Wednesday, March 25, 2009

one sock done

The first sock is done. It's a bit snug for me, but it's supposed to be. I have bigger feet than any woman I know. One pattern modification to report - after decreasing to 16 stitches at the toes I grafted the remaining stitches to finish the sock. Didn't think it needed to narrow any further than that!

Gosh, did you see that? I modified a pattern, just as if I knew what I was doing! Guess I'm starting to feel a bit more confident as a sock knitter!

My review of the sock? Five stars for the pattern. It's a well written, simple sock. But this may be the last pair of socks I make from cotton. The resulting fabric is a bit stiff - not as comfortable as wool or bamboo. Hope it softens up as with a few wearings and washings! Like a pair of jeans, I imagine. Onto sock #2!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Down the leg, around the heel, onto the foot. Wondering if I'm bored yet? Bored of round after round of stockinette and K3P1 rib? Nope, not at all. It's been a very soothing knit.

Next on the needles will be a Pro Bono hat. I knit several of these hats last year for the Warm Hands Network. It's a simple ribbed hat, but well-fitting and warm. Really warm when knit with a double strand of wool. Several hats done but no photos taken, which leaves an empty spot on my Ravelry projects page, and I just can't bear it. Time to make another hat for photography purposes.

I think I'm ready for a few weeks of knitting hats and mittens. There's an abundance of patterns on Ravelry, and an abundance of wool in my stash. And what could be better than sharing that abundance?

Friday, March 20, 2009

the first day of spring

Nevermind that it's -5°C, today is the first day of Spring. And there are clear signs that better weather is coming. Look carefully in my garden and you'll see Tulips poking up and starting to unfurl. Peer into the dessicated clumps of Sedum and you'll find the beginnings of new growth. Examine the ground around the stalks of last year's daylilies and you'll detect tiny green shoots that show this year's promise.

And the birds! There's been a steady queue of American Goldfinches at the Niger feeder. And crowds of Cardinals and Purple House Finches gorging on Safflower. A cacophony of chirping and tweeting from the trees, shrubs and eavestroughs greets me when I step outside.

A simple knit + family time + sunny weather = a good plan for the first weekend of spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The pattern? Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Sock. The yarn? A lilac fingering weight cotton that I had in my stash. It's from a project that I ripped out ages ago - I can't remember the brand. Cotton's a great choice for a summery sock, but, by it's nature it's not stretchy, so a stretchy rib pattern seemed like a good idea.

But what I really like is the charming simplicity of the pattern ... K3 P1 rib. A simplicity rooted in clean, uncluttered, unfussy lines. A simplicity reinforced with a muted, unvariegated, unfuzzy yarn. It's simple enough that it's like a meditation to knit.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

finished monkeys

Finished and blocked - one pair of Monkey socks. Quite a fun pattern to knit, and a well-fitting, comfy pair of socks. After knitting a pair I can certainly see why the pattern is so popular. Deservedly so.

I did cast on Duckies and had a good start on the first sock. But that's about as far as these socks are likely to go. A couple of reasons, really.

Firstly, the sock is meant to be knit with a heavier, thicker yarn than the sock yarns that I have in my stash. With spring coming I'm far more interested in lighter weight knits. And using a lighter weight for this pattern would mean altering the number of stitches and adjusting the pattern to come out to the right size - a bit beyond me.

Secondly, the pattern itself strikes me as a simplified version of the Sprockets socks that I just finished. It's not really the same, but it is a column of holes created by yo stitches. Very simple and repetitive ... and not really what I'm in the mood for.

Finally, the bamboo yarn has a silky effect when knit in stockinette - an effect I was quite taken with. A more architectural pattern of cables and ribs might put this yarn to better use.

So this morning I'm ripping out what I started. And putting aside the yarn until the right pattern comes to my attention. In the meantime I'm inclined to cast on a pair of simple ribbed socks with some left over cotton in my stash.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

feels like spring

It's a beautiful spring morning. A bit chilly still this morning, but sunny with blue skies. This March break Torontonians are being spoiled with several days of mild weather. And I'm loving every minute of it. On the train today, I'll cast on Duckies Socks. I joined another KAL - this one, thrifty sock knitters, encourages members to knit one of four or so monthly pattern selections in yarns from their stashes. Good idea! I have most of a skein of On Your Toes Bamboo in my stash which should do the trick!

