Yarn Diet

I’m going on a three month yarn diet, April through June. I have a yarn

store trip planned for 4th of July weekend, going to teach Sehlat how to knit a funky little

item, probably a summer scarf from eyelash yarn, and I’d like to pick up

some Brown Sheep yarn, and maybe a book. But that’s July. Until then…I’m

accountable to you. My virtual stash

will probably overflow.

Yarn Diet. No more yarn.

Meantime I have two pairs of socks on the go, two requests for mini-socks

(which should be doable in two evenings, hopefully), and the Eternal Sweater. If I cast on and get the ribbing out of the way, the rest is all cabled goodness. Start and finish the front and I only have one arm left to do, and the final assembly. It must be complete for August 2005. Some cotton yarn in the closet is waiting to be turned into socks, and I’d like to try entrelac, anyone have any hints on doing it and remaining sane?

Then there’s this book, Kath

Dalmeny’s World of knitted toys by Kath Dalmeny and Carolyn Clewer. I

snagged it from the library today, and fell in love with the platypus, dolphin, racoon, sheep, turtle, penguin, and pig patterns, they are too cute! I even have a beige pig colour in my stash, some elderly Paton’s acrylic I got in England for a Wallace and Gromit picture sweater I never started.

I think I have to set myself a limit of three projects in

progress, including socks. More just feels wrong. But I’d love to try the platypus! As soon as I finish the socks. And the mini socks. And the ribbing on the sweater. Must finish the sweater!

Odds and socks

Watching Gothika on DVD last night, scary movie. The DVD player got to one point on the film and refused to go any further. It also refused to open the tray and spit out the offending disc, or respond to any commands other than shut down. Highly odd, and more than a little creepy given the film is about a vengeful ghost who is quite proficient at operating computers, doors, and lighting systems.

But while not-looking at the screen during scary bits, I managed to start and finish this:

It’s a mini sock about 2 inches from cuff to heel, using the Mermaid sock pattern from Lucy Neatby’s “Cool socks, warm feet.” I’m working on the pair, which will be released in a local geocache as a Travel Bug. It’s going to be called “Hiking Socks” or “Itchy Feet,” Hubby hasn’t decided on a goal for it yet. My travel bug went from St Louis to Southern England, via Chicago and Florida. We’re hoping this one gets a decent distance jumping from cache to cache.

Wool pig

Fighting a bad case of the wool pig wannabee’s, I created the virtual yarn stash, stuff I don’t have, and probably won’t get, but cannot lose track of. If I win the lottery, I’ll get everything on the virtual stash list. I’m told you have to enter the lottery to win, but I don’t believe it. I have a non-virtual yarn stash too, but I’m hoping if I hide it in the closet no-one will notice. There is also a knitting links page, with a pile of excellent knitting blogs and some good reference websites and online yarn stores. I plan to have a gallery of finished stuff too, but that requires actually finishing something.

In the same vein (bizarre expression, ideas in the blood?), the knitting projects page, which will in theory shame me into finishing the Eternal Sweater. Accepted wisdom says that you should never knit for a boyfriend/girlfriend, because they will leave you. I disagree. The Eternal Sweater was started in 1994 when Hubby and I were dating. Cruising up to our ninth wedding anniversary, the thing is exactly half done, and he can’t leave because it’s not finished yet. I promised to finish it for our anniversary, I just didn’t specify which anniversary. Tenth would be great. It’s a gorgeous double moss stitch and cable affair in deep green wool blend, one cable pattern has a 10 row repeat, the other a 46 row repeat, which makes life interesting. What’s taken so long is the double moss stitch, which is why I started on socks, and promptly got addicted.

After nine years on only one project, I just had to finish something. I didn’t really care what, so the first pair of socks I did were for me, and I messed up turning the heel. Stuff it, I’m wearing them anyway. Second pair I did for my sister and got them right (I haven’t mailed them yet, sorry!), third pair are for Sarah who just moved out of state, fourth pair for me. I have one sock of third and fourth pairs completed, both done properly, both on hold until I start and finish two mini socks to make a travel bug for Hubby, to be released while geocaching in the near future. The birthday present book from Hubby, Lucy Neatby’s Cool socks, warm feet is a great book that has miniature versions of all the patterns. I get to prototype the gorgeous Mermaid sock pattern before trying it for real with the Fortissima Colori 9074 (Cabana) yarn. Much to do…

Update 29th March: the real wool pig.

