Monthly Archives: July 2009

Look at me go

In exactly 3 weeks’ time, I will be sitting in the first of my classes at Sock Summit. This is equal parts exciting (knitters! yarn! classes! Portland! shopping! more yarn!) and terrifying (OMG when I come back from it the summer will be nearly over; also I have stuff to DO before then…) but mostly I think I’ll be so glad to have a fun trip with knitters as company. Naturally even those of us mere participants still have some prep to do, in the form of homework for our classes, which sadly I don’t think I can put off any longer.

Of the 4 classes I am taking, 2 have non-knitting homework (pre-prep to knitting), and 2 have actual knitting homework (knitting a part of a sock before class). The one that is the most involved is knitting the entire leg of a knee-high sock for the ‘Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Wearable Art’ class with Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen (the more complex arch and heel shaping is taught in the class itself). I’m totally whipping ahead. I mean, just look at how far I’ve gotten. It’s practically done already!

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Err, so maybe not ‘practically done’ so much as ‘just started’, but still, it’s good to be moving in the right direction. I’ve chosen Briggs & Little sportweight which is extremely wooly and therefore a bit rustic and scratchy, but I sort of like that quality sometimes and I wanted to choose a bit differently from the normal squishy-soft sock yarns I use most. This is a single-spun yarn which makes it less ideal for stranded colour-work, so I chose the simpler motif to just let the yarn speak for itself.

Since I’ve totally got those wearable art stockings in the bag (maybe), I decided to tackle the homework for Sivia Harding’s ‘Beaded Cables’ class, which involved stringing 120 beads onto the yarn. (The yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts DK, in ‘Moss’.)

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Now, just because it only took me half an hour does not make me any less triumphant. I am more than 25% finished my Sock Summit homework with 3 weeks still to go. Phew. This calls for a break. (Don’t want to stress myself out all at once).

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Stupid material limits of reality

Do you ever feel as though you are sort of getting screwed over by the space-time continuum? Like, your psychological pace at getting things done and having the thought process and committing to projects seems normal to you but then you insert yourself into the real world and everything skews a bit and you suddenly think HEY where did all my nice time go?

Yeah, that’s about where I am now. In my head, I have knitted at least a dozen sweaters so far this year. In reality, I am still on my third. In fact, my impulses at the moment are almost entirely sweater related, either for those currently on the needles (Autumn Rose, still very close to done and yet not quite), those I’d like to have on the needles (have so far narrowed this down to…every sweater pattern in existence), and those I’m designing in my head (no fewer than three, at least this week).

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Much of this has been supported by a bit of stash diving the last few weeks. I’ve been reminding myself of what I have and what I wanted to knit with it, and this along with a few sales (danged Canada Day savings) has resulted in a few piles forming by my visible stash shelves. ‘Oh yeah, you were going to be an awesome cardigan, you should stay right there so I’ll remind myself to knit with you.’ ‘Oh, but YOU on the other hand, you’re meant to be a cropped jacket, so I’ll get to you soon too’…’But oh, you were meant to be a shawl, well clearly I’ll need to start that right about now as well…’

Unsurprisingly, this creates a sort of backlog of momentum and despite the fact that the knitter in my head has already accomplished these things, my actual hands are rather limited.

This may explain why, yet, when I pick up my needles or make a step towards casting on something new, it is not sweaters, it is socks. Socks appear deceptively smaller than sweaters, despite their stitch count, and I am sure they appeal more to me in the warm weather than bulky sweaters do. Not to mention, the Sock Summit is coming up and is giving me the best excuse ever to frolic with the sock yarn love.

But the sweaters…and shawls…oh and maybe even a knitted dress, yeah, I could make a knitted dress…And more socks…

Excuse me, I’ll just be over here in my stash ignoring the material limits of reality for a little bit longer. You can come too, it’s great over here. Stay quiet and we’ll try not to spook the calendar.

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Unreasonable

A reasonable person, say, one who is going to be attending the Sock Summit in less than four weeks’ time, would probably start to worry about preparing for that. A reasonable person might have already started their homework for the workshops at said Sock Summit, particularly when one of them involves knitting the entire leg of a colourwork stocking.

A reasonable person would probably be working on these things, rather than thinking about things to wear at said Sock Summit, and would therefore probably be starting class homework instead of a pair of electric green and purple knee-high socks.

