Just Because

   
   I love it when I get an idea for something and I have no idea where the inspiration came from.  The elements of this project came together organically, and I just went with it, not overthinking it.  Knitting doesn’t always have to play by the rules!  I wanted a project where I could improvise, be free to play and experiment.  Black, white, and neon all over seemed like a good idea.  And mixing up the heels, cuffs and toes?  Well, that just felt whimsical and sometimes that’s just the thing.

These socks were my purse and on-the-go knitting for the past couple of months.  They came together bit by bit in cars, restaurants, shops, and at home when anything else seemed like too much trouble.  Stitch by stitch, row by row they grew without me really even trying.  The yarn was just such a pleasure to work with, and I was so amused with thinking about what color to use next.

Both of these yarns are from Knitted Wit, a dyer whose color sense is rich, multifaceted, and a bit whimsical.  You can get more details over on my Ravelry page.

That’s two pairs of socks this year!  I’m tempted to cast on another pair to have as my portable knitting. What are your go-to simple sock patterns?

On the needles : Spring update

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It’s full on Spring in Oregon now.  The crocus and daffodils have come and gone, the tulips have peaked, and now we’re eagerly anticipating the first unfurling of a peony bud.  With the help of a friend, I’ve recently prepared our raised garden beds for planting.  We’ve already got broccoli starts happily nestled in their new homes, and the pea seeds G planted last month are rapidly growing.

My knitting has also been growing quite quickly.  I’ve kept it to two projects for the past month or so, and it’s remarkable to see them grow at a steady pace.  Especially since they’re both in fingering weight yarn!

I’ve always loved color and pattern, and am not one to shy away from either in my knitting.  And yet this year something has inspired me to work a bit more in neutrals, especially when it comes to garments.  This will give me some new pieces that I can mix and match with all the store bought color and pattern in my wardrobe.

IMG_1447IMG_1314So when perusing the stash for options for True Friend, a newish sweater pattern by Veera Välimäki, I was drawn to the many shades of grey I’ve been stashing.  These hand-dyed yarns have so many lovely transitions between light and dark, I think they work really well together. {Ravelry notes here}

This pattern has a bit of an unusual construction, but it’s simple at the same time.  Which makes this the perfect knit for my still slightly baby-fogged brain!  The stripes make up the body and sleeves at the same time, with every other row adding stitches.  I’m well over 600 stitches per round now!  The end of this section is in sight, which is thrilling.

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That is my at-home knitting.  When I’m out and about, I have this pair of socks tucked into my bag.  Neutral black and white that I’m popping with neon accents on the cuff, heel and toe.  I’m loving knitting with the Victory Sock by Knitted Wit. It’s soft and sturdy, with just the right amount of sproing! for socks.  I’m about halfway down the foot of the second sock, so these will be off the needles very soon.  Time to start thinking about my next on-the-go project!

{as much as I’m absolutely loving knitting with all this grey and black, I think it’s time to cast on a new project with some color…}

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Speaking of next projects, I just cast on for the Stash Spring Linen knit along.  In the spirit of working with neutrals, I chose this sumptuous silver grey linen by Quince & Co (colorway Porpoise).  Togue Pond is a sleeveless top with a high-low hem and some subtle shaping details that make it very special.  I’m looking forward to working with a new to me yarn on huge needles (10.5, whoa)!

What’s on your needles this Spring?

Also, I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my knitting with cups of coffee and tea. If you’re often stitching with a cup of something nearby, consider sharing over on Instagram with the hashtag #knitsandsips.  I’d love to see what you’re making and drinking!

Yarn Along:: One Day…

One day, I’ll finish these socks.  These simple, knit anywhere anytime, on the needles since July socks.  I’m pushing myself to finish before the end of the month. I just turned the heel yesterday.

The book was a recent gift and, seeing as how I am an incurable romantic and thought the movie trailer looked deliciously fraught, I am rather enjoying it.  The format is unconventional, switching between characters and moving through time in large chunks.  The female protagonist, Em, is wry and self-deprecating, while her special man friend Dex is more of an overly confident travel and infamy junky.  I’m only 50 or so pages in, and I can’t wait to see if their unrequited love is ever…requited.  Who knows what they’ll get up to next, especially since the book spans 20 years of their lives.

What’s on your needles and nightstand this week? Yarn along with ginny and me, won’t you?

 

 

Yarn Along:: At Home & Around Town, a Tale of Two Socks

From  Small Things: ” Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well.  So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us!”