Yarn tales

Started knitting my fourth sock today, the first two were trial socks, this pair is for my sister. It will be the first completed project I’ve done for someone who is not me, Hubby’s sweater is still half done. I started the eternal sweater when we were engaged, and promised to finish it for our wedding anniversary. Happily I didn’t specify which anniversary. This year will be our ninth and he said it would be a great to have it for the tenth anniversary. I’m still working on it, but after so long on one project, I had to finish something, anything. Now I think I’m hooked on socks, partly because I can take them with me anywhere, partly because of the satisfaction of doing a sock start to finish in under a week.

I found the Sock Knitter’s web page, and their Yahoo group, grazed in the archives, hunted for heel techniques, read debates on different needle types and yarn types, found more patterns than I thought possible, and some of the funkiest yarn I’ve ever seen. Seems knitting has become hip for no reason in particular, Debbie Stoller’s book Stitch n Bitch has sparked knitting groups around the country, including on in my city that I haven’t been to yet.

Amazing how relaxing it is to knit. Two (or four, or five) needles and soft yarn that has been near a sheep at some point, even if you do need to be an octopus to manage turning a sock heel properly without shedding needles. It’s an engineering challenge. The Knitting Geek is not alone, here is another geek knitting, and there are many more. There’s a logic to it, engineering goes into the construction of darts, holes, patterns, turns, and cables, it’s all loops within other loops, the only difference is how you arrange them. Knitting a sock was a challenge because I’d never done work on multiple needles, picking up stitches, short rows, Kitchener stitch (which I never want to do again), or slip stitch reinforcement before, but now I can produce something convincingly sock like. Now the challenge is to do it better.

To be a "real" knitter, it seems I need to have a gallery of my FO’s, or finished objects (as opposed to UFOs, or unfinished objects). Got to get the lingo right. I’ll make a gallery next month, starting with my first two pairs of socks, too much going on right now. I’m going to need a weekend to recover from the weekend.

Knit monster

I learned to knit when I was about seven, on green plastic needles using blue wool to make a scarf for one of my toys, a small puppy with floppy ears. Having just completed a sock, I’m looking to do more.

The About.com sock knitting patterns index is great, most of them have photos, the only problem is I cannot find a 3mm double pointed needle for this pattern. I don’t think they exist. 2.75mm, 3.25mm, got those, but no 3mm to be found. I’d like to do these Not Really Cable socks and this basic Socks in Three Sizes with some funky variegated yarn.

Knitting: Not just for grannies.

Miscellany

Got sick, got better, got sick again, am still sick. Snow on ground, freezing cold office, ice in the air, no sunlight for days on end, temperature below freezing most of the week. Right now 110F/43C heat and wet-blanket humidity of summer sound wonderful.

Pictures of London as it used to be, from PhotoLondon. I’ve never seen Trafalgar Square this empty, or Piccadilly Circus filled with horses and carriages. (link via Jordon Cooper)

Finished knitting my sock, working on the pair now. Think I’ve got it figured out.

My first hand-knitted sock.

Pastor found this while looking for a way to get rid of the pews in our church office building: Used pews.com

Being sick leads to Bridget Jones style writing, am lacking proper sentence structure, too thick-in-head for decent composition.

Holey socks Batman!

Confession time: I knit. Not only that, I’m going to teach someone else to knit, starting with a scarf. Tonight I started on my first ever handknitted sock, and it’s hard! The four needles are tiny, the wool is like red dental floss, and I seem to have lost two stitches somewhere. I can’t pick them up in the rib section, it would look really obvious, so I have to carry on and grab them when I hit the main body of the sock. Aack!

(Maybe I haven’t lost the stitches. Maybe I can’t count right across three needles. I’ll figure it out.)

The yarn is self-striping, I couldn’t handle messing with two balls of stuff and doing the three active and one working needle thing. Still, the yarn came with a free pattern, always a good start. I did my first sweater with the pattern that came with the yarn to relax during my GCSE exams. This is my first attempt at socks. I hope I survive.

Update Tuesday 20th:

It gets easier, I am past the cuff and onto the main body of the sock, and could actually see myself wearing this. I’ll stick it out with the double point needles. Next pair I’ll use a circular needle, but I figure if I can do it this way, I can do anything.