Of course, I wouldn't cast on a new project unless I'd finished a couple of others! My hat is done and it is gorgeous. The colours are fantastic. And I still love the little seed stitch brim. This picture will have to do for now - until I can find a young child to model for me. My monkey socks are also done - pictures tomorrow once I've woven in the ends and blocked them. New project time!

Monday, March 16, 2009

a new week

I absolutely love the way this hat is knitting up. The wool is gorgeous - the colours are so warm and so rich! The yarn is extremely unevenly spun changing from thick to thin within just a few stitches, but the simple texture of the hat pattern is very forgiving. Love it!

I cast on and knit most of a hat on Saturday ... and then decided I wanted it smaller, to fit a child of six. The hat I was knitting was going to fit me perfectly. Rip. Rip. Rip. When I cast on again on Sunday, I reduced the number of stitches by 16, or two pattern repeats. Now it looks more like the size I want. Just as well, the yardage of the wool I purchased is only about 140 yds. Not enough for an adult hat. Of course, I could always get more wool...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lucky Friday the 13th

Found it! The perfect yarn for Bethany's September Hat! It's from Manos Del Uruguay which literally translates as The Hands of Uruguay - a non-profit organization comprised of more than 400 cooperatives scattered across the country, bringing social and economic opportunity to rural women. A gorgeous kettle dyed wool in shades of brown, orange and purple.

And shopping wasn't the only thing I did at the SnB at Creative Yarns last night. I've turned the heel on my second monkey sock. Members of the knitting club from a local public school came out to join us. Aleda, 11 years old, seemed quite fascinated with Fair Isle knitting. And Peter, 8 years old, asked me to show him how to knit on dpns. And when Jody gave them all row counters for their needles, they were over the moon.

Oh, and I also picked up a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn. It wasn't really on my shopping list. But now that I've jumped on the bandwagon with Monkey socks, I may as well see how I like the Noro bandwagon. My monkey socks are almost done, and I have two new yarns in my stash - lucky me!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


See how the finished sock folds into itself between pattern repeats? Interesting, eh? It gives a springiness to the sock that may make it a comfortable fit. I think, going forward, that's something to look for in the patterns I consider. Because there's nothing worse than spending all that time and effort hand knitting an article of clothing, and then finding it doesn't fit.

The poll has opened in my First Time Sock Knitters Group - the poll to select the pattern for the Spring KAL. Leading now is Firestarter - which is toe-up using the magic loop method of sock knitting. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it would be good for me to learn some new techniques. I've seen knitters using the magic loop method, and I'm frankly a bit nervous.

Lava Flow socks look a bit simpler than the others - frankly I'd prefer something more intricate. Rainy Day socks are pretty, but I'm not sure about how forgiving the fit would be. If the poll results decide in favour of Monkey socks, then I'm almost done already. I can't imagine knitting the same or similar pattern twice - not when there's so many other great patterns to try! My vote went to Shurgatal - much more my usual style.

Monday, March 9, 2009

what other Ravellers say

Yeah! I finished one sock and love it. The pattern is fun and looks really pretty when finished. It fits like a glove! Well, like a sock should… MimaB

So far, so good. These are a fun knit and turning out cute!! I love it! And it fits just perfect! jengi33

Finished!!! Love these socks! These are soooo comfy! silvercharm

I love, love love this pattern!!! It’s fabulous and so easy! ... Can’t wait to wear them (even though spring is upon us!) This pattern works up so fast!! I can’t tell you how much I love it? I’m just about ready to turn the heel :) And someone thinks I don’t knit very fast! HA! Did I mention I love this pattern? mushiginko

Finished my first ever Cookie A. pattern. It was wonderful. Very intuitive as I was knitting. I can’t wait to try more of her patterns. gornickmom

I absolutely love Cookies’ patterns! The first sock turned out so nice! MsNASCAR

Finally done with these! Once I actually started working on these diligently, they went very quickly. I love the finished result. Momwithsticks

What a fun sock to work on ... Bring on more Aussi and Cookie A. Palinka

This is the first time I have done a pattern by Cookie A. I have drooled over them for awhile now, but never got around to knitting any. I love this pattern. It is very simple, fast, and a whole lot of fun. navywife

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Cheeky Monkey socks! This pattern is easier than I ever thought. It looks really complicated. Turns out, it isn't. But it results in a very interesting texture. The triangles of purls recede and the Vs of knit stitches push forward. It's really effective.

