Sunday, February 25, 2007

2 pairs in 1 day

The Anne of Green Gables books represented some of my most beloved childhood reading. As an adult, I've reread them all several times. One I particularly enjoy is Rilla of Ingleside. Although I've never been really a fan of WW history books, I find this story to be a gripping tale of a family and a community caught up in the fervor of war. Written in 1921, if I remember correctly, WWI was fresh in L.M. Montgomery's memory, and she makes reference to a number of events that were clear to Ms. M, but I have no idea about the background stories. One of the things that fascinates me is how everybody's lives completely shift when Canada goes to war. Not only does every eligible young man leave, but every body left behind goes into action, crafting and sewing things for the army, planting gardens and rationing. A friend of mine told me that at the University of Calgary, this book is regarded as the most accurate depiction of the homefront during WWI. I cannot verify this fact, but it makes sense.

I find it very interesting what a difference between the lives of the people at home during that war and the lives of the people in the United States during this war. For one, it is a different country. And for two, it's a very different war. But I see the people of the U.S. living a very comfy life compared to people at home during the great wars of the twentieth century.

When I first re-started knitting when I was 18, and then again when I was 23, I was all excited to "make socks like Rilla", although I never did complete that first pair I started then, made of a questionable gauge out of yarn that was 75% acrylic and all black.

When I discovered the group Socks For Soldiers, I was interested partially because of my reading and love for the Rilla book, and also because whenever I think about the people serving in the desert and their families back home I think about what an extreme and horrific situation that might be. I like that the group is very non-political, so they don't care what anyone thinks about the war or the current politics, they're all about sending care to the soldiers.

I finished my first pair of "big black socks" yesterday, knit to conform to military regulations and to fit some big ol' feet. They're huge socks. So huge. Really all that was left for yesterday was one last kitchener.

Then I knit on what are called "leisure socks", or rather socks to go to soldiers but cannot be worn in uniform. These are knit with much less restriction in form or colour. I knit them with yarn donated by Woven-n-spun. I won it in a contest on the SFS group, with the stipulation that I use it for leisure socks for soldiers. The yarn, colourway Summer Haze, is gorgeous so it was fun to knit with. I didn't expect to finish them yesterday, as I was pretty busy working on a paper, but I got dragged out late in the day, as I'd made good progress, and I knit on the go, and then in the evening while I watched Hoot with the family. This gave me enough knitting time to actually finish these socks, too. I kitchenered them up in bed, last thing of the day, after a full day of intense homework and some really good knitting, too.

The Summer Haze socks were knit on size 2 addi turbo needles, knit in the Ridged Feather pattern from SKS. I knit the heel and the toe in a size one needle. I used a short-row-heel, and the standard wedge toe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today my #1Son called me at work to report that I'd received not one but TWO packages. He probably hoped I'd say something like, "oh, son, those are surprise gifts for you!" and barring that, at least a "Hey, why don't you open those for me?". I said neither.

I've been having this issue with the library. I keep checking out the same books and they keep making me give them back. After countless holds and renewals, I finally was able to apply some credit towards buying them for my very own. The Knitted Babes book is really good to have because of all the clothing patterns. Sensational Knitted Socks is one that I like to refer to for the textures/patterns. I don't ever follow an entire pattern in it, but I just get stitch patterns from it. And Folk Solks... Well, I check that out of the library every few months and spend hours drifting through the pages. And when I'm done, I'm all grouchy because I should have spent hours knitting! But dreamy about all the socks I might knit. I've modified stitch patterns from that book several times but never followed a pattern start to finish.

And, in package number two, my new stitch markers! My picture doesn't do them justice. You can see the skull markers here and the others here. I bought them off of Etsy from Sunneshine. I hadn't heard any reviews or recommendations of her, I just wanted some skulls to hang in my knitting. She shipped the very next morning, and they arrived the following business day. She has all sorts of cute markers, like a set of Buddhas, and Hello Kitty, and others. I decided I wanted a set with a lot of markers, so that I could lose a few and not be completely out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

one week one sock

One sock!

Usually I knit two at a time, but I don't relish having four strands going at once. I've tried it before. It's insane.

While I was plotting this sock, it was obvious I needed to do some serious swatching. It was also obvious that I couldn't do a tiny swatch like I usually do, I would need to do a fairly good sized in-the-round swatch. So I cast on the number I thought I would need, and swatched with the intent that if it worked out, I would have a sock. If it did not, I would not be so attached to it, because it was officially a "swatch" and could rip it out. Turns out I got attached to it anyway, but when I was approaching what would be the ankle, I finally accepted that it was not satisfactory and ripped it out.

