Christmas of Socks

My creation

This was the Christmas of socks!

The socks along the top of the mosaic are in order: mine, my husband’s, my dad’s, my mum’s. They’re in reverse chronological order, as I did my mum’s first, then dad’s, and then those two got packed up in a parcel and mailed off. Then I did hubby’s, and managed to finish them completely before he got home from school, so I didn’t have to do any sneaky knitting at home! My pair I started December 18th and finished on Boxing Day. All the details are on my Ravelry project pages, here is a link to a page of all the socks I’ve knit!

Husband Socks

And I’m extremely happy to report that everyone’s socks fit well!

Christmas Socks

Christmas 2014

I’m really hoping to knit a good dent into my stash of sock yarn in 2015 – I finished 7 pairs in 2014, and this year I’m hoping for 12.

Pirate Socks Aren’t Punctual

So way, way, waaaaay back in the day, I decided I was going to knit my husband socks for our wedding. I ran in to a few roadblocks (I needed to get him to try them on more, not knit a whole sock then find it doesn’t fit) so I didn’t end up finishing them. They sat in a bag, taunting me for a long time. Every now and then, P would mention his ‘wedding’ socks.

This Christmas, I decided to do something about it. This plan was also partly because of his new student status, and our lack of funds to actually buy each other things for Christmas.

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They were still a wee bit big on him – I usually like my socks smaller than my feet, so the stretch and hug a little. These I think were the same dimensions as his feet, so he wore them around the house as slipper socks.

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Sadly, a week ago, he brought them to me with a GIANT hole in the foot. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I did, I just wear them around the house, never in shoes!” Of course, not his fault at all, but I’m a little puzzled about how quickly they wore out. I’m going to knit him a pair of plain ribbed socks next, and see how those wear. He did love his skull-gyle.

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I’m in this photo! Christmas by the fire at my parents’ house.

Self-striping Jekyll & Hyde socks

After finishing that last pair of socks, I needed simple knitting for my purse immediately. It’s rare I get to knit during rehearsals, but last week actually afforded me some knitting time at work. And because I’m such a follower, when Carin of Round the Twist kept showing gorgeous balls of yarn from Twisted Limone, I stalked the website for updates. I managed to score a couple balls right after Sock Summit.

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Those are Black Peacock and Choco-Raspberry Mustard.

I decided it was the perfect time to cast on a simple self-striping toe-up sock. I want to use as much of the yarn as possible, so toe-up was the way to go, plus I wanted to try putting in an afterthought heel. I decided on using the Black Peacock first.

Here is the proto-sock:

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A wee little toe, how cute!

Here is what it looked like after a couple days at work:

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That’s side 1. Here’s side 2:

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It’s like Jekyll and Hyde! The yarn was doing all sorts of pretty things in the blue/purple section on the toe, but once I got to the actual number of stitches for the sock, it was perfectly divided between blue on one side and purple on the other. I know you can see a little bit of each colour starting to peek around the sides at the bottom of that stripe. Well, here’s a little secret:

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That’s only happening because I pulled a loop of the purple yarn to make it change!

I’m not sure what to do… I know changing the stitch count would make it change, but it’s a stitch count that will fit my feet. I’m winging this pattern as I go – I measured my gauge, did some math, and came up with the following:

I have a 8.5″ circuference at the ball of my foot. At a gauge of 10st/1″, that’s 85st. But socks need negative ease, so I took 10% off, which gave me 76. I could probably go down to about 72, but I wouldn’t want to go smaller. I’m torn between wanting to knit past the current black stripe to see what the next coloured section does, or ripping back to the point in to the toe that has 72 stitches and try going from there.

(Hee, seeing my wedding band in that picture makes me giggle. I’m married!)

FO: Summer Traveling Socks

I started these socks to take to Sock Summit with me in Portland at the end of July. I took sock #2 with me to Seattle, and did a lot of knitting while surrounded by hordes of gamers at the end of August. Now, after a few days of snatching knitting moments at work, my summer socks are done!

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‘Summer socks’ as in ‘socks that were knit in the summer’, not ‘socks to wear in the summer’.

The yarn is Lotus Yarns Chakra in the colourway ‘Bettie’. I bought this yarn at Sock Summit ’09, so I thought it fitting to be knitting it during Sock Summit ’11.

