Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Gorgeous ideas for styling grocery store / corner store flowers. 11 of the most beautiful libraries in the world. These good riddance gifs are all kinds of awesome. Peggy is my fave. Every single way to cook an egg, in a single video.  My Favourite Pins This Week

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Theme

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 05/01/2019 - 16:25

Here we are, the first of May, and last night I squeaked my April socks in under the wire.  The Self-Imposed-Sock-Club continues to go really pretty well – I stuck the landing in January, February, March and now – boom. April’s socks were finished on time too. A small confession though – I didn’t pull a bag from the Sock Club for these ones.  I’d done that, gone and gotten a bag – I wound the yarn and everything, and then I was at the DFW Fiber Fest and I was in the Must Stash Yarn Booth and I saw the Ready Player One yarn and then…

Yup. Lost it. I dropped that first yarn like it was moth-ridden trash, and these babies simply fell off the needles. I adore them, and they match my current favourite (store bought) sweater perfectly – which upsets me to no end, because I didn’t knit them in my size.  They’re too big – I have really tiny feet, and as much as I wanted these to be for me, I knew that it wasn’t a good fit. That colourway has 32 stripes, and I know I don’t have enough foot length to showcase it. They’re in the long-range planning box now, and someone will be rather happy come Christmas, I predict.

I didn’t use a pattern, just banged them out as a plain tube, with a half round of waste yarn knit in where I wanted the heel to be.  When I was done knitting the foot, I went back, unpicked the yarn, and knit a heel in. (Well, technically I knit in a toe. They’re the same.) I’d call it an Afterthought Heel, but I feel like if you plan one then maybe you can’t say that. I did rig the heels and toes a little bit, pulling out a bit of yarn here and there to keep the stripes equidistant as the number of stitches in a round changed, because I can be picky like that, and I’d rather weave in extra ends than not have them stripe perfectly, all the way to the ends.

Also, I knit the leftovers into a frock for the bunny and I love it almost as much as the socks. I don’t see this bunny clothes thing really wearing off.

That will be all.

(PS. It took almost as long to take those pictures – dashing from the camera to the chesterfield while trying to keep things in focus -as it did to knit the dress, except for the collar. That was %$&ing fiddly.)

(PPS. There’s a few spots suddenly free at our Strung Along June Retreat.  June is the one we call “Knit, Play, Cook” and it’s a day of knitting classes with me and Debbi Stone, a day of dyeing with Judith MacKenzie, and a day of cooking classes with Chef Dan and his team. There’s details here – drop us a line if you’d like to join us. This is, by the way, the only retreat we do each year that’s for knitters – no spinning skills required, and knitters (and cooks) of all levels will do just fine.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Maybe it’s the tail

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 18:48

I like to think of myself as some sort of higher-order knitter.  I know, as I type it, that this is quite vain. I can feel that – the little tingle in the back of my mind urging humility and saying “Oh, well now, don’t you think you’re all that and a bag of chips.” Understandably, that voice sounds exactly like my mother, though I don’t think she ever said that to me, I’ve just posthumously assigned her the role of judge and jury. Like I said, I know that it’s vanity, but as a woman who is perfectly well aware that she is neither stunningly beautiful, nor smokin’ hot, I am perfectly willing to invest my personal dose of egotism in this one area and say that I am a good and proper knitter – top notch really.

As this sort of knitter, I am occasionally surprised by what captivates me. Enter – the bunny. As Elliot’s second Easter approached and I realized it was the first Easter he would really care about or maybe remember, I decided I would knit him a bunny.

Let me be clear. Things were normal at this point. It was Easter, I have a grandbaby, I would knit him a bunny… super normal. I proceeded to search for same (it was not hard, this bunny was already in my queue.)

Halfway through the knitting of the bunny, I realized that I wanted the bunny gender neutral. Elliot should decide if the rabbit in question was a boy or a girl, so I swapped out the legs and feet with this boy bunny.  When I was done, the bunny was neutral. Not a boy or a girl, but decidedly bunny (see attached photo of bunny bum.)

