Category Archives: socks

The sock drawer is happy either way

When I was in California post-Sock-Summit, I met up one afternoon to hang out with Erin in Berkeley, I was knitting along on my socks (these ones, now finished) over fries and beer (they have good beer and fries there). At one point Erin stopped and said, “I couldn’t help wondering about your socks.” And I said, “Yeah? They’re Socks That Rock Mediumweight. Super fast.” And she said, “But it seems like they’re just ribbing. Are you really just making ribbed socks?” And I said that yes, yes I was.

Sept1-Socks

Now don’t get me wrong – I love me some complicated-ness. The last thing I want is to be bored to tears by my knitting, and believe me I wear my own Viper Pilots socks just as proudly as the next knitter. But it can’t always be complicated knitting all the time, and I can still always use another pair of socks for the sock drawer, so my go-to simple project is a basic ribbed sock. I still knit stockinette occasionally, but usually not find it quite interesting enough, so I reserve it for gift knitting primarily.

And sometimes, when a big chunk of my day looks like this:

Sept1-DesignNotes

It’s okay if my sock knitting looks like this:

Sept1-Socks2

(Those are the current grandfather-gift-socks, on 2.5mm needles in some Knit Picks “Stroll” in a vintage “Firecracker Heather” colourway.)

If you’re looking for simple sock patterns to get started or just to get on with, my Nice Ribbed Sock pattern is always available for free, either in the Free Patterns page on my blog or in my Ravelry store, and for a worsted-weight option that includes a step-by-step slide show, check out my Weekend Socks over at Canadian Living online. My own Weekend Socks are my favourite slipper substitutes in the cool months!

What sort of project is your go-to knitting for simplicity?
Happy knitting this Thursday!

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Socks for big damn heroes

Ladies and gentlemen, I promised a full update when my new sock patterns were up for online consumption, and I’m pleased to finally do so!

Hi, I’m a geek. Have we met? I mean, sure I love artsy things, and inspiration can and does come from everywhere. But sometimes, my friends, that inspiration is television. I like television. I like other things, too, but you know, I like television. And I like talking about it. I never understand it when people watch a show every week and then don’t feel the urge to go blather about it (or via email, since, as established, I’m a geek) with a friend the next day. Working with said inspiration is also pretty easy when you are working with yarn dyed by friends who share said television geekery. Last winter I did some mitten patterns with Kim’s yarn, inspired by her Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer themed colourways, and this summer I’ve been at work on a few sock patterns which are all named for Firefly characters. (It took me a while to come around on Firefly, and why I should care to go watch a show that only lasted one season. Then I got the DVDs and discovered why. It’s awesome.)

The mittens and gloves came in a set of 3 (one for each weight of Merino/cashmere/nylon yarn), so somehow it seemed natural that the Firefly socks should also come in a set of 3. (one for each…kind of sock yarn? Sure!) So then I had to pick three characters to work with, and it turned out that was the easy part. I present to you, officially launched online, three Firefly-inspired sock patterns – all worked for 2 sizes, all designed with Indigodragonfly Yarns in mind. (If substituting, work with a yarn that will allow you to obtain the same gauge.) Each are available for individual sale on Patternfish and Ravelry, for $6. If you’re purchasing on Ravelry, you can get all 3 as a collection, for the price of 2. (Links below).

July25-Mal2

These are called “O Captain My Captain”, for Captain Malcolm Reynolds, and are worked in the most practical of sock yarns – superwash merino 2-ply. I love this yarn, it’s the same one I worked with for my “Staked” sock pattern last fall, and is very versatile. I envisioned these socks as being the ones as potentially for either men or women, so I wanted to keep the lines simple but still with a bit of excitement to them – much like Mal himself. But as noble as Mal is, he’s also a little bit broken and twisted, so that’s exactly what these cables do. There are instructions on how to “place” the cable breaks, and that placement is entirely up to you. You could break the same cable in the same place all the way down the foot, or alternate around the leg.

July25-Mal1

On Ravelry | On Patternfish

These are worked from the cuff down at a stockinette gauge of 8 sts/inch, on 2.5mm needles, and socks to fit up to a size 12 women’s or size 10 men’s foot should be fine with one 375 yds/100g skein of the Merino sock.