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The pattern is Charade, and it was the perfect pattern for travel knitting. It was super-easy to memorize, and every other row is plain knitting anyway! I only needed the pattern for the heel turn, so I could always just pull the sock out of my bag and knit around and around and around. Socks are wonderful like that.

I really like the colourway. I’m not sure what this style of dying is, but there were short bursts of blues, pale green, and white all throughout the yarn. It wasn’t like some multicoloured yarns that have say, a section of blue, then a section of pink, then red, then it repeats again, and if it is in a skein you can get everything to line up. This yarn reminded me much more of the funfetti-style Koigu dyed yarn. The yarn is a little thicker than some sock yarns, these may end up being house socks, unless they shrink a bit in the wash. These are also the first socks I’ve ever knit that have cashmere content in the yarn!

I really like the toe in this pattern – it has more stitches in between the decreases than most patterns do, and I like the effect that gives.

It’s been a while since I’ve finished a knitting project, so these made me very happy.

Socks Away!

Sock Summit really got my knitting mojo going again. The mojo had been repressed by wedding planning, and even though I was knitting, not much was getting done.

Before I left for Sock Summit, I cast on a simple pair of socks in yarn I’d bought at the last Summit (so much for that goal of knitting it all up before SS11….). I finished the cuff while in Portland, and have just finished up sock #1!

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I knit on the sock on my lunch break from work this week. When it’s not thunderstorming, I like to eat my lunch in Olympic Plaza to get some much-needed vitamin D.

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And here’s the finished sock at home.

The pattern is Charade, and the yarn is Lotus Yarns Chakra in the colour ‘Bettie’. I lurve this yarn – it’s the first sock yarn I ever bought that has cashmere in the blend, and it is the silkiest softest thing I’ve ever touched.

I also cast on for a second pair of socks once I got home. I’m a really big fan of the videocast Round the Twist, and Carin is doing a nice slow-paced knitalong through Cookie A’s first book. I decided to cast on for the Rick socks, just like Carin, and join in the fun. I used more SS09 yarn, Liberty’s Yarn in Jabbersocky, in the awesome Lemongrass colourway.

Now, the day I started these socks, I had all my circular needles out for organizing. I knew I wanted to knit them on 2.5mm needles, so when I’d finished organizing I grabbed the needles I wanted and got going. After an inch or two the sock was looking very tiny, so I tried it on and it wouldn’t fit. I checked the needles, because I’d been having some problems with tightness when I was doing my decreases and lo and behold, I’d picked up my 2.25mm needles instead of the ones I really wanted. I ripped back to the ribbing, which fit fine, and started with new needles.

I tried the sock on when it had an inch or two of patterning done, and it fit over my heel just fine. I tried it on when there was 4″-5″ of patterning, and Rick and I reached a stalemate:

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He was not going any farther than that. The bias stitches make the sock squeeze down small like a Chinese finger trap. So I ripped again, the whole thing this time.

I’m trying to decide how to proceed next:

Option 1 is to start again on 3mm needles, even though I quite liked the fabric the 2.5mms were giving me.

Option 2 is to add another repeat of the pattern to the leg while knitting with the 2.5mms. This keeps the fabric I like, but could make the heel of the sock problematic. Although I did take a class from Cookie A at Sock Summit (and have the signed book to prove it) so maybe I should venture into the semi-design-your-own arena.

Or I suppose there’s Option 3: forget the Rick socks for now, and cast on for a sweater. There’s a chance I might make it to Rhinebeck this year, and if it pans out, I don’t want to be sweaterless!

Standby Knitting… Knitting GO

So last week, I wrote about not knowing whether I should attempt some wedding knitting. I felt like it would be a shame not to knit anything for the wedding, as it is my favourite hobby, but didn’t want to stress myself out. Well everyone wrote back with such wonderful compliments, and messages of support, so I dove in!

