Yarn Along:: Cracking the Wip

For this week’s Yarn Along:  I’m still reading and enjoying Coop, and I’m nearly finished with that secret knitting project I mentioned last week. Boring stuff, really. So let me tell you about what I’ve been watching and knitting: Downton Abbey and my Socktoberfest mystery socks.

I’ve pulled these socks out a couple of times this year, determined to finish them before I cast on a new pair. Trouble is, I’m not in love with the pattern anymore; it was very exciting back in October when the pattern was a mystery and I was knitting along with other people.  But then they got set aside for months, and I grew less interested. I powered through the foot of the first sock while away in February, only to discover that I didn’t really care for the finished sock. So rather than finish off the pair then and there, I put them away where they’ve consistently been passed over for new and exciting projects.

Then the other afternoon during PB’s nap time, I was sitting in the office and decided it was finally time to see what all the fuss was about over Downton Abbey. I loved Gosford Park, and always enjoy a good Jane Austen film adaptation (especially by the BBC), so it was a good guess I’d like this too. After sitting through the opening credits, hands idle in my lap, it was obvious some knitting was needed. I could swivel around in my office chair and grab something from my wip bin or get up and walk into the living room for a different project.

Sheer laziness drove me to pick up these socks again, and I will finish this them. The motivation this time is that a) they’ve been on the needles long enough and b) I have 2 installments of the Cookie A. sock club sitting around staring at me, and I’d like to cast one on already.  Keeping these socks on my desk seems to be working, as I’m already to the toe decreases!

And yes, I am really enjoying the series. It’s full of drama, fast-paced dialogue, unexpected tenderness, some romance and intrigue, and all the tension you’d expect from an upstairs-downstairs saga.  I’ve already managed to watch the first 3 episodes since Sunday!

What are you watching this week as you knit?

The Care of Socks

Hey, it’s more than halfway through Socktoberfest, and I realize I haven’t been talking much about socks.  There has been sock knitting of course, but also some sock wearing as the weather slowly turns cooler.  Each week as I am doing laundry, I notice the pops of color from the hand-knit socks in the mix.  That tells me a few things:

  • I like to knit socks.
  • The socks I knit are being worn.
  • The socks I knit haven’t worn out yet.

Socks in use.

I thought I’d quickly share my Care of Socks routine, in case anyone is interested.

I buy a variety of sock yarns to knit with, but most tend to be either superwash merino or a blend of wool and nylon.  I wash all of my socks in the washing machine.  I know!  The good news is, I have found a reasonably gentle process that has allowed me to not be too fussy with my socks, and they still look great.

First, I turn the socks inside out.  I figure this will help prevent any unsightly pilling or felting on the outside pattern while they are being churned about in the wash.  I used to then put all my socks in a mesh lingerie bag, but that step got omitted sometime ago and there doesn’t seem to be much difference.  They all go in with like colors on a cold water cycle.  The last step is that I put them on a drying rack.  Easy peasy!

Behold, my new sock drawer.  This is a shallow drawer in my dresser that used to be where I stored my jewelry.  While unpacking a few weeks ago, I had the idea to use it for my hand-knit socks instead.  There seems to be room for a few more pairs…

How do you care for your hand-knit socks?

A Great Weekend

I had an all around Great Weekend.  There was a surprise date night to see a favorite musician in Portland, followed by a unique and fun fondue dinner with adult beverages.  Plus, I got to knit the whole way there, which was over an hour.  Heaven!

I may have started a new project, just to have something easy to knit in the car. Like you do.

Saturday and Sunday were perfect fall weather days.  We took walks, worked on some projects, I got a little alone time in my craft room, we went to a soup & s’mores party, and I didn’t cook all weekend.  Sweetie and I agreed that this was a perfect combination of relaxation, adventuring, and just being.

Oh, and Peaceful Baby figured out how to clap, and now she doesn’t want to stop!  We went out to breakfast yesterday where she also figured out she could reach my plate and promptly stole my bacon.  I guess she’s giving up vegetarianism already.

And last but not least, I am all caught up with the TTL Mystery Sock!  Of course, I am knitting both socks sort of at the same time, so really I’m just caught up on one.  But that puts me ahead of the game as far as I’m concerned, and besides, I’ve got a few more days before the next clue comes out.  I have been a little trepedatious about the mixed textures and patterns on the leg of this sock.  Part of me wanted to go straight from the cuff to the charted pattern, leaving out all that box stitch.  In the end, I decided to play along and have faith that it’s going to be an amazing sock in the end.  I really like it so far.

Clues 1-3 complete


Socktoberfest Postmortem

At the beginning of the month, I had one pair of socks on the needles.  It was a project that had stalled out of boredom and gauge concerns.  As the excitement of Socktoberfest washed over me, I decided to cast on a new pair of socks in a perfect autumnal color palette.  Then, in the final days of the month, I took a class and cast on yet another pair of socks.  That’s 3 pairs of socks on the needles.  It’s nearly driving me insane.

