Posts Tagged ‘Antigua socks’

Yet Again

August 16, 2019

A quick glimpse through my stash might lead you to conclude that I only knit with sock yarn. You’d be wrong but only somewhat.

Sock yarn is so easy to buy because I always know what I’ll make with it. As opposed to the two skeins of Tosh DK, one orange and one dark grey, that I bought several years ago in Maine. Or the lusciously soft merino-alpaca blend that I couldn’t resist but am paralyzed by choice when it comes to selecting a pattern, a dilemma that applies to just about all yarn in my stash.

Thank you for coming to my “Stash Psychology” TED talk.

The chevron pattern of Rita Taylor’s “Antigua” socks provided just the right amount of variety for the bright colors of Bumblebee Acres’ “Sansa” yarn.

close up of folded knit sock in orange, blue, green yarn

I made the leg longer than the pattern called for and included an Eye of Partridge heel, my favorite.

close up of folded knit sock in orange, blue, green yarn

They’re now wrapped in tissue paper and tucked away for a special December birthday.

two knit socks hanging to dry

Neither of my two current WIPs is a sock. How long do you suppose that’ll last?

Knitting Meditation

August 9, 2019

I’ve been meditating pretty regularly for the past six months, and I can honestly say, it’s been life altering. I’m quite confident that I’d be a much grumpier and less accepting person without this 10- or 15-minute daily practice.

Am I completely mellow all the time? Nope. Do I glide through each day radiating goodness and light? Ha!

But my ability to experience life’s ups and downs as they come to me — and as they spin around in my mind — with a bit more distance and curiosity and with less judgement or baggage, has definitely improved.

There are loads of meditation apps available, but I’ve landed on Headspace, which my brother Michael introduced to me. It’s completely accessible and easy to use. The voice of the founder, Andy Puddingstone (a fascinating man in his own right), is reassuring and encouraging.

“We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it.”

Andy Puddingstone, Headspace

I’ve long thought that knitting is a kind of meditation: the repetitive movements, the counting of stitches, or quiet chanting of a stitch pattern — “knit into front and back, knit two, slip-knit-passover, knit one, knit two together, knit two, knit into front and back” (the chevron pattern of my current sock project).

If you’re concentrating on a pattern, the mind’s chitter-chatter of thoughts has to take a backseat — at least for while.

foot with knitted sock in orange, green, blue yarn

Of course, I’m not alone in this. There are scientific studies that show the mental and physical benefits of handcrafts. No less than Harvard’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine has found that knitting, with its repetitive motions and focus, can elicit the body’s relaxation response, the opposite of the “fight or flight” response.

One of the things that I love about knitting is that it’s both a social and a solitary craft. You can knit while talking with friends even those who aren’t knitting. We knitters do have friends and family who don’t share our craft. Yet.

Much of my knitting over the past year has been essentially solitary. While I’m sitting with Mom for at least several hours each day, we’re not chatting much at all since her ability to speak or make sense of conversation has diminished.

My mind can easily slip into a state of worry about things large and small — will my client like my latest edits? why didn’t I handle that last conversation with [insert family member’s name here] better? will our democracy survive? what does that warning light in the car mean? I honestly wonder how I’d maintain my generally positive spirits if I didn’t have knitting.

I found out earlier this week, when I ran out of yarn shortly after arriving at Mom’s apartment. I’d forgotten to toss the other ball of sock yarn into my bag before I left home. As I worked my last few rounds, I recalled my meditation practice, breathed deeply, and settled in for the rest of the afternoon.

The Answer to Everything

July 31, 2019

Apparently the Hitchhiker scarf got its name from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a book that I may have read at some point but have no recollection of. And I certainly don’t recall that, in the book, the number 42 is “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

What’s the connection between an asymmetrical, triangular scarf and this book? You may be wondering, as I was — although only the slightest of wondering since I don’t think too much about the origin of pattern names.

Turns out that the 150g of fingering yarn that the designer, Martina Behm, used when designing the scarf created 42 “teeth” along the saw-tooth border.

I’m guessing she didn’t know that before she started, which only adds to my admiration of her creativity that, when she finished and counted the teeth, she thought, “Oh, 42 teeth. That’s the answer to the ultimate question of everything, so I’ll name this scarf after Douglas Adams’ 1995 book,” which was based on a 1978 BBC radio comedy series, but that’s a whole different story!.

The saw-tooth edge reminds me of the spikes on a dragon’s tail, and dragons remind me of Game of Thrones (something else I’ve never read or watched), and that makes this the perfect pattern for a skein of “Daenerys Targaryen” Shimmer Sock yarn from Bumblebee Acres’ Game of Thrones collection.

Before the GoT collection was discontinued, I bought another skein, this one in the “Sansa” colorway. Hannah said she thought it’d make a great pair of socks for her. I expect she’s right, so I’ve started a pair of Antigua socks in a nice chevron pattern.

close up of knit sock in blue, green, orange yarn in chevron pattern

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