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Three Pairs of Vanilla Socks

The night before Felix was born, I cast on two pairs of socks, just to have some simple knitting lying around my favorite haunts in the house: one on my nightstand and one in my knitting basket by the sofa.

easter egg rainbow sock
This is the start of my Easter Egg Rainbow socks, which have been living on my nightstand. I haven’t got very far on these despite having spent more time in my bed in the last 10 days than perhaps ever before. I seem to get caught in a time warp while I’m in bed, where nursing and staring at my baby, and perhaps a little dozing takes five hours, but it’s only felt like two. I hope to spend a bit more time on these, because I’m really having fun watching the color distribute. These are going to be very happy, springy socks.

rowan fine art sock
One of my purchases from my new local yarn store Yak n Yarn.
It’s Rowan fine art sock yarn, and it is merino, mohair, silk and polyamide. You know me and mohair, I can’t resist it–and if it’s mixed with silk? Even better! These socks are for Brock. I still owe him two sweaters, but since I don’t have the mental fortitude to knit sweaters right now, I’m knitting him two pairs of socks instead. I’m not sure if he will see this as any consolation, but it’s what I have to offer. I’m loving this color progression. It reminds me of that mud pie stuff that’s made with chocolate pudding with a crushed oreo crust–but in a classy, made of silk and mohair type of way.

I’ve been knitting on these in the evening during Felix’s after dinner nap. I should mention that this after Felix’s dinner, not mine. I usually have just enough time to eat my dinner and get settled in enough to knit three or four rounds before Felix is ready for dessert.

brocks rainbow socks
The third pair would be super impressive if I also cast them on the day before Felix was born, but alas, this pair of rainbow socks, the second pair of socks Brock is getting instead of a sweater, was cast on sometime in March, I think, and then lived at my Father-in-law’s house for three weeks. They are so close to being done–just a couple more inches and a toe! But again, I usually only get three or four rounds in before baby calls. (Yarn is Bright Neon Rainbow by Munchkin Knitworks.)

Felix and I are still working out where knitting falls in our relationship, but I am finding time, little by little, to resume some parts of my life that aren’t all about baby. Now dishes and laundry, I haven’t quite figured out how those fit in yet.

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Sock Day Saturday

Saturday Sock
My job completely wore me out each day this week. When I get home from work is usually when I do the creative stuff whether for pleasure or profit. This week, Monday through Thursday I did absolutely nothing but eat dinner and stare at my tablet screen. I wanted to knit, but all of my projects on the needles involve cabling. I love cables, but this week they were just too much work. I haven’t been fit for anything other than stockinette in the round–if that.

Last night, I finally cast on for a pair of socks, my favorite kind of stockinette in the round.

Saturday Sock Yarn
I used this yarn, which is very similar to the stuff I just posted in my shop, so if you were wondering how it knits up, you’re welcome.

I dyed this last year for a sweater project for myself, which I have since cannibalized to knit this pair of socks and then to turn into another baby sweater/hat/bootie set.

Saturday Sock Through Heal Turn
I guess I was really jonesing for a simple knit, because as soon as I cast this on, the stitches starting flying, and so did the ideas for all the other projects I wanted to knit. In one evening I knit what you see above: cuff, five inch leg, heal and heal turn. Today I’m going to try to finish this one and see how far I can get on the second sock tomorrow.

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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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A Tuesday Jumble

Life has been a jumble lately.

Yesterday I came out to my car after work (late, of course) to find that my right front tire was flat. This didn’t really surprise me because I haven’t been able to keep air in the thing to save my life and kind of just gave up on filling it up the last few weeks. The kicker is that I get off work with just enough time to get across town and pick Athrun up from school. And it was raining, can’t forget that part. You’ll be proud to know that I only panicked a little bit

I managed to snag a ride, Brock was out of class, so we picked Athrun up, put the donut on the car and drove home, dreading having to pay someone for a new tire, because I pretty much dread paying anyone for anything–except yarn. I will happily pay for yarn in almost any circumstance. At least I knew I was going to have Tuesday off, so I had plenty of time to take care of getting the tire replaced.

Having Tuesday off is not a normal thing. Last week, my place of employment played host to Kansas Book Festival, which meant I had to be at work all day long on a Saturday, which is apparently so awful it earned me an extra day off during the week. I chose Tuesday (today, for the record) not just because it makes more sense for my job, but because it seemed more special than having Monday off, because you know, that happens sometimes. Let me tell you, having Tuesday off is awesome. I didn’t have to compete with anyone else for the washer and dryer in the basement, I didn’t have anyone to mess things up while I cleaned, and nobody stepped on the sweaters.

