Not Feeling the Gratitude

There is a story behind these socks.

I was in one of my LYSs, over eight months ago, and my attention was grabbed by an eye popping yarn: Wisdom Yarn’s Naked Socks in the Oceanic colourway.  It’s blue, it’s green, it’s teal, it’s oh-so-me.  It is also 93% acrylic, but it is soft and silky!  I had to buy it, so buy it I did.

Wisdom Yarns Naked Sock - Oceanic colourway.
Wisdom Yarns Naked Sock – Oceanic colourway.

By this point, I was a novice sock maker (not that I’m anything of an expert now!), having only made 2 or three plain ol’ ‘vanilla socks: no patterning, no lace, just a simple rib, at the top, heel flap and turn, and stockinette in between.  But with this yarn, the Naked Socks yarn, I wanted more.  Inspired by the colours and colourway name, I wanted a sock pattern that would remind me of the sea.  Think waves, think breeze; I began searching for a sock pattern with lace and/or cables.  Then I found Gratitude.

This ‘Tangy’ sock pattern was originally published in Knitty, the wonderful online knitting magazine, designed by Brenda Patipa.  Drawn in by the picture on the Ravelry pattern page, I knew this was the sock pattern for this yarn.  After buying the right size needles (remember, novice sock knitter with only size 3mm), I cast on.  The date was November 6.

Between the beginning of November and the beginning of August I had knit only 40 rows.  I have hundreds of excuses for my inactivity: Christmas knits, the sweater I wanted to make, knit commissions, presents for beloved friends.  I know the real reason though: I just didn’t wanna do it!  It’s not the pattern’s fault, for it is a beautiful, well written pattern with clear charts.  I couldn’t motivate myself to sit and knit and pay attention to the rows.  It was ignored by my own sheer laziness.

Finally, after finishing my Hermione Everyday Socks, I was on a sock-knitting roll, and I wanted to keep the good times coming.  I heaved a heavy sigh, looking into my yarn storage and found the Gratitude socks.  I pushed past my hesitation, picked up the needles, and started knitting.

Last Monday was a holiday for many of us here in Canada, so Monday morning I settled in with a coffee, Law & Order SVU and the Gratitude socks.  This time, everything was different, for the slips and yarn overs were happening so easily! Before I knew it, I must have knitted 6 rows with great ease!  And then, I noticed it… A dropped stitch many rows back… With the cables, decreases and yarn overs in this pattern, I could not see a way to fix this mistake.  So I took a deep breath, choked back the tears, and started frogging.  Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.

Frogged.
Frogged.

And then I cast on…

Fast forward four days, and the leg is knit, measuring around 5″.  I began the heel pattern and thought, ‘This would be a great time to try the sock on, see how it’s fitting.’  Might I add, as I kept knitting, my hesitation and nervousness about the size kept increasing – they looked rather narrow…

And that was as far as it would go.  There was no going over the heel...
And that was as far as it would go. There was no going over the heel…

My nerves were well placed.  It took everything in me not to cry/throw the damned project across the room.  I’m putting the socks in a permanent time out – I can’t even look at them to frog it back again.

So, on Thursday night, I broke out another set of DPNs, and I began a Vanilla Sock.

I Think I Found My Mojo!

Last week, when I posted, I was tapped for inspiration and barely knitting.  I’m not sure which invisible switch was flipped, but my needles have been hard at work this week!

I finished my first accent pillow, and the Whovian in me is simply delighted!  Knit with the colours of the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf, I finished seaming the pillow and adding the zipper on Monday.  I like making these knit pillow cases with zippers, so that if they need washing, it doesn’t become a huge production.  I can unzip, wash, then rezip.  Easy peasy.

Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn't it?
Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn’t it?

After completing this pillow, I grabbed a yarn that had been in my stash for a few years and started making a cowl.  I lost the ball band, but a friend helped me identify this yarn as Sirdar Donegal Tweed.  I’ve loved it since I first bought it.  It reminds me of crushed Smarties (for any Americans reading this, the Canadian Smarties are like M&Ms, candy coated chocolates), and really, who doesn’t want to wear something that reminds you of chocolate!

With the Sirdar, I cast on and completed a second ‘Cousin Cowl‘, a project I initially reversed engineered for my cousin, hence the name.  I was inspired by the Leaf Lace Bandana Cowl on Ravelry, and took the general structure of the cowl and made it my own with a completely different lacework pattern.  I liked the one I made for my cousin so much, that I made another.  A quick knit, I finished it in four days.

The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!
The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!

And finally, I needed to keep my hands busy on Saturday, so I made excellent progress on my Hermione Everyday Socks, finishing Sock #1 on Sunday, and casting on the second later that afternoon.

Hermione Sock #1 Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!
Hermione Sock #1
Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!

Seriously, what happened to the girl who was seeking inspiration?!

Many thanks to those who commented last week!  I now have new patterns in my ‘Favourites’ on Ravelry, and I was shown different features of this beloved site to check out when I need inspiration.  This blogging community rocks!

Sockspiration

I got home from work on Tuesday, and all I could think about was my Turtlepurl yarn.  I bought it a few weeks ago in Toronto, and it’s been waiting patiently for me, alluring, perfectly wound into a cake.  The colours, the possibilities… So naturally, I got home, made a coffee, turned on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which I have been unashamedly marathoning), and started searching Ravelry.

