WIP it Out

I think that show and tell is probably the best course of action to describe what I’ve been up to lately. (Isn’t it always?)

First, I’ve taken appraisal of the yarn situation in my apartment and determined there is entirely too much. I posted this photo to Ravelry, but neglected to post it here – this is my entire sock yarn stash:

Yikes. I have another labeled version of it all as well. My boyfriend did take a few photos of my entire stash covering our bed, but the colors are grossly inaccurate. If you can stand an HDR, here it is. Seeing it sprawled out reaffirms my decision not to buy any more yarn for a good long while.

A recent day serving jury duty provided ample knitting opportunity, where predictably I worked on green socks. I am well past the heel and up the cuff on my first Eleanor sock, which is good, as I am trying to finish them by the end of June.

I also worked on a design-your-own sock challenge for Sock Knitters Anonymous, and it has involved a little math and a lot of frogging.

I got pretty far along when I realized a minor (and mostly undetectable error) that I knew would drive me crazy. I was so frustrated that I ripped all the way back to the beginning. I think I’ve got the pattern sorted out completely now, so once I cast back on these should be pretty fast-moving.

I also have socks in other colors currently going – Spiral Boot Socks for the Knitting 19th Century Novels KAL for Around the World in 80 Days.

I’ve loved reading the book when I have a spare moment (or can’t sleep), but I have not made any real time for these socks yet, and it’s unlikely I will finish them by June with everything else I’m attempting.

My green fixation has combined with my need for practicality in a One-Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits.

This shrug is an enjoyable knit, and it’s moving quickly. The latter point is crucial because I really should be using those needles to finish this other little sweater, whose recipient is visiting my parents in less than two weeks.

This is the Cropped Raglan Sweater from Lion Brand, and I’ve knit one for myself, so I know I love the pattern.

The one that I knit last summer was all acrylic, and this is in Knit Picks Shine Worsted (a cotton/modal blend), so the drape and feel are completely different. At first I didn’t think I liked it, and I worried about the color, but now that I’ve had some time away from it, I think it has the potential to be a really lovely gift.

On some weird compulsion, I forced myself to cast on the Lace Ribbon Scarf even though I already had too many projects going. I messed up not once, twice, or even three times, but more than four times, resulting in complete froggings. Of course then it became a vendetta. I had to make this scarf.

I think I’ve got it now.

This is a red cotton yarn, and I really love the way it feels. The color and the texture remind me so much of Kabbalah strings it’s uncanny.

As this post probably makes perfectly clear, I’ve got a lot of projects going on and have failed miserably at my three-projects-at-a-time goal. I think this is an accurate reflection of the rest of my life at the moment as well. I hope to knock out some FOs quickly so that I can get it all back under control.

Oh, and I’ve also got this to deal with.

Sigh. We’ll talk more about that soon.

FO – Hedera Socks

I finished my Hedera socks today.

They’re pretty cozy.

Pattern: Hedera by Cookie A, from spring 2006 Knitty
Size: L, to fit a women’s size 9
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential 75% superwash Merino wool / 25% nylon, fingering weight, color 23695, Grass
Needles: Susan Bates size 1 DPNs
Modifications: I added three extra lace repeats in the cuff, for 17 total.

Started: January 7, 2008
Finished: February 14, 2008

As I said, I added 3 lace repeats to the cuff, but on hindsight I could have added much more. I had about 24 grams of yarn out of 100 leftover, nearly a quarter of my yarn (twice the amount pictured below).

I don’t know why, but that really bothered me. This is something that I definitely don’t like about cuff-down socks, as well as picking up stitches for the gusset and Kitchener stitch on the toes. I think it’s safe to say I will be knitting socks toe-up whenever possible from here forward.

The pattern itself is brilliantly written and elegant. That Cookie A, she really knows how to design socks.

Once I memorized the lace pattern and got used to doing things like a yarn over just before an SSK decrease, they moved a lot faster. I made considerably fewer mistakes on the second sock than on the first, probably because the cuff of the first was knit almost entirely in the dim cabin lighting of an airplane, while bleary eyed with travel exhaustion.