That’s right, I dedicated my day off to fall cleaning. (That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as spring cleaning…but it’s the same basic principle, just preparing for winter instead of recovering from it.) I cleaned the house from top to bottom, did all of the laundry, tidied closets, and washed sweaters. I love cleaning the house when there is no one home. I don’t know why, but that’s just the best time to do it. And it has been a long time since I have been home by myself for an entire day. Call me crazy, but it was heaven. I have shining floors, clean carpets, and when the weather turns for good, the family will be prepared with freshly laundered woolens.

All of this, however, has not left me very much time for knitting.

After getting distracted by two pairs of socks and a sweater, I am making a good faith effort to get my brother his birthday socks before the weather turns, even though he could probably use them now. He rides a motorcycle, and I know from my Moped days that it’s always 10 degrees cooler on a bike. So I have put all other projects aside until I can finish these.

That means my other projects look like this:

Almondine is one sock plus one sock cuff, and the yarn for the French Market socks finally arrived. I bought a lot, because I plan on doing a lot of swatching. Besides, don’t you just love the colors? I will admit, I chose these colors partly because of their names. The cream is, strangely enough, called Cream, the dark brown is called Bison, and the fawn color is called Wheat. The French Market socks will henceforth be known as Kansas Socks, because I know of a farm where I could one of each of these products within twenty miles of where I live. (The other reason I chose them is because it reminds me of the three most common Alpaca colors I have seen, and I really wanted to do these in natural colors. This way I can just pretend.)

I also have a design in my head for a sweater. And it will probably stay there for the foreseeable future.

Then there is this.

Yes, I found a craftsy class on stranding and steeking. The class was on sale, so I bought it over the weekend. I have never wanted to use the same exact colors I have seen in the pattern before, but I want that vest exactly. I just have to wait until I can afford all that yarn…but it’s so gorgeous! I have been watching the classes, and I think I can handle the steeking when it comes along–I think.

What have you been up to?

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Pineapple Socks aka Assymetical Cables

The first pair of socks from the Sock Knitting Master Class is finished!

The yarn in Tiny Dino Studios Protoceratops (100% Merino, 3-ply) in Pineapple. Out of a 100g skein (490 yards) I used 75g (approximately 370 yards) to knit the largest size sock in the book. While I think I will continue to use a deeper gusset on my top down socks, I feel as though the rest of the sock is a tad too loose–which is not going to stop me from wearing them.

Because they are fabulous.

What I learned:
How to to drop down and retwist a mis-twisted cable
How to cable without a cable needle (to clarify, I already knew how to do this, I had just never actually practiced it. I think I still prefer a cable needle)
That I still really believe in my own products
How to do a proper kitchener stitch instead of the one I made up that was close enough

As far as ease of knitting goes, these socks are fairly simple. I knit them over lunch breaks, while listening to podcasts, and while watching tv, but they still require you to pay attention to what row you are one. I wouldn’t take them to a lively knitting group, nor would I work on them during an action-packed thriller drama. They are better suited to re-watching Gilmore Girls for the billionth time (Which I may or may not be doing.)

so comfy….

Next up, the Stranded-Colorwork Socks of DOOM!

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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.

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Sock Inspiration

One of my favorite things to knit in summer is socks. Top-down vanilla socks are easy for me now, because I can carry the pattern around in my head and I don’t have a large wool something on my lap when it’s 115 degrees outside. (And I do wish I was exaggerating.)

Here are a few pictures I took a couple of weeks ago of socks I have been working on.

I used yarn left over from my Daybreak shawl to knit a cute pair of shorty socks.

I really love these colors together!

Then, I treated myself to some Ginny Weasley sock yarn from Gnome Acres. I will admit I bought the yarn because of what it was called (it’s no secret that I love my Harry Potter), but the colors are gorgeous too.

Here’s how it’s knitting up for my size socks. (64 stitches over 8 stitches per inch, your mileage may vary.) Of course, this was a couple of weeks ago, so that sock is long finished. And I am onto the second one. I am seriously considering indulging in the Bertie Bott’s colorway next.

If you are a local, and want to learn to knit socks for yourself (and your friends and family) I still have space in my sock class!

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In the Works Wed–Wait! What?

This is what happens when I try to do a regular, weekly segment here on the blog. I plan and plan (in my head where all the most reliable planning is done dontcha know) about what I want to include in the “In the Works Wednesday” post; what project to talk about and how cool and interesting and squishy they have been.