Now here’s where it got odd. I decided I should knit the bunny some clothes, so he/she/it may cover itself in the manner of its (or Elliot’s) choosing, and as I decided what clothes I should knit, I felt an odd bit of knitterly obsession take hold.  As I cast on for a pair of bunny short pants, it happened.  You would think that this sort of knitting would be captivating, would you? It should be entrelac that gets me, intricate lace, cables that twist and turn all over a pair of socks, but instead here I was, obsessing over the hem of a tiny skirt and only wanting more. Should the bunny have pants? Should it have a sweater? Should there be a dress? A skirt? A CAPE? I rooted through the stash for appropriately tiny buttons. I cackled as a I finished the wee sweater.  I BLOCKED IT.

I started equipping a bunny for all possible life choices.  Is the bunny a girl in a dress? A boy in a sweater and short pants? A boy in a dress? A girl in trousers? The bunny needed options. The bunny craved choices.

In the end, Elliot was the one to decide.  It is a bunny.  It wears clothes. It is genderless, and simply likes to go for walks, and to look good while doing it.

He was clear, I think, though he’s still not much for wordy communication.

Me? Here I am, a knitter proud of my skills and abilities, and I’m trying not to knit a bunny a bear costume.*

*Only difficulties with the ears are holding me back.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: The Kind That Likes Flowers

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 04/29/2019 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Birkin and Colors for a Cloudy Day Knitter Extraordinaire: Sally (Ravelry Profile and Blog) Mods: Sally combined the yoke and body of Birkin with the hem detail of Colors for a Cloudy Day, and then modified the hem construction as well- great details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Swatch Stories: The Saga Continues

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:24
In retrospect, it was totally inevitable. What began as a quick experiment turned into much, much more. 

It started quite innocently, as these things often do. My initial objective was to work a series of  small swatches to demonstrate how very different the same stitch can look in various yarns and color combos. The swatches featured the syncopated slip stitch which can be used to create vertical stripes.

One swatch was worked in the two deepest shades from the ombre mini-skein set above (Mad Hatter Shillings & Pence by Wonderland Yarns). The result was attractive but understated, because the vertical stripes were almost indiscernible in such closely related colors.

And this is where things began to go sideways. There are plenty of projects on the needles clamoring for attention, but I simply couldn't resist taking the experiment just one step further. So, I paired the medium shade with the lighter of the two deepest colors, and worked another section.


Uh oh, that new section looks rather appealing. Surely I should try just one more combo and blend the medium with the second-lightest shade, just to see what happens?
Well look at that, the third section is also attractive, perhaps I should just keep going? For one full day, I held firm. Then I buckled and started working the last section with the two lightest shades.
The good news? I love the overall effect, and for sheer versatility and stashbusting potential, this stitch is definitely a keeper. 

The bad news? The Mad Hatter yarn is technically slated for a different project, but I may have to rethink that plan. Meanwhile, I'm already searching through the stash to see what other yarns and combos might lend themselves to this approach. 


The reality? The saga continues. (And I see lots of swatching in my future.) 
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 04/26/2019 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week The one word question that gets to the heart of everything, in business or life. The radical act of embracing your own mediocrity. Hey, we can’t all be great at everything. Six solo dates to schedule for yourself – because if you don’t love your own company, how

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Same Stitch, Different Looks

Knitting | Work in Progress - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 21:51
Something as simple as changing yarns and/or color combinations can completely transform the look and feel of a project. That's only one of the many things that makes knitting both fascinating and challenging.

For example, I have as you know been somewhat obsessed with this charming little slip stitch. It creates an appealing texture that's almost-but-not-quite rib-like. In solid shades, the spotlight remains on the texture.

Add in a second color, however, and this simple stitch takes on fresh interest. It's a quick and easy way to produce vertical stripes that resemble corrugated ribs, but it offers more advantages. The fabric is stretchy, and the stripes are worked without the fuss of stranding. With two contrasting colors worked in a springy worsted merino (Valley Yarns Amherst), the stripes are clearly defined.


If you pair a variegated yarn (KFI Indulgence Eggplant) with a high-contrast solid (Sugar Bush Bliss Platinum), however, the vertical stripes take on a new dimension. Because Indulgence features slow or long-print color changes that shift from eggplant to plum and rose, the transitions create an interesting gradient effect.



Work the same long-print variegated with a tonal yarn in a compatible shade (Baah Aspen Violet), and the results are quite different.



