Friday Nights are for Blogging (Apparently)

E.B. in progress. Looking good, eh?

E.B. in progress. Looking good, eh?

Another Friday night, another night knitting by the pool, and another blog post. I hope I don’t have the makings of a rut here! It’s winding down to the end of summer. It was a blissfully cool evening by the pool, which is a sure sign that fall is coming. It was the first week of school for my children, which also signaled major change for my daughter, who has started high school.

There will be only one more Friday night before the pool closes for the season. And yes, I do feel a bit cheated of summer still. But at the same time I am looking forward to chilly fall evenings with steaming stew pots and comfy sweaters. I have to remind myself that except for when it is senselessly, bitterly cold, there are good things about every sort of weather, so I shouldn’t really look upon this time as a sad thing. There are many good things yet to come.

So once again, my DH’s camera provided the photo for this entry, as it did last week. But I realize now that I didn’t say why. My camera broke. My beloved, new camera that I just got for my birthday last month. The LCD screen somehow got damaged from the inside, and of course, Canon decided that such damage is not covered under their warranty, so my brand new camera just had a $150 repair, despite being less than two months old. Sigh… I hope I continue to get lots of use out of it and love it as I had so far. It has turned out to be one very expensive camera.

And so I’m knitting. I’m making it a point to knit some on the mystery project every day. But now, I’m getting sorely tempted to take a break and knit at least one pair of funky, wonderful socks. Why? Because I feel like I’ve hit a knitting jackpot, that’s why. I saw an ad recently on Ravelry that Lucy Neatby, yes THE Lucy Neatby, is coming to a shop about an hour from my house for an entire weekend to teach a series of knitting workshops. I had to jump at the chance. So, ok, what did I do? I signed up for a 6-hour sock workshop, so I can learn from the master. “But, wait,” I hear you saying, “You don’t knit socks.” You’ve said it at least a thousand times, right here, on this very blog. What gives?”

Well, I have knit socks, but generally I find them intimidating. So, it’s confession time. I have never felt confident enough to knit socks. So, I am hoping that learning from Lucy Neatby will inspire my courage and inspire me to become a true sock knitter. I have a whole bin full of crazy sock yarns just waiting to be knit up. All I need is a little inspiration and a lot of courage. I can do it. And what better way to get started?

Of course, as luck would have it, this once-in-a-lifetime knitting-Nirvana experience would have to fall on my 18th wedding anniversary. But, I’ll deal with that little issue way later. Right now, I’ve got to keep knitting.

A Box Full O’ Pretty

Yesterday, I was excited to receive a box full of new yarns from Knit Picks!

When Stroll Tonals became available last week, I had to order some! Now, I know y’all have heard me say that I am NOT a sock knitter. But, how could I not love this yarn? For me, it’s all about the colors. In fact, I loved the colors so much that I had a bit of trouble narrowing down my color selections. So, I got eight hanks. That sounds like a lot, but I have plans for them.

Stroll Tonals in blues and purples

Stroll Tonals in blues and purples

Left to right are Royalty, Blue Violet, Blue Yonder, and Deep Waters.

Stroll Tonals, in bright, springy colors

Stroll Tonals, in bright, springy colors

Left to right are Summer Blooms, Queen Anne, Golden Glow, and Springtime.

So, what’s a not-sock-knitter supposed to do with such lovely sock yarns? Well. for starters I’m thinking of a couple of really adorable baby sets, with sweaters, hats,and yes, matching socks. I still have to do some sketching and planning, but I’m seeing a couple of things in my head right now that I think would make really cute baby sets.

Then, you know what else I’m thinking? Socks. Yep… socks. Soft and squishy socks with lovely contrasting heels and toes. Maybe even socks for me. How about that?

If I didn’t have a sweater to finish first, I’d start now. I love this yarn. It’s so… pretty.

Thanks, Knit Picks. You got me. Again.

Dipping My Toes Back In…

I guess it’s not a secret that I’ve been in a slump. It would be easy to say that I’ve been extra busy at work, not sleeping well so exhausted, and extra busy with the kids. All of these things are very true. But, when I look at the sum total of my knitting that has taken place over the last month (or rather, what hasn’t taken place), it’s probably more safe to say that I have slumped below slump. I’ve knit maybe half a dozen rows on the body of a small toy, and crept along on a simple hat until I dropped some stitches three weeks ago and haven’t touched it since.

