Knitting A Sock Is Not Like Riding A Bicycle

If you haven’t done it in five years, it’s probably best look up some instructions. I needed a travel project so I cast on a pair of socks using this awesome German yarn by Schoppel-Wolle called Crazy Zauberball, which translates literally to “Crazy Magic Ball.” It’s two ply and each strand changes colour periodically. I know. I know. I’m over the moon.

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So over the moon in fact, that I was halfway down the cuff before I thought to myself:

“I have absolutely no idea what the next step is. At all.”

Fortunately the internet is full of basic sock tutorials (some good, some appallingly terrible. I could practically feel Kate Atherley facepalming at a few websites that do not deserve a single bit of traffic from me.) Away from home it was HGTV, of all places, that reminded me how to do a heel flap. I do love a good sturdy slipped stitch heel. Once I was back at home I had time to consult the expert herself:

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Custom Socks to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley

This book is GOLD. Every technique you could want, tips, patterns, math (the math is the best part for me, as usual), EVERYTHING. I may never pick up another sock book again, because I might never need to. Please don’t ask me about this book in public because I will gush to an embarrassing degree about it. It’s a book I can point to and say: I wish one day to write a resource for knitters that is as amazing as this.

You know, it also reminded me how to turn a heel properly and I’m grateful for that, too.

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There is something about the three-dimensional magic of a well executed sock heel that cannot be captured by a two-dimensional picture on my instagram, not matter which filter I use. I may be too sick to get out of bed, but darn it, I can make a sock.

See what I did there?

I’ll show myself out.

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Surprising Travel Knitting – my Regency Blouse

My latest knitting project is a new summer top: Regency Blouse from Jane Austen Knits 2014.

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Look at that photograph…I was helpless…

Honestly, I’d fallen in love with it from the minute I bought the magazine last year, and the NBK superwash merino fingering weight that I picked up recently was the perfect match for it. I wanted something with subtle colour variation, spring-like, but not too outside of my comfort zone. The yarn knit up beautifully (please ignore the wonky swatching…I’d never seen blocking pins before…) and I was smitten with the combo of pattern and yarn from the get-go.

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No photograph really does the colourway justice, but I tried.

I picked up 1400 yards, because the pattern called for 1200 and I didn’t want to be under and run out when there was no hope of getting more in the same colourway. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? Extra yarn in this beautiful colour? Not exactly what I’d call a problem…

Despite being a top, it’s deceptively simple, and once I got past the shoulder increases it was straight stockinette stitch for several inches, making it perfect to take on the train.

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My life is a walking advertisement for VIA Rail Canada.

All it now takes it one single stitch maker to mark the beginning of each round. And wouldn’t you know it? The stitch marker is also…purple.

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“I heard you liked purple, so I put some purple with your purple so you can purple while you”…wow this meme is old…

Because I knit it so much on the train, or perhaps in front of the TV (go Blackhawks! Sorry Tampa Bay…) it’s working up surprisingly fast. When I look down at it after the credits of the movie roll and the lights come on I’ve always forgotten how much work can get done when I’m not looking at it. We’re almost past half way!

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Is that a little bit of lace I see at the bottom?! And yes, I’m definitely still rocking the handmade Sesame Street Project bag made for me by Rachel!

My goal is to have it finished by the time NBK comes to visit my LYS in Toronto so I can show them how much I love their yarn. It’s some of the nicest stuff I’ve ever worked with, so I’m hoping I can do it justice!

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The Coldest Capital in the World…

So, I’m taking a trip to Ottawa tomorrow to visit a friend, but the weather lately is not looking so friendly…

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Yesterday, Ottawa was officially the coldest capital city in the world.  Clearly this means one thing. Serious cold, needs seriously warm mittens.

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The first time I’ve ever made thrummed mittens…and I think it’s going fairly well. I’m sort of making up the pattern and trying it on as a go along, because most (all…) of the (free) patterns I found didn’t have a thumb gusset. My hands were not made for an afterthought thumb, so I’m creating my own as I go. 

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So far the spacing of the thrums has been going pretty well for being improvised on the go. I’m writing it down in hopes of making the second one resemble the first…

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I’m going to have to knit fast if I want to have a pair by tomorrow afternoon…but the forecast is providing PLENTY of motivation. Wish me luck!

 

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In which hospital lightening is inadequate

So, I’m currently in the hospital – but doing fine, not to worry. I’ve finished off the Christmas sweater for my cousin’s kiddo, but pictures and details are going to have to wait along with the rest of my post-Christmas round up.

