Archive for the “books” Category

Knitting Vintage Socks has been on my wishlist for quite some time now, and I finally gave in and bought it for myself. While there are several patterns in the book that I could see myself knitting, it was really the Evening Stockings for a Young Lady (Ravelry link) that finally did it for me. These stockings are beautiful; every time I see another pair completed, I want to knit them for myself. For those of you without a Ravelry account, here’s a link to a picture of the socks on Flickr. And here’s another, showing the delightful calf shaping. I love how the ribbing goes down into the heel flap, and the ‘seam stitch’ formed by purling down the center.

Disappointingly, many of the patterns seem to be one-size-fits-anyone-but-Pirate, so I expect that I’ll have to make some adjustments to get a proper fit. Extending the length of a sock foot is easy enough, but what does she mean by “fits a size 7 foot”? Is she referring to length or width there? Swatching will almost certainly be a necessity for most, if not all, of the stitch patterns. I’m not a fan of the “just go up a needle size” theory of enlarging socks, but I can figure out where stitches can be added to or subtracted from a pattern to make it slightly larger or smaller, and I’m not afraid of tinkering with a pattern to get it to fit well, whether the adjustments need to be in length or width. Hooray for intrepid knitting!

There are other patterns in the book that I’d like to knit as well, but I think the Evening Stockings will come first. (After I’ve worked through some of the patterns that I’ve already queued up, I mean.) I’ve been really into the idea of kneesocks lately, even though I know they will take forever to knit, and there are several patterns in this book that fit the bill.

The book includes a variety of heels and toes, with detailed instructions on how to make them. This will definitely come in handy when I’m designing more of my own sock patterns! I think the only other sock book that is missing from my shelf (for now) is Cookie A.’s Sock Innovation. I’m not as into the patterns in Cookie’s book, but its real value is in the wealth of information about designing socks.

In actual knitting news, the Timey-Wimey sock is coming along. Although the Felici yarn doesn’t travel well at all, I’ve brought it with me today to keep me occupied during the farewell lunch that we’re having for a co-worker. We’re a fairly large group, and whenever we go out to lunch together it seems to take forever to get everyone drinks, take orders, and bring out the food. My co-workers might look at me funny for knitting while we wait, but I’m glad to have something to do with my hands that doesn’t involve eating large quantities of breadsticks!

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Never knit while you’re sick. Especially not when you’re taking any sort of medication that makes your head feel as if it’s about to float away (which, I must say, is better than the sloshy feeling of upset sinuses).

So I was knitting right along when I noticed that I’d knitted where I should have purled. And then I purled where I should have knitted. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except I’d gone twenty rounds past the mistake. And it wasn’t just in one column of stitches – it was in five separate ones.

I got out my new crochet hook and steeled myself to the inevitable. Five columns of stitches would have to be dropped down and picked back up. One hundred stitches would have to be replaced.

90 minutes and three cups of tea later, I had accomplished the task.

Then in the very next round I missed my cable and had to un-knit back to the spot where it belonged.

From now on, when I am sick, I am only allowed to work on stockinette, in the round, on circular needles.

In other news, I picked up copies of Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters and Debbie Stoller’s The Happy Hooker. I’m not starting any new projects until I finish some, but I’m really looking forward to trying this new stuff!

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Cailleach asked, Have you considered NOT doing heel stitch as ‘written’? I knit continental, and knitting is faster for me than purling.

I also knit continental, but I haven’t noticed a real difference in speed between knitting and purling. Then again, I have never seen anyone knit continental the way I do (though I’m sure someone must) – I wrap the working yarn around the needle with my left forefinger, rather than picking the working yarn up with the needle. Then the needle sort of ‘ducks’ out through the old stitch with the new stitch on it. The movement is the same whether I’m knitting or purling.

The Garter Rib Sock came from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks. Because this is the first pattern I’ve knit out of the book, I decided to do it as written, with the garter stitch edging on the heel flap. It’s interesting, and it does go with the sock, but I’m not sure I’d like it all the time. The lack of a slipped stitch edge makes picking up the gusset stitches a little… well, a little picky, pardon the pun!

I think my problem with heel flaps is that I lose the rhythm that I get when I’m knitting in the round. Having to turn the work every 36 stitches or so means that I keep getting to ‘stopping points’ long before I’m actually ready to stop. Being slightly (okay, more than slightly) ADD makes it even easier to put the sock down at the end of a row. When I’m working in the round, my brain forgets that there might be an end of a row at which I could stop.

That said, I finished the heel flap and picked up the gusset stitches, and I’m cranking my way down towards the toe. I expect to get a lot of knitting done this weekend. Pirate-Husband and I are headed down to my parents’ for Passover. When we’re not cooking or eating, there will be lots of down time for knitting! I promised to show my mother how to do each of the stitches in the Ostrich Plumes pattern, too. They’re easy enough, but it’s been so long since she’s done lace work that she asked me for a refresher.

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Although I’m no longer sick, and my head is clear enough that I’d technically be able to knit, I haven’t had any time to! This past weekend, Pirate-Husband and I finally got moved into the house. Our friends descended on our apartment and whisked all of our possessions up the mountain. I found out that one more friend has started to knit again, which makes me very happy – apparently I’ve inspired her!

