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February 25, 2006

Sensational Knitted Socks

Christine's Pointy Sticks podcast is live now! (No iPod required - just click and listen).

I ordered a highly-recommended sock book recently and each time I sit down to look through it, I learn something new. Sensational Knitted Socks demystifies the sock-knitting process and provides resources for those who learn best visually as well as for those who prefer to deal with charts and tables. If asked which one sock-knitting resource I would recommend, this is it. There are instructions for 4 dpns, 5 dpns and knitting socks on 2 circular needles (also adaptable to the "Magic Loop" technique). Ask for it at your local yarn store or favorite bookstore.

I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that I am going to attempt knitting socks using the "Magic Loop" method and I brought the instructional booklet home with me today. There are also many excellent tutorials online, but the booklet showcases the method along with providing several additional non-sock patterns using an extra-long circular needle.

Thank you all for the suggestions regarding clogs/mules! Before too long it will be warming up here and I won't be wearing ANY socks -- it will be flip-flops and pedicures for me! However, I'll definitely keep knitting socks so I can meet my sock-knitting goal for the year.

I've been a bit quiet online the past few weeks . . . I've been in a season of learning some new things about myself and breaking some bad habits. The older I get, the more I realize that I desire freedom from expectations more than I desire just about anything. I tend to allow others to set standards for me and I just can't do that any longer. I can't get back the opportunities I've simply LOST due to my over-involvement in things that truly do not fulfill any of my personal goals. It's not regret as much as it is the feeling of frustration I get over ONCE AGAIN allowing others' expectations supersede my own dreams. Initially, I am excited when my friends start something new and when I am asked to help, I do so! But I'm learning to say, "You can do this on your own! I believe in you!" The truth is -- I really DO believe in people. I sometimes continue to believe in people when they lose faith in themselves. YOU are equipped with whatever it is you need to discover and live out your own purpose and your own dreams. I believe that when somebody is passionately pursuing something they were meant to do, they simply need encouragement from the sidelines . . . they don't really NEED for me to roll up my sleeves and work alongside them. I can advise, encourage, facilitate and cheerlead. It's enough. And although I am seriously overdue in having learned this lesson, it's not too late for me.

February 21, 2006

Socks - Fortissima Mexico

This is what I've been working on:

Fortissima Mexico Color #9074

Fortissima Mexico Color #9074

This is the first sock yarn I ever purchased and it's seen a lot of false starts. I'm amazed it's held up through all the frogging and rewinding. This particular yarn is no longer part of the current sock yarn offerings at Schoeller-Stahl, but you might enjoy looking at their website anyway.

I'm once again to the toe decreases and am learning more about the type of toe I want on a sock. I prefer traditional symmetrical decreases with neither a too-pointy or too-wide toe. So these will get the traditional decrease and 10-12 stitches remaining on the front and back needles prior to "kitchenering." Although I've used a K1P1 ribbing, I think I prefer a K2P2 ribbing.

Did I mention that my busy life accomodates sock-knitting much better than any other type of knitting project? It's perfect for the tiny bits of unfocused time I find here and there. Otherwise, something that requires close attention and focus for extended periods will provide nothing but frustration. If you need socks knit, I'm your girl! It really is the best portable project. It really can't "grow" beyond a certain size and at any point, I can set it down and know where I'm at when I pick it up. Granted, if there's patterning involved, that might be a different outcome altogether. It's also a perfect "sitting up in bed" project. When I start to get sleepy, I'm always close to a stopping point when I'm knitting a sock. Not so with most other projects.

I've found that I really seem to prefer the shorter DPN's (Brittany Birch) over the longer ones (Clover Bamboo). I will continue to use whatever I have on hand, however, so I can have more than one sock I'm knitting at any given time! I also want to learn and master the Magic Loop method.

This week I received the sock yarn I ordered for my Sock Pal's socks from Knit Picks. I chose the Cape Cod colorway of the Sock Landscape sock yarn but when I received it, I wasn't crazy about it. My sock pal might be treated to a pair of socks knit with some Cherry Tree Hill instead.

So, now I have to know what type of shoes that handknit sock wearers wear! I want to actually wear and show off my socks! Links and photos are very much appreciated.

February 15, 2006

Color Me Happy . . . with Moss Stitch

Thank you, Lynn-Anne for educating me regarding moss stitch. I'm in love with it; it's a close cousin of seed stitch and both are equally as difficult to achieve if you're a right-hand thrower like I am. However, there's a pleasant rhythm to BOTH of these that I love. I can't share any photos yet, but I am using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I'd forgotten just how scrumptious it is to work with. It reminded me that I need to finish my Knitty Tempting from last year. I also have 6 more balls of the Cashmerino Aran in an off