Sunday, January 27, 2013

Herringbone Socks

The name of this pattern sounds decadent. Herringbone. It is one of those words that makes me feel, with my poet’s heart, like it means more than it is letting on. As if it were a pattern for royalty.

Terri chose the pattern for these stranded colorwork socks from Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie van der Linden and I suggested the colors, a classic gray and spicy pumpkin. The yarn is Knit Picks Stoll and, this being my first time using this yarn, I will judge it based on its performance with this project.

While I have knit a colorwork sweater in the round, I’ve never made socks with more than one color. One concern is a resulting sock with too tight floats. To combat this in advance I decided to try knitting using the needle farthest from myself. This will keep the floats on the outside of the knitting and will be, essentially, like knitting the sock inside out.

I used the slipknot cast-on to create a stretchy beginning row. Although I was doubtful that knots would be stretchy, the resulting edge follows the rib and actually is very stretchy. I had some trouble getting it going until I figured out that keeping tension on the back of the loop helps tremendously. 

A pretty good start for the royally named socks. Now I just have to get past 15 rows of ribbing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Expanding the Stash

I have been avoiding something for years. Quilting. Not because I'm afraid I won't like it or that I won't be good at it, but because of the stash of fabric I am sure will come with it.

Over my years as a knitter I have enjoyed maintaining a stash of yarn that inspires me to create. I can go there and find wonderful materials which inspire me. This positive outlook on my stash has only come about recently when I realized that my stash is not out of control and that I enjoy having it.

However, this isn’t to say I’m fearless about it. I have been afraid of my stash suddenly growing to proportions beyond my control. As if I would go to a convention, come back with yarn, and have no where to put it. This fear, whether rational as a practice of managing my possessions or irrational as if my stash was suddenly going to gain Harry(from the-panopticon blog)-like sentience, has prevented me from exploring the realms of crafts outside of knitting.

My sister does not have this fear. She consistently is making astounding pieces of art in various crafts as well as taking art classes to further her skills. Her papercut art, for example, is exquisite. This is one of my favorites from her Create 400 (birds) blog.

I aspire to her kind of exploratory nature, of listening to the call that comes from within to create, to make with my hands.

As I have come to curate my yarn stash as an asset I have also become more willing to create another stash pile. One for fabric.

I have admired quilting from a distance for some time, but have avoided actively exploring it. I think a part of me knew if I got too close I would dive in immediately. I have never perused the quilt books that are ever so close to the knitting books on the library shelf, never stared at quilting fabrics, and never perused quilting blogs.

But I’ve finally done it. I’m taking a quilting class. By the end of the class, I’ll have made a baby blanket sized quilt. I have explored two quilting fabric stores and enjoyed the same planning process of choosing materials that I also enjoy when planning a knitting project.

I’ve only been to two classes so far; yet, I already created a Quilting Pinterest board where I am saving pictures of inspirational quilts and tutorials. I’ve been reading quilting blogs. Searching for fabric on Etsy. I can feel the call of creativity in this new to me craft. And I think I can find some space next to my yarn stash for some fabric.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


2012 demonstrated the eclectic nature of my knitting habits.

 Road to Amethyst in six colors of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
(Patt "Road to Golden" by Lisa Shroyer)
Platinum and Pumpkin in naturally dyed Sincere Sheep Keen
(Patt "Chadwick" by Stephen West)
Kai Mei and Drooping Elm Socks in Cascade Yarns Heritage
(Patt "Kai Mei" by Cookie A) 

"Road to Golden" was a pattern that has been sitting around taunting me to make it. I would hear it calling to me, from my little collection of knitting magazines. It would say things about how I ordered the magazine specifically for that pattern, about how fun it would be to do a large stranded colorwork sweater, and about how pretty all the other Road to Golden sweaters on Ravelry were. So I finally made it.

Speckled Owl in a white/black boucle I brought back from New Zealand
(Patt is Big Snowy Owl by Purl Soho)
Octopus Phone Cozy in Oink Pigments Sock and my own hand dyed purple yarn 
(Patt for Octopus is Demi Octopus by Jennifer Wang) 
Rose in Knit Picks Swish
(Patt is Crocheted Rosettes by Lion Brand)
The octopus made an impression on me as a young child staring up at a tank in an aquarium. Although I don't know for sure, it was probably the Monterey Bay Aquarium and it was probably a Giant Octopus.  I marveled at its ability to so easily squeeze through tiny spaces as well as at all those arms! I've been a fan ever since. I use my phone cozy all the time and it brings back these happy memories.

Owl Baby Blanket in Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
(Inspired by Sleepy Owl Blanket by Lori Emmitt)
Elijah the Elephant in Classic Elite Inca Alpaca
(Patt is Elijah by Ysolda Teague)
Baby Socks in Oink Pigments Sock
(Patt is Cozy Little Toes by Judy Kaethler

 My very good friend had a baby and of course I knit a few things for the new arrival. The Knit Picks Comfy worked very well for the blanket. It is super soft and oh so machine washable!