July25-Kaylee1

Next up is “Kaywinnit”, for Kaylee, who is most at home in the ship’s engine room but still longs for girlish frills and pink ruffles. So, I wanted a sock that would be relatively simple, but still with a bit of frills. I hope to have accomplished that with these, where there is a chevron/garter “ruffle” at the top of the cuff.

July25-Kaylee2

On Ravelry | On Patternfish

These are also cuff-down, and once you’re past the cuff it’s pretty smooth sailing with a knit-and-purl textured pattern down the rest of the foot, and if you’re lucky to snag some of the Shiny Sock (includes silver) while it’s still going, you can also look forward to a few sparkles! This sock yarn behaves a little more like sport-weight, so even on 2.5mm needles this pattern assumes a stockinette gauge of 7 sts/inch. If substituting yarns, look for something a little heavier than your usual sock yarn.

Finally, for the fanciest lady on the Firefly ship, these are called “Companion.” Plain socks wouldn’t do for Inara, I mean, have you seen the number of silk gowns she has to parade around in? No no, even just cables wouldn’t do. This gal needs some beads as well. So, after a few years of wanting to play with beads, I finally broke them out for Inara – this is my first beaded sock design.

July25-Inara4b

If you’re not inclined towards beads, they are easily omitted from this sock – and you’ll still have a few twisted cables to keep your interest – as they are placed with a crochet hook and not pre-strung. You’ll also need to pay attention to your “stopping place” with the beads, i.e. don’t go right to the toe. Stop placing the beads once you reach the point when your shoe is going to come into the picture. I have to say, though, I really like the elegance and extra bit of sparkle they add.

On Ravelry | On Patternfish

These are also worked cuff-down, and are the most advanced of this little collection, involving twisted-stitch cables as well as the bead placement. But if you’ve got experience with that sort of thing, you’ll find yourself getting into a rhythm pretty easily. They also assume a stockinette gauge of 8 sts/inch, and are worked using Indigodragonfly Merino/cashmere/nylon sock.

July25-Inara3

My goal with this little set of socks was to come up with a set of patterns that was not only consistent with the Firefly character aesthetics, but which also used a variety of techniques for a variety of skill levels or interests. Each pattern does something a little bit differently than the other. I hope you’ll find one (or two?) in there that sparks your interest!

These days, my needles are full of projects and ideas, so with any luck this fall will have more designs coming your way. Socks are for all occasion, but sweaters and other accessories are just the ticket for cool weather, so those are in the plans for sure.

I’ve also got to find something new for a regular not-designed-by-me project, so that’s something I’ll put my mind to in the next few days. Until next time, happy knitting!

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Things I’ve been doing

I’ve been short in the blogging this week, but not in the to-do-ings. Things I’ve been keeping busy with include:

1. Finishing up some sock designs for Indigodragonfly, to appear in her booth at Sock Summit 2011, in just 11 short days. (Note: dates on calendar may be closer than they appear). They are all Firefly-inspired, and you can catch a glimpse of Kaylee (above) and Mal (below) here. Inara is the third, to follow. I love them.

July15-KayleeMalSocks

2. Finishing up a pair of Jaywalkers that have been on the needles and in my purse since April and I had sort of almost given up hope of finishing. But slow and steady wins in the end, and now I have another pair of Lorna’s Laces Jaywalkers (9th? 10th pair?) in ‘Montrose’, to add to the sock drawer.

July15-JaywalkersMontrose

3. Being really frustrated that I’m still not running. (Yes, I’ve started physiotherapy. No, this does not make me feel much better about having to cancel a 2nd half-marathon in 3 months.)

4. Cooking up some designs for the fall. Man, I love cables. (As does this Tanis Fiber Arts DK, in garnet. Man, I love garnet.)

July15-TanisDKcardi

5. Reviving a healthy obsession with Harry Potter inspired knitwear.

6. Preparing to head off this weekend for the Great North Woods, or more accurately, the Haliburton School of the Arts, where I’ll be teaching a week long workshop starting Monday, on sweater knitting. I basically love everything about sweaters, and though I am filled with equal parts delight and anxiety over teaching a week long workshop for the first time, I think probably the delight will win, since sweaters are awesome. (And usually so are knitters).

Catch you next time! And in case I’m gone all week, as my friend Jane likes to say, kids, don’t burn down the internet while I’m away.

Happy knitting!

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Summer logic

I think if one so happens to be sitting down to knit with a shiny, pink, girly-ish sort of skein of yarn, then one should definitely also have a pink, girly-ish sort of drink to go with it.

