I think I unsuccessfully attempted to write last week’s post many times over, starting in one direction, trying something else. Ultimately, I was blog-silent last week, and that’s okay because it meant I had more time for knitting. Much like in my last post, I’m still knitting furiously trying to finish what I need to for the holidays.
I did get those socks for my Grandma finished, and I love them.
They were so simple: mostly plain vanilla, letting the variegation in the yarn shine, but the cable running along the side of the foot adds enough interest to break up the monotony that vanilla socks can pose. There were a few times when I forgot to cable on the cable row, so I was able to practice the skill of dropping stitches, cabling, then picking them back up.
I’m thinking of writing up the pattern and adding it to the Ravelry database, but I’ve never done that before. I’d also be very tempted to add a modest price for the pattern, but I don’t know if they are interesting enough to justify the cost, and those sound like even more hoops to jump through. If anyone has any experience with that, please leave comments! I’d love to hear more about the process and how you found it!
Wishing you well in the two weeks before Christmas, and hopefully your holiday knitting is coming along well!
Well, here we are, the last week of November, and the crunch for holiday knitting is ON! Do you feel the pressure yet? That tiny, ticking in the back of your brain that marks the time spent (or not spent) working on those items to be gifted? No, just me?
I’ve been working away at a few different items through the past weeks. Two gifts are done, more than that are in progress. I’m struggling on one pair of socks. I can write about them because they’ll be for my grandmother, and I don’t think she’s discovered this humble blog. Writing about my frustrations won’t spoil any surprises for her.
I’m working on a pair of socks for Grandma, but I’m fresh out of inspiration. I know what I want out of the project: a pattern I haven’t made before, with an interesting texture or pattern detail. I don’t want these to be simple vanilla socks.
The yarn is lovely. That was the easy part. I bought this yarn from a local indie dyer: Lake Knit Yarns. The colourway is called Storm Across the Valley. Isn’t that fabulous?
After trying a few different simple cable/twist stitch designs and after ripping back twice (the first time, it was salvageable; the second time was a full rip back) I’ve decided on an almost vanilla sock: lots of stockinette with a very simple cable which will run along the outside of the foot. At least, that’s the plan. It lets the yarn really shine but adds a touch of interest. I’ve knit much farther than the above photo, almost done the leg, in fact, and I haven’t had the urge to rip back a third time. I think this pattern’s a winner.
I consider myself to be a fairly multi-tasking knitter. I can knit while accomplishing other tasks: watching TV/a movie, drinking, talking, and reading (if using my e-reader). Despite my multi-tasking ways, I never would have thought of knitting and walking at the same time, and then I read a post by blogger Andrea who blogs at This Knitted Life. In this post, she gives ten tips for knitting and walking at the same time, ranging from try it and try it again, tips for logistics (what to carry said knitting in while getting in your steps and ideal projects).
With this sage advise in hand, I grabbed my vanilla socks, my iPhone with awesome podcasts in the queue, and my obscenely bright walking shoes and headed to my favourite walking path.
I. Am. Hooked.
I had some trepidation at first, the same feeling I had the first time I knitted in public, but hesitation subsided and I got into a good groove. My yarn lives in a simple canvas shoulder bag for the walk, along with my iPhone and car keys, and it felt really great to walk, take in the lovely scenery (as my favourite walking path is along the shore of Lake Ontario), and still get in quality knitting time. One morning, I must have walked over 5km (or over three miles for those familiar with the Imperial system) and through my hour+ walk was able to knit over 20 rows. One kind gentleman remarked as we passed ‘you’ll surely be finished that sock by the time you are finished!’ He wasn’t far off the mark, as I completed a good chunk of the foot during that walk.
Thank you so much, Andrea @ This Knitted Life for showing me I can add to my knitting multi-tasking repertoire. Being able to combine two things I love, walking and knitting, makes the experience even more awesome.
Now, if someone could now show me how to knit while housecleaning, washing dishes, completing yardwork, or some other horribly mundane task, I’ll be set. Knitting always makes things better, whatever the task may be.
Not sure about knitting and walking? Please give the post a read over at This Knitted Life!
Lunch hour at the office. After I announce that I’m leaving the lunch room to knit at my desk, my dear co-worker asks me what I’m working on.
“Oh, just a pair of socks,” I inform her.
“How many pairs of socks do you need? Every time I ask, you’re always working on socks!” She replied.
A beat passes. I don’t know how to answer that question. How many pairs of socks does a person need?
Socks are the perfect transportable project. Throw the yarn, pattern notes and needles into a small bag and they are ideal for keeping in a purse, ready to be broken out and a few rounds worked at any time. Admittedly, my sock drawer is fuller now-a-days than it has ever been, brimming with sports socks and hand knit beauties. Do I really need another pair of hand knit, hand-dyed merino nylon socks? Well, maybe not. But do I want them? You know it.
I have read the Harry Potter series more times than I can count. I’m always at some point in the series as it’s a series I can pick up and return to at any point. There is something so comforting about a familiar book. Ultimately I know Harry will win, but I follow the heroes along, laugh with them and mourn with them.
Case in point, a few days ago, I finished Deathly Hallow and immediately started Philosopher’s Stone. Even having read PS countless times, and it is arguably the simplest book in the series, I will still notice little details that I may have skimmed past in previous readings, like this one:
“People stared more than ever on the train. Hagrid took up two seats and sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.”
Yes, Hagrid was a knitter. How this detail escaped me before, I’m not sure, but it jumped out at me this time!