That’s a mega title, but it perfectly describes these two socks in progress.  You may recognize the At Home socks from last week, the cabled ones on the right.  For the most part I have knit these at home, with the chart on my lap.  They are still cruising right along, and I think I’m on track for finishing the first sock tonight at knitting.  That bright, striped sock is the second in a pair that has been all over the place with me since February.  I cast them on as my Around Town, knit anywhere simple socks, and they have been just that.  I usually impose some sort of deadline or rule on my knitting (not sure why, as it sometimes creates unnecessary pressure), but these socks have been rule-free.  They’ve seen some action at playgroups, in a bar, in the car, and more recently, in my backyard.  The slow pace has been a comfort as I always know I have something simple on hand to grab when I need it. Things are going quickly now that I’m on the foot, and I’ve started thinking about my next auto-pilot Around Town project.  What’s your go-to project for easy knitting?

This week I’m reading Ape House, the most recent novel by Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen.  I loved that book, heartbreaking animal sagas and all, so I knew I’d enjoy this one to.  I’ve had it just a few days and am almost halfway through!  In it Gruen challenges us to think about the differences and similarities between humans and great apes, and how we treat and interact with both.  At times it makes me sad and uncomfortable, at others I feel great emotion and hope.  I love that in a book, so I’d say it’s well worth checking out.

What’s in your project bag and on your nightstand this week?

Holidaze

So, Christmas came and went in a flurry of wrapping paper, sugar cookies and new toys.  It was joyful and fun, a little bit tiring (at one point during present opening, I hit my attention span wall and got a little loopy), and there’s still more fun to be had with family in town.  For now, I’d like to share with you some of my  holiday knitting, a pair of festive socks for my sister.

  • Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock by Glenna C (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Pink Carrot Creations hand dyed merino
  • Needles: US size 2.5/3 mm
  • Mods: After thought heel, place 5 inches from cuff, decreased to 28 stitches before grafting closed.

These came about from a need for some simple travel knitting over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I wanted an easy, portable project that I could pick up and put down as needed and that wouldn’t require fussing with a pattern along the way.  I have knit these socks before, and the ribbing is just enough to keep your fingers busy while your brain can focus on other things going on around you.  For some reason I was feeling repelled by the idea of turning a heel at the time, and so decided to try my hand at an afterthought heel.  The hardest part was picking up the stitches, but after that I found the whole thing to be easier than turning a heel.

A quick overview:

First, you decide where you want to place the heel; I went for a shorter, 5-inch cuff as my sister is on the smaller side.  Then, I knit half the stitches with waste yarn, slipped them back onto the left needle and knit them again with the sock yarn.  This holds the heel stitches for later, and you simply continue knitting along as usual.

 

For some reason I used brown/grey waste yarn. A brighter color would have been easier to see!

 

When you’re ready to knit the heel, slowly start pulling out the waste yarn and slipping the live stitches onto your needles.  I used 2 dpns at this point; you’ll alternate picking up a stitch from the top and bottom all the way across until you have the same number on both needles.

Next, you can divide the stitches onto 3 or 4 dpns and start knitting just as you would for a toe.  I decreased every other row, ending when there were 28 stitches.  I slipped half onto the top needle, the other half onto the bottom, and grafted them closed using Kitchener stitch.  It was super easy, and I really like how it looks.  There was the small matter of a hole at each corner of the heel, but I used the tails of the red yarn to cinch them closed.

Since these socks were a gift, I can’t speak to how comfortable this heel is compared to my favored heel flap construction.  But I certainly like how it looks, and it seems like a nice way to use contrast yarn, or create an easy-to replace heel.  Same goes for using a second yarn at the toe, something I hadn’t done before either.  All in all, I am very happy with how this project turned out.  It met my knitting needs, and the colors helped me feel festive while we were together, even when I was racing against the clock to finish them in time.

For now, I’m off to eat another sugar cookie and enjoy the post-holiday down time.  I hope you are enjoying some quiet time too, with plenty of treats and knitting!

 

Best Knit Plans (and Yarn Along)

Last night, I had a plan.  The entire evening stretched out before me, and I had a plan for my knitting.   I made a cup of tea and sat down with Sweetie to enjoy some television.  I should have known my knitting would have its own plans.

After knitting through the documentary Ghetto Ballet, I proudly gazed upon the toe of my sock to see the progress I had made.  Something seemed odd; the toe was wider than the foot of the sock.  I counted my stitches.  Then I looked at my needles.  Drat.

I had been knitting the socks magic loop style, but switched to a double points for the toe decreases.  It’s just a little more user-friendly for me at that point.  Trouble is, I grabbed the wrong size of needles.  By a lot.

This is where I threw a knitter’s tantrum.  Didn’t my knitting get the memo that Christmas is less than two weeks away and that every moment I can spend knitting is precious?  Forward motion is the only acceptable option at this point, and ripping out an hour’s worth of knitting hurt my crafty heart deeply.  But I did it.  And then I had cake and abstained from knitting for the rest of the evening, going to bed early to read instead.