These socks are pretty far out of my comfort zone. Straight columns of cables, solid or semi-solid colours - that's my usual. A flowing texture with a handpainted yarn is really quite a stretch for me. It's good for me to push my boundaries and open myself up to the unexpected. But you won't be surprised if the next project is more conservative, and not so cheeky.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

finished socks

It's a good thing that there's only one set of 2.25 mm dpns in my needle collection. With only one set, I can only work on one pair of socks at a time. Built in protection from "startitis". After rewinding the skin of Fleece Artist handpainted merino I had startitis in the worst way. All I wanted to do was cast on a Monkey sock. Never mind about the Sprockets Socks. But with only one set of needles that wasn't really an option.

No surprise then - the second Sprockets sock is done and off the needles. Time to take a minute and admire these socks. Despite my trepidations about the self-striping pattern in the yarn, I'm happy. I don't think I'd be as happy with much more contrast between the shades. The yarn, Lang Jawoll Silk, was great. Not slippy. Not splitty. Nicely and evenly twisted. And not one knot. The pattern is really cute and well designed right down to the smallest details. The pattern in the ribbing of the cuffs flows into the pattern on the leg and then carries across the gusset. A patterned heel flap is also a nice touch.

I'm proud of these socks. I understood the pattern and followed it correctly. My knitting is neat and the picked up stitches at the heel flap are tight and even. I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe, just maybe, I'm getting better at this!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the madding crowd

Monkey by Cookie A. ... the most popular sock pattern on Ravelry. A staggering 8314 pairs are in progress or have been made within the Ravelry Community, with 3881 more Ravelers planning to make them. Imagine that - over 12,000 pairs!

Now that seems like a good bandwagon to climb on. After all, can 12,000 Ravelers be wrong? I've pulled a skein of Fleece Artist Basic Sock Merino out of my stash. It's rewound and ready to cast on. Pretty, pretty colours.

I've turned the heel and knitted through the gusset decreases on my second Sprockets Sock. In the next couple of days the pair should be finished and off the needles. At which point I can swatch for my Monkey socks and join the crowd.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

onto the heel flap

Just a little further than yesterday. The leg is done and I've started on the heel flap. And although you can see the mismatch of the stripes on the leg, I'm still okay with it.

Not much time to knit this morning, or to blog either. Out of the house early to bring the car in for the accident repairs. And then into a rental car. We opted for a Toyota Yaris - a little sub-compact that's great on gas. It's on our list of possible replacements for the Focus when it packs up, so this is working out as a bit of a test drive. So far so good. And I must add that the service from Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been fantastic. Thanks Bernice!

Monday, March 2, 2009

fraternal twin socks

Identical twins? Or fraternal twins? With patterned yarn, you have to plan ahead if you want identical twin socks where the striping of the second sock exactly matches the first sock. Essentially, you unravel and discard yarn until you find the exact same starting point in the colour pattern. And then hope that there are no knots or interruptions in the pattern through the rest of the ball of yarn.

After reading Ravelry posts from OCD-challenged sock knitters expressing their fears of non-matching socks, I had to acknowledge that I recognized myself in that. And consciously decided that I'd face that fear and just knit whatever part of the colour pattern came next.

So my Sprocket Socks are going to be fraternal twins, not identical twins. I've knit the leg of the second sock up to the heel flap. And so far I'm okay with it. I'm channeling Deepak Chopra - learning to let go and listening to what the universe wants to bring to me. Although the striping doesn't match, it's so subtle in this yarn that it's not freaking me out. So subtle in fact that Gavin hasn't even noticed. Yet.