gettin' my sock on

Sensational Knitted Socks
Is it just me, or has everyone been knitting socks lately? And writing about knitting socks. And blogging about knitting socks. Well, I'd never knit a sock. Last year when everyone was knitting lace, I tried it and loved it, so I thought maybe I'd like the sock knitting thing, too.

More Sensational Knitted SocksFor my birthday last month I told Aidan all I wanted was knitting books. Specifically sock knitting books. I gave him the latest issue of Interweave Knits which had a section on sock knitting books. He came through and gave me Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks, both by Charlene Schurch. I took the first book's suggestion and started with the Class Sock - a cute little baby sock in thick wool on big needles. I cast on with size 8 to make sure I didn't cast on too tight, but knit them with a size 6. And I'm using the 2 circular needles method. But I don't have 2 size 6 circulars. I don't have 2 any size circulars except for 2.75 mm for some reason. And I won't be using those until I'm more experienced with sock knitting. So check out what I did.

Using my Denise Interchangeables I just kept switching the size 6 needle heads on and off the 2 different cables. Totally ghetto, eh? But it worked. I'd knit with one needle, pull the stitches to the middle of the cable, switch one head to the other cable, switch the other head to the other needle, then pull the newly headed needle down to get the stitches on the needle head. The only problem I encountered was once I forgot to switch the heads before I pulled the cable, so I pulled the cable right out of the stitches and had to pick them all up again. I hate dropping stitches, so I made sure never to do that again. So besides probably prematurely wearing down the connection on these needles, and adding a few seconds of work each round, I thought this was a good solution. And here's my first ever knitted sock! Now on to the next one. :)



I finished the chessboard (which is actually a checkerboard according to the pattern). It was a fun, easy knit, which should have taken a lot less time than it did. I'm just slow. As I mentioned before the pattern is from Weekend Knitting and it really did seem like good weekend knitting to me. The title of the book refers to knitting that's nice to do on the weekend, not necessarily patterns that can be completed in a weekend. This pattern was both (though I only did the board part of it, not the drawstring bag that goes along with it).

I almost hit a snag after finishing the bulk of it. I used Shelridge Farms 100% Wool DK in Natural White and Storm. I got a skein in Cornflower for the border, but it actually doesn't go well with the Storm. Storm has a hint of green in it. So I had to find something else to use. I thought I would have to buy something because I wanted 100% wool again, plus have the same approximate weight, but I had a look in my stash, and realized I have a lot of yarn! And a bunch of it I had forgotten about was actually 100% wool DK. So I had several choices of colour for the border. I ended up using some of the Ashford Tekapo 100% wool in a grey that I got super cheap on my New Zealand yarn shopping spree. I think it goes well.

Now I have to make the chess pieces. I have a great idea for what to do, but I don't have patterns for it, so that'll be tricky. No big rush though, as this is for a Christmas present.


newbie knitter

As I previously mentioned I've been doing a night course on multimedia web development. For a final project we had to do a site that incorporated images, audio, video and animation. I, of course, immediately decided to do a knitting site. In the interest of getting all the required pieces in there I made it a knitting tutorial site for complete novices. It's in no way complete enough to actually teach knitting on its own, and in no way did I intend for this to supplant any of the many wonderful existing knitting tutorial sites (none of which I actually looked at after deciding on my topic, as I didn't want to subconsciously plagiarize). Check it out: Newbie Knitter


last minute knitting (and crocheting)

Big Sister had a friend's 4th birthday party to go to this morning, and of course I remembered yesterday that we still hadn't gotten a present yet. And I didn't have a chance to go out to buy one. So was does a knitter do? That's a rhetorical question, of course.

Luckily the friend is a girly girl like my daughter, who loves to dress up. So I went to the stash of yarn my MIL gave me and decided to knit a little something out of this novelty yarn. What is it, eyelash? Feathers? I'm not sure what you call it. The yarn label just says "Knitting Yarn". That's helpful, eh? But it's from Sullivans International which is an Australian company, and it seems to have been discontinued. It's not on their site. It's 100% polyester, and it's quite soft, and the colors are cute and fun - turquoise, blue, green and purple.

First I knit a quick garter stitch headband as a tester (cast on 4 stitches, knit all rows until it's long enough to fit around Big Sister's head, cast off, and sew the ends together). It was cute, but I didn't think it would be quite enough on it's own. So I decided to crochet a scrunchie as well. Using this pattern with a size G crochet hook and a turquoise hair elastic I had lying around, I quickly made up this scrunchie that Big Sister is modeling so well. Not bad for a second ever crochet project. It was pretty fun, too.