I pass within a few miles of a great yarn store on my way home from work, and it’s an effort to keep from turning the car into their parking lot. I can’t let buying yarn become more of a hobby than knitting it up.

Yesterday my copy of Knitting Rules arrived from Amazon. I have a few other Yarn Harlot books, but not this one, or if I did, I lent it out and can’t remember to whom. Seemed like it just belonged in my library. I also got a bread-baking recipe book, and one about how to grow my own hops. Do all knitters like beer, or is it just the knitters I know?

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My parents and my grandma sent me money this year for my birthday. I had a good long conversation with each of them last night, and they pretty much said the same thing – “We’re sure that you want something to do with knitting or spinning, but we have no idea what to get you, so we sent money. Please tell us what you pick out when you get it!” So I ordered a copy of Deb Menz’ book “Color in Spinning” and spent a very long time drooling over roving on Etsy. I’ll also be ordering a tensioned lazy kate for my wheel so I can get to plying.

It’s snowing here today, and it seems like a perfect day to curl up with some yarn and hot chocolate. Knitting is a perfect winter hobby, isn’t it? I can’t wait to move into the house so that I can have a fire on days like this.

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What a difference a pre-prepped fiber makes, eh? After a few fits and starts, I got out the Romney roving from last year’s MD Sheep and Wool Festival, made sure it was pre-drafted evenly, and spun away. Now I have half a bobbin full, in about half an hour. This is just too freakin’ awesome. Unfortunately, while there’s plenty of light to spin by, there’s not enough light to take a good picture, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. It might be a little overspun, but I hear that’s normal. At this point I don’t care; I just want to get the hang of the treadling while drafting thing. The issue with overspinning can be resolved after.

In yarn and knitting news, the shipment with the yarn for the Sekrit Holiday Gift arrived. I’ve already spoken to the recipient and probably won’t see him until after the holidays, so he knows it’s going to be late, and that’s okay. The pressure is off! And I’m pretty sure I can make this thing quickly, so I should have it ready just in case I do see him at New Year’s.

And I got my first knitting-related Winterholiday gift – a copy of Naughty Needles! Not that I can really see myself wearing handknit lingerie, but it’s a nifty book with some cool ideas in it. Including a knitted eyepatch. Now there’s something piratey that I could make!

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Waiting on LineFor once I was incredibly glad that I go to work so early. Leaving at 3:30 meant that I was #21 in line to see the Yarn Harlot at Borders! We had a great time waiting, knitting, showing off projects, gushing over each new piece that was pulled out for show. Finally we were called up to get our line number tickets. I bought her newest book, hopped over to the cashier to pay for it, and was back in time to sit with people from SnB in the third row! (There may have been a stop at the cafe counter to get an asiago cheese-filled pretzel.)

The Harlot is holding my sock The Harlot spoke for almost two hours. She was great! Eventually Daniel, the Borders guy running the evening, started looking anxious and she went upstairs to sign books. Daniel went with her to take pictures and got this great one of some women from SnB with the Harlot. From the left – Susan, Marie, the Harlot (holding my Jaywalkers) and me (holding the Traveling Sock).

What a fantastic evening! Not only because I love going to book signings for great authors, but because of the feeling of one-ness and cameraderie that completely filled the bookstore. I met some people from Ravelry. I got a Moo MiniCard from one knitter and I’m considering getting some for myself to promote the blog… but I don’t know if I should get them, or regular sized business cards. I’ve missed going to SnB, and I want to get back into it. The people in this hobby are just amazing.

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After some trial and tribulation with the postal service losing the package, they finally found and delivered it to me. The latest additions to the library are Folk Bags by Vicki Square, and Richard Rutt’s “A History of Hand Knitting”, which should be helpful if I ever want to do any documentable knitting for the SCA. I’m already planning at least two of the projects from the Folk Bags book, but not for a while – my upcoming projects list has a dozen items on it already! I just wanted to get the book before my pilgrimage to WEBS in June.

Bathing Beauties Bathtime Blossoms I’ve also ordered two FiberTrends patterns, both lace washcloth/soap sack sets. “Bathing Beauties” and “Bathtime Blossoms” will make wonderful Christmas gifts for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, who seem to like such things. It seems like a quick and easy way for me to get into knitting lace – or is that lace knitting?

Once I get the hang of it, I have some beautiful coppery-brown silk and cashmere laceweight yarn that will one day be a beautiful coppery-brown silk and cashmere lace scarf. I’m almost scared to touch it; it’s so beautiful in the ball. I admit, sometimes I take it out of the yarn basket just to pet and admire it for a minute or two.

Pirate-Husband says that if I really want to knit lace, I can knit cuffs for all his SCA shirts. When I pointed out that knitted lace isn’t documentable for his time period (mid-1500s), he counter-pointed out that neither is the machine-produced stuff he has sewn to his shirts now. I looked briefly at bobbin lace, which *is* documentable to the mid-1500s, but decided that there was too much fine thread there for me to enjoy playing with it as much as I enjoy knitting with yarn. So he’s going to get knitted lace, if he gets any lace at all. I’m sure he won’t complain.

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