There is not a huge payoff for the amount of work the lace took, but they look pretty nice. I was planning for these to be fairly simple socks, in an almost neutral color, so that I could wear them with dress pants and such. In that respect, I think they’ll work very well.

The yarn was thinner and a little coarser than I’ve worked with before, but I have a feeling it will wear like iron. The fabric on the feet is nicely tight and snug, but with enough flexibility to be very comfortable on.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased. The fit is fabulous, especially in the toes. My only wish is that they were a little longer, but that’s what Sodera socks are for, right?

I’m wearing them already, and I suspect they will get a lot of use.

Onward to more green knits! (I’m not kidding).

Previous Entries on this Project:
Knitting in the Present Tense
About those resolutions…
Sockdown: January

Knitting in the present tense

So much of knitting, for me, is about the anticipation of future knits. Stashing, swatching, imagining yarn and pattern combinations and finished objects… so much of the pleasure is theoretical.

The rest of knitting tends to focus on the past: things I’ve completed, small accomplishments within projects, milestones, percentages toward completion… I’m always wishing I could knit faster, in a sense to dispense with the present and rapidly move from future to past tenses, in the form of an FO.

Perhaps it is because Smokey plopped himself on top of my in-progress Hederas, or perhaps I’m just in a peculiar mindset, but I started asking myself how actually present I am with my knitting.

How much do I think about each stitch, contemplate each row? What kind of consideration do I give to the physical act of knitting, the small movements and thoughts which add up into the project at hand?

I started knitting as a way to focus my mind, to meditate and relax, to calm down when I would get distracted and frenzied in my life. So as I sat in the sun the other day, I quieted everything around me and just focused on my sock.

I am turning a heel. I am knitting a gusset. I am making stitches and working through a lace pattern. A yarn over makes a hole.

And so on. It was beautiful, in a way, because I felt so deeply connected with myself in that moment in space and time. I was really doing what I was doing and paying attention to it. I wasn’t thinking about the socks I want to cast on next or what I should have been doing instead of knitting (because yeah, there’s a huge pile of that). I was just enjoying knitting, in the present tense.

Finally, I felt present. I can’t begin to explain what a relief it was.

Sockdown: January

I decided to participate in this month’s Sockdown on Ravelry, since the featured designer is the brilliant Cookie A.

I’ve had the Hedera pattern printed out and ready to go for months now, so I was very exciting to cast on for them last night.

I’m using Knit Picks Essential in Grass, and I love the way it subtly matches the gentle green of my Susan Bates Silvalume size 1 DPNs.

Now I just have to finish my grandmother’s shawl (just a few days left!) so I can devote myself completely to these while on vacation.

Happy Socktober!

It is with great pride and happiness that I present my finished Jaywalkers:

I am so in love with these socks.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina, from the September 05 MagKnits.
Size: larger (9 inches around foot, 9-1/2 inches from top of leg to bottom of heel)
Yarn: Patons Kroy 75% wool 25% nylon, 4-ply sock yarn, color 54801 Krazy Stripes; I used two 50-gram balls and 7.4 grams of a third (about 30 yards), for an approximate total yardage of 436 yards.
Needles: Knit Picks 6″ nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 1 (2.25 mm)
Modifications: I unintentionally added a few straight rounds in the right toe. I vastly prefer the one done according to the pattern.

Started: originally in October 2006, then put on hold many times
Finished: October 24, 2007

I have mentioned my deep and intense love for this pattern before, but really, these have been the perfect first socks.

The pattern was easy to memorize and had just enough variety to stay interesting while remaining a perfect “pick up and go” kind of project.

I learned all about sock construction, including turning a heel and Kitchener stitch, and I cannot wait to make more socks after such a wonderful experience.

This yarn was a pleasure to knit with, through and through. The finished product is so delightfully cozy.

Smokey instantly approved.

I must trust him. That cat is an expert in comfort.

So there you have it. My first socks, my first knitting with wool (and my feet can tolerate it!), and a wonderful project through and through. I can’t recommend these highly enough!

Previous Entries on this Project:
A Jaywalker walks into a bar… ouch
The Jaywalkers Saga
Sock Bliss
Unconscious Knitting