7

When All Else Fails, Wear Converse

 iksocksfin072807

“Honey, come look at this.”

I am frowning at my newly completed On-Your-Toes toe-up socks as they lay innocently side by side on the coffee table.

R. Darling: Hmmm?
Me: They don’t match!! Look at them!
R. Darling:  Don’t be silly. No one will even notice honey.
Me:  But I’ll notice! I’ll know they don’t match!

Instead of identical sock twins, my needles gave knit to a set of fraternals.  One loose and relaxed with jaggedy pooling stripes reminicent of some sort of storybook big cat, the other skinny and uptight, bands of color in precise intervals.  Same needles.  Same yarn.  Same knitter.  So what happened?

Knitting is such a fascinating barometer of our emotions, our thoughts, our state of mind.  I can remember every ball, hank or skein of yarn that I’ve ever purchased (tells you how measly my stash is!), what drew me to it, what else was going on in my life at the time, where I bought it, what I was dreaming it would become on my needles.  Looking at these socks and their differences, I reflected on the time and emotion spent on each one.  My loose, pool-y first sock was begun during my week’s recovery from knee surgery in May.  I had nothing to worry about all day long, except icing my knee, resting and knitting.  Its loose gauge and relaxed fit, reflects clearly this time of relaxation, this focus on my needs and happiness.  Whenever I look at this cheerful yarn I think of Jeanie who so thoughtfully sent me a little get-well gift to keep me occupied during my recuperation.  And I smile.  Fondness fills me up.  Then this second sock.  Knitting it, I didn’t see the differences slowly emerging until I had moved past the point where pooling had started on the first sock. Isn’t that funny? I thought to myself.  No pooling.  Huh.  But I just kept knitting.  When this little brother sock had finally arrived, I noted how much smaller it looked and felt.  And looking at it I was filled with the tenseness of the weeks during which it had been knit.  Crazy times at work, stress of no concrete origin creeping into its knits and purls, exhaustion of both body and mind seeping out of its fibers.  I felt a little sorry for me and this little brother sock as I looked at it.  Despite its nearly perfect striped repeats, that seemingly pretty surface belied the melancholy hiding beneath.  

So I did the only thing I could think to do.  I put on my Converse, put on a big smile, and tried not to dwell.  Lace your Converse just so and no one will be the wiser about your mismatched sock or what’s behind your mysterious half-smile.  You can’t help but smile with a pair of Converse on your feet. 

iksocksconverse0728077

Lesson learned: Don’t knit angry.  Knit happy. 
And keep your Converse nearby just in case……

Advertisements
3

Dreaming Is Free

IKFall07
Image courtesty of Interweave Knits

The Fall Preview of IK is up!!  Yay!  Something to look forward to!  I think my favorite sweater out of the preview so far is the Mirepoix Bodice, though I think I’d prefer it in reds and pinks.  I’m definitely not up to speed on the whole color work thing yet though.  Good thing I’ve got a bazillion other projects to do first so I won’t spoil the dream of that sweater by attempting it right away.  I can drool over it a bit longer before reality kicks in.  What?  You mean I need about 500 balls of yarn in different colors?  And each one costs $9?  And you’re telling me I have to knit with them all?  Yeah, like that kind of reality.  Ditto on those Snowflake Socks too. 

I’m also loving this pattern after getting a preview from DreamWeaver Yarns.  Oddly, it’s a StitchDiva pattern and I couldn’t find it on their site yesterday.  What’s the deal with that?  Anyway, I really really really, want to knit this!  Oh yeah – did I mention I really want to knit this sweater?

trapezeshort    trapezelong
              Images courtesy of DreamWeaver Yarns & StitchDiva

The red one really caught my eye and I feel I have to knit that one for sure.  If the pattern’s simple enough I may go for the longer sleeved version as well.  I never seem to have enough cardis and these are so beautifully retro.

O.k.  Enough dreaming for today…..

2

Sometimes….

Sometimes I actually knit.  And sometimes I actually blog about knitting.  I know.  Shocking.  Lately I just feel run down and knitting has fallen by the wayside because there’s too many other things taking up my time.  But I have been working (very slowly) on a couple projects and I thought I’d share my current WIP’s with you.  Just to let you know that my knitting obsession has not completely exited stage left…..

 iksock2071907

This is sock #2 of the On-Your-Toes toe-up socks from the current IK.  I’ve got 5 more straight rounds then I go to all ribbing and I’ve got another approximately 50 rounds after that until it’s done.  This one has gone more smoothly than the first one and though I did have a little trouble with the eastern cast-on again, I have finally figured out exactly what to do and I think it will be phenomenally easier next time.  The heel went smoothly too – just frogged about 6 short rows after a small counting mistake.  Hey, if I only frogged it once, that ain’t too bad!  This has been a great knit and I really like the toe-up pattern.  I’ve never knit any other socks so I’m hoping learning the more traditional cuff down method won’t be too difficult now that I’m set in my toe-up ways.

