Posts Tagged ‘self-striping’

New Normal for Now

September 14, 2018

I’m happy to report that Mom’s been home for a few weeks and has regained her pre-pneumonia strength and balance. It helped that she was quite fit before she was hospitalized and that we walked with her around the hospital floor several times a day whether she wanted to or not.

Last week, we introduced a couple of home health aides who help five days each week so brother Luke and I can maintain our work lives, sanity, and marriages. We also consider it an insurance policy of sorts so that neither of us is overwhelmed if the other gets sick, has a major work obligation, or wants to take a day trip or — gasp — vacation.

The transition and adjustment has been blessedly smooth. The aides are professional, kind, and experienced. Although she’s sometimes confused about why they’re there, Mom has welcomed them into her home and life quite readily.

A few days ago, she agreed to return to the hair salon, a short walk down the hill, after refusing to go for several weeks. The wonderful staff were pleased to see her and told her so. While her hair was washed, cut, and styled, I resumed my usual seat by the window and worked a few rounds of the Vanilla Latte sock.

Sock-salon

Yarn is Urth Merino Sock, colorway 2018, a mix of bright blues, greens, and oranges.

We spend a fair bit of time each day knitting. I don’t like to even think of the day that she forgets how to do the knit stitch. Having finished two garter stitch scarves, Mom has started another one in a lovely creamy white. I cast on 30 stitches, and she’s taken it from there.

mom-knits

Yesterday, we were joined — remotely — by my friend Judy, who reported that she was back in the knitting routine, too. From her home about 60 miles away, she sent an update via text.

striped-sock-judy

I believe the yarn is Diversity from Plymouth Yarn (Zebra colorway). Pretty sure I was with her when she bought it.

She makes knee socks while I prefer mid-calf or just below. If you’re a sock knitter, what’s your preference?

 

 

 

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The “Unquestionable Benefit” of Handknit Socks

March 3, 2018

Kevin’s been a fan of my knit socks since his first pair nearly five years ago. He’s even agreed to be a model for blog photos. Every once in while, he’ll text me a photo — usually from a table in the university library — of his feet, wrapped in lucky socks, as he studies for exams.

As he slogged his way through mid-term exams this week, he sent the following to our family group text:

Pro tip: Mom’s knitted socks are real juju for taking midterms. Even if they might not have all the answers, their benefit is unquestionable

KRD-lucky-socks

Warms the cockles of this mother’s heart.

Not Your Usual Bread Baking

February 18, 2018

For the past few years, I’ve been one of the bakers of my church’s eucharistic bread, the round, unleavened bread that’s blessed as part of the Mass and shared with the community. About every five or six weeks, it’s my turn to bring 5 “loaves” to the Saturday afternoon Mass. I’m always afraid that, in the midst of the comings and goings of the weekend, I’ll forget to bake, so I add a reminder to the fridge door.

I really love to bake yeast bread but rarely do so. I love proofing the yeast, kneading the dough, watching it rise, shaping the loaves. And the smell? Heavenly!

Unleavened bread? Not so much. It’s not meant to be kneaded more than a couple minutes before being patted into a circle and rolled thin.

Bread

The balance of sticky and floury is a delicate one. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to start over after scraping a stuck loaf off the counter. After rolling, each loaf is imprinted with a special press (the name of which escapes me). This is another opportunity for stickiness!

Bread2

Yesterday, I had some extra dough which is patted into lumpy free-form circles. Perfect with my supper of turkey soup!

Bread4

In knitting news, progress on Sock #2 is brought to you in part by the Winter Olympics and the NBA Slam Dunk and Three-Pointer competitions.

123sock

It’s Been a Minute

January 24, 2018

OK, it’s been waaaaay more than a minute, but here we are.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work and made good progress on Hannah’s throw (Siman Baby Blanket in Cascade 128 Superwash). But after a few square feet, I had to face the reality that it was getting too big to schlep about on the Metro and airplanes.

Simran-throw-growing

Clearly, socks  – the perfect travel companion – were needed. I dug out some lovely self-striping Felici from Knit Picks – colorway is Toucan.

Felici-sock-yarn

It felt great to be knitting a sock again! Part of what I love about making socks is the design and simple engineering of the thing. Although I’ve tried a couple at least one toe-up version, I prefer top-down.

Knit-sock-ribbing

My go-to pattern is the Yarn Harlot’s Good Plain Sock Recipe. I’ve made more than a dozen pairs with it, and it never fails to please me — nor the recipient. Kevin got a pair for Christmas. Same yarn, different colorway.

Kevin-socks

An added benefit of sock knitting? Totally portable, just about anywhere — for example, on a plane.

Knit-sock-airplane

It’s nice to be back. What’s on your needles these days?

 

 

One Down, One to Go

January 30, 2017

Now that I’ve got a sock project on my needles, I realize how much I enjoy knitting them. It took me ages to make my first pair — not to actually make them but to tackle the project. Looking back, I realize that all the features of socks that I loved in that first pair still hold true nearly six years later.

You finish the top ribbing and it’s on to the leg.

felici-sock-yarn-jan-2017

Before you have time to get bored with the rounds of stockinette (or whatever pattern you’ve chosen), it’s on to the heel flap. I’m partial to the Eye of Partridge stitch.

 

striped-sock-knit-heel

Since learning new techniques or patterns is part of what makes knitting so enjoyable, I think I may try a new heel on my next pair. Maybe an After Thought Heel? I like the idea of making a solid colored sock with a contrasting heel and toe. Plus anything created by knitting great Elizabeth Zimmerman must be worth a try.