I finished Little Bee over the weekend, and decided that the whole thing was an enjoyable and worthwhile read, even if (or especially because) it is emotionally and socially challenging.  It’s one of those books that makes you want to do something about all the terrible in the world, and that can be a good thing.  I’m not one to make grand statements or gestures, though.  Instead, I try to make my part of the world a better place in small ways.  Kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity in your daily life can go a long way to change the world.

Now I’m trying to decide between the above two books: The Outlander and Shoot the Moon.  Both are here thanks to Paperback Swap, which occasionally and automatically sends me a book when another member posts something from my wish list.  I have a large stack of to-be-read books as a result, so when it’s time to choose a new book I’m well prepared.  It’s almost like having a yarn stash…  Anyone read either of these books?

If you’d like to share what you’re reading and knitting, head over to small things and Yarn Along with us!

It’s That Time of Year Again

Socktoberfest is here!


I’ll be playing along with the Through The Loops Mystery Sock KAL. This is my first time doing a mystery pattern, and it honestly makes me feel a little bit nervous.  But for the past two years I’ve seen these sock patterns come out and loved them, so I feel confident this will be an ace pattern.  If you’d like to play, check out Kirsten Kapur’s blog where she will be releasing a new pattern clue each Friday this month.

I’m going to do my best to keep up, and will try to post the week’s progress each Friday.  I can’t make any promises that I will finish these during the month of October, or that I won’t get distracted by other projects.  But from where I’m standing now, this is a pretty exciting challenge and I feel up to the task!

Will you be knitting socks this month? What patterns and yarn have your fancy?

Here Comes the Sun

After days of torrential rain, wind, and flooding, our neck of the woods has finally dried off and welcomed the sun.  Fortunately our home escaped major damage during the big storm with nothing but a leaky skylight.

All that rain left us pretty much marooned at home for the first part of the week, so I was able to fit in a lot of sock knitting.  Sweetie requested a pair of hiking socks in one of “her” stash yarns.  Whenever she accompanies me yarn shopping, I have her pick out some sock yarn, so she has a few skeins on deck for socks.  I haven’t been the best at knitting with these yarns for her because they tend to be the opposite colors of what I typically knit with.  “Dull and muted tones” is how she likes to put it.  I did have some muted yet colorful Socks That Rock in the stash, so we decided on that.  I’m almost done with the first sock and look forward to showing you the pair soon.

River Rocked

Now that the sun has come out and the flowers are blooming, I’m wanting to knit with bright colors again.  I’m going to try to stay on track to at least get the first sock finished before I cast on a new project.  Purple and green are two of my favorite colors, so I have been very happy to see these little flowers pop up in the garden this week. I think I have some sock yarn in those colors…

Have a wonderful weekend!

Comfort

It’s a chilly, rainy day and I am wearing hand-knit socks. Such a comfort and a pleasure on a day like this.

I did notice that when I went to the sock drawer to make my selection for the day that the pile seemed a little…sad. None of my hand-knit socks are worn out necessarily, but they have seen better days. And I haven’t knit myself a pair since February.

I think my sock mojo called. I saw it on the caller ID and decided not to answer, but I may have to call her back soon.

Have a great weekend!

Socks to Be

Did you wake up to an unholy amount of snow on the ground this morning like we did?  March is truly living up to its reputation so far this month: “In like a lion, out like a lamb”.  Let’s hope the latter part comes true!

It was a good weekend around here, starting with a banner trip to Webs and ending with a fun afternoon at Stitch ‘n Bitch.  I like it when life is book-ended with fiber and knitting gatherings.

I arrived at mecca with a list of possible sock yarns I would like to look at, feel, smell, and potentially bring home.  I checked online to make sure they carried these yarns before I arrived to be reassured success.  The first thing I saw when I got there was the Malabrigo sock yarn I had been longing to touch.  I then made a circle through the entire store, ending at the sock yarn section.  I guess I was in a delayed gratification sort of mood.  Everything I could have imagined finding was there, including some old favorites.

Here is what came home with me:

Malabrigo sock in Chocolate Am

Malabrigo Sock in Chocolate Amargo

Shibui Knits in

Shibui Knits in color 2955

Noro Kureyon Sock in S182 B

Noro Kureyon Sock in S182 B

Madelinetosh Hand Dyed in Lettuce Leaf

Madelinetosh Hand Dyed in Lettuce Leaf

With the exception of the playful rainbow of the Noro, I was trying to stick to a semi-solid palette.  I have plenty of vibrant, wacky sock yarn in my stash already and I wanted to round it out with some more versatile yarn.  These will show stitch patterns of all types very well, and of course I have some things in mind…

I may have already cast on the rainbow socks.  You know, just to make sure it’s a good yarn.  And I’m so glad I did, since it turns out today is a snow day; what better way to stay warm and cheery than by knitting bright socks?

Did you cast on any new projects this weekend?