Then I realized that a scrunchie and a headband would compete for hair space, and probably not be used at the same time, hence negating the matching aspect of them, so for the gift, instead of knitting another headband (since my daughter was keeping the tester), I just knit a bit longer, didn't sew it into a circle, and kept it a little decorative scarf.

Nothing extravagant, but it was done last night, so there were no last minute rushes to the toy store. Plus, I'm a firm believer in small or no presents. Big Sister herself is turning 4 next week, and though we're having 2 parties for her (one for her school friends, and one for our friends who have kids) I hope she isn't inundated with gifts. I was going to put "no presents please" on the invites, but I was told it would be bordering on rude not to let people give gifts. So instead I've just spread the word that we really don't need or want much at all. Except yarn. Anyone who wants to give her gifts of yarn is more than welcome. ;)

Anyways, the gift seemed to be well received by the birthday girl (as well as any of the other gifts, which means she opened it, said a quick "Thanks!" and moved onto the next one). The party was lots of fun. Here's Big Sister enjoying the moon bounce (which she now wants at her party, but, uh... No way!).


pile o' pink

For a few months now, due to budget constrains, I've been on a self-imposed yarn embargo. But just before I started my stash-building hiatus, I placed one last order for a whole heck of a lot of yarn. Today it finally arrived, and it (along with the generous gift mentioned in the previous post) has made my yarn ban slightly more manageable.

As you can see, it's pink. Very pink. The reason for so much pink is that I have somehow managed to become the mother of a very girly girl. Every time I've knit Big Sister something, she's just a little bit disappointed that it's not pink. So I finally decided to knit her a lovely pink sweater, and thought I'd make a matching one for Baby while I was at it. And that leads to an order of 16 skeins of pink Blue Faced Leicester DK wool from The Natural Dye Studio. It's super soft, and the colour is gorgeous (despite the hot pink hue). Now I just need to find the time to knit it.


reasons I'm not knitting much

First off, I'm taking a night class on web development (which I already know to some extent, but thought the class would be a fun way to get 4 credits towards my degree). The final project for the class is to make a web page, so rather than knitting every night, I've been working on a web site about knitting (other than this one)! Once it's done, I'll post it for all to see. :)

Another reason for less knitting is the end of the regular TV season. I'm a TV knitter. Almost 100% of my knitting occurs between the hours of 8:00 and 11:00 pm, which is after the girls go to bed, and before I go to bed. And I kinda have to do it in front of the TV. And with not much new TV to watch, I'm finding myself doing other things. Things that don't lend themselves to knitting.

Oh, and the one summer show I am watching, So You Think You Can Dance, definitely does not lend itself to knitting. I mean, when I'm watching American Idol I barely glance at the screen every now and then. But SYTYCD is entirely visual, and I can't take my eyes off of it. So I sit there with my knitting in my hands, and I don't knit. Lame, I know.

What little knitting I have done recently has been on this checker board from Weekend Knitting. But I'm actually making it as a chess board. I have intentions of knitting up a complete set of chess pieces as well, but as I don't have any patterns for them, we'll see how that goes. This is my first ever double knitting experience, and it's going quite well. I did have a bit of a mess up when I switched over to the second row of squares. One of the squares I made one stitch too wide, and the one next to it one stitch too narrow. I didn't notice till I had knit 2 or 3 more rows. At that point, I took some time to analyze the pros and cons of frogging back to fix the mistake, thinking perhaps it wouldn't be too noticeable if I left it the way it was. In the end, I frogged. And I'm glad I did. This project is going so slow anyways, re-knitting a few rows won't make much of a difference in the long run.

Check out this yarn my dear friend Indu gave me for pretty much no reason at all. It's gorgeous. Knit Picks Gossamer 100% merino lace weight. It's so sweet of her. I'll have to find something really cool to knit with it. She claims that she can't knit lace so has no use for the yarn, but she's just being a chicken. I know she can do it.

One last thing, totally off topic. I got armband tattoos I had been planning for a long time! I got the same exact thing on both arms, to commemorate the birth of my second daughter, who just turned 18 months old last week. To make it just a little bit on topic, I found out while under the needle that the tattoo artist's wife is totally into knitting and spinning, and has a blog. Her knitting totally puts mine to shame, plus she's totally hardcore what with spinning and all. But it's not a competition, right? We're all in this together! :)