That’s for another day and another pair. This one — and it is only one at this point — will be my go-to Good, Plain Sock Recipe from the Yarn Harlot.

krd-striped-knit-sock

Kevin, the intended recipient of this pair, has voiced texted his approval: “It looks great!! I like the colors.” It goes without saying that he’d like a pair rather than one, so I’d best cast on the next one lest I be hit with Second Sock Syndrome. Don’t laugh — it’s a thing.

New Socks for the New Year

January 4, 2017

I’ve cast on my first project of 2017 — good old reliable socks. These are in a blue and silver gray colorway, Beyond the Wall, of Felici Sock Yarn.

To be completely candid (and why not be completely candid?), I cast on the first sock in late December but discovered after a few inches that I’d selected a too-large needle. So I ripped it all out, switched to size 1 (2.25mm), and began again. This time I’m using double-pointed needles, which I’ve learned that I prefer to the Magic Loop method. I find the DPNs faster to work with — no fiddly shifting of stitches and moving of the cable.

Do you have a preference for circular knitting? DPNs? two circulars? Magic Loop?

Self-Striping Magic

August 10, 2016

Self-striping yarn amazes me. Actually, the dyers who create self-striping yarn amaze me. How do they do that? How do they figure out how much yarn to dye in each color, and, more importantly, how do they actually dye it?

I know I could look it up on the Interwebs and find some videos, but I rather enjoy the state of amazement and wonder.

Which brings me to the wonderful folks at Caterpillargreen, who’ve created a small line of exquisitely striping yarns. Despite my being in New England and them in British Columbia, my skein of fingering “Concrete Remix” arrived only a week after my online order. Using Caterpillargreen’s free pattern as a starting point, I quickly cast on.

Concrete-Remix-Shawl-1

The yarn is designed for a triangle shawl started from the top-center (the back of the wearer’s neck) outward to the edges (tips of the fingers). And here’s the wonder of the coloring: the initial stripes take much less yarn than the final ones, so the yarn is dyed accordingly so you end up with stripes of the same width.

Concrete-Remix-Shawl-2

I modified the pattern a bit, knitting the bright colors in seed stitch. Three stitch markers remind me where to add stitches (yo at edge of garter stitch edging and M1 on either side of the center line). The pattern is straightforward, so I can knit pretty much anywhere — watching TV, riding in a car/bus/train/ferry, or even while a spectator at a beer pong game.

Concrete-Remix-Shawl-3

One Toe Up, One Top Down

July 10, 2016

One of my knitting goals this year was to knit a pair of toe-up socks. I’m half-way there.

A stretchy, soft self-striping yarn in blues and greens was the perfect combination for Kevin. (Plymouth Yarn’s Diversity in Deep Sea) He’s a big fan of handknit socks and those colors, so it was pretty much a no-brainer.

In my excitement to start, I began in my usual top-down way using the YarnHarlot’s Good, Plain Sock Recipe. Only after I’d started to turn the heel did I recall my goal of learning to knit socks from the toe-up. The result was the sock on the right (Kevin’s left) — top down, partridge eye heel flap, gusset heel, and toe grafted via Kitchener stitch.

KRD_socks_heels

Fortified with a toe-up sock book from the library (love, love, love the library!), I started the second sock from the toe. The cast-on and toe shaping took a few extra minutes, but then I was on my way. No seam!

KRD_socks_toes

I wasn’t thrilled with the heel flap — mostly because there wasn’t really a flap. But I carried on. I found a variety of heels in the toe-up book and expect I’ll try a different version next time. Kevin declared them “terrific and cozy,” high praise from a young man who’s pretty particular about his clothing.

KRD_socks2

 

 

“I Wouldn’t Turn Down Socks, Mom”

January 17, 2016

With the completion of the green-gray Chromatic Cowl, I found myself in the unusual situation of not having a Work in Progress (WIP).

As I pulled out some patterns, knitting books, and bits of my yarn stash, I mentioned my dilemma — or opportunity — to Michael. He thought for a moment and, without really trying, came up with a solution.

“I wouldn’t turn down socks, Mom.”

The Yarn Harlot’s Good, Plain Sock Recipe in 3p, 1k ribbing. Cherry Tree Hill Yarn’s self-striping “Fingerpaints” in Java Jive colorway.

Striped Socks…Belatedly

March 22, 2015

I gave more knitted gifts for Christmas last year than I had before. Usually I start around Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that that’s not enough time to make more than a couple of items. I’m not a chunky knit, make-it-in-a-day knitter although I definitely understand the appeal.

Knitting whenever and wherever possible was my goal. Socks are great anytime projects because they’re small enough to stick in a bag or pocket and pull out anytime you have more than a minute to wait — just about anywhere. Like at the pediatrician’s office.

knit_striped_sock

In a waiting room while Patrick had surgery… (He’s all healed, thanks for asking)

striped_sock_2

I just love this self-striping yarn, Opal Hundertwasser, which knits up beautifully — almost like magic.

Striped_knit_sock_at_hockey_game

OK, I got a few odd looks while knitting at a college hockey game, but I did my best to be a Fearless Knitter (as I tell my knitting students). A Fearless Knitter on a mission.

Finished_striped_sock

Handknit socks aren’t everyone’s first choice, but I’m doing my best to convert those folks one pair at a time.

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