The Stages of Knitting a Sock

With sock knitting, well, any kind of knitting, there are different stages. Sure, there are the technical stages: the cuff, the leg, knitting the heel flap, turning the heel, etc., etc.  I’m talking about the emotional stages.

First, there’s the yarn. Oh, buying sock yarn! I actively have to stop myself from buying skeins and skeins of yarn when I’m in a shop. So many choices, so many fibres. Of course, there’s also the pattern selection, different textures, levels of complexity.

You start with the cuff: you see your project start and watch it grow from essentially a series of loops on a stick to a few inches of fabric. You also see the true brilliance of your yarn shine. Did you choose a solid colour, get to see your self patterning yarn take shape, or are the various colours of the variegated skein doing their marvelous thing?

Then, you start with the leg, the meat of the sock, all stitches dedicated to the pattern.  A few rounds go by and you truly get to see how your choices are playing out. The textures are coming into focus, or in the case of vanilla socks, the satisfaction of endless rounds have taken their start.

I must also ask, is there anything that makes a knitter feel more magical than turning a heel? With a few stitches and a few short rows, you’re turning the direction in which you knit your stitches, from vertically to horizontally.

The foot offers a slight break to a weary knitter, because even though you love the pattern you’ve dedicated many rows to for the leg, you only now have to continue it for half the stitches, while the other half are blissfully reserved for plain knitting for the sole of the foot.

Finally, you get to the toe. After hours of knitting, you know the end is near, and after only a few rows, which inevitably get shorter and shorter, you are finished the sock. Kitchener those stitches, weave in those ends, and take a deep breath. You now get to repeat the process again for sock number two. Sure, the second time around, the feelings aren’t quite the same, having lost an element of surprise, and some knitters need a little more encouragement to get that second sock started. For me, knowing I’ll have a warm pair of socks at the end of it all gets me casting on and starting this process all over again.

Happy knitting!

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Making Madewell Progress

Since March last year, I’ve been slowly but surely working on a cardigan: Madewell by Joji Locatelli.  It’s a fingering weight project, and because I like, ahem, challenges, I decided to make it with black yarn.  When I’m working on it around others, like at a LYS, people often share their own black sock yarn horror stories (“Never again” is often exclaimed), and on a few occasions I’ve been asked why am I punishing myself. Black sock weight yarn can be a wee bit hard on the eyes. Challenges aside, I love it, and with my wardrobe, a black cardigan will be worn time and time again, hence my colour choice.

This has been a great project to pick up after having put it down for weeks at a time. It’s largely stockinette, lots of knits and purls. Because I no longer feel the urgency of holiday knitting, I’ve been able to dedicate more time towards this project. I was nearing the end of the body, no more shaping increases or decreases, so the knits and purls proved to be great mindless knitting, working on a row or two while watching TV or reading on my e-reader.

I feel like I’ve actually made some progress with it this weekend, finishing the bottom ribbing and starting working on the sleeve.  This is my first experience with raglan sleeves, and I must say I love it. You don’t need to worry about setting in and seeming. The stitches came off the holder, onto a 16″ circular needle and away I knit in the round. Once again, being all stockinette, it’s proving to be fantastic for mindless knitting.

One whimsical feature of this sweater are the elbow patches, a great way to use up a few metres of that extra sock yarn everyone has in their stash.  I had three colours of Manos Del Uruguay that worked well together, so after binding off the main body, I took a break and knit up one elbow patch. They add a great pop of colour to this staple sweater.

Can’t wait to get back to knitting and hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to show off the finished cardigan!

A 2017 Blog Lookback

As 2017 has drawn to its inevitable close and we’ve welcomed the new year, I thought I would use this first post of 2018 to look back at the past year. These are my top viewed posts from the year.

2017 Yarn Challenge

Every year, one of my LYS hosts a yarn challenge: they choose the yarn, participants choose their design. This is my post introducing the challenge.

‘How Many Pairs of Socks Do You Need’

My co-worker asked this question one day at lunch; I thought about my answer and wrote about it here.

Hagrid Was A  Knitter

I loved this post. I love Harry Potter and adore patterns inspired by this series.

A Sontag by Any Other Name

In perusing a 100+ year old knitting publication, they had a pattern looking like a sontag. I looked at their pattern and compared it to Godey’s classic pattern from the 1860s.

Taking Your Knitting for a Walk

Inspired by a post by This Knitted Life, I tried something outside of my comfort zone and tried knitting and walking. I loved it and wrote about my experience.

Story Behind the Sontag

While this wasn’t written in 2017, it was my most viewed post for the year.

Thank you for reading my humble blog, and I truly hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures into 2018.

Still in Progress

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!

In Progress

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.

Happy knitting!

When the Product Knitter Can’t Stop Casting On

There are worse knitting problems to have, I’m sure, but recently I can’t stop casting on new projects.  I went through this earlier this year, ‘Start-itis’ I called it. I swear, this Product Knitter isn’t suddenly changing her stripes and becoming a Process Knitter, but I think, rather, I’m flush with inspiration. I keep seeing beautiful patterns, I have lovely yarn, and I just want the item.

For those who may not be familiar, they say there are two types of knitters: Product and Process.  The big differences between the two?

Product Knitters:

  • Are driven by the finished object, to ‘complete the thing’;
  • Are typically working on a small amount pf projects at a time;
  • Usually keep their finished objects for themselves to wear, love and enjoy

Process Knitters:

  • Have many, many projects ongoing
  • Are motivated by the process of knitting, by the excitement of creating something new
  • Often will give their FOs away, getting satisfaction by making the thing.

Even though I am certainly feeling the excitement every time I cast on a new project, I am still driven by the desire to see it finished.

So, what am I currently working on? Glad you asked. Currently on the go, I have: 2 pairs of socks, 1 cardigan, 1 purse, 1 cowl, and 1 shawl.  I have a few hats I want to get started as well, but for now, these six projects are keeping me plenty busy!

Happy knitting!

Works in Progress Wednesday

BFF goes to New Brunswick on vacation.
BFF brings back two skeins of yarn from Briggs and Little as a gift for me.
BFF reinforces BFF status.

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Yarn in my stash that was being eyed for one project suddenly has a new purpose.

After buying new needles (which, by the way, I’m in love – I may have a new favourite in Lykke needles!), I’ve cast on what will be my first felting project, a garterlac purse, inspired by the Garter Striped Square Bag pattern. I’m apparently rather ambitious as I’m hoping to ultimately add a lining and perhaps a few pockets. I’ll first see how the felting goes.

The first row of any entrelac project always looks a bit wonky, but here is my project after a few hours’ work:

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