Monday I wandered over to a yarn store not 4 blocks from here, hoping to find some perfect teal yarn. I wasn’t too hopeful – it’s always hard going shopping for something so specific. Well, I walked in and found this:

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Three little skeins of teal sock yarn! I brought it home and pulled out some black sock yarn I already had: I’d actually bought it a couple years ago to make some socks for Cinnamon Buns, but never got around to it. I started the socks that night, and they’ve become my work knitting. Before you think I’m a bad employee – theatre can be a very ‘hurry up and wait’ type of environment (depending on the show, of course), so it is good to have things like knitting to keep your hands and brain busy. A lot of my current cast does crosswords – I knit. Naturally, I only knit in those dead spaces, and if there’s an emergency (busted button or snap, broken prop) or I have a cue (handing off props, guns, blood bags, helping people change outfits in 10.5 seconds, supervising the safe “hanging” of an actor… I have a weird job) the knitting is the furthest thing from my mind. That said, here is what one night at home and a week at work (on a show with a slow Act 1) looks like in knitted form:

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I’m getting close to the heel: you can see the start of the second skull pirate on the bottom right, a few rows after finishing him, it is time for the heel. I’ve made Cinnamon Buns try on the sock so far, and it fits, which is awesome. If you’re a knitter, the teal is Koigu KPM, and the black is Blue Moon Fiber Arts mediumweight.

I’ve decided that I will work on Cinnamon Buns’ socks first, and start my wedding shawl when they are finished. If I were to pick just one project, I’d knit his socks, so I won’t be too fussed if I don’t finish the shawl. Oh, shawl patterns! You know all those ones I showed you last week? I picked one! I picked one that wasn’t in that original post – in my defense, it is a much more recent pattern than those ones, and I hadn’t done a new search in a while. I will (maybe) be knitting Potager, by Anne Hanson for my wedding shawl:

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(photo from Anne Hanson’s website)

This shawl is just what I was looking for. I wanted something that evoked leaves or flowers, to go with the flowers on my dress. There are a lot of lovely geometric shawls out there, but I wanted something more organic-looking. There will be some beads on the two ends, and I’ve ordered some 100% silk yarn from the Unique Sheep to knit it with. As one commenter mentioned, it’s my wedding, this is the time to invest in silk! Wool is a little more forgiving, but I want that sheen that only silk has.

Now the race against time begins!

Yes, I still knit!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled wedding-planning with breaking news: I still knit! And, I finished something!
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Yes, that is one pair of finished Aquaphobia Socks, in yarn I bought at Sock Summit from Purl Up and Dye.

I didn’t make any (intentional) changes to the pattern. These socks were getting picked up and put down a lot, so there are a few places (especially on the second one) where the cable twists the wrong way. It didn’t bother me enough to change it once I noticed though, and once there was one wrong cable twist, why bother fixing the others?

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The yarn is colourful enough that it is a little hard to notice. I love how there was no colour pooling with this stitch pattern. It’s a slip stitch pattern (like the heels on a lot of socks!) so these socks are extra-thick and warm. They’ll be great walking to work in the winter socks. I make sure all my winter shoes will fit hand-knitted socks. It means I only have to wear the big, ugly, clumpy boots when there are actual snowdrifts on the sidewalk.

This yarn was Sock Summit 2009 stash – I’m slowly working away at it. I hope to work up a lot more of it before Sock Summit 2011!

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Life with Evenstar

I’ve been spending a lot of my free time lately knitting. Knitting away on the edging of my Evenstar shawl. This is the ginormous shawl that has a deadline that’s coming up in a couple weeks. I’ve been exclusively knitting this shawl since I started it, not wanting any distractions, or anything to detract from my knitting time. The edging is 56 repeats of a point, and I had been pushing myself to do up to 4 in a day.

‘Had’ is the operative word in that last sentence. On Tuesday, I looked at the little tally on my pattern print out (I make a mark each time I complete row 20) and I thought ‘ that can’t be right!’. But it could: I only have 7 repeats left to go! That is this much:

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I can now actually see the beginning (and end) as I’m knitting.

So with only 7 repeats to go, and more than 2 weeks until the deadline, what is a knitter to do? Cast on something else, of course.

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That is the Eunice pattern from Cookie A’s book Sock Innovation. I recently started watching Round the Twist, a video podcast by Carin, and she has decided to knit every sock out of said book. I caught up on all 40+ episodes over a few weeks, so I’m joining in after she has already completed a different set of socks. I also need to do this to start using up some of that Sock Summit stash. The yarn I’m using is Wool Candy BFL in the colour ‘Robin’s Egg’.

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I’ve been having a bit too much fun with this sock – I need to put it down and finish up that last little bit of Evenstar, and then block it. That’s why tonight I’m going to watch The Two Towers and knit, and tomorrow will be Return of the King. Those two movies should be just the right amount of time to finish 7 beaded points.