This morning before work, I was making a to-do list for the open time I had later on in the day. As I write “photograph new yarn for etsy” I think, “I could go ahead and photograph all my projects on the needles, because Wednesday is coming up pretty quick and I have so much free time on Thursdays–Gah! It’s Thursday!” Thursday, you know, the day after Wednesday.

I am not sure how I missed Wednesday, even though I did all of my other normal Wednesday things (except blog!)

Here I am a day late, hoping you enjoy this post just as much as you might have yesterday when the alliteration still made it a cool day to post it. I can’t even think of any cool Thursday alliteration, so before I start feeling down on my brain power, because clearly I haven’t been overwhelmed by rejoining the workforce or anything, let us move on to woolier subjects.

I started knitting Brock’s birthday socks. You will be able to tell I have been running on low bandwidth when you check out the rest of my projects–they haven’t made much progress, but in a week with very little knitting time I have managed to knit most of a large, gentleman’s sock. I excel at stockinette in the round.

The pattern is just a plain top-down sock with a heal flap, pretty much the only sock pattern I ever use because I don’t need a pattern to knit it anymore. (Locals, this is the sock I will teach when I finally get around to scheduling some more knitting classes. Stay tuned.) The yarn is “French Roast” from Swift Fiber Studio in 75/25 BFL/Nylon.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Next up I have a tangle of a super secret surprise project that may or may not be a pattern in the making that is currently kicking my butt.

Can you tell what it is yet?

The yarn is Pteranodon Worsted in Cretaceous Grape. There is still one skein left in the shop if the color catches your fancy.

Then, I have the lace weight cardigan. And I swear I have been knitting on it. I have actually added two whole inches to the length!

Not that you can really tell.

How are your projects going?

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Striped Pajamas

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my son in the car on the way home from school, and I don’t remember how it came up, but he told me he had never seen Lady and the Tramp. I had let my son grow to school age without setting him down and forcing him to watch my favorite childhood movie of all time. This movie is the reason my family had a cocker spaniel growing up. I would watch it every day when I could convince my little sister not to watch Cinderella again.

I had failed him.

So, within the week we had scrounged up a copy of the movie, shared a pizza, and settled in to watch. We had a lovely time. Athrun showed appropriate amount of enjoyment at the screening to satisfy me. I still got a thrill watching the old blood hound track the black and white striped caterpillar across the porch in his sleep even. And it made me wish even more strongly that we could afford to move to a place where we could have pets.

Keeping that in mind, last night I cast on a pair of socks to knit while I caught up on Sherlock. (I am working on the left front of my Vignette cardigan, where the shaping starts and I have to pay attention. I knew I would mess it up watching engaging tv.) I prefer to knit plain vanilla socks, because I like having and easy, portable project that doesn’t take too much energy, but still leaves my hands busy. Vanilla socks fit the bill perfectly.

I bought a skein of self-striping sock yarn from Spinning Fates on etsy as a Christmas present to myself on Cyber Monday. It had been sitting on my desk screaming “knit me!” for more than a month. Yesterday I gave in.

Once I had a couple of inches, it reminded me so much of that jail-bird striped caterpillar in Lady and the Tramp that I had started calling them my Striped Pajamas socks. Of course, they would be the uniform at a very glamorous jail house, seeing as they are pink and sparkly, but that suits me just fine.

I have been enjoying them so much (I flew through the leg in record time) that I have been devising new ways of dyeing self striping yarn that isn’t a pain to do. I have a few ideas, so don’t be surprised if you see some striped yarn crop up in the shop in the next couple of weeks.

What’s been inspiring you?

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FO: Fuchsia Socks

Two finished projects in two days, I am blazing! (Which isn’t entirely true, I finished the sweater a week ago and didn’t knit very much as I prepared for the Winter Woolfest. Unfortunate I know.)

Last night I finished a pair of socks I started in October when I was knitting for everyone else I know. I thought I would start myself a little something just for fun. Of course, I hardly worked on them at all. I finished one sock on plane rides to and from shepherding camp in November. The other I knit over the course of the last three evenings now that I am knitting for myself again, leaving only one sock done for months! Three evenings breaks up a sock nicely, leg, heel, foot/toe knit all in different sittings. Plus, I love a good vanilla sock. Stockinette in the round = relaxing, meditative knitting.

The yarn is my favorite workhorse sock yarn, Protoceratops. It’s a practice skein from before I opened my shop when I was experimenting with saturation of hue. I love how bright these socks are. The surprise of color is joy when I take off my boots at night.