This isn’t the only instance of knitting being mentioned through the series. Mrs Weasley was infamous for knitting the Weasley jumpers, sweaters gifted to the Weasley children, and Harry also, every Christmas, much to Ron’s chagrin. In Order of the Phoenix, Hermione was using magic to speed up her knitting of hats in an attempt to free the Hogwarts House Elves, and perhaps my favourite mention of knitting in the Harry Potter series was Dumbledore’s proclamation of his love for knitting patterns in Half-Blood Prince.
My love for this book series has understandably crept into my knitting. A few years ago, my co-worker commissioned two House scarfs, and I happy obliged.
I used the basic pattern structure of the Year 3-4 scarf to improvise my own Hogwarts House Hand Warmers. Yes, I’m Hufflepuff and Proud!
As well, I’ve long proclaimed my love for Erica Lueder’s Harry Potter inspired patterns on my blog. Her Hermione Every Day Socks are well known and often top the ‘Hot Right Now’ search on Ravelry, but I highly encourage you to check out her other patterns, most of which were inspired in one way or another by a Harry Potter character.
I have another Erica Lueder pattern on my needles right now, and I’m a few rounds plus the toe away from being finished the pair. I can’t wait to show pictures of the finished socks. The pattern was tedious to follow, but my goodness the finished fabric is beautiful. Totally worth it.
Also on my needles is the Time Turner Shawl by Elizabeth Saxton. Saxton describes the lace as being reminiscent of Hermione’s time turner from Prisoner of Azkaban, and when looking for a pattern to truly highlight my stunning Manos yarn, I knew this was the one.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Can you add any Harry Potter inspired patterns to this (working) list?
Last week, I wrote how I had a major case of start-itis – symptoms of which include being unable to stop casting on new projects, despite how many WIPs a person has on the go. This start-itis isn’t showing signs of being cured, having started three new projects last week. Seriously, I can’t stop finding new patterns and going through my stash to see what I can use.
The good thing about so many projects on the go is that I was able to finish three objects last week. The first were these Cableship socks. I started them in October as a knit-a-long by KnitPurl Hunter. The first sock was finished early November, but this second one was put into hibernation until after Christmas knitting was complete. In the week after Christmas, I struggled my way through Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a few weeks later, I was able to wear the newly finished pair of socks.
Also finished was a slouchy hat for my dad. Fun story -the wool is 100% Peruvian Alpaca, and we ventured to a local Alpaca farm to by the yarn. My goodness, alpacas must be some of the freaking cutest animals around. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by a herd (is that right, herd?) of Border Collies who were obviously working dogs, and we also got a peak at their pigs. They had to be the fattest pigs I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s the story of they yarn for this hat. Dad received it yesterday. It fits and he’s happy.
Finally, on Friday, I bought yarn and cast on a Pussyhat. Have you heard of this? If not, I HIGHLY recommend heading over to their website and reading more about this movement. In a nutshell, there will be a women’s march on Washington on January 21, and marchers are encouraged to wear these knit hats, the name taken as both a play on on the word pussycat and as reference to how the US President-Elect brags about sexually assaulting women. As stated on their Ravelry page:
Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent them- selves and support women’s rights.
A Facebook friend of my sister’s asked for a hat to be made, and I happily obliged. It knit up VERY quickly; I cast on Friday evening and by Sunday I had it finished and ready for my sister to give to the recipient.
Please visit their website and read more about this initiative.
Happy New Year!! How is it possible that it’s 2017 already? My goodness! This year is going to be a busy one as my work is celebrating an anniversary, and as many of you know, I’m Canadian, and it’s a big year for us here, being the 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s hard to think about the year and not associate it with this milestone. I’m sure 2017 will bring many good memories and celebrations.
Now that Christmas knitting is complete, my thoughts can turn selfish again and I can start thinking of what I’ve been itching to make. I’ve bought all the needed yarn and purchased the pattern, so I think the first selfish thing I’ll make is Madewell cardigan by Joji Locatelli. Call me crazy for wanting to make a cardi with fingering weight yarn, but I’ve been in love with this design since I first found it on Ravelry. The whimsical elbow patches just add to the love of this pattern, and the hard part will be deciding what colours to make them with!
I’ve also purchased the materials I need to complete KnitPurl Hunter’s Scoreboard Scarf. This project is planned in my head, I know for what team and what season I’ll be making, but in case this is read by its intended recipient, I won’t say much more than that for now…
In 2016, I completed 6 pairs of socks. Socks are such an ideal project for carrying around and picking up whenever I have a spare moment. I’m not going to set a goal for myself for how many pairs I’ll make this year, as I don’t want any self-inflicted pressure on my knitting habits, but I’m sure I’ll crank out a few pairs, and I’m sure one of which will be designed by Erica Lueder. I’m surprised that I haven’t written yet about how much I love her patterns, their designs and the thought that she puts into them. I’ve knit three and a half pairs of her socks, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to the collection.
Also kicking around my Ravelry queue for some time is another historic pattern, Godey’s Woolen Chemisette from 1857. I’d love to knit this pattern and write a corresponding blog post on the history of this article of clothing. There’s no time deadline for when this chemisette needs to be complete, but it’s been a while since I’ve muddled my way through a historic pattern, and I’d like to make at least one next year.
So between socks, fingering weight cardigans, and a pattern from the 1850s, I’ll have enough to keep me busy in the early part of 2017.