Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Brief Note

Dear Self

You are currently finishing up three knitting designs, have deadlines to meet, your poor benighted done-except-for-one-sleeve Portland pullover is already guilting the crap out of you from the corner you stuffed it in back at the end of February, you have a perfectly serviceable 3/4 finished pair of ribbed socks waiting on standby in your handbag, and the Frolic, with all its attendant yarn-purchasing opportunities and startitis fuel, is coming up soon.



Thanks ever so much.

Love from, the rational side of your brain.


Filed under lace, stash

New Sock Pattern, and Cabling Without A Cable Needle

Today I’m happy to unveil my latest sock pattern, which is also my entry for the Socks Revived contest. (I’d been delaying a bit hoping to get some super snazzy photos – but it turns out that travelling around and being trapped under piles of grading does not lend itself to super snazzy photo session time, so I hope these will do!) Happily, I present the Revival socks – available here in my Ravelry store and, for a limited time, here as a free download. I am offering the pattern for free until April 30th, and as of May 1st it will be a sale download through Ravelry and Patternfish as per my other patterns. Ta da!


When I set out to design something for the contest I wasn’t entirely sure what it was going to look like. I wanted something that would require some concentration and technicality in the execution (because I hate being bored by my knitting), but that would still maintain some simplicity in the final look (because I didn’t want a sock that would look too precious or chaotic to actually, you know, wear). I also am not a huge fan of cutesy or over-stated. And since I’ve been harbouring plenty of twisted-stitch thoughts and art deco-ish inspriation lately, I put that to work on these socks.


I like socks that have repeating motifs and which show off the pattern details over the top of the foot and leg where most people will see it. I also like cables and twisted stitches. (Headline: no one surprised). This pattern features a series of (fully charted) cables (all cables and twists are worked over 2 sts) to create an attractive set of linear motifs, which also have the practicality of providing a bit of structural integrity. Cables always snug things up a bit, and I like that in a sock. I’ve included instructions for both Magic Loop (which I used in making them), as well as DPNs (with which I am well familiar). Use whichever method is more comfortable for you.

You’ll also see that, like some of my other sock patterns, I include a decorative heel and toe which extends some of the stitches from the main chart. I like the detail and I think it creates a very sharp look, but don’t be shy about modifying this if it suits you – work a regular old slipped stitch heel flap or short row heel if you like, or keep the toe plain if you prefer.


I include sizing instructions based on modifying gauge. This sample was worked on 2.75mm/US 2 needles (over 68 sts), and comfortably fits a foot/ankle size of 8-9 ins around. Increase or decrease the needle size for best fit according to the size you are knitting for. This sample was worked in Madelinetosh tosh sock, and even for my Size 11 feet I still had a small amount of the 395-yds skein leftover.

Finally, there is one thing you’ll want to know that will make this pattern about a kabillion times easier, which is the method of cabling without a cable needle. It’s how I worked the pattern and my notations strongly encourage you to do so.

If you’re looking for tips on how to do this, it turns out that Knitting Daily’s Sandi Wiseheart is sharing a piece of my brain this week, as she chose this week to do a post on just this topic. In her post she shares links for 2 other cabling-without-a-cable-needle tutorials (it turns out there are several ways of approaching this), and also does a pretty decent job of explaining the method that I use.

Back at the knitting retreat I went to in February with some of the Toronto crowd, she mentioned that she’d never quite gotten the hang of doing it. And I was suitably astonished at this, and sat down (as I was happily whizzing away on my Portland pullover, cable-needle-free) and showed her how I do it. I think she has actually done an even better job than me of explaining it (though I’m still going to give it a shot too, no worries), and articulating through photos and written instructions how to make the cable twist first, then work the stitches. (Essentially, I always keep the “live” stitches to the front of the work, and work the twist-switcheroo on the right needle for right-leaning cables, and on the left needle for the left-leaning cables). Go check out the photos and have some needles and yarn ready to practice it yourself if it’s something you haven’t tried before.


If you aren’t a cables-without-a-cable-needle person, you can still knit these socks. But I think being able to become fluent with the technique makes cable knitting accessible in more ways and situations (no worry about losing the cable needle on the subway, say), and can move you along more quickly than otherwise.

Anyhoodle, I hope you’ll enjoy the pattern! Happy Friday, and keep the knitting close by.