June15-KayleeSocks

I mean, that’s just the only reasonable thing to do.
Right?

I thought so.

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Time and place

You know how, sometimes, when you have to figure out some plain sock knitting to take with you to the movie theatre, and you only get 2/3 of the way through the leg during one movie, and then realize that in order to make the most out of the sock knitting during the next movie, you need to knit the rest of the leg and the entire heel at home, first?

Mar26-SocksSTR

Yeah. Me too.
(Socks That Rock lightweight, in another mill end, on 2.5mm needles.)

Happy weekend knitting!

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Thank goodness for yarn

You know, the more I knit the more I am grateful to be a knitter in the spring. It has nothing to do with needing to produce a bunch of warm garments (although given weather reports for the near future around southern Ontario I don’t think we’ll be giving up the sweaters or gloves any time soon). In the fall transition, it is definitely about knitting the stuff. You get the whiff of chill in the air and suddenly you find yourself casting on five sweaters. No, for me in spring it’s mostly about the yarn. I get to carve out a half hour in the morning, or an hour or two in the evening, or whenever it is the knitting suits me, and spend that time staring at a colour that in no way resembles greying half-melted snowbanks, and the thought that non-knitters don’t get to do this makes me wonder how they survive waiting for spring.

Mar8-Pleats1

The Dusseldorf Aran, while slightly sidelined, is coming along gradually, and the bright magenta is helping. It’ll be a little while yet before that colour shows up in nature anywhere around here. (And oh yeah? Pleats. Pleats, man. This sweater has pleated cuffs. It’s the first time I’ve gotten the chance to do pleats on anything knitted, and I dig it. Bit of folding here, bit of DPN knit-3-stitches-at-once action there, and then you have pleats.)

Mar6-RibbedSocksSTR

My project of adding a few more pairs of socks to the sock drawer is also coming along well, and last weekend I finished up another pair of 3×1 ribbed socks (from my basic ribbed sock pattern, in this post), in another Socks That Rock mill end colourway. (I’ve got to start making more dents in my Sock Summit stash, for serious.) And the best part of finishing a pair of socks (well, aside from wearing them)? Now, I get to walk over to my stash, look at all the yarn in all the colours, and pick out a new skein to knit with.

Mar11-SockStash

Yarn pretty much rules. I hope you’ve got some waiting for you today! Have an awesome weekend.

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Knitters’ time

So. It’s cold around here. Cold enough that today it is only at the freezing mark and that means that it has “warmed up” a lot and that people are commenting on how nice the weather is. Yesterday was the new low mark for the season, cold enough that your handbag instantly stiffens when you go outside, cold enough to layer two hats together because one is not enough, cold enough that it is negative double digit temperatures no matter if you are reading it in Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Cold enough that your breath freezes to your hair while walking to the bus stop.

Jan17-Cold1

Cold enough that I am wondering what the hell I was doing back in the fall when I flipped through Elizabeth Zimmerman’s ‘Knitter’s Almanac’ and decided to cast on for the Pi Shawl when instead, I should really have been focussed on the knitted leggings. Cold enough that for a while I was starting to consider sitting in a bubble bath as a valid and semi-permanent lifestyle choice.

And the thing that makes Canada great, of course, is that no matter how cold it is where you are, there is always some other part of the country that has it worse. So you layer up all your knitted garments and go outside anyway because that’s what we do. And thank goodness for knitted garments.

I’m about to wrap up a set of designs that have been in the works for a few months and am looking ahead to starting new ones, but for the moment I just want to put all of that on pause and knit socks. Plain, comfortable, wool, colourful socks, all for me.

Jan18-RibbedSocks

I sorted through the stash on the weekend and pulled out a skein of Socks That Rock (mediumweight, in a mill end and therefore unknown colourway) and cast on for a pair of 3×1 ribbed socks (my favourite), and am loving it. Warmth and colour, that’s what I want. I have been stopping occasionally to return to a neglected Work In Progress, a poor pair of Jaywalkers that I started last summer and then set down in September, never to return to them until now. It’s only the foot of the 2nd sock that needs finishing, so I can surely get those suckers done soon and add another new pair to my sock drawer to start the year.

Jan18-ZombieBBQJaywalkers

They are also warm and colourful and therefore just what this knitter ordered. Sometimes socks are what you need.

Stay warm and knitterly!

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