Is it enough to say that I’m bored? Nah. But that would be true, too. Nevermind that I’ve got at least half a dozen active UFOs, and a practically uncountable pile of stagnant ones. How can I possibly be bored? Sigh… I don’t know… but, I am.

So, to do something completely different, I am going to make socks. Yes, that’s right, I said socks. I’ve never done more than a pair of baggy worsted weight socks for practice, just so I could see how they’re made. But I have a bin full of sock yarn crying out to have something done with it. My excuse was that I don’t wear socks. I wear a brace on my legs that is very form fitting and I had always assumed that I could not wear socks with them. So, I’ve worn nothing but hose for the last 13 years. But a few weeks ago I got some new braces, and guess what? They’re actually more comfortable with socks. Who knew? Now I get to share the joy of sock knitting, if I ever get to truly experience it, AND wear the fruits of my labor.

purple and pink yarn being balled up

purple and pink yarn being balled up

So I found a hank of Lisa Souza Sock! Merino in the Berry Poppins colorway. It’s a yummy, pinky-purple that I think if I had to choose, is the best choice for my first pair of actual socks.

Now, of course, comes the hard part: choosing a pattern. I want to do toe-up, and it needs to be something with a relatively short stitch repeat so I can adjust to my odd foot size easily enough. (I love the Monkey Socks pattern, for example, but with a 16-stitch repeat it’s either too large or too small for me.) The pattern has to be easy enough for a novice like me, but not too boring, because we all know what happens when I get bored. Someone has suggested Leyburn Socks (link to free pattern pdf file) and others have endorsed anything by WendyKnits (Yes, I agree that her patterns are totally awesome.). With so many patterns to choose from, I’m going to take a couple days to decide. It’s going to take me that long to ball up Lisa Souza’s yarn anyway; as pretty as her hanks are, and oh, I love them so much that I have a lot of them), I have not mastered a method of placing her hanks on my swift in such a way that at some point they don’t just end up a knotted mess as the strands get pulled off. It’s yarn barf, every time, but worth it in the end.

The other thing I’m doing to help myself get over the blues? Some long overdue knitting time with my knit buddy Rhoda. She’s coming on Saturday, and I’m already mulling over some possible movie choices for us. I’m looking so forward to it! Hopefully all this will give me some renewed energy for knitting. Goodness knows that I’m generally happier when I knit regularly, so I just need to keep reminding myself of that. Knitting=happiness. It should be as simple as that.

Knitting slump? Over. Starting now.

Socks!

first pair of socks finishedOk, seriously? It’s like, after midnight here and I really should be in bed, but… LOOK! My first socks are DONE! Can you believe it? I know I can’t!

Ok, so they’re a little big, and pretty ugly, but you know what? Now I know how socks are made! I have the power! Ok, I’m punchy. Did I mention it’s after midnight?

I haven’t knit much or been on the internet over the last couple of days. Bad storms knocked out our power, and took out the cable for even longer. I’m fine with my knitting, but after dark when the power’s out, I really feel my age. There was a time when I could have knit by flashlight, but I guess those days are a thing of the past. So it took me the last two days to do a half a row on the second sock and then the sewn bind off.

The pattern for the socks was Two Toe-Up Socks on One Circular Needle, by Kristin Bellehumeur, a.k.a., “Silver”. Only I did one sock at a time, knowing that it’s hard to manage two balls of yarn when most of my knitting takes place in the car and the yarn ball is in my purse at my feet. I pretty much followed the pattern as written (except for the two socks part!) and did 36 rounds for the foot and 25 rounds for the ribbing. They’re for the daughter, but because they’re big, they actually fit the husband as well, who has requested a pair with a longer, tighter cuff. Oh, and machine washable. That’s a biggie. So I’ll be making him some “sleeping socks” out of worsted weight superwash wool in the near future. He’ll be getting some for Christmas, I think. The guy is even wearing his sleeping socks to bed right now, and it was 90 degrees today. (TMI? Ok but I’m just sayin’. The guy likes his socks!)

My next socks will be muuuuuuuuuch smaller. I plan to spend most of the summer focusing on baby things. Oh, and there’s that brown ripple afghan on the sofa that needs to be finished. Wish me luck!