To tame a yarn that's prone to pooling, work a rapid color changing variegated (Happy Feet Berries) with a closely related solid (Valley Yarns Charlemont Burgundy). Because the colors blend together, the vertical stripes are still visible, but they're much more understated.



Or you could really get carried away as I did, and match two very closely related tonals (Wonderland Yarns Mad Hatter Shillings & Pence) for vertical striping so subtle, the two shades are almost indistinguishable.


Life and work have been demanding in ways I won't even attempt to describe, so as you can see, I've been knitting swatches as a small but invaluable diversion. Each one uses the same syncopated slip stitch worked in a variety of yarns to demonstrate some of the many possibilities when you let color do much of the work.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Ok Fine

Yarn Harlot - Sat, 04/13/2019 - 12:51

Today is the first training ride for the Bike Rally.  I’ve been watching this date creep up on me, trying to get my head around it.  I’ve even been at the meetings where we talk about when training will start, and what the schedule will be, and yay verily it was even me who approved the schedule, and I did so super calmly, and like I thought it was a good idea – which I do, intellectually.

Emotionally? Well, here’s the thing.  I have not been back on my bike since the accident last fall when I broke my wrist.

I can feel now, as I look at my bike in the hall, pump up my tires (wipe the dust off the bike) that I have made a mistake.  What I should have done was get back on my bike the exact moment that I was allowed to. Instead, when my allotted time was up, I told myself that the weather was too cold, that I was too busy…  I even kitted up a few times – putting on my cycling gear and telling people I was leaving, then standing there, not quite able to go.  I should have forced myself, because now here I am and I have given nervousness time and fertile ground to turn all the way into fear and dread.

Ken reminded me that I have ridden thousands of kilometres, and never hurt myself, except for that once. (Ken has a very analytical mind.)  Those are good odds, he reminds me.  He’s right too, getting hurt once doesn’t make it more likely I’ll fall again, that’s not how odds work, or learning, or luck.  I am, in fact – less likely to get hurt this time, and last night at a party, a cycling friend said that it would take “two strokes on the bike” and I’d remember everything that’s great about it. (I am hoping he’s right, but think that maybe he underestimates my ability to be properly neurotic.)

In any case, now I’ve got no choice.  I’m the Chair of the rally, I am simply going to have to ride my bike, and today is the day I have to start, so in 15 minutes I am going to *&^%$#ing leave here, and ride my bike and it is going to be fine and then I’ll be over it.

Right?

Anyway, if you want to- it’s a good day to send me a ding.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Dear Elliot

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 04/12/2019 - 22:21

My darling Elliot, you are two now, and though I did not think it possible, we all love you even more than we did on your first Birthday – which is really saying something, because several of us cried that day out of sheer joy.

While I could wax poetic about your many fine qualities, and you are indeed one of the most charming people I have ever met, allow me to state here that you posses a miraculous trait, one we haven’t seen in our family for three generations – you are not picky in any way. You will try almost anything, if you can be reassured that it is safe. You will eat almost any food, if a royal taster eats it first, you will try any game, if someone else looks like they’re having fun before you, and you will go anywhere, if someone is going with you.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have preferences and opinions – you would, for example, rather die than eat mashed potatoes, and this is a position that I can respect. A reasonable amount of suspicion is warranted. You will learn as you grow older that mashed potatoes are a very fickle food often not worth eating, but other than that, you’ll happily give almost anything else a try, and this has led to some wonderful discoveries, like that your favourite vegetable at present is radishes.

You are in fact so adventuresome, such a little keener – so unlike so many other two year olds, we have dubbed you “The Yes Man.” Would you like to read a book? Yes. Would you like to go for a walk? Yes. Would you like to try this dinner? Yes. Would you like to go with Poppy to the store? Yes. Would you like to have a cuddle with Grammy? Yes. Would you like to taste this tofu? Yes. Yes, the answer is almost always yes.  Even when it’s bedtime and you’re decidedly not into that scene, your protests are pretty weak, for a two year old. If the heartless tyrants trying to make you lie down sweeten the pot with a story, you’re in.

