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Unbalanced Knitting Mojo

The Long Sock continues apace. I have turned the heel and am on the home stretch as far knitting goes, which is impressive, as I have only been working on this sock here and there over the last few weeks. I am inclined to say that I will probably pick up another pair of socks before I cast on the second sock of this pair, but I also know I shouldn’t. I have started to notice that I am very fickle when it comes to finishing projects. If I let it languish on my needles for more than six weeks without touching it, I am rather apt to just rip it out and cast on something new. That might be why I usually have little more than a sweater, a sock, and a shawl on the needles at all time. They are all different enough to be engaging, but still something I want to finish, so I have a knitting balance going on.

Lately, my knitting has been so unbalanced it isn’t even funny. I was knitting a shawl, that I have just decided to rip out, which I set aside to start on Christmas knitting. I messed up the first part a bit and then I didn’t find the eratta for the beginning of the second chart until after I had started it, and of course my stitches were off. I could rip it out and start it over—or I could rip it out and start a different shawl all together, which sounds infinitely more appealing currently.

My sweater knitting is going great. I spent the first 10 days of 2013 knitting the Abigail Cardi. It is done except for the collar. I blocked it a few days ago, and was going to work on a Cowl Swap I’m doing on ravelry while it dried.

Well, my abigail cardigan has been dried and waiting for a collar for at least a week now, and I am only about half way through the cowl.


And I think it’s really cute! (despite my horribly lazy photos)


It’s the BFF Cowl from Knitty. I think the swap is totally fun, but my word the knitting is monotonous. (And I do realize that I just knit an XL cardigan in stockinette stitch out of sock yarn.) I think I have trouble knitting anything that’s rectangular. Even if it does make a really fun stitch pattern. This is why I will likely never design scarves–and cowls only if they can be knit in the round–because let me tell you, this is the slowest 13 inches I think I have ever knit–and I have 13 more!

I am telling myself, that if I can power through, I can pick out a new shawl and I can finish my sweater and I can start some new socks, and everything will be right with the world.

And in a few weeks, I will get my very own cushy, cocoons stitch cowl from the swap–and that will be very happy indeed. Will I knit the other half? I think I am not going to answer that question right now.

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I did it. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was so close to them, I just had to cast on for the Thigh High Stripes. These socks are so delicious, I can’t wait to have them finished and on me. It’s so much wool, and I wish to be clothed in all of it’s bright, colorful gloriousness!

I am making minimal changes to this pattern. I basically changed the brown to a dark charcoal and picked colors similar to the originals out of Knit Picks Palette, because whoa, these socks take a lot of yarn. I didn’t know if I would like Palette, but this is the second pair of socks I have used it for and I really like how squishy and sticky it is. I will report back how it wears.

Of course, I am going to have wait until these socks are done because it was a bit disingenuous of me to say that I have knit two pairs of socks out of it. when I only knit one of the French Market Socks–and not in a size I will ever be able to get on my foot. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, it was her first real stranded color work project, the gauge was too tight.” And you would be ever so wrong. My gauge is fantastic! It’s exactly what the pattern should be, though I used US size 3 needles to get it, but you know I usually go up a needle size or two when knitting in the round. The reason I can’t wear this sock, is that it is knit for someone with feet the size of a doll’s.

Can you spot the meme?

Now, dear reader, you must be asking yourself why in the world I didn’t knit this sock long enough for my ginormo lady feet, and then knit a mate to go with it so I could have toasty, classy, French feet this winter? And the answer to that question is because I would have stuck four very large double pointed needles in my eyes by the end of it! I’m sorry, I think the design for these socks is gorgeous. I think the colors I chose show off the design perfectly, but seriously, what the heck was I thinking? I am not classy and understated. Me, the woman who is attempting to plan out how long before she can be self-employed again so that she can dye her hair hot pink, thought she could knit this very elegant pair of socks in understated natural colors. It was like trying to be someone I wasn’t at a very base level every time I sat down to work on them. Like I was trying to be a knitter that I am not. My original color combination was much more me. Remember that one?

Oh practice swatch, what a lovely dream you were. . .

The French Market socks are my one cheat from the whole book. I figure that so many other people have modified the Thigh High Stripes to be knee highs or even normal high socks so they would have a pair of socks they would actually knit that I can skip a second sock that I would never ever wear ever. Don’t tell the knitting police.

In other news, I am also working on the Happy Go Lucky Boots Socks

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Sport

These have become my work / car knitting, so they are going rather slow, but the pattern is fun. I particularly like the color combination here. They remind me an old-fashioned Professor’s office with dark wood and leather everywhere–and one of those desk lamps with the green glass shade. These socks look like a they should be wearing a tweed jacket.

And finally, I am combining two of my favorite things: sock yarn and Jane Eyre. I dyed myself some periwinkle yarn and cast on Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl along with the craftlit folks. I am quite happy with the dye job, and knitting the pattern while listening to the book is just about the most sublime combination for someone who should have been a librarian, but couldn’t quite make it because the lure of having pink hair was just too strong.

