Monthly Archives: February 2010


I mentioned in my last post that ribbed (knit 3, purl 1) socks are one of my favourite go-to sock projects. It is dead easy without being boring – an approach I instituted a couple of years ago when I realized I wanted to keep knitting socks but couldn’t manage the monotony of stockinette socks every single time I needed a “plain” pair. (You know, as opposed to the crazy pairs. Not that I’d know anything about that.) Plus, it works with any sock yarn – solid, shaded, multi-colour, self-striping, whatever you happen to yank out of the stash and want to work with that day.

My other go-to sock project is the Jaywalker pattern. This one sort of snuck up on me, because the first time I knitted it, it turned out too small, and the second time I knitted it, it became so tedious I didn’t think I was going to make it.

And then, I happened upon a combination that I really loved, with Jaywalkers and Lorna’s Laces sock yarn together, knitted in the right size for my feet, and they felt so great I promptly decided I would knit at least enough pairs so that I could wear them every day of the week if I wanted to. I reached this goal last fall, but of course, when you wear the socks so often it becomes awfully difficult to wrangle them all together for a group photo.

A Week of Jaywalkers

From left to right (and the order in which they were knitted), these colours are: Tahoe, Irving Park, Pilsen, Devon, Rockwell, Mixed Berries, and Jimmy’s Journey (limited edition from Jimmy Beans Wool, last summer).

(Incidentally, several people have asked me in the past about how to get the Lorna’s Laces not to pool weirdly on the foot. Dudes, if I knew, I would tell you. I have no freaking clue. Sometimes it pools in crazy wicked ways, sometimes not at all. It’s all part of the glamorous and exciting world of sock knitting.)

I have gathered up a modest stash of Lorna’s Laces shepherd sock in the process of reaching the week’s-worth goal, and there will definitely be more of these socks in my future. Unlike the 3×1 ribbed sock, which I would knit just about any time, I tend to save Jaywalkers for when I am travelling. The tedium of the 2-row repeat works just fantastically when I am waiting in airports or sitting on buses or trains, and I get through the sock a lot faster than when I bring them back to home turf, oddly enough. So I think I’ll slot in a pair of those for April when I will next be on the go, to DC.


It’s hard on the older pairs, I think, since they are not quite as pretty and new and shiny as the more recently knitted ones. But I try to reach for them all equally. It wouldn’t do to stir up resentment and jealousy within the sock drawer. In the mean time…I think I now need a second week’s worth of Jaywalkers. A reasonable conclusion, yes? I thought so.


Filed under socks

A good old sock

At the tail end of 2009 I managed to cram in several finished objects in quick succession, so I suppose it is only fitting that the first finished objects of 2010 have been rather slow to reel in. I finished my Noro striped scarf and have been wearing it happily, but a week ago I finally finished the first pair of socks I’ve cast on this year. It’s actually been a few months since I’ve had a new pair of socks to add to my drawer, and they are pleasantly comfy.


These are the ‘Charade’ socks (pattern is currently, as far as I can tell, only available as a free Ravelry download – original web page seems to be non-existent), done up in Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight in one of her new variegated colourways. This one is ‘rhythm’, and is suitably modest enough to go with my everyday wardrobe, which is what I was going for.


It’s a pretty easy pattern, and one that would look decent with either semi-solids or variegateds. The stitch pattern is slightly more snug than normal stockinette, so apply your knowledge of gauge and foot size accordingly. I do find, though, that while it’s an easy pattern and I like the way it looks, and I’ll probably knit it again at some time, it’s one of those sorts of patterns that requires just enough brain energy to make me weary of it after a while. So for my next in-the-handbag sock I’ve pulled a skein of Socks That Rock from the stash for a plain old 3×1 ribbed sock. (My standby sock approach, in the absence of Lorna’s Laces knitted into Jaywalkers, as is my want).


Me and Socks that Rock, though, we always have the pooling. It’s almost comforting, that I can count on that happening every time. Swooshy colourful socks, here we come.