You are patient, not just for a two year old, but a human, and you have a wonderful (if somewhat un-evolved) sense of humour. (We are still getting a lot of mileage out of bonking trains together.) You are a very, very good listener, and it boggles my mind that a simple “no thank you” is enough to redirect your mistakes, most of the time. You are sensitive, and very kind, even if you still wake your mother to nurse through the night. (She is very patient too, still – I don’t know how much longer she wants to party through the night with you. Think over your choices, will you? I know she appreciates your success in the potty department, but it might not buy you that much time.)

You are the absolute light of our lives, the best thing that’s happened around here in a long time, and I would do anything for you, even kill a spider, and I don’t think I’d do that for anyone else.

It is all this, my darling boy, that means I can forgive you this week’s one transgression, which was your absolute refusal to put on your Birthday sweater at your party. I’m no fool, I understand that a sweater can’t compete with a train, but note for next year, it’s good form to pretend.

Thanks for modelling it the next day – and thanks to your Mama for the snaps.

Pattern: Dog Star.  Yarn: Alpha B Yarn Bluefaced Leicester DK. Colours: Candygram (grey) Hey , Sailor (the blue) and Two Olives, Please. (The olive.) Size: a slightly shrunken version of the 2-4.

We love you, and I wasn’t serious about the night nursing. You do it as long as you want. Your Mama will miss it someday.

PS. Your hair is coming along nicely. Don’t listen to your grandfather. He’s just jealous.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

sweater swagger

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 04/11/2019 - 00:09

You guys! I don’t know how it’s happened but I am on a sweater finishing roll right now. The Weekender was such a joy to knit. Although I have to admit that when I first read the pattern and saw that it began with a tubular cast-on, my enthusiasm level was dialed down quite a bit. But there was a link in the pattern to a very helpful tutorial which has me now completely in love with the technique. The rest of the pattern was just as fun to knit and I love the cozy, relaxed style of the finished sweater. I honestly would be wearing this 24/7 if the darn weather here in Maryland would cooperate. At least it’s cool enough in the mornings to wear a wool sweater. The tweedy yarn is from Peace Fleece. It is very rustic and woolly but softened up a lot after a good soak. I am already dreaming of a marled version. Maybe I’ll splurge on some special farm yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool next month.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Lark Lakeland

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Lakeland Knitter Extraordinaire: Liz (On Ravelry here) Mods: Slimmed the sleeves and the overall fit of the sweater, adjusted the neckline for a scoop, and shortened the length. Details on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: The original pattern is a big cozy cocoon of a sweater and beautifully designed, but

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knit musings and such...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 17:16
Hello loves! Pattern~ Feathering the Nest by Danielle Jorge Yarn~ Playful Day Yarns in the colorway Himalayan Salt. No need to be alarmed or check your calendars, It is indeed Sunday and I am posting. ;) First things first, how are you and how have you been? Myself, it has... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Literary party games? Sign me up! Complaints have no magic. So true. How to be a better listener. Why you shouldn’t hit the snooze button. Although I find the advice of ‘go to bed earlier’ to be completely unhelpful, in the same category of ‘just get over it’

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Simple and Perfect Fingerless Mitts

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 11:00

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** this post is sponsored by Spinrite yarns. All opinions and photos are my own.** I’ve long been interested in marled yarn, there is something so visually appealing about the stripy swirl of two colours together that adds a bit more dimension and visual interest, especially in simple stitches. Case in point – I wanted

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Weekend in the County with Knitting Friends

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:00

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If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a whole bunch of photos on my Instagram stories of me, Tanis (of Tanis Fiber Arts) and Shireen (of The Blue Brick) having a little weekend away in Prince Edward County. I’m a massive fan of the county and have planning a weekend in the County

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 04/02/2019 - 01:20

I tried really hard to write a post where I was all La-dee-da about something that happened today, but I just can’t gaslight you all that way. I’ve got to be honest, it’s just not fair otherwise. Last night I took a guess at a needle size, and knit a swatch for Elliot’s sweater. Then I washed it (because unwashed swatches are total lying arseholes) and because it’s colourwork. (Remember from a post or two ago? I want to see dye problems now, not in the finished sweater.) Then I laid it tidily out to dry, and went about my life.  I returned, not too much later and measured it.

