick knit. I set a goal for myself: 10 pairs of socks knitted by the end of summer. I am counting September as a summer month even though here in the Valley it usually feels much more like fall. But hey, it’s my goal; I’ll make the rules. I am counting the ugly Austermann’s as pair 1. So, if I can average two pairs a month, I should make it. However, many other projects tempt me. Another sweater perhaps? A shawl? Lyra? Too many choices, so little time.

I have some amazing sock yarns in my stash now: a wonderful yarn gift from Chris in Germany (right), a lovely skein of Lisa Souza yarn (center–too bad the subtle color doesn’t show very well–it’s mother of pearl and it is so beautiful!), and I had to compare the Lisa Souza hardtwist petite to some Sock Pixie yarn (left) because the yarn base looked so similar. I just wanted to see them together. Of the three, the Handgefaerbt from Chris feels the best. It has an amazing sheen to it and is very, very soft. Of course, I don’t mean to diminish the other two gorgeous yarns in any way!

Meanwhile, little Opal is getting much bigger. Here she is at five months:

I find her antics terribly amusing. Ever the proud mom. This weekend, I was washing out the tea pot and there were a few stray green tea leaves floating about. Since the dogs needed water, I just poured the water with the tea leaves into their bowl. This fascinated Opal to no end. First she tried scooping them out with her foot.

Then she tried diving for them, submersing most of her head into the bowl and making bubbles.

I finally took her outside with the bowl because she was making such a mess. Done diving? No way!

I had to toss out the water and replace it with fresh to get her to stop. What a little goof.