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Yarn, coffee, and Ravelry – what else do I need!

 

I’ve had two sock patterns in my queue for quite some time, the Hermione Everyday Socks, and the Petty Harbour socks, but neither of them seemed quite right for this yarn.  I thought long and hard about the Petty Harbour pattern – I liked the pairing of a Canadian dyed yarn and a pattern named after a place in Newfoundland, but ultimately, with a vibrant yarn, I felt that I needed a subtle pattern, and I decided on Laura Linneman’s Afterthought Heel Sock, a basic sock which won’t disrupt my stripes at the instep.

The thing is, I really shouldn’t be starting another project.  I am more than two-thirds of the way finished with Gryffindor Scarf #1, and I really want to finish it within the week, and I have two other pairs of socks already on my needles! I have a very simple, plain sock that is excellent for when I’m travelling into the City, and the other is a more detailed, intricate lace pattern, which required full attention and only a few rows get done in one sitting.

But when you have yarn as pretty as my Turtlepurl is, just sitting, waiting to become something even more beautiful, the cast on was inevitable.

Just look at that sweet self striping action!
Just look at that sweet self striping action!

Yarn and the City

I love living close to a big city.  In just over an hour’s time, I can travel from my home town to Toronto, and while sitting on the train, I make the trip and don’t even break a sweat.  I happily use the time to keep my fingers busy, and socks make the best travel project!  I began a very simple sock pattern using yarn I bought months back, Bernat Sox yarn in a fun Desert Storm colourway – it’s khakis, greens and browns and knitting up in a camouflage-esque pattern.  When I stashed this yarn, I always knew it would end up being socks.

While in TO, I was able to visit two yarn shops.  The first was The Knit Cafe on Roncesvalles.  My sister discovered this shop in her neighbourhood a few months back, and she didn’t wait to text me to say ‘you need to come visit and check out this shop!’  Well, I finally checked it out on Saturday, and it was a lovely shop with very friendly staff and an interesting selection of yarn.  I was very excited to leave the shop with new needles (I have a thing for knitting needles… I just love them and adding to my collection), and two hanks of sock yarn from Turtlepurl Yarns, an ‘indie’ Canadian yarn dyer.  The yarn is their Striped Turtle Toes, and when they are complete, they will be two identically striped socks.  This makes me happy.  They are already wound – any excuse really to use my swift – and they are ready for casting on whenever I am ready for them.

Turtlepurl Yarns, Mystic Topaz Striped Turtle Toes Yarn
Turtlepurl Yarns, Mystic Topaz Striped Turtle Toes Yarn

The other shop I visited was Romni Wools on Queen West.  I once saw this places described as ‘an Aladdin’s cave for knitters,’ and whoever came up with this apt description wasn’t wrong!  A huge shop with great selection, rows and rows of yarn.

After I left Romni, without making a purchase (this time), I’ve realized that I have a hard time buying yarn for the sake of buying it.  I have a hard time justifying buying yarn unless I know that I can use it for something.  Sock yarn is one exception, because it has an obvious project that can be completed with it.  However, buying the odd ball or two, or more even, just to buy it, I just can’t do it.  So I left Romni without making a purchase, but the next time I go back, I’ll have a project in mind and I’ll find the perfect yarn there.  Really, half the fun is in the discovery.

Socks: It’s Complicated

Do you have a project that you love and hate at the same time?  For me, it’s socks.  They are the project that I love to hate, or hate that I love.

Relationship status with sock knitting: It's Complicated
Relationship status with sock knitting: It’s Complicated

I was well into my knitting addiction when I began my first pair.  I bought a skein of Berroco Comfort Sock, soft and purple, from my LYS.  It was perfect for my first pair of socks.  It is self striping and created a lovely mix of colours, and I chose a fairly simple sock pattern with lots of stockinette and YouTube tutorials for when I inevitably got stumped on a step in the pattern.  They are soft and warm, and they make me happy when I’m wearing them.  Yes, I truly am about the simple things in life.  Since knitting this first pair, I find myself being drawn to bright, colourful sock yarn.  My stash doesn’t need anymore sock yarn… or so the logical part of my brain thinks.  These are the things I love about socks.

My first pair of socks - a little slouchy, but I love 'em!
My first pair of socks – a little slouchy, but I love ’em!

Flip the coin, and oh socks, how I loathe thee.  First, and perhaps I haven’t adequately stated this about me, I’m not a patient person.  When they were handing out virtues, I seem to have been skipped for patience.  I love chunky, bulky yarn, big needles, and the instant satisfaction that comes from starting and finishing a project.  I just don’t get that instant satisfaction from socks.  The yarn is so fine and the needles so tiny!  Maybe with more practice, I’ll get faster at them, but socks definitely test my patience.  And then there’s the fact that they are a pair!  Once one is finished you have the Yay the project is cast off feeling, but then, alas, you are ONLY HALF DONE!!  You get to repeat the process ALL OVER AGAIN!

Despite all the things that irritate me, I am still drawn into sock knitting.  I have a lovely pair on my needles right now, the yarn is green and blue and reminds me of the ocean, and I have a small ball of pink and white yarn just waiting for a simple sock to be made.  I might grumble, I might curse the knitting gods, but I do love me a knittted sock… and David Tennant agrees

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