lelah071907

Here is Lelah.  I haven’t made much progress on her in the last couple weeks.  I am about 9 lace repeats in and I’ve got quite a ways to go until I can do the stockinette portion and finish up.  I tried it on after about 8 lace repeats just to make sure it would fit around my currently “curvaceous” waistline and decided I wanted a little shaping.  So I switched from size 7 needles to 6’s after lace repeat number 8.  Then I stalled.  I recently purchased quite a few bamboo needles from a shop that is going out of business and I’ve been using them on some of my newer projects.  I can’t believe how much of a difference it’s made in my whole knitting experience.  I think part of the reason I’m not enjoying Lelah is because I’ve been knitting her on my plastic Denise needles.  And you know what?  I don’t like them.  So as soon as I can I’m ditching them.  Bamboo is where it’s at baby!  Maybe I’ll be motivated to pick up Lelah again if I put her on bamboo instead.

fifi071907

And this here is Fifi.  I officially started her yesterday after about 3 different tries and some frustrating froggin’ (say that 5 times fast!).  This one is for the current SKC knitalong and the pattern is actually pretty simple so far.  I’m using Rowan Calmer in the color Chiffon that I bought on eBay for about half price.  This yarn is yummy-licious, but pricey unless you can get a deal like I did.  Might be worth it though to splurge – it’s just that nice.  I’m on round 25 right now and it’s going well finally.  My problems before were with gauge issues and which size to knit etc.  I finally decided to knit on 7’s instead of 8’s (didn’t like how the fabric looked on 8’s – too holey, and the gauge was off anyway) and make the size small.  I like it so far and it’s helping me get back to enjoying my knitting.

In other knitting news, check my sidebar under the “news” heading for some info about a Christmas swap that Kasia and I set up.  It’s now open for sign-ups, so be sure to get your name in on the Christmas fun!  I know, we’re starting early, but when you love Christmas, you love Christmas!

2

Sock It To Me Sock Swap Contest #1 Answer

Woo Hoo!!  Sock It To Me Sock Swap Contest #1 time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Write a blog entry about why and how you started to knit. Extra points for adding pictures of your first knitted object.

ufocrop2b
The “Piglet Scarf” – The first knitting project I ever started, and also my oldest UFO

Hmmm.  Where to begin?  I’ve always been crafty.  Growing up with artistic parents, and being an only child, the response to my whiny, “I’m bored!” was always, “Why don’t you draw something?”  Being that I didn’t inherit any artistic talent by blood, and I certainly didn’t absorb any from mere proximity to the creative genius of my adoptive parents, drawing only worked until I was old enough to discover that I thoroughly sucked at it.  Which is fine when you’re 5, but not so cool when you add a few more years to that and all you can muster is some lopsided stick figures.

My first love was really sewing.  Mom tried, but she had always stuck to the basics, and once I’d learned all those, she was tapped out.  To this day she still calls me to sew up the holes in her sweats or buttons on her shirts.  I remember, after she taught me how to thread a needle, tenderly stitching up my favorite bunny doll Sissy.  I made sure she was comfortable, gave her an “injection” to numb her arm that needed stitching, saying “This won’t hurt a bit,” and then gently stitched up her fur that had worn thin from too many hugs.  After learning to sew and spending years making doll dresses and stuffed creatures on my ancient treadle sewing machine, I turned to crochet.  I’m not sure why, I guess because my best friend at the time was willing to teach me after I saw her crocheting at recess once in 5th grade.  I didn’t really take it seriously, just one of those things that I now knew how to do, but didn’t really mean much.

During grad school and later when I had my first “real” job, I finally had time for some hobbies and I turned to crochet with more focused interest.  After a series of afghans and snowflakes, I wasn’t satisfied with crochet anymore.  Crochet seemed like some kind of weird second cousin to macrame, a 70’s throwback that felt too folky and limiting, at least with the patterns I had access to at the time.  All the good patterns seemed to be for knitters back then.  And I’d always viewed knitting as more refined somehow.  Maybe just because the clothing patterns for knitting seemed so much more attractive.  I’d always been interested in fashion and sewing my own clothing, and the idea of being able to make my own sweaters fascinated me.  But knitting and I would have only a fleeting flirtation at that time.  An ill-fated attempt at a sweater during Christmas break in Martinique with my best friend my junior year in college, a friend of my mom’s repeatedly telling me I was “doing it wrong” as she tried to teach me to knit a sock with needles I’d made myself from small dowels (on her directions), another abortive attempt with some nasty acrylic in Hunter’s Safety Orange that I ended up giving away to my adviser’s wife who knit constantly, and that was it. 

Then, it must have been Christmas of 2005, my best friend knit me a scarf for Christmas made of red eyelash yarn and things got serious.  After I told her how much I loved the scarf and how much I wanted to knit, she, sweet girl that she is, sent me a beginner’s book on learning to knit.  My obession grew to epic proportions overnight.  Why?  I’ll never know for sure.  The conditions were just right this time.  Feverishly, I set about making Warm Up America squares for practice.  I started what I now call the “Piglet Scarf”, and I became thoroughly obsessed.  But somehow I didn’t trust my ability to learn from a book.  I’ve always been great at learning things from books, but I was serious this time about doing things “right”.  So in February 2006 I took a class at the community college.  My first completed project was a dishcloth that I promptly gave to my mom.  And the rest of the roots of my obsession is now history.  This time, I’ve been hooked for life!

seedstitchdishclothcropb

This is my very first FO – a seed stitch dishcloth that I knit in my first knitting class
Alas, I don’t have a “Finished” photo – it is only half finished here….