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It’s a good thing, then, that I’m not an entirely reasonable person.

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Television truths

Well folks, my bloggable knitting has slowed down this week as I work on not-yet-bloggable things, which is good for the creativity but sadly not so much for the blog. However, as I am in Toronto again this week on a kitty-cat stint, I can at least offer pictures of adorable felines.

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As you can see, Somerset is extremely concerned about my knitting.When she buries her head in a pillow like that, this really means “use more Malabrigo”. Makes sense to me!

Still, this week has not been without wisdom, no no. Taking time out from my usual are-you-sure-a-30-yr-old-should-be-this-invested-in-teen-media Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs, I have been sucked into the soap opera-esque world of Smallville. To wit, I have concluded the following:

1. I need to start cultivating a super-awesome secret identity. Everyone else appears to have one.

2. In accordance with #1, must also cultivate a practiced ambiguous pensive thousand-yard stare. Those seem to come in handy a lot.

3. Also in accordance with #1, must decide whether I want to be a secret super-hero saving the day, or an intrepid news reporter saving the day. These appear to be the only available options.

4. It would really help me out if I could just start up a relationship with one of the many billionaires in town. Doesn’t seem too hard to do as long as I have shiny lipstick and vaguely helpless tenacity. (Note to self: try to get the billionaire whose secret identity is for good, not the one who is secretly evil).

5. Power plays and blackmail are excellent default positions.

6. My everyday wardrobe is not nearly fashion-plate enough. Wonder if television characters have secret budget-conscious stores they don’t mention.

7. Fainting always means pregnancy. (Duh).

8. It’s a good thing I now own a cell phone because even characters in the DC universe can’t seem to survive without technology nowadays. (Tsk, how did they ever fight crime without it?)

9. My life needs better lighting and a dramatic soundtrack following me around.

10. There appears to be a dire lack of knitwear in Kansas. Don’t Kryptonian farmboys ever get cold at night?

How’s your week going, my dear blog-land friends? Would it be improved by crime-fighting superheroes? I’ll let you know how to make it happen as soon as I figure it out myself.

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Sock relief

One of the things I never expected when I first started knitting socks a few years ago, was how much room there is in my life for sock yarns that behave completely differently. I started out thinking I needed to simply find sock yarns that would knit well with the needle size I always use, and avoid the others. The more I started branching out and finding new yarns to work with, the more I realized it isn’t a matter of right yarns and wrong yarns, as much as it is about right yarns for the right kind of project.

After finishing my Jaywalkers I needed a new pair of socks to travel around with, and grabbed a skein of Socks That Rock from my Rhinebeck purchases last fall. (It’s a mill end and therefore unlabelled by colourway, but I’m pretty sure it’s ‘Rolling Stone’).

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It was like comfort food. As soon as I wound it up and saw all the colours mingled together, I knew I had picked well, and STR is so squishy and relaxing in your hands that it almost doesn’t matter what the colours are. It just feels good in your fingers. After knitting with this yarn a few times, I have learned what it can do for me (tactile and visual comfort) and what it can’t do (yardage for yarn-eating cables for Size 11 feet), and I’m good with that.

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And the thing is, I love the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock that I just came from, too. I have learned about what it can do for me (sturdiness from the extra nylon blend, fantastic colours and yardage) and what it can’t (squishy texture, needles above 2.5mm), and I’m good with that, too. I’d never ask these two yarns to do the same thing, and that’s why I can continue to stash them both (well, and many others, let’s face it) without worry. I keep on stashing sock yarns because I know there will come a day when I will need each one in turn.

In fact, I have several favourite sock yarns that I have known and loved:

  • Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock
  • Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock
  • Dream in Color Smooshy
  • Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight
  • Malabrigo Sock
  • Patons Kroy (dude, it does not wear out)

What’s your favourite sock yarn, and why?

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July 1st

Canadians: sarcastically embracing stereotypes for 142 years.

Since it’s Canada Day, I think it would be customary to cast on somethng from the Canadian yarns in my stash. It’s completely a national pride thing, of course and not at all to do with my rampant start-itis.

If you’re in Canada I hope you have some nice chill-out time today, and if not, well I hope you still have some chill-out time, and maybe a beer.

Happy knitting, wherever you are!

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