Saturday, March 31, 2007

Baby Bigfoot (Elizabeth)

Imagine how happy I was when Interweave Knits (Summer 05) published some baby socks based on my very favorite Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (henceforth PGR in all blog posts!) short row heel! Imagine how sad I was when my sock came out like this:

There are so many problems with it. First, I really do know that cables don't look so great in multicolored yarn. Really I do. But for some reason I had to try it anyway. The biggest problem is that it looks like it would fit Baby Bigfoot. I kept telling myself that *maybe* baby feet really looked like this; it's just been a long time since I've had a baby around. But....I never made the 2nd one.

Then Heather decided to do a class on Baby Socks and she was thoughtful enough to knit up some samples and bring them in to River Knits for display. Now I know what these should *really* look like. I've learned that baby sock feet should not look 3 times as big as the ankle and that solid colors really are very nice for these lovely stitch patterns. I think I might have to admit that row gauge matters too. Now I just have to decide if I should save my first attempt hoping someone can produce a baby with a very long foot?

The Rules of Sock Club

I just got home from Sock Club. What is Sock Club? We get together at River Knits every month having a theme sock in mind. You don't have to knit on the theme sock just please knit socks or we can't call it sock club anymore.
After we starting meeting for a few months someone mentioned that her husband asked her if it is anything like Fight Club. While I don't think we are delusional people and none of us are imaginary I do think a few rules are in order ala Fight Club.

The Rules of Sock Club:
  1. You do not talk about Sock Club
  2. What happens at Sock Club stays at Sock Club
  3. If the sock isn't working frog it
  4. Only two socks to a pair
  5. No shirt, no shoes, that is fine so long as you wear socks.
  6. Easy to knit socks are best, other knitters & yarn will distract you
  7. Socks go on as long as they have to
  8. If this is your first time at Sock Club you have to knit

I think we need t-shirts. ^..^


Friday, March 30, 2007

Water, Water Every Where... (Elizabeth)

...but not a Needle Gauge to use!

How is it that I can own a yarn store but cannot find a needle gauge in my house to save my soul?

I want to cast on some socks for Sock Club tomorrow and I was hoping to properly locate by beloved #1 1/2 Crystal Palace needles, the first set I ever used to make socks! I correctly found 5 matching #1's so I think those will have to do.

Later amendment - I ended up needing bigger needles anyway!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Or 2 Degrees of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (by Elizabeth)

Inspired by Laura, who was in turn inspired by the Yarn Harlot, I have answered the call to show off my socks. So, here they are:

I started with my first pair in the center but after that I started to forget the chronolgy of my socks. The pair with two different feet was the first successful pair of socks that I ever knit. After a clusy attempt at an Elizabeth Zimmermann Moccasin Sock I settled happily on this Priscilla Gibson-Roberts short row heel. I've worn that pair so much that I decided to re-foot them after wearing holes in the sole of one. But my daughter discovered the joy of wool socks this winter and put an end to the re-soling efforts. She was happy to wear them with mismatched feet and I didn't disagree.

The red pair to the left started as moccasin socks, but I wasn't happy with my construction and ripped out the feet and liked the 2nd version much better. I really don't know what year that was but it had to be earlier than 2003. They are a bit thin in the sole but I still wear them often.

The burgundy solid socks in the foreground were the most boring pair of socks I ever knit. They were hard to finish. I have never knit a pair of solid colored socks since. I may stray from this practice if I attempt lace socks though. The solid teal blue lace socks were a gift from Heather and are a favorite pair because they are so different from the socks I usually make myself. The brown, purple & tan faux fair isle pair is also one of my favorites. They were a present from Michelle, and she picked the best colors possible for me--these socks match nearly all my clothes!

The blue and purple Bearfoot socks near the right of the picture are another special pair because they were knit for me by my husband! He has only knit one other pair of socks for himself (after being egged into it by me) so these are particularly prized.

I have knit a lot of socks that aren't pictured. Socks for my family members, socks for the "sockday club," socks for CIC. I even traded handknit socks for videos of a favorite old tv series before it was available on DVD. They are out in the world and hopefully cheering up someone who has happy feet.