Happy weekend knitting!


Filed under finished object: socks

Did you know

Did you know, that sometimes, when you own a spinning wheel, you can actually go and use it? It’s true. And sometimes that spinning wheel will be kind enough with you that, should you stop spinning half-way through a skein, and neglect it for a few months entirely, the spinning wheel will NOT, actually, clomp its way into your bedroom in the middle of the night and beat the living daylights out of you until you promise to return to spinning with it.

No, it turns out that it will just wait patiently for you while you go on using your leisure time entirely for knitting and nothing at all related to spinning, despite promises of returning to a daily 20-minute spinning session. Spinning wheels are nice like that.



This is a hand-dyed bit of Falkland wool from The Sweet Sheep, purchased back in the fall and which I started spinning up before Christmas. (Named ‘Flintstoned’, yuk yuk yuk). It’s been quite pleasant to spin.

As my first attempt at spinning something multi-coloured, I decided to try the approach of splitting the length of fiber down the middle lengthwise, then spin each half individually starting at the same end, then ply them both together and hopefully end up with something approximating a striped skein of yarn.



And lo and behold, it sort of worked. It’s not perfect by any means, but there are definite sections of colour consistency – pink and blue and orange and purple sections, and the parts that weren’t perfectly matched are still nicely blended in similar tones for the most part. I’ll take it. It’s somewhere around a DK weight I think (104g altogether, not entirely sure of the yardage yet), and my consistency is gradually improving. I’m not quite as even as I would like to be, but I’m also not quite as over-twisted as I was in the beginning, and am cool with showing gradual progress.

The best part? This is how much was leftover after plying:


GO ME. THAT’S RIGHT, BABY. Just a couple of little yards left on one bobbin, the rest completely plied up! I rule.

No idea what this yarn (or any of my handspun for that matter) will become yet. Right now my goal is just to keep on spinning and producing more handspun and see how it goes. I’d like to learn chain-plying at some point, and actually figure out how to integrate more spinning time into my week. Because as it turns out, the spinning does not actually happen when you aren’t looking. Dang it.




And did you know that sometimes, you can actually make yarn? It’s crazy, crazy I tells ya. What they won’t think of next.


Filed under spinning


As it happens, I will not be a Knitting Olympian this year, but I am okay with that. Having finished off a pair of on-the-go socks, I have spent the last few days in that unusual state of knitting monogamy and it’s pretty great how much you can get done even with a couple of hours a day, when only one project is taking up your attention – and even when that project is all-cables-all-the-time.


I’m now two-thirds of the way through the back of ‘Portland’, and the first sleeve has joined the party too – for portable knitting, you know – and I am going to keep up knitting on it while the project enjoyment is still there. I have a couple of things waiting in the wings to cast on for soon, but it is good to get over the lion’s share of a project like this before adding something else to the mix, so Portland and me it shall be.

It is a break week for me this week, which means I mercifully do not have to give any song and dance shows lectures for several days, but this big stack of grading next to me does mean it is simply a work-from-home week. With the extra bit of time I’m hopeful at re-booting my spinning energies, as my poor poor wheel has been all but neglected since late 2009.

Progress, people, progress. I’m gonna get there.

If you are a Knitting Olympian, I wish you godspeed and good finishing, may your knitting injuries be few and your yardage be plentiful.


Filed under cables


My current project-in-progress is coming along, albeit a bit slower but definitely steadily. Portland (from ‘A Fine Fleece’ by Lisa Lloyd’) is definitely one of those gratifying cable knits that feels even better in your hands after you keep on knitting it. There is a sort of cabled-brain effect where you start to think about the cables even after you stop knitting it. I like this phase of a project when things are still new and awesome and you haven’t hit the just-get-it-done-and-out-of-my-life phase yet. Because that phase always does seem to come around at some point.


