Monthly Archives: October 2010

Weekend socks

Timing is a wonderful thing.

This week I am pleased to show you a sock pattern of mine, published in the November 2010 issue of Canadian Living magazine (on newsstands now!) and also generously available for free on Canadian Living Online. I received my own copy in the mail yesterday and proceeded to thoroughly geek out over it. I may continue to do so by looking at copies in the grocery store lineup. Heh.

Oct13-WeekendSocks

This is a basic, worsted-weight sock pattern, intended to encourage knitters to take the leap into sock knitting. The advantage with worsted-weight socks is that they are pretty quick compared to fingering weight, so even if you are only putting in an hour or so of knitting a few evenings a week, you can see progress before too long. And if you’re intimidated about making your first pair of socks, having a bit of speed on your side can be a real boost. I’ve written this up for 3 different sizes so that different kinds of feet can be easily acommodated!

As this is also meant to be a “learn to make socks” kind of pattern, part of my assignment involved doing up a series of photos to follow along with the pattern, and you can see them online here, in a photo slide show. You can see the sock as it grows, from the leg through the heel turn, and a picture of the toe.

Oct13-WeekendSocks2

But as for the timing…good job there, people at Canadian Living who are in charge of these things. When I was writing this up a few months ago it was not at all cold enough to feel like I was ever going to get to the point of wanting to pull on thick homey socks to wear around the house or inside boots. Well, lo and behold, just as this pattern hit the newsstands, as of yesterday the temperatures started to get pretty frosty overnight, and this morning after I got up the first thing I did was pull on my own pair of these. They are wonderful, and I say screw slippers. Heavy wool socks for everyone!

My own pair and the photographed sample were done up in Louet Gems worsted, but a variety of yarns could be used. I have to say though, I love this yarn. I hadn’t spent much time with it before, but I feel pretty confident saying that I will be spending more time with it in the future. It’s soft, wears pretty well, and I can throw it in the washing machine if I want to, and the colours are gorgeous.

Happy fall knitting, blog friends!

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Filed under design, free pattern, socks

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for yarn, and the people I have met because of it.

Oct10-Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!
(From me and, erm, my Knit Picks’ Palette stash, which I visited this weekend. And may be plotting things with. Heh.)

And now, a dinner of delicious leftovers awaits. Some knitting and more food before a return to reality tomorrow morning. Stupid reality.

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On sucking less

The knitting internets have been gathering momentum the past few weeks. There have been countdowns tossed around on Twitter, SQUEE IN ALL CAPS, excitement over packing and things to knit. Rhinebeck approacheth. I am lucky enough to be attending for the 4th year in a row, and it is always a good time with knitterly interaction, much yarn to be fondled…and the wearing of new knitted sweaters.

I’ve had my own sweater identified for quite a while. Ever since I designed Royale back in the spring, I knew I needed to have one of my own. It was a sad, sad day my friends, when I had to give up the sample to Tanis (though less sad for her, admittedly). I cast on for my own back at the end of July during my California trip, during which time there was much airplane knitting and car knitting, and good opportunities to get it started. It’s been a sporadic knit, largely because I keep putting it down to work on other things in between.

And also because I keep royally screwing it up. And for no good reason whatsoever, because I’ve made mistakes on this sweater that are nothing to do with the pattern. The fact that I designed this myself clearly has given me no turf advantage whatsoever. It’s like the yarn and needles got together and said “hah hah, we’ll show her who’s boss.”

Oct1-Royale3

For real, folks, I knitted the original sample in 3 weeks. It was awesome. It could not have gone BETTER. But clearly, now that I am working on my own – even starting it during the leisurely dog days of summer – the universe has come along not once but three times to kick me in the shins.

The first time this happened was that I realized, while sitting in Liz’s living room the morning after I had spent 5 hours from Toronto to San Francisco knitting in front of the airplane seat television, that I had in fact cast on for the wrong size. Rookie mistake, which could not be gotten around. I ripped back, and started over.