Knitting New Year

I’ve been thinking more about my Knitting New Year idea, and I think I may forge on with it. The guidelines I’d set for myself would be to have finished all my current Works in Progress by my birthday, April 2nd. I don’t think this is an unreasonable goal, considering I have most of March off from work, and the work I’m doing from now until then is fairly knit-friendly.

If I meet my current knitting goals, the thrummed mittens will be done by February 28th, and the Fiddleheads by March 7th (although I think I’ll be done before then).

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Ideally, I’d finish both by February 28th.

That leaves me with the following projects to finish (or frog) by April 2:

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These socks just need a lot of ends weaving in – I could do that in a day.

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This modular linen shopping bag. I don’t want to frog this! For some reason I stopped working on it, then lost it. I found it again recently, tucked away in the storage room. I’ve stolen the needle from it for the thrummed mittens, but that doesn’t matter because mittens must be done first!

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These socks will the challenge. They’re knee socks, and I’ve got one knit down to the ankle. Problem is, they’re a titch tight. I think I will soak and block what I’ve got so far, to see if that will loosen up the knitting. If it does, I continue to knit and have a wearable pair of socks. If it doesn’t, then I have to make the hard decision. I may also submit these to the Stampede knitting showase, if I do, do I need (or want) them to fit me?

And those are actually all the projects I have on the needles right now. The issue is that while I want the projects done and out of my knitting bags, there are other things I want to knit! My first Unique Sheep Lord of the Strings sock club kit arrived last week, and I joined the Evenstar Shawl knitalong. It is very hard not to jump in to those projects right now.

Maybe if I’m disciplined, I can finish the above projects (Fiddleheads, P’s mitts, Toe Socks, bag, green socks) I’ll have time before my birthday to cast on a new project. That will be completely allowed in the rules, because this challenge is to make me finish those things that have been hanging around.

Slow-growing Socks

The Green & Blue toe socks stalled a bit when I got to the heel, because I didn’t want to have to bring the book anywhere, so they languished until I had a few hours of quiet at home to do the heel.

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Now I’ve got about half the length of leg that I need! I’ve been bringing them to work, and doing a few rows at lunch each day. I also finally duplicate-stitched the top of the heart on the finished one:

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I’ve been busy at work, and I’ve been preparing a wholesale stitch marker order in the evenings at home. I haven’t stopped making cards either, I’ve got a whole pile of those to post and blog about, and I’ve even got a few for challenges! January will be one of the busiest, craziest months of the year, but things will get easier after that, and I even have some time off in March. I’m planning on spending that time crafting and baking.

I had a great Christmas, and I did something I’ve been wanting to do for ages: I put all my Christmas money towards a big purchase (rather than say, rent or groceries). A KitchenAid Artisan mixer is on its way to me! I’m very, very excited for that to arrive.

Toe Socks

Since I finished my shawl, and the baby sweater, it was time to find a new project to take to work. Can’t be without knitting at work, after all.

I decided to be a good little knitter and pick up something that has been languishing. I had a few choices (oops…) but I ended up picking my toe socks back up!

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This is the one that is done. I finished it back in July. I even knit the big toe for sock #2 before Sock Summit. I brought these socks to the freakin’ SOCK. SUMMIT. and didn’t work on them. I knit the first few rows of the 4-toes section in the airport, and at some point at the Summit I needed the needles, so I put the proto-toe on to waste yarn, and stuck it back in the project bag. That was the state I found them in at work a few nights ago.

Now, sock #2 is just at the point where I’m going to switch from blue to the variegated for the bulk of the foot. Then it will be perfect work knitting: work knitting needs to be able to be done in the dark.

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I still need to weave the ends in on this sock, and duplicate stitch the dimple into the top of the heart. I had so many yarn ends doing that intarsia at the top, I decided that coming back later would be much easier for those 4 stitches.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that short-row heels are not my favourite for socks. I end up with wrinkles opposite the heel, where my foot meets my leg, and that doesn’t happen so much with other heels.

My photography will be getting better (well, at least when I’m home in daylight, which is rare) because my new light reflector has arrived. And by ‘reflector’ I mean the coating of shiny white snow on my balcony. The balcony doors provide most of the light for my photos.

