March 29, 2017

One Sock to Rule Them All

If I had my way, I'd knit socks all day and half the night every single day of my life from now on. 

However, since I have to do other things, like shop for food if I want to eat, do laundry if I want to wear clean clothes or potentially step out my front door, and face it, I have to take my newly knit socks somewhere so someone will see them and think I'm the brightest thing since sunshine.

My latest sock knitting is the Jewel Fair Isle Socks by Tina Whitmore - again.  If you read my last post, you well know all about the first pair (#5 for the year) which were a fail because I ran out of yarn and I wasn't thrilled with the second sock.  At a minimum, they lacked the fraternal twin kind of matchy-ness that I can deal with, and I wanted that sock pattern knit up and in my sock drawer!

Ultimately, I found some Cascade Heritage Sock in black, and some Black Trillium Fibres Merilon Sock in the Jack Dempsey colorway and went to work:

While I was knitting up this pair of socks, I had that feeling come over me.  That feeling that says these are the ones I will wear - the keepers.  With every row and every pattern repeat I fell more in love with them:

This pattern is written top down, but I knit them toe up with a fore-thought heel using waste yarn (compared to an after-thought heel where you snip a stitch).  Toe up socks are not necessarily my thing, this is fourth or fifth time I've made them in my life.  

My main issue is that I have rather large calves and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off is still snug on me.  So I did what most people do and found another bind off on YouTube that works for women with mountain climbing legs.  Very Pink Knits has a simple stretchy bind off that works for me and there's puh-lenty of room on my cuffs.  Thank goodness!  So now these socks really are perfect.

This pair makes sock pair #6 of 12 for the year of twelves.  If I finish early, I can start on my Buttonside Sweater which I hope to wear to Rhinebeck this year.

The Mitten Garland Advent Calendar mittens are coming along.  I made mitten #2:

And mitten #3 which I'm not happy with since the "3" doesn't look like a three at all:

I will keep going with the mittens, all of them are different sizes even though I'm using the same size needles, US #0.   I don't care, they all have their own little personalities, regardless of size, and they're a great palate cleanser for me.  They're all made with Knit Picks Palette yarn.  I don't know when I'll start mitten #4, hopefully soon.

Finally, I'm spinning braid #5 which is Frabjous Fibers merino in the chocolate cherries colorway:

The package said it was 8 ounces, but I weighed it and it's only 6 ounces.  I generally don't get along with merino, it fights back on the wheel and it takes me 30 minutes of spinning to get my stride.  Oy!

With half the braid spun up today, I have only 2 days to finish this yarn in order to enter it into the monthly tally for the 2017 Biggest Loser Stash Reduction Challenge.  That means I have to finish spinning the other half of the braid, ply it, wash it and weigh it by Friday.  Guess what I'll be doing all day tomorrow?

So now I'm off to find my next sock pattern.  I'm taking suggestions if you know of any patterns that require 2 colors, and thank you in advance.

Thank you for stopping by and happy knitting!


March 15, 2017

A Mitten to the Rescue

If you've been crafting for a while, you've probably been where I am now - stuck.  My knitting came to a dead stop because of something so trivial, I hate to even bring it up.  However, since I brought it up, I may as well fill you in.

While putting my books in piles on the floor of the craft room, I came across a binder full of printed patterns  (I've had them since the 80s) that I planned to knit.  The one pattern I chose to start with were the Jewel Socks. The pattern is written for top-down, but when I read ahead, I came to these dreaded words 'break the yarn'.  Why would I want to break the yarn?  The pattern also calls for the use of several colors which means a lot of weaving in of ends which I. ain't. doing. Sorry, not sorry.

I tried the top down method, even broke the yarn, got frustrated by the heel construction and ripped the sock back.  I don't like to get 'aggie' (which means aggravated in the local vernacular) over something I know how to do and do regularly.

What ended up happening is that I knit the socks with Cascade Heritage sock in navy and some leftover yarn from a Gale's Art single sock blank in the Extreme 80 colorway, knit it toe up with an afterthought heel, and got this:

I adore this sock!  I used most of the sock blank on the one sock before I realized there was no way to squeeze a second sock out of it.  (Note to self: next time I use scraps to knit a sock, take the yarn out of the project bag to see how much got used).  My heart broke!  Here's a close up of the one lovely sock:

At a loss for what to do, I went to Instagram and asked knitters for advice and counsel, and the general consensus was to make a second sock with different yarn and learn love the difference.  So I found some leftover Expression Fiber Arts yarn in the Unicorn colorway and made the second sock:

Oy!  I am not happy.  Worse yet, I am frozen, can't go forward, can't go back.  I don't want this pair of socks, probably won't wear them and I don't know if I want to knit this pattern again because I don't want to be disappointed again.  What to do, what to do?!

I needed a moment, a palate cleanser and time to have a good think.   Is it in me to rock these socks?  Ummmm ... time to take a break.

So I found some skeins of Palette yarn from Knit Picks:

I have lots of it, 50 balls or more (likely more), and because it felts whether washed by hand or machine, it can only be something that doesn't go in a shoe.  What I found was the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar and decided that I had brain space to work on at least one mitten:

Yes, it's fair isle and fiddly;  I didn't even bother to capture the yarn in some cases, but its cute and it put some distance between me and those socks.  When it was done, a light bulb went on and I found this yarn in my stash:

Another ball of leftover Cascade Heritage sock yarn in black and Black Trillium Fibers in the Jack Dempsey colorway.

Now all I have to do is figure out where to put the other socks while I knit the socks that I will wear.

Thank you, mitten!