This is knit with Fearless Fibers. I cast on using a size 3 inox needle and knit the braided cuff according to directions in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. It was truly magical. The instructions seemed a little whackity, but after following them, poof! I had a knitted braid! I was awed. It was beautiful. I used some guidelines from Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy. For example, I would normally knit this yarn on a size 1 needle, but I used a size 3 on the legs and size 2 for the rest of the socks thanks to her instuctions. I did not choose to make a double-wide striped down the middle like she says, nor did I do the short-row toe with a seam. I did follow her yarn-over heel instructions and was very displeased with the results. It made a join line so flimsy that it looked like a line of starry lace along the heel seam. I left it because I didn't want to figure out how to make it so the stripes line up on the usual short-row-heel I do. But I did weave a long strand of yellow yarn behind the joins to strengthen them and to hide the lacy see-through look.

I started sock #2 last night. Unfortunately I did not look at my notes, just started knitting, and forgot about the size 3 needle thing. I knitted to five rows past the braid before I remembered, and that braid is some slow-going knitting! I had to rip it out and start over, and as we were watching a foreign movie at the time, (SUBTITLES, can't stare at my knitting so much) I didn't get very far.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Some surprising things happened this week. I feel like the chronology should be important, but I honestly can't recall which came first.

One) My NumberOneSon, who is 12, reported that he was involved in an argument at school that pitted knitting against football. One of his female classmates contended that knitting was far better than football, and one of his male classmates claimed the opposite. He sided with his female classmate, to her astonishment, and defended knitting by praising its portability, noting that you can knit in a bank, in the car, or even in the stands watching football. His Dad told me I had better give that kid a doughnut, and I promptly agreed! (this in itself is surprising, because his Dad's so vehemently against hydrogenated oils, so why would he suggest a doughnut, of all things???) Naturally then NumberOneDaughter started saying that knitting was wonderful, so now I owe both children a doughnut. Mmmmm.

Two) #1Son was fidgeting, as usual, so I picked up some knitting that just happened to be in the living room, a purple cotton dishcloth on size 8 bamboo straight needles, and handed them to him. He's learned to knit a few other times in his life, so I just needed to refresh his memory and he was off and running. He said, "If I'm going to take this to school, it won't be purple!" I was going... who said you're taking it to school? I found him some cotton yarn and the needles he made 4 years ago following the directions in Kids Knitting. We even sanded the needles a little more, then rubbed them with oil to make them a little smoother, and he started knitting his own project. He wanted a bookmark, but I'm not sure what it will end up being. The funny thing is he was knitting with some kitchen cotton that was blue and white, and it wound up pooling so perfectly that the left vertical half of the project is white and the right half is blue. The first night, I had him counting his stitches after every row, and when he added stitches or dropped stitches, I'd fix it for him. The next night, he picked it up when I wasn't around and knit several inches further on it, and figured out for himself how to fix his problems. He's increased by one stitch, but that's not too bad. He took it to school today, and then on to the sleepover, so I haven't heard if he actually knit at school. I don't quite get why he was determined to take his knitting to school.

Oh, and while he was knitting, he told me he was doing a lot better now that he wasn't trying to use that stupid poem. The poem is also from Kids Knitting, and I didn't think it was stupid! Could it just be that he's 4 years older? eh?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Needles and socks

Well. I found some glue and put the broken needle back together. It seems to be holding, so far. Additionally, a set of size one and size two needles from Comfort Zone arrived. My theory is that a set of needles that look like toys won't offend airport security personnel. Also, icord is a pain on a long circular needle.

The fearless fiber socks I started Friday got knit almost as far as the ankle, but only one sock. This morning I decided the fit was unacceptable and ripped them out and started over. The new sock features a braided cuff as described by Nancy Bush, and I stepped up a needle size more for the leg, which had been too tight. No picture yet, but the sock is gorgeous to my creator's eyes.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

5 pair

What do you do when 3 pairs of socks are stalled because your size one needle needs repairs or to be replaced? Do you work on the fourth pair on the needles? Nooooo, you cast on a new pair!

I cast on my fearless fibers. This yarn is so fine that it usually needs a size one needle, but I cast on a pattern that says to step up a size. :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

I just wanted to knit socks!