Knitters, I have both stitch and row gauge on the first try.  Like I said, I was going to try and pretend to be all casual about that BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE IT IS LIKE FINDING A FRIENDLY SPARKLE UNICORN IN YOUR BATHTUB.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

march finishes

Autumn Geisha - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 00:56

Hooray I actually finished a sweater!!! So incredibly excited to cast off my Edith Cardigan while it is still chilly enough to wear. Good thing that it is extremely cozy because every year when the calendar turns to March, the hubby dials down the heat to sub-zero temps. But this year I will not engage in thermostat battles :)  I love how warm & woolly this cardigan is. It was my first time knitting a dropped shoulder construction and I was a little concerned with how the finished sweater would look since I usually wear raglan sweaters. Really pleased with the relaxed fit. It was a very well written pattern and would make a great first sweater project. I am debating on whether or not to add in the big patch pockets. Maybe at some point down the line but for now, I want to finish up my Weekender and cast on for some Easter socks. Here’s the pair I made for St. Patrick’s Day:


These were fun fun fun to knit! The yarn is from Desert Vista Dyeworks in the Zombody go bragh colorway. Those green stripes have me looking forward to some fun Spring knitting. What’s currently on your knitting needles? Anything on the radar for Spring?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

That’s a Week Excuse

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 03/31/2019 - 18:01

It snowed again last night, which is not at all unusual for March/April, and is still inexplicably heartbreaking. I got up, took one look at it, thought about what this all means to spring and hope and then I thought “What do I care. I am going to Texas.”  In three days I will get on a plane and I will go somewhere that the sun is shining and it is warm and flowers are blooming (maybe even the bluebonnets which is very exciting) and I will walk outside and not once while I am there, will I think of knitted accessories in their capacity to prevent frostbite.

I thought this, gleefully and happily, as I drank coffee – cheerfully raising my cup to the snow in as much of a of “screw you” gesture as one can manage with coffee in one hand and knitting in the other. (I have been practicing this particular gesture with those exact items in my hands for some decades now, and it’s actually pretty solid.) I thought about how nice it will be to see my Texas friends and some of my colleagues, and reflected that this event is one of my favourites every year, only made more perfect by the fact that this year, I’m home in time for Elliot’s 2nd birthday, which is the Monday after DFW.

In that exact moment -two things happened.  I imagined how cute he was going to look opening his presents and wearing his new birthday sweater, and suddenly realized that if I was looking forward to seeing him when I got back and that I was also looking forward to DFW in just a few days, that this actually meant whatever idea I had about there being buckets of time to get his sweater knit might be crazier than a bag of wet weasels.

I have been looking at the yarn for his sweater for about three weeks now – and I keep thinking about what a little sweater it is, and how it’s going to be so fast and I don’t have to worry, and now, suddenly, I think I have to worry, or at least start knitting. I’ve got seven days to whack together a sweater.

I should at least make a swatch today.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/29/2019 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I adore this – a typewriter is set up at the Grand Canyon. What we did before the internet. Instead of March Madness (a US college basketball thing), the internet presents…. March Sadness. Totally made me laugh. The long, strange history of novelists who become spies. This actually makes

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

And then she said

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 19:54

I don’t know if all of you know this, but the comments on blog posts (at least here) are, generally speaking- better than the post itself.  I don’t know how it happened, but there’s a lot of cleverness and entertainment going on in there. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that if one person types it, at least 20 people were thinking it, so let’s see what’s happening down there, shall we?

Elizabeth wrote: I confess that even though I teach stranded knitting, I’ve never knitted a pair of stranded socks. I guess I’m concerned that they won’t have the necessary elasticity.

I think lots of sock knitters (me included sometimes) more than occasionally rely on stretch in a knit to achieve fit, and get used to that. For example, short row heeled socks are often a poor fit for people with a high instep, simply because there’s less fabric present than with a flap heel. That’s just a fact. When I say that though, a whole bunch of knitters line up and say “nuh-uh. I have a high instep and I ONLY knit short row heels and they fit bloody great actually.” Then I look at those (very nice) socks, and low and behold, they’re knit at a looseish gauge that allows for heaps of stretch and that’s how they’re getting fit in the instep – the fabric is often quite stretched through that section. Nothing wrong with this as a strategy, except it stops working when you’re knitting stranded socks. Elizabeth is right – there is less stretch in a pair of colourwork socks like these, so you have to make sure that they actually fit – and it helps to consider a flap heel. (Insert lecture here about gauge. I won’t type it, you already know.)