The second time this happened was back in August, when my subconscious brain somehow allowed me to stop paying attention to the central pattern chart, and I repeated a whole separate chunk of it in a completely unnecessary fashion. Many of you looked at my blog post back then and said “Um, Glenna, I can’t tell. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And it could well be the case that I would wear the sweater out and about and nobody would ever know. But I would know. I envisioned myself wearing the sweater around other knitters and having to either walk with my arms folded over me the whole time, or repeatedly say things like “do you like my sweater? I made it myself! except, don’t pay attention to the huge mistake right above the middle of my ribcage, lalalala. Wow that’s nice yarn over there, let’s talk about that instead.”

So I ripped back another four inches and re-knitted it.

Oct7-Royale1

The third time happened a few weeks ago, and I had to spend several moments with the sweater laid out on the couch next to me just staring at it and deciding what was going to happen next. I had neglected that step with using hand-dyed yarn where, in order to avoid severe-looking colour changes when using skeins that look ever so slightly different from each other, you alternate between two skeins for a while until they start to blend. I know how to do this. Heck, I’ve DONE this, many times. I’m pretty sure I’ve even written it down in pattern instructions a few times before. I AM SMARTER THAN THIS. AHAHHAHAH.

I reasoned with myself that maybe it wouldn’t be that obvious in different lights, that maybe people wouldn’t notice…And then my brain finally said “listen. All those other times when you did something sucky, you ripped it out and made the suckiness go away. You’re going to let all of that go to waste by letting the third sucky thing stick around?”
No, no I did not. I ripped it back again.

And now I have most of the body and most of one sleeve, and a week to go before I leave for Rhinebeck, so I’m sincerely hoping that the third time was the charm and that my yarn and needles haven’t got a fourth and fifth mistake session in the works for me. Please, dear sweater, we’ll both be so much happier when I’m wearing you around the knitterly fairgrounds. Deal?

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Filed under fearless knitting, rhinebeck, sweaters

A sort of mission statement

Every so often I have occasion, as a blogger, to stop and take stock of a) exactly how long I have been doing this, and b) why exactly I do this in the first place. It turns out that I have been blogging for more than four years (which is longer than an Olympiad, longer than some people take to change careers, and at least as long as the minimum assumed time to complete a PhD dissertation, and certainly longer than a lot of other hobbies people decide to take up on a whim). And as far as why as I am doing this, well. I started this blog as a part of a pretty simple mission statement (although at the time I hadn’t actually stopped to verbalize it in a specific form):

1. This blog is about knitting.

2. This blog is about my own pleasures, challenges, thoughts, and idiosyncracies about the knitting that I do.

3. This blog is a way to contribute to conversations about knitting within the contemporary blogosphere.

I mean, I could get more specific and detailed and go into things like why I like posting about Works in Progress, or why I like being able to blather about my designs, and why I feel much more comfortable posting photos within posts as compared to making photo-less posts, but in the end, everything really goes back to those 3 things. I knit. I like to knit. I like to talk about knitting. The blog is a way to extend this to a wider group of people. And sure, there are the occasional non-knitting posts like, say, when I run a half-marathon and want to tell you about it. (But honestly? If I do something like run a half-marathon, I’m telling everyone i know.)

Also, I would like to say that in the four and a half years that I have been blogging, the purpose of this blog has not changed. I still like to knit, I still like to talk about knitting, and I still like using this blog as a way to do that. Some things have changed, obviously, that affect the context of my blogging. I am no longer a graduate student, but a PhD-holding member of the labour market currently longing for a permanent job. I am no longer only a knitter, but a knitter as well as a designer, and I find myself challenged by this whenever I have knitting projects on the go that I can’t blog about yet. (Seriously. I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks finishing a sock pattern for the Indigodragonfly yarn club, and I can’t blog about it yet because, well, it’s a yarn club and that means secrecy, despite the fact that I love the pattern and I would really love to blather about it.)