Knitting and new hobbies

I’ve been knitting (if not blogging) quite a bit recently. My last show was great, because two of the actors were also knitters, so we’d sit in the green room and knit while waiting for the show to start. I got more knitting done than them, because they had to get into wigs and corsets and petticoats and other things. I just had to remember to make toast and coffee every night. :)

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I had been working on my Ikebana sock; I even turned the heel and started my way down the foot. I decided to try it on, and found that it was quite tight, well, all over, but especially in the ‘can barely pull it on over my heel’ way. Its in time out right now while I decide what steps to take. I’ll have to wrestle it on over my heel again, to figure how far up the leg I want to rip back.

My other option is to just keep going – I wanted to enter these socks into a knitting competition, and the competition won’t care if they fit me. But I think they’ll be just too much work to waste on socks that I won’t even be able to wear in the end.

Because of the show I mentioned, I needed a new project, so I decided to put some of my Sock Summit purchases to good use, and start an Ulmus.

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I’m on the leafy border now, so I’ve progressed much farther than this photo. Not sure if I’ll be ready to tackle the socks when this is done. I do have a baby sweater to knit for a friend’s new baby, so I think that’ll be the next thing on my needles.

As for stuff that’s been taking away from knitting time, I’ve been making an effort to go to yoga more often, and I may have a new obsession. Rubber stamps.

Well, stamping may actually be a recurrence of a long-dormant condition – I did a lot of playing with rubber stamps as a kid. I wanted to make my Christmas cards this year, and I bought stamps for that…. and then I bought lots more. And more. I have been using them though, playing with them, playing with techniques. Papercrafting was my very first crafty love.

I figure I’m enjoying myself, and I’m not hurting anyone, so how bad can a stamp (I love the clear stamps! so cool!) and inkpad and embossing powder collection be?

Sibling Socks #1

With some of the money I made destashing knitting books last month, I bought myself another knitting book! I bought Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

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I had also been thinking about the best way to attack my stash strategically. Ages ago, I’d made an Excel inventory of my yarn, and I set it up to calculate the total length of the yarn in my stash in kilometres. I then set myself the goal of only having 10km of yarn in the stash at one time. Back in March I was so very, VERY close to 10km, but I’d destashed all I was willing to part with. I had large amounts of yarns left, and I wanted to use some of those up. One of these things was a skein of 800-odd yards of sock yarn that I’d bought to make knee socks. I didn’t feel like making knee socks any more, so I tried making it into a cardigan. It was obnoxious. The yarn is quite bright, so I decided it had to become socks.

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Then the lightbulb went on. I had this new, exciting sock book, with all sorts of socks to knit. I had a lot of sock yarn. I could combat second sock syndrome by knitting one of each sock in the book! I’ll end up with a set of socks that are related by colour and innovation, but not by construction.

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I figured I might as well start at the beginning, so I made one of the socks in the Sky Architecture chapter.

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It’s funny: two of the books I sold were Cat Bordhi’s other knitting books, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, and Another Treasury of Magical Knitting. This book is still the same chatty style (which takes getting used to) but I guess I’m just a sock person, because there is no way you’ll pry this book out of my clutches.

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Now I just have to decide which one I want to knit next!

If my socks are going to be obnoxiously bright anyway, who cares if they’re a perfect pair?

Mousetrap Circle Socks

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These socks were cast on, knit, cast of, and ends woven in ALL during the run of The Mousetrap, and only worked on backstage.

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Pattern: Circle Socks

Yarn: Blue Moon Fibre Arts Socks that Rock, colourway ‘the incredible shrinking violet’

Size: Mine! Womens 8.

Notes: I didn’t really make changes to the pattern, but I did do the gusset slightly differently than the instructions because I didn’t quite get it. They fit great, and I’m looking forward to wearing them in the cold weather we’re having.

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As you can see, we don’t have a star or and angel for the top of our tree, but we do have a bendy reindeer. We actually have two bendy reindeer; you can see #2 on the bookcase trying to figure out how to find his friend.

These socks were a great knit, and it was even more fun because there were two knitters in the cast, who’d check my work every day to make sure I was making progress. :)

It was a  good Christmas around here, no knitting content, but then I didn’t really ask for any apart from pattern books. Lots of warm sweaters and DVDs and other books though!

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My Darn Socks

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I think it is a dilemma all knitters go through when they get their first hole in their hand-knit socks. Do you darn? I don’t darn my commercial socks when they get holes, but I didn’t put howevermany hours of work into those ones, nor did I spend $20 on the yarn to make them.

