Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas socks

The Boyfriend bought me sock yarn for Christmas. I had mentioned Knit Picks Essential or Opal in red, blues or purple. He also helped his mother and brother buy me sock yarn. His parents came up with a teal Regia, another excellent choice. His brother and his wife gave me a red-blue Opal and a blue-white Opal, more excellent choices. And The Boyfriend, he gave me a yarn gift certificate accompanied by “Tiger” Opal. You know what tiger means? Orange and white and Yellow and Brown and Black. I’m seeing a communication breakdown here.

And what was the result of getting three skeins of sock yarn I really liked and one I despised? I cast on the Tiger yarn immediately and informed Mr. Boyfriend that he’d be the ‘lucky’ recipient of this pair. To which he stated he’d be happy to wear them. And now that I reflect upon the happenings I’m wondering if he had an ulterior motive here. His high school mascot was a Tiger after all.

Arya didn’t much care for the sock yarn. She was more interested in being a present.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yarn Buyer's Remorse

I find the best way to deal yarn buyer’s remorse to knit with it immediately. 9 times out of 10 if I buy yarn and cast on right away it's because I'm feeling guilty about adding to the stash. And psychologically if I knit it up and out right away then it was never stash and I didn't do anything wrong/questionable. How do you like that logic?!?!

This is not a confession, this was some advice I recently gave a friend on a yarn diet who fell off the wagon. I was pleased with myself and thought I'd share.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finished my third shawl

For the last two years I’ve been waiting for the shawl bug to bite me. I went through the mandatory felting period, where I knit and shrank almost everything I created. Next came the sock crazy. I’ve been submersed in socks for years, as you know. Loving them so much, in fact the last two years I’ve taken the 52 Pair Plunge, yes that’s a pair of socks a week. Some weeks are better than others. I’ve knit a few sweaters, averaging 2 a year I think. With all the girls going gaga for lace in 2009 I caved around Christmas time and tackled the springtime bandit. A rainbow colored Socks That Rock yarn. Not the greatest color or weight choice. Too heavy and so bright all of the detail of the lace is lost. Understandable I wouldn’t be hooked after that. A few months later I tried to get hooked again, this time with a more two color red-orange Schaefer Nicole yarn. Yes the feel of the yarn is wonderful but again too heavy and not enough yardage to make the size shawl I’d like. Again, not hooked. Should I be worried that I’m trying so hard to become addicted to something? To fit in with the crowd? I went back to my socks. Love my socks, they come out just the way I want and after knitting fifty or so pairs I don’t have yarn weight issues. I know what works and I use it.

And then Thanksgiving was coming. The many days of knitting while visiting with family usually means I can tackle a big project and make some serious headway. A few years back I started my Ivy League Vest over Thanksgiving and was pleased with the results come Monday morning. This year I opted to do a little Christmas knitting and tackle another shawl. I had bought yarn for this purpose at Rhinebeck and with the help of my friends, landed on the Seaside Shawlett by Wendy Johnson. Pattern in hand I went to stay at the Oceanside cottage for Thanksgiving. It seemed fitting. I knit fifty percent of this shawl over the holiday. It is a lovely cashmere blend fingering weight yarn. Not too heavy. Dark chocolate color to really show the stitch details. And the pattern was just the right challenge to entertain my brain.

Finally last week I finished my third shawl. After the three part bind off, it took forever! I stepped back and looked at my creation. Is that it? Is it really this small? That wouldn’t fit a child let alone my intended recipient. I fussed and fretted. I consulted the pattern and my left over yarn ball. Both indicated mine was somehow smaller than the one pictured. I reviewed my notes. Yes I had completed all the chart repeats, I had notes day by day. No way I got confused there. And then I looked at my needles. Pattern says size 6 needles. “if these are size 6s I’ll eat Isitt!” and I checked. Not size 6. Not size 5. Not size 4. But size 3!!!! How could I be such a dolt?!?!?! I was so anxious to cast on over Thanksgiving that I hadn’t checked the needles, just grabbed what I thought was a 6 after a few glasses of wine. I was heart broken. This lace thing would never work out. I won’t be able to give this beautiful Christmas gift I’d been planning. I walked away in disgust for a few days.

Late Sunday night I soaked the shawlett. I pinned it out with the help of Isitt and Linus. Both were relieved that I hadn’t actually meant to eat Isitt. I walked away for a few more days and resolved that I would still give the gift with my best of intentions and promise to knit another. During blocking I could see that the pattern didn’t look nearly as beautiful as it could’ve had the stitches been the right side. But you know, I am a loose knitter so it is probably more like a size 4. I could also see that the shawl spanned the width of the bed. None of my previous shawls did that. I had taken care to pull out the points along the edge but maintain the triangle shape as in the past I’d ended up with a more curved triangle that leaned toward my left arm instead of hanging nicely down to a point.

This morning The Boyfriend’s alarm went off at 5am. Try as we might, Isitt and I just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I unpinned the shawl from the guest bed. Moment of truth. It fit me just like the picture!!! No this can’t be right. I ran to the bathroom to check in the mirror. Yes, the point hits my waist. Or if I wrap it around my neck the ends hang down well to the sides. Plenty long. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! My faith in shawls is restored. Overall I’d say the shawl is pretty. You can clearly see the lace details. It is symmetrically blocked so the point hangs down nice and straight. It is very light and airy having the perfect weight yarn. The cashmere blend is soft and pleasant to the touch and neck. I will be proud to give this gift. I will not however knit another shawl anytime soon. While I’m pleased to say that I can knit lace, I’m not overwhelmed by the return on investment. Give me sweaters and socks!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Any idea where this quote came from?