My IV’s are gone, and my hands are functional again, so the first thing I did to cope with being here was knit knit knit. I picked up this magazine a few months ago after falling head of heels for some of the patterns in it.

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I’ve a friend that enjoys all things Jane Austen and has a cold office, so I’ve started on a pair of fingerless gloves for her. It is truly impossible in this lighting (which makes everything a sickly green colour…) to capture what it looks like so far…but here it is.

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I’ve never done a slipped stitch pattern before… it makes for a lovely texture. This is the “wrong” side of the gloves and eventually it will be flipped inside out, but I’ve a ways to go yet. I like the yarn – Knit Picks DK Swish in Indigo Heather. It’s quite pretty, and I like working with it so far.

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Crossed Cables

Occasionally when you’re knitting something fairly simple and straight forward – TV knitting, where you can cable and follow the plot of Battlestar Galactica at the same time…it takes a little while to realize that something has gone wrong. Especially when every time you look down, things seem perfectly fine…

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Notice anything? I didn’t. How about now…

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There it is. The top left cable is crossed incorrectly, so it “disappears” and the purled stitches stick out. Whoops.

Now, I could rip back all seven rows and knit the row correctly, but undoing seven and a half rows of a garment where each row is over 150 stitches? That is painful just to contemplate. Instead I deliberately dropped the eight stitches involved in the mix up and decided to fix each one individually. I left the right leaning cabled alone, because there was nothing wrong with it, so eight dropped stitches became six, became four at the bottom. Once all ripped up, it looked like this:

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Then, carefully, and making good use of all three cable needles I bought last week, I knit up one row at a time. Here it is after recrossing the cable correctly:

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And all finished:

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To me, the very left cable (which was never the problem to begin with…) looks a little wonky because the stitches stretched slightly upon re-knitting, but you can only tell upon very close inspection and I think the blocking will eliminate this problem entirely as it will make the whole piece lie slightly flatter. I was worried about this yarn not giving enough stitch definition, but here it really works in my favour, hiding my mistakes.

So far, in three repeats of the cable pattern (16 rows) I’ve had to do this cable fixing routine twice. Any bets on how many times I’ll end up doing it before the seven repeats are over?

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One Skein Down

131 yards (or one skein) in and it’s starting to look like….well the bottom of a vest I suppose. I’m following the 42″ instructions, which should make for a 46″ inch bust according to my trusty gauge swatch. It’s mostly plain stockinette stitch, but the cable panel at the back is keeping things interesting without being too challenging.

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So far I’ve gotten through 10 rows of ribbing and then one repeat of the cable pattern. I was worried before starting that this yarn wouldn’t give enough stitch definition to show the cables well, but it seems my fears were misplaced – the cables are looking good so far:

IMG_20141108_112447I’m really enjoying working with this yarn, despite the fact that after a few rounds my hands start to get mildly itchy, probably due to the yarn having mohair in it. I’m not full-blown allergic to it, but I think at this point I can’t deny that it irritates my skin. But the yarn is pretty and the pattern is working up fast so I’m going to keep knitting away.

Possibly wearing gloves if I have to.

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A Return to Double Pointed Needles

Every week there is a little raffle at my choir rehearsal (a means of completely un-surreptitiously raising more money for ourselves) and next week is my turn to provide the item to be raffled. Being low on funds and heavy on time, I thought I’d knit up something to offer. I settled on fingerless gloves. It is getting cold, and if someone doesn’t like them for themselves, well Christmas is just around the corner. I decided to take the easiest route I could and go with the most popular fingerless glove pattern on Ravelry: Fetching.

This was perhaps a little too daring. I haven’t been using double pointed needles since my hand tremors started, let alone any needles smaller than six mm and these require 4 mm’s. But I cast on anyways and started to knit.

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Those cables at the bottom? Hell. On. Earth. Though I confess a proper cable needle may have helped some.

The yarn is an acrylic/wool blend, which is not usually my favourite to work with, but it was soft, washable and a nice colour, (and who am I kidding, it was also on sale) so I decided to try it. So far I heartily approve. I’ve dropped many many stitches with this and it seems to hold itself together decently while I fumble to pick them up.

This is a pattern that is knitting up quick once I got past the finicky first three cables, which is probably why I haven’t thrown in the towel yet. That, and without them I’d have to make something else for the raffle.

And when I say it’s knitting up quick…I mean like…really quick:

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Elapse time: twenty odd minutes.

The bottom is rolling pretty badly, but that may be fixed with some blocking. I’m not sure how well 70% acrylic, 30 % wool blocks exactly, but we will find out soon enough.

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