Handknit wool socks have changed my life! Really. I used to have terrible problems with my feet due the Raynaud's Syndrome. I tried many treatments, none of which helped very much. Then I learned to knit socks and now I only have memories of any foot problems, all thanks to the joy of wool. But don't take my word for it. Just listen to Pablo Neruda

Even if I didn't have a physical need for wool socks, I would still enjoy knitting them. There is really nothing more fascinating and satisfying than turning a heel, no matter how you do it. Taking a tube of simple knitting and doing a few rows of very interesting knitting and turning it sideways so that it fits perfectly on almost anyone's foot. Now that is genius!

Working Girl Knitting Blues (Michelle)

Working really cuts into the knitting time. :-(
Don't get me wrong I love the job and the people I work with. How can a serious knitter go without knitting throughout the work week? I haven't figured that out yet.
Should I ignore the piles of crap my family and pets leave (in their case it isn't literal) and knit in the evenings? I need to find a happy balance between a neat house, making and cleaning up after dinner, the internet and knitting. By the time I get done I may knit 4 rounds on a sock.
My piles of yarn are starting to get hostile. They want to become beautiful things. Maybe I should hire a maid?
How does everyone else manage?
No pictures because no knitting.

Attack of the UFOs (Amanda)

No, not the kind that contain little green men. I'm talking about UnFinished Objects. If you are a crafter of any kind, you know what I mean. Those projects that you started with the best of intentions....then, somehow, you got distracted. Maybe you visted the yarn shop and a new yarn called out to you. Maybe you picked up a new magazine or book and that sweater looked so much more interesting than what's already on your needles. Or, maybe you realized how much you detest the yarn or stitch pattern or whatever. No matter what the reason, you've moved on. That well intended project is now abandoned and forgotten.

Well...maybe not forgotten. Some of us have friends (*cough* Michelle *cough*) who won't let us forget about those UFOs. And now, gentle reader, you too will know what Michelle means when she asks me, "So, how about that Gefjon?" Or "When are you going to work on Ene's Scarf again?" If you aren't sitting down, you might want to. Especially if you are one of those Type A people who always finishes things. Are you ready?

That's my pile of UFOs. There's the beige cabled Denmark Gefjon, the red and white Russian Prime, Ene's Scarf worked in blue glittery handspun, the diagonal rib shawl, Faina's Scarf, Baby's and Bears for Grown Ups, Lift and Separate, Angelina jacket, an afghan, a pi jacket, and a few things I found on the needles, but I'm not exactly sure what they were intended to be. Missing from the picture because I forgot about them until I sat down to write: The Fair Isle knee socks I worked on for the Knitting Olympics, the Wonderful Wallaby for my son, Komb afghan, and the Kinki Jacket...oops.

What's the lesson here? I think there are a few. First, it's important to enjoy the PROCESS of knitting, not just the end product. Yes, I started each of these items because I thought the finished product would be nice, but that's not why I knit. I'm not going to force myself to work on something I hate knitting for 60 to 100 hours just so I can have the finished item. I don't work that way. That's also not to say that I grew to hate all of these items. But, each of them have something counting against them. The Russian Prime curls at the bottom because I used the wrong cast on method. I know how to fix it, but it was a glitch in my plans. Someday I will fix it, but not today. I *love* the Denmark Gefjon. But I don't love the yarn or working cables. So, every once in a while, I pull it out of the closet and work on it until I can't stand it anymore, then I put it back. Most of the others were just abandoned out of boredom. I learned what I wanted to learn from the pattern, and I moved on. Those projects will probably eventually be ripped out so I can use the yarn for something else.

Second, based on the first lesson, it's okay to abandon a project. You can reclaim the yarn for something else. Or, if you don't like the yarn, get rid of it. Donate it or sell it or trade it online. Whatever. Don't feel bad about leaving a project behind. As long as you learned something--either about knitting or about yourself--in the process, let it go.

Finally, we get enough guilt from other parts of our lives. Don't ever feel guilty about your knitting. Life is too short.

My next post will be about the shocking lengths I have taken when I finish something and absolutely hate the final garment. Stay tuned.