I consider darning worthwhile, because for just an hour of your time, it is like you knit a new pair of socks!

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These are the same socks (Rosa’s Socks, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock) back when they were new. The picture at the top of the post was the heel last night. I found a good darning tutorial here, then got out my great-grandmother’s darning mushroom and went at it.

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And now I have one of my favourite pairs of handknit socks back!

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This pair didn’t have any actual holes, just incredibly worn spots. See-through spots. I did the entire bottom of the heel, and a little patch on one side of the bottom of the toes. Why one side only? I don’t know. I do know I’m looking forward to wearing these socks again, after they’ve been out of commission for so long!

Next for the mushroom block are my Jaywalkers, which also just have thin spots. After that, I’ve got holes. My Monkey socks have small holes, and the Vinnlands have giant holes, so the Vs will go last, once I’ve got the technique down. It was easy doing the thin spots, you’re just duplicate stitching over what is there.

Purpley Circley Socks

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I’m on a new show now, and needed new backstage knitting. While act 1 is busy for me, act two is very boring, as most people are on stage the whole time, leaving me nothing to do and no one to talk to.

I needed the pattern to be pretty simple, as I am knitting in the semi-dark, and I need to be able to put it down quickly if stuff comes up. I had to decide between my two current favourite skeins of sock yarn in the stash, but I ended up choosing Socks that Rock lightweight in ‘The Incredible Shrinking Violet’.

I can’t remember if I posted about it, but Blue Moon sent me this skein by accident! I have never used their yarn before, although I did put my name on the list for this year’s sock club, but pulled out because it was just too much money. Apparently there was some sort of glitch in the system that sent this package out to me (I think it was May? April?). I did let them know, and they let me keep it!

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Back to the pattern, which is the free Circle Socks pattern. It’s fun and textured, but nice and easy too. It is also doing some cool things with the STR, which I almost always see pooling in people’s projects. I think hand-dyed yarns look so great in reverse stockingette, so I just love this pattern.

Finished Object: Annetrelac Socks

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I finished another something! It’s amazing what being between contracts will do for your knitting time. Euphemism for unemployed? I suppose you could say that, but I really am between contracts, and taking some well-deserved me time. Theatre works me hard. Very hard. So when breaks come up like this, I seize them. I curtail spending, I’m responsible, I still pay my share of the bills and everyone (all two of us) still gets fed. I love taking this time to work on my own stuff, like knitting, sewing (one day), baking, and cooking. And don’t let me forget organzing! And yes, sleeping in. So I don’t feel guilty. Right now I’m house-sitting, so I feel even more productive, because I have to water the garden every few days…

Anyway, socks!

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Pattern: Annetrelac Socks from the very popular Holiday 2007 Interweave Knits
Size: 9.5″ long for my size 8 feets.
Yarn: I bought this yarn about a year and a half ago (Feb 07!) from Yarn Ahoy on Etsy. It is superwash Merino/nylon in the colourway ‘Festooned’. The fun thing was that it came in two skeins, and the skeins shade from pale to dark from beginning to end. I had a little debate over whether I wanted dark on the foot or the cuff. I decided on foot, because I thought dark cuff/light foot would look top-heavy.
Needles:
2mm (US size 0) Addi Turbos
Pattern Notes: I made no changes, despite having less yarn than the pattern called for. As you can see, I made it. I even have leftovers!

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I had fun learning to do entrelac. I started out a bit worried, because I don’t really like picking up stitches. After these socks, I think I can say that I’m now a stitch picker-upper pro, and I enjoy it now! It was fun to have suck little bits to work on, it made it seem like the knitting just flew by. Having an entire plain foot was nice too.

Annetrelac Socks

I found the pooling on the feet interesting, rather than being bothered by it. What was very cool (I thought) was how the pooling spiraled in the opposite direction on the second sock!

Box #2 contains…. a family legacy!

As you may remember, yesterday I left you hanging with this tantalizing picture:

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You got to see that end of the box, because the other end has a nice little label-holder with a neatly lettered label. This box contains:

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Holes! Well, socks that contain holes, as well as all my extra sock yarn bits, and my Weavette hand loom. I’m planning on darning those socks so I can have warm feet this winter, and then making a few more rectangles for my handwoven sock yarn blankie. I’m going to be working on that blanket for a long time.