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On Saturday I did something I have never ever done before. I visited a bunch of different yarn shops all in the same day. Okay, so it was only three yarn shops, but that’s two more than I have ever been to on the same day before. And, I bought sock yarn at that them all. (buying sock yarn, of course, is highly usual behavior for me)

I know you are all asking yourselves, but why did you spend most of your day in the car so you could hit a few little, but very cute yarn shops in central Kansas? Well, there is the obvious reason…what knitter needs an excuse to buy yarn? Yarn is always needed. Then there is the reason for the trip, which was equally exciting and no less important than the need for MORE YARN. Well, this is why:

I am in the midst of planning Topeka’s brand new Fiber Festival. Myself and a couple of ladies from the Potwin Fiber Artisans have been hard at work finding a locale, plotting floor plans, emailing like crazy and just plain old dreaming big. We want to create something fantastic–and we need you help. We need volunteers to teach. We need volunteers to help hang fliers, to bake goodies for our bake sale, to donate to the silent auction, to just be around and help out. We need vendors. We need artists!

If you’re in the area and are interested in helping us make this event great, please contact me at marla at potwinfiber dot org.

All right, enough with the commercial. I went down to meet and make friends with some LYS Owners, and it was wonderful. I had never been to any of these yarn shops before, and I found something to love in each of them.

First stop was Wildflower Yarns and Knitwear in Manhattan, KS. And this is what I found:

A yarn so delicious I wound it up and cast on Almondine almost immediately. (Yes, I realize this is project three in the book, but the yarn for project two isn’t here yet and you know I already finished owls. What’s a girl to do?)

This is a little out of date, as the sock now has a heel and a gusset and everything, but you get the general idea.

The yarn is Knit One, Crochet Too Crock-O-Dye in a color way that is mostly numbers. It’s a butterscotchy, brassy mix of browns out of wool, silk, and nylon.

Next up was The Shivering Sheep in Abilene, KS. Cutest shop ever. She had things I drooled over. Including, but not limited to this lovely skein of Fleece Artist yarn.

I am not sure what pair of socks this yarn is destined for just yet, but it will luscious.

On next was Yarns Sold and Told in Salina, KS. This shop has soo much yarn. We got there just before closing, otherwise I could have spent all day browsing (and lounging in their gathering area which I wish was my living room!) Instead I walked away with skein of Cascade Heritage that is the same color as Lamb Curry take away from the local Indian joint.

I am thinking this yarn will be perfect for one of the more masculine patterns in The Sock Knitting Master Class book. Brock needs some curry socks, I think.

All of the ladies I spoke with on my little road trip were lovely, and you should visit their shops when you are in there area, whether you live in Kansas or not.

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Sundays are for Swatching

I have felt a bit aimless in my knitting lately. I have been knitting a lot of simple things, stockinette socks, stockinette sweaters, garter stitch bags. While all of them are relatively easy, they are all also relatively simple. I like a good simple knitting project for stressful times, when the hands just need to be producing and the mind needs to be relaxing. I will still tell you, if you ask, that a plain stockinette sock is the best relaxation knitting in the world. But every now and then, there comes a point where a woman needs just a little more to do. Taking on the Pearl Street Pullover was part of that. I have never done a cabled sweater before, and I am enjoying the heck out of it, even if I am afraid I am going to run out of yarn. I think it was also my motivation for the ill-fated moth man scarf I blogged about last time. Ill-fated? Yes, it is already in hibernation. I have a record with lace yarn and it seems I am doomed never to ever finish a project made out of it. I think I need to come to terms with the fact that I am a cable and color girl, and that while the occasional lace is nice, I prefer the solid to the dainty.

Which brings me to today’s topic. You see, I have plans. Big plans. Plans that almost scare me a little bit when I think about it too much.

This is the pile of things I am going to work on today, because it’s Sunday, and if I can’t sit on my butt and knit all day, I don’t know what else Sunday is for. In the middle you see the beginnings of a sock. This is my control project. A simple pair of stockinette socks on the needles that I can pick up when my brain needs a break from all the new things.

This particular pair of socks are my little brother’s birthday present. (His birthday was a month ago, but I am consoled by the fact that it has been 100 or more degrees every day since then and he wouldn’t have worn them anyway.) They are some self-striping t-rex yarn that he picked out of my shop. He might have just turned twenty, but I am proud to say he couldn’t pass up having Air Bender inspired socks.

Why do I need a control project you ask? Well, mostly because I made two knitting decisions in the last week that prove I have obviously gone quite insane. Two things happened to me last week. I stumbled across Ann Budd’s blog where she challenged herself to knit every sock in her Sock Knitting Master Class book. Second, I was finishing up teaching my beginners sock knitting class, and was thinking what other knitting classes I should schedule for the fall. Some how, the amalgamation of these two ideas in my work-stressed brain led me to make two very ill-conceived decisions. One, I need to learn more knitting skills so that I can be a better knitting teacher, therefore I too shall knit through the sock knitters master class, and blog about it. Two, I will teach a sweater knitting class, because I love knitting sweaters and would like to pass the bug along. Of course, the pattern I chose, O W L S, I have never knit before. I don’t feel comfortable teaching something I have never done, therefore I need to knit this sweater. I don’t have any illusions about knitting it all before the class starts, especially given my insane sock undertaking, but I would like to stay at least one step ahead of my students.

The yarn I am going to use for O W L S is just some knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky I bought ages ago. I have a ton of this stuff laying around. I am not sure what my plans were anymore, but I have enough of this steely grey color for a sweater. Today I am swatching for the sweater.

I am also swatching with this lovely golden protoceratops sock yarn for the first pair of socks in The Sock Book (this might be how I refer to the Sock Knitting Master Class for the duration of the project.) I do have to confess, that I have not swatched for socks since probably the second pair of socks I knit. I have not had a problem thus far, but I figure when socks are patterned and offer different sizes, it might be prudent to get a good idea of what my sock gauge even is these days.

First up is Assymetrical Cables by Cookie A. Wish me luck.