summerhazeYesterday I had one of those days where I left the house at 7am and returned home after 8pm. Needless to say, I was exhausted, and I just accepted the fact that I wouldn't be any good at homework, and settled down for an evening of knitting socks in front of the tv. I started out with my ridged-feather socks knitted in yarn from woven-n-spun in her colourway Summer Haze. But, it was time to turn the heels, and I step down to a size one needle for the heels. I went to grab it, expecting it to be in my needle case, as I have been fastidious lately about putting my needles away so I can find them when needed. But nooooo, it wasn't there! I looked around by the computer, a high-frequency-knitting zone, and also by the bed. It was neither place. columbine Since we were in the middle of Laurel and Hardy, I just put those socks aside and got to work on my Wildefoot columbine yarn-over-cable socks. In contrast to the previous pair of socks, which were top-down, these are toe-up. But coincidentally, these socks were also just ready to have the heel turned. And they also need a size one needle. So I replayed my previous search, but this time I noticed a pair of socks tucked under the computer desk. This pair was the Christmas socks I made for the girlchild, only to discover that I'd made them an inch too short. A few days ago, I ripped out the toes and started reknitting them, with that very size one needle. stripesocksredo Now we were watching a Hawaii-5-0 episode, and I got to work finishing the striped socks. It would be a quick fix, and I had the girlchild's feet handy so I could regularly try them on her. Eventually we had to send the girlchild to bed, and I was on to the second sock. Mr Man and I settled down to watch Everybody Stares, The Police Inside Out. I was on the decreases, on the home stretch, when disaster struck. crystal palace needle My size one Crystal Palace bamboo circular needle came apart!!! I was traumatized. I was shaking. I've never lost a needle before in such a graphic way. I've misplaced a needle now and then, but it has always come back to me. And my other size one needle got damaged when it took off on an autumn adventure. So i am without a size one needle, and have three pairs of socks that cannot proceed without a size one needle!!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hey, a contest!

So the other day I stumbled upon a list of knitting podcasts, and wound up surfing through some. I haven't listened to any in their entirety yet. I tried listening at work, but wound up being too distracted to perform my workly duties. I surfed onto, and even I even got to listen. Hey, she talked about Nancy Bush! And is planning an interview!

But I wanted to point out that she's got a contest. An ooh-la-la, get yarn and other goodies contest. She wants to hear all about people's attitudes towards knitting socks. If you hate em, if you love em, whatever it is.

I don't know how to articulate why I love knitting socks. I just got Nancy Bush's Folk Socks out of the library, and before lunch I was turning the pages back and forth. You'd think I'd have that book memorized by now, but I still don't. And while I've made a pair of socks utilizing a few of her patterns, I haven't made any of the patterns yet. But it was all I could do to keep from running off for yarn and needles and casting on RIGHT THEN. I have a paper due in 48 hours, so I have to refrain. But I want my socks!!! I'm thinking a Nancy Bush pattern and fearless fibers. It will be beautiful.

So, uhm, why do I knit socks? Yeah, uhm, why do I breathe? Why do I eat chocolate?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Meet Deaux

deaux2He was summoned. Summoned by a 12 year old boy, and he came. His purposes are unclear. His origins are a haze. His methods of travel a mystery. He communicates inaudibly, yet clearly. When he is present, colours seem brighter, rooms seem larger, questions seemed answered, songs more melodic. Smells are more vivid, and the breezes more vibrant. When he is absent, all lapses into a blur.

Technical notes: Deaux was created from Fearless Fibers merino sock yarn on a size one circular bamboo needle. He was created from the Knitted Babes pattern by Claire Garland. He was knit in the round, top down, like a sock. I sewed on the eyes while the head was still in process, in order to make the sewing easier. I put a wooden dowel inside him for stability, then stuffed him with wool stuffing from The Magic Cabin. After stuffing, he was kitchenered shut along his bottom. His arms and legs were made by picking up stitches in the right spot and then knitting icord.

Fearless Fibers!

Oh wow. Oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow oh wow. It's mine. Allllllll miiiiiiiiine!

Fearless Fibers!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I. Did. Not. Squeeeel.

No, I am not hyperventilating. I did not just jump around in circles. And I am certainly not pulling the calendar off the wall to count how many days until July 21st. (170)

I did tell my family not too long ago that it was TIME for Harry Potter Book 7 to come out. I'm so glad to know I have significant influence. I'm bitterly disappointed that it won't be released 7/7/7, but 7/21/7 is pretty cool, too.

Book 5 came out while we were rushing to leave town. My Man and #1Son picked up our reserved copy from the library at the midnight release party. I managed to not read it for a full day while we packed. Then as we drove to Seattle, I read the entire way. The book was finished before we got there.

Book 6 came out while I was out of state at My Man's high school reunion. We went to the mixer on Friday night, and on our way home were going to drop by Barnes and Noble, for I had reserved a copy there in my name. But the lines were so long that we just went home. I picked it up early next morning, and while he picnicked with his high school buddies I read read read. It was finished by dinner time, then my son, now old enough to read it independently, grabbed it and read read read. I actually sold that copy to a librarian friend.

Now book 7.... I will be HOME for book 7. I wonder if I'll have to buy 4 copies to prevent any major home wars???