Now, to darn socks you need a tool usually called a darning egg, or darning mushroom (someone told me once just to use a lightbulb, but that only works if you don’t have CFLs. For one thing, those things don’t die, and for another, if your heels are shaped like my CFLs, I don’t know how you walk!). I didn’t have one of these tools, so the socks sat languishing. See the languish?

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Luckily, there was a solution to this problem. Email mum, and ask her if she has granny’s (HER granny’s!) darning mushroom still. And the answer was….YES.

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That is my great-granny’s darning mushroom. I do have a vague memory of her showing me what it was for, when I was about 4 or so.

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Mmmmm, patina. It says Czecko-Slovakia [sic] on the underside. I’m really looking forward to using this.

Return from the Summer!

I know, I know, I disappeared again. Work tends to do that. I find it harder to blog (for whatever reason) when I’m away from home. I like routine I suppose. :)

I didn’t get much knitting done over the summer, but I have since I’ve been home! I finished Cara’s socks:

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I only had the one foot left to do, and it went really quickly because Cara has teeny size 5 feet. The pattern is the Embossed Leaves socks from Favorite Socks by Interweave Knits.

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The yarn was by All Things Heather; I got it for donating to a cause she was promoting on her blog. I love the colours, they are all my favourites, but also very Cara I think. And a good match for the pattern because we all know that green = leaves.

I immediately started a new pair of socks (naturally)! Another Interweave pattern, this time the Annetrelac Socks.

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The yarn I bought off Etsy about a year ago, from Yarn Ahoy. It’s really cool in that the colours fade slowly throughout the skein from light to dark. It took a bit of time to decide whether I wanted dark or light on the feet, but in the end I decided that the cuff should be the light part, the feet dark. Otherwise I think they’d look top-heavy.

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Travel Knitting

Back in February, when I left my home for what turned out to be more than two months work away (it was originally only going to be one month), I gave a lot of thought to what projects I wanted to bring. I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to finish off some UFOs, as being away from my stash would force me into project monogamy. That thought also worked well in conjunction with the rule I set myself: no new yarn until the stash is under 10 kms long (when I left, the stash was 17+ kms). I brought with me two unfinished pairs of socks, and yarn for a small new project, the Eyelet Rib Bandeau.

Now that it is the day before I leave for home, it is time for a review. How did it all work out? Well, I finished one pair of socks, my Millicents. They only really needed one foot knit. I also discovered an error in the pattern, mentioned in this Ravelry thread.

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Cara’s socks… are not done, but now only need one foot knit. This is starting to sound familiar. I don’t get second sock syndrome, I quite enjoy casting on the second sock. I just need to stall before I finish the foot, apparently.

The Eyelet Rib Bandeau: I swatched for it, and decided I didn’t like the way the stitch pattern looked, and was starting to doubt how much I’d wear the finished product (I still think it is super cute!). So, I looked around for something to cast on. I was hampered by the fact that I only had two knitting magazines here, and one book (and of course, teh internets). The book was Favorite Socks, which was no help for using up Rowan Cashsoft DK. This is where Ravelry came in handy, with the new experimental search. I found that I had enough yarn for another project I wanted to make, that was in the same magazine as the Bandeau! So, I cast on for the Clementine Shawlette.

Clementine Shawlette

I actually got a lot of this done backstage at the opera. I had almost no cues in all of act 3, plus I was stuck upstairs alone on the upstage side of balcony. There were windows and French doors all along it, so once the show started, I couldn’t move from where I was without being seen. So I’d sit down on the ground (no room for a chair!) and knit away. This helped with memorizing the pattern, I didn’t want to have too many loose bits up there that could accidentally get kicked over the edge. I memorized the pattern so I wouldn’t have to have the magazine up there.

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I love that it is knit in two halves, rather than one piece, because I can use up every inch of yarn by just knitting until ball #2 runs out, then start again.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep this knit. I have a friend in mind who is going through a bad time, and I thought it might be nice for her, although I don’t know if she’d use it. I may just start a Christmas present box. That’s a novel concept; knitting Christmas gifts in April!

Last night I finished the first half, I’m going to start the second half today.

This trip was not without stash aquisition though: I got a great closing night gift from one of my co-workers:
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Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn! Yum! His girlfriend is a knitter, but she maintains that her only input was the idea of getting me yarn, and that he picked the yarn and colour by himself. Impressive. :) Those two pictures are the same skein, I love all the colours in it!