In the mean time, I find myself suddenly debating whether to try going for the Knitting Olympics. I have no idea what project I would do, I hadn’t even considered it seriously until a couple of days ago, and yet…there is that accomplishment-driven knitter inside me just dying to get out. Would it add more stress and crazy to my life, or passion and excitement and frenzied exhilaration? I am not entirely sure. This may be a game-day decision.

Or, it has crossed my mind that even if I set a goal to finish Portland by the end of the Olympics, that would still mean that I will have finished it in less than a month. I may be slightly cynical about the Olympics, but I have deep and abiding appreciation for the feat of finishing a cabled sweater in less than a month. Hmm.

Decisions, decisions…


Filed under Uncategorized

Patterny goodness

There are various design related things afoot here at Knitting to Stay Sane; One of these is close to being hot off the presses (errr, hot off the needles?), and this is awesome but for the fact that it leads to a bit of project radio-silence when I can’t quite reveal it yet. Rest assured, though, that yet more socks of awesomeness are on their way soon to a blog near you.

I also have a few miscellaneous things to report/catch up on:

1. All of my sale patterns are now (and will be from now on as new designs come forward) available through Patternfish as well as through my Ravelry store (Rav link). For those of you who would like a non-Ravelry way of accessing these patterns – ta-da! Patternfish is an online home for a wide variety of knitting pattern sales and houses quite a few indie designers, and I am pleased to be among them.

2. My friend and yarn-dyer-extraordinaire Kim (Indigodragonfly) is going to be doing a Single Skein Club, and signups begin February 14th. I’m going to be designing up one of the accompanying patterns for the club, and her yarns are pretty gorgeous on their own, so this has crazy fun written all over it.

3. The Mulled Wine Mitts pattern that I did for Canadian Living is available for free, and I have been remiss in pointing out (here on the blog at least) the brilliant “mitts demystified” post written by Austen, the CL crafts editor. After the pattern was released we discovered that some knitters were having trouble with the pattern at the point of establishing the twisted moss panel in the middle of the glove, so her post helps you out there a bit if you are one of these folks.  Some people were tripping over this, other people had no trouble whatsoever and merrily knitted the mitts up – both Austen and I are, in the mean time, doing our best to hone our powers of psychic deduction to better inform the pattern editing process. We’re on it.

And in other news, my Portland cabley sweater is still cabley and wonderful, and my entire stash is calling to me to knit it RIGHT NOW. I’m going to see if I can get on that soon too. This gal”s got a break week coming up and I’ll be darned if I’m going to spend it doing nothing but grading. There’s important knitting to get done.

Happy knitting today, folks!


Filed under design

Next up

Here we are, folks, a straight-up no-fooling-around Work In Progress post.

I’ve been having a bit of the knitting ennui this week, which I think comes from having 2 projects around the 75% done mark and needing something new to hold the interest. And I’ve been poring over my copy of A Fine Fleece and wanting to knit all of it (stay tuned for further plans here), and finally decided to heck with THIS I am casting something ON ALREADY.

So I did. ‘Portland’ is now in its beginning stages. It’s one of the sweaters that caught my eye first, and I had thought somehow that I would have knitted it already – several times last summer I was convinced that it would be next on deck.


But there is something about winter that flicks a cabled switch in one’s brain, and this feels good to have a project going that really involves sinking your teeth into it. I’m working this on some wooly-wool, the lanolin-sheepy-feeling sort of wool, worsted wool from Lismore Sheep Farm that I picked up in Nova Scotia a year and a half ago at Have A Yarn.


I am enjoying the heathery purple and how it is knitting up. So far the texture is great and even on the smallest size in the book, it’s going to leave me with a warm few inches of positive ease for a bit of roominess. I’ve decided I’m OK if this sweater turns out to be a little roomy. I’ll save the fitted for next time.

The only bummer about knitting this during my morning commute is that now the project back is sitting a few feet away from me, taunting me. I will try to remain strong until quitting time.

Happy Friday, dear knitters! May your knitting be awesome.


Filed under a fine fleece, cables, sweaters