I know, it's not Christmas-y but I recently watched this and couldn't get the power of his words out of my head.

"There’s an Earth saying, Captain.

A phrase of great power and wisdom. And consolation to the soul in times of need, Allons-y!"

also new licence plate.

Monday, December 13, 2010

52ppIV AND 12in2011

I think there are several reasons sock knitting has eluded me this month and yarn purchases continue to occur.

First off, let me say that 28 pairs of socks in 29 weeks are a lot socks. That’s 56 individual socks. Sure some of them were baby socks. But 56! I have to admit that I’m worried there is some burnout going on. As comfortable as it for me to knit on size 1 needles, I am getting tired of producing the same thing over and over. And complicated interesting patterns don’t really speak to me, because they are slower and require more brain power. The other variable is the yarn which has lead me down the yarn buying path since stripping yarn matches so well with simple socks and my stash is remarkable low on stripping yarn. I just did a quick count, before going stripping yarn crazy there were only 11 skeins in the stash of stripping yarn. So I’ve stunted/halted my sock knitting by forcing myself to overproduce unchallenging socks. Realizing this, I’m giving myself permission to knit other things.

And once that permission was granted, well don’t you know that I went a little crazy. A couple new books arrived at my house, the Sock yarn book, and the New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist. Both have enticed me away from socks and onto other things. The NE Knits book is seriously beautiful. I class unto itself. I’m so inspired by 7 or 8 of those patterns that I want to knit nothing but sweaters. But coming back to Earth, I realize that I knit myself two sweaters in 2009, and so far two sweaters in 2010. So before I launch into giant sweaters worth of yarn purchases I decided to do two things.

First finish my Lefyi sweater. I knit half of in a week this summer while The Boyfriend was at fishing camp, and upon his return I promptly put in the closet to sit untouched until now. There are three other sweaters on the needles right now but two are summer weight so no rush there, and the third is colorwork which I intended to be a slow project.

Secondly join the 12in2011 group on Ravelry. This is a club that encourages it’s members to prep for a 2011 stash down by identifying 12 projects they really want to make next year and then pairing them with yarn that’s already in the stash. In my usual fashion, I over did it, and found 17 projects. But the point is, half of them are sweaters from New England Knits.

So once the Lefyi is finished, I’m launching into a new adventure with the 12in2011. That’s not to say I wont knit socks anymore. I’m just not going to feel guilty for knitting something other than a sock. And I’m still accomplishing the same end goal of using up some stash yarn if I stick to the rules of the 12in2011.

First on the needles…January 1st 2011…

The Melrose Peacoat by Cecily MacDonald using my navy Cascade Eco+. Don’t worry, I’ll give a full accounting of what my 12in2011 in the coming weeks as I get prepped for it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The tree is up. The lights are up on the tree. I think we’re decorated.

I’m just not into it this year. Something about it being December 12th and 45 degrees with a steady rain and not a single snow flake has fallen this winter. If you can even call it a winter, I think of it more as an extended fall at this point. So how can I feel holiday cheer? I submit that I can not. Humanly impossible.

I can’t even bring myself to knit Christmas gifts. I’ve accepted that this just isn’t my year for Christmas. That must make me the Grinch.

It is still early, I could be rehabilitated. Here’s hoping.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November 52PPIV Progress Update

1. Finish the 3 WIPs and 8 pairs of hibernating socks I currently have on the needles. One of those pairs is from April 2009. Really it’s time to finish it.

November: five pairs of socks hibernating. Now including all three of last month’s new WIPs. Oh that’s a sad state. I hadn’t realized. –Isitt-Dilemma, Purple Socks, and Yes to the Dress.

Added a few more active WIPs because what would life be if I didn’t have WIPs? The Boyfriend Socks out of a Fortissima Socka self striping yarn he picked out and I immediately cast on during the Birthday Appetizer Trip. It’s a simple 4x4 rib but I ‘accidently’ made the first one too small so they’re for me. Really I didn’t mean to make them too short. I will have to knit him another pair so there’s no avoiding it.

Oh and I found the Froot Loop socks. I know I started them at a show this fall. Not sure when but I’ve been knitting them at lunch and in the car when I’m stuck in traffic. This is a great pattern for the classy results for minimal brain expenditure.

2. I currently have give-or- take 90 skeins worth of sock yarn. Enough to make 90 pairs of socks with lots of remnants. I will not stop buying new sock yarn but what if I can only knit the new after I’ve completed a pair with the stash sock yarn. Imagine if I cut the stash down by 26 skeins? That’d be a good part of a yarn bin free.

I’m going backwards here and I don’t even want to look. 9 new socks worth of yarn. I don’t want to talk about it. So I’m net 27 new skeins on this year.

3. Knit more with DK weight yarn. I’ve never knit a DK weight sock but it couldn’t hurt to make a pair of house socks for The DH, Mum, Dad, & Myself. Those will be quicker than regular socks.

I really don’t mean to be such a downer, but here is another goal that I’m falling short on. Just one pair!!!!! That’s all I need to feel like I complied.

4. For every full size pair I knit, knit a pair of kids socks. Not baby socks. Those are so small they’re useless. Kids socks that I can give to Sophie or Simon or put away for some future child.

But then, there was some success!!!!!

This month I got the Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders book by Judith Durant. Lots of cute patterns including an interesting baby sock pattern by Helen Bingham. So I knit one. And then I knit another in a different color, and then I knit a third and before you know it I was cranking out a sock a day for several days in a row until I had a baby sock rainbow. 10 pairs in all. Which puts me at 28 completed pairs. And as of November 20th I should be at 27 pairs. So for one brief moment I am ahead! In the count if nothing else.