Jeremy writes: I am going to get that pattern. I always sweat out the amount of yarn I have when I knit socks because I have US size 12 feet. (11.5 inches). 

Smart -I’ve got loads left, so this is totally a good big foot strategy. Ken’s feet aren’t quite as bit as yours, but I have 68/100g left of the grey, 60/100g of the white and 25/50g of the red.  I could make a whole other pair out of my leftovers.

Tracy B (and Charissa echoed her) said ” I’m just wondering though – would the decreases on the bottom of the heel bother a person? It’s almost like a seam right there.”

I don’t think so.  It’s not big at all, and after a wear or two will fade into the work – plus it falls right into the little arch of your foot, so it’s not like you’re really standing on it.  I freakin’ love it.  Plus, we’re all not as princess-and-the-pea as we think we are.  All commercial socks/hose/tights have a seam or two, and most of us wear them every day. (Well, not me.) Ken’s as fussy as they come that way, he’s the type of guy who’s had to excuse himself from a meeting to cut the tag off a shirt because he simply can’t go on, and I’m not worried this will bother him in the slightest.  I’ll let you know though.

Victoria (and Bridget) and probably a bunch of you because knitters are obsessed with this say: ” I just wish you had posted a picture of the inside of the socks so we could see how you stranded them.”

What, I ask you, is with knitters wanting to see the inside of stuff. I mean – I always want to see the inside too, but why do you think we are so weird about it? I’m not convinced it’s about construction – how we stranded them, or whatever, because I’ve heard knitters judge their work by the inside as well as the outside – like whatever amazing thing they’ve wrought on the public side doesn’t count unless it’s just as nice in secret.  We are an odd bunch, I tell you that, but I am with you – so here:

This should answer the question from Jan who said “I’m wondering about what you did about the floats? Did you catch every single stitch? I could see catching every 3 or so stitches on a hat, but in a sock , especially at the foot, it seems even short floats would catch toes and add to the general discomfort–”

As you can see, I certainly didn’t catch every one – that’s a recipe for a lack of stretch,  and a dimpled, inflexible fabric.  I only caught the floats once in the repeat – there’s a spot where the float goes seven stitches, and I caught it in the centre of that – and at the time I knew I didn’t have to do that either, but felt compelled.  You’d need freakishly tiny toes to worry about catching them.  The floats lie flat, and aren’t loops at all.

Pamela says “Do you block your socks in sock blockers or just smooth them out?”

I just smooth them out. They get a nice bath in the sink with slightly warm water and the wool wash currently in rotation. (Usually Soak or Eucalan.) When it’s been in there about 20 minutes, I give them a gentle tug in all directions to encourage things to even out, and then I gently squeeze them, roll them up in a towel and step on it a few times, then lay them flat to dry, pushing them into shape. Usually I come back once or twice while they’re drying to move them around a bit and rearrange things so that I don’t get fold lines. (This is almost always a failure, and doesn’t matter.)

Everyone in the whole world “Warm water holy crap Steph what the hell is wrong with you and I would be totally worried those socks would turn pink when you soak them in water especially warm, what the ^%&^%$# is wrong with you risking socks that way?”

Here’s the thing – before I do any colourwork of any kind, even if I have absolutely no concerns about gauge – I always, every time, I swear…. knit a swatch. At the very least I do a little stripey one, with all the colours in it, and then (always, every time, without fail) I wash that swatch.  I treat it exactly like it’s going to be treated in the warm, damp environment of shoes or boots.  The thing is this:  Before I give it this much of my one wild and precious life to a project, I want to know ahead of time if that dye bleeds. If the swatch can’t handle life, then the socks won’t – and they won’t get knit, at least, not out of that yarn.  I can treat the socks the way I do, because I treated the swatch the way I did. I’ve got confidence, or at least what passes for the knitters version of it.

So there you have it, a little Q&A – now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Taco Thursday (I know, wrong day of the week, we do things our own way here) and I’ve got an almost two year old grandson waiting for me. (And the tacos.)

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