Pair #1

After a significant hibernation period, I pulled this sock out to see what, if anything could be done.  I sat on the floor of my craft room and turned picked up the gusset stitches and knit a row or two.  Still not loving it, but also not quite ready to rip it out.  It could be the perfect mindless projcet for me at some future date.  Back into the bag it went.

Verdict: Hibernate.

Pair #2

These socks have been wonderful.  The yarn and pattern are working together in a perfect symphony of color and texture.  I have one sock down, and about half of the second sock to go.  Hopefully I can finish these off this week.

Verdict: Finish Soon!

Pair #3

In a fit of excitement and  curiosity, I signed up for a class on knitting 2 socks on 2 circular needles at the same time.  This is something that appealed to me for a couple of reasons.  First, I regularly suffer from SSS (second sock syndrome), and this looked like a great way to eliminate that possibility altogether.  Second, I have always been circular-curious.  Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting socks on double-pointed needles.  But there is the odd occasion where it would be nice not to have to worry about dropping a needle, or poking yourself in the palm of your hand when reaching into your knitting bag.  I also had the feeling that knitting socks with 2 circulars would be less strenuous on the fingers and hands.

I signed up for this class at one of my Local Yarn Shops (I know, how lucky am I to live where I have more than one yarn shop to choose from?!).  This store is more disorganized than not, so it should have come as no surprise that just about everything associated with the class was a mess.  When I signed up, the owner of the store couldn’t tell me what pattern, yarn or needle size we would be using.  My inner teacher’s pet started feeling anxious immediately.  How could I be prepared if I didn’t know these things?  So I called the store the day before the class and was told I needed to come in to pick out my yarn.  I made arrangements to get there 30 minutes before the start of the class to do this.

When I got there, the instructor*** pulled out 5 colorways of worsted weight Artyarn for me to chose from.  I immediately gravitated toward this great grey, pink and aqua yarn, which I then had to pay for on top of the fee for the class.  And because I didn’t already have two size 5 circular needles, I had to buy those too.  So, a class advertised for $40 turned into a $75 experience in a flash.  If they had made that clear when I registered for the class, I may not have taken it!

I then had to divide the yarn and wind it into two balls by hand because they don’t have a swift and ball winder.  As you can imagine, this turned into a mess.  Fortunately, a kind and patient classmate helped me untangle it all.  But I digress.  You are probably anxiously waiting the end of this rant so you can find out how the class was and whether or not I like the technique!

Well, it made no sense to me at first.  Two balls of yarn and what is essentially 4 needles and 2 cables is a lot to manage.  They strive to get entangled and twisted.  It’s difficult to discern which needle goes where when it’s time to knit.  But I knit on, patiently following the instructions and waiting for it to come together.  Sometimes knitting is like that: you just have to knit blind and have faith that it will make sense at some point.  Usually it does, and this time was no exception.  About 4 rows in, I had my epiphany.  I get it!

I’m tickled to have learned a new technique, and I love this yarn.  But… It’s a little fiddly for me.  I know, double points are fiddly too, but it’s not the equipment that’s bothering me.  It’s the constant untangling and yarn management that’s getting me down.  Do you have any advice on how to keep things neat and separate while knitting?  How do you prefer to knit your socks?

I am thrilled with the knitting on 2 circulars bit, and I can definitely see myself knitting one sock at a time this way.  So now I am at a cross roads with these socks as well.  Since the class didn’t provide a sock pattern (ahem…), I’m kind of knitting blind here.  And I’m not sure I want a pair of worsted weight socks, so I’m thinking about ripping these out and using the yarn for something else. Ugh.

Verdict: Undecided.

All in all, I was happy to participate in Socktoberfest.  It gave me an excuse to think about past, present and future sock knitting, inspired me to take a class, and resulted in the purchase of 2 skeins of sock yarn, a new project bag, and that nifty wooden needle holder.  I think I was a true sock fanatic this month!  I hear November is Knit a Sweater month…

***While the lack of organization and information about this class was frustrating, the instructor did a good job. She was patient and took time to help everyone figure this tricky technique out.***

Socktoberfest is for Knitters

It’s nearly October and I feel like celebrating.  What better way than through knitting?  It’s Socktoberfest time!

This has been around for a couple of years now, but this is the first October where I consider myself to be a real sock knitter (hurray!).  To celebrate, any and all are invited to knit on a sock or two throughout the month, sharing photos, blog entries, patterns, and generally worship the goodness that is sock knitting.  There are no strict rules of participation other than sock-centerdness.  If you want to read more about how this whole thing works, drop by Lolly’s blog for details.

I’m thinking about participating in a mystery sock knit along courtesy of  Through the Loops. She will be releasing a clue every Wednesday in October for a new sock pattern, and knitters are invited to join in as they are able.  I know I have some autumnal sock yarn around here somewhere…

Or how about this?

Will you be knitting socks this October?