Another thing that has changed in the intervening four and a half years is the number of people who read this blog. I have somehow managed to garner a much larger audience than what I started with. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tickled by this. None of us wish to toil in obscurity and I read absolutely every single comment that comes across this blog – good ones, frustrating ones, spammy ones – regardless of whether or not I have the time to respond to all of them. It also fills me with a certain amount of anxiety, because believe it or not it is extremely easy to go on blogging as if nobody is ever going to know who you are. I write posts on my little laptop and submit them to the internet, and if I’m lucky, other people will read them, and if I’m very lucky, other people will read them and find them meaningful in some way.

Oct4-KnittingBlogging

I actually believe very strongly in this process. I blog very infrequently about my blogging or my blogging frequency because I firmly believe that an independent blogger is in control of her blog and is under no obligation to post or not post according to any external demands or expectations. I do have occasional weeks where non-blog-related life or temporarily unbloggable things get in the way of me being able to post as often as I would wish, but those are compared to my own expectations, not anyone else’s. I also believe that my record speaks for itself. My blog and my Ravelry projects are there for public record. They are clear evidence of my pattern design process, my personal skill level and interests, and the yarns that I love to work with and choose on a regular basis. There is very little mystification going on here, and I would not tell you about a yarn or pattern I was working with if I didn’t have a personal affection for it.

I point this out now, because I want to mention that some times a lack-of-blog-posts here is not a reflection of me not having anything to blog about, but a reflection of the fact that I have chosen not to blog about some things. And I point this out, because I’ve recently gone through one of those occasional periods where I receive a large number of unsolicited suggestions/offers/requests related to my blog or knitting life, in which someone else tries to influence my blog content or knitting life in some way. This is a strange and bizarre side effect of having a blog with an increasing readership that I didn’t expect in the beginning and for which there is no real training or preparation. I’ve had to figure these requests out as I go. Often, such requests are quite fine. The fact that I’ve done book reviews in the past and have a few more book reviews coming up in the future is a reflection of this – book reviews fit into my three criteria listed above. They relate to knitting, my knitting, and knitting-related conversations, and often coincide with giveaways. I love giving stuff away. It’s awesome. And I love knitting books and analysing texts. Of course I like to do knitting book reviews on my blog.

Then, there are some of these requests that do not fit into the three criteria of my blog mission statement. They are either not about knitting at all (I am continually surprised that this happens), or not about knitting things that relate to my evident pursuits (if I have never ever blogged about children’s knits, have only very rarely knitted anything for children, and do not have any children of my own, chances are high that I don’t have an interest in blogging about children’s knitting-related things), or which are overly demanding that I take part in their blogging/networking/publishing/yarn-related project that will probably benefit them more as opposed to contributing to my own. These kinds of requests often leave me feeling awkward, uncertain, and occasionally offended or taken advantage of, because they are a reflection of the fact that someone who I would never ever recognize on the street even if they smacked me across the face is trying to capitalize on the small portion of the blogosphere that I contribute to. These kinds of requests, I address one at a time, and sometimes not at all, depending on where they fit in with the above descriptions. If it fits, I go for it. If not, then I won’t.

(I used to think that I had to say yes to everything. I don’t think that anymore.)

Anyhoodle. What I am trying to say is that I want you, my dear and lovely knitterly readers, to know that I care a great deal about the fact that you are out there, and to know that I am very protective of what blog content is going to reach you. And that if you’ve read all of this, then I thank you. And I want you know that I will continue to thank you for your readership by continuing to post content and the occasional free pattern, because that’s part of why I’m here doing what I do.

And if you are a self-centred/publicity-grabbing/clueless schmuck who happened to read one or two of my blog posts and assumed you know everything about what’s going on over here, please. Stay a little while. Think again. And if you want me to ask my blog readers to pay attention to you, know that you should at the very least ask nicely.

And also, that the Pi Shawl (pictured above) is going really nicely, but that I’m a little worried that I’m about to increase from 200-and-something stitches to 500-and-something stitches, and that it’s quite possible I’ll be knitting it until the end of time, but that I’ll try to be OK with that.

Sound good? Awesome.

Keep being awesome, knitters. Because you are.

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Filed under blogging