Filed under cables, design, fearless knitting, finished object: socks, free pattern

Yarn Tourism

Well, nothing says “let’s celebrate being almost-done with Grading Fest ’10 and try to forget the fact that I am most likely going to be unemployed soon” like thinking about recent yarn purchases and knitting tourism, right? Right. I thought so.

Let me say how singularly fortuitous it is to have been visiting with a knitter who is not only awesome in her own right but lives within walking distance of two fantastic yarn shops. In less than 12 hours from arriving in DC, Elspeth had brought me to Fibre Space (and look! they spell it the right way just like Canadians do! Hurrah!)


It really is a lovely store. Elspeth referred to it as ‘well edited’, and I see what she meant – there are no superfluous yarns, nothing you’d consider out-of-place or less worthy of shelf space. I enjoyed browsing through and it was a nice collection of some familiar yarns and some others I don’t tend to find in the Canadian shops. (You’d be surprised how hard it is to walk into a yarn shop and encounter things you haven’t seen in a store before. After a while things really start to blur.)



I splurged on four delicious skeins of yarn. Two (above) generous skeins of Neighbourhood Fiber Company worsted, because I couldn’t decide between the two – 400 yards or so each ought to be enough for something fun, I’m thinking possibly gloves and hats. It will need some pondering.


And I couldn’t walk away without giving a glance towards the Madelinetosh tosh sock, a yarn which I am quickly becoming enamoured of. I am enjoying the semi-solid tones and they had a couple of options in the darker range of the palette that I am looking to expand into a bit more. I tend to opt for the jewel tones and purples and teals, and both of these are a nice change of pace.

We also spent an enjoyable knit-night at Knit Happens, which I was also fortunate enough to visit on my trip out to DC last winter. Still friendly, still an enjoyable sock yarn selection – a skein of Dream in Color Starry MAY have come home with me.

But speaking of the Madelinetosh tosh sock, I will give you a little snap of my finished sock for the Socks Revived contest (whose deadline, incidentally, has been extended into May), which I finished while at Knit Happens. I’ll be sure to tell you more about these in my next post, if you haven’t already seen them up on Ravelry.


Catch you next time. Hug some yarn for me today!


Filed under design, knitting tourism, socks

Dear Blog

Last week I went to DC, attended a conference, saw people from my grad student days I haven’t talked to in ages, hung out with knitters, bought some yarn, books, and shoes, walked a lot, knitted some, and had lovely hosting by Elspeth, her fiance, and kitty, and in general had a welcome escape from the crazy that my April has become. So even though I still have another couple weeks of crazy ahead of me, it does a body and brain good to experience a different place for a short while. Two thumbs up.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you the yarn. Today, have some photos!

















Catch you tomorrow!


Filed under Uncategorized

From the field

Have spent week in DC STOP
Fabulous time STOP
DC has good yarn and cupcakes not just monuments and museum STOP
Taking lots of pictures also STOP
And even finished a pair of socks STOP
But forgot to bring camera cord STOP
Knitters make lovely hosts STOP
Be sure to make friends with lots of them STOP
Wish you were all here STOP
Will write more soon STOP


Filed under Uncategorized

Damned cool.

I was going to show you cute kitty pictures today (on account of I have embarked on a weekend kitty-sitting gig with familiar fuzzy pals Beatrice, Ramona and Hallie), but instead I have to show you this video. A virtual choir of over 100 voices edited together.

I sort of love that this is a group of over 100 people doing what they do, alone, in front of their computers, and putting it out into the world to wait for it to be put together – or rather, trusting that it will be made into – something bigger.

I tell you, what they won’t do with the internet these days.

Happy Thursday!


Filed under Uncategorized

Yes. We can tell.


(Thanks for making things better, PhD Comics.)

Also, if you wrote your paper the day before you handed it in, we can tell that too. Not that I’ve seen any evidence of that this week, or anything, nooooo.

Thank goodness the knitting respite is still motoring along. More progress updates coming as soon as I’ve got ’em – mulling away on how to do a cable-needle-less cable tutorial, working away at the second sock on my Socks Revived contest entry, and in general trying to transition into the term ending without falling apart over not knowing what exactly my job situation will be afterwards. Fun times, no?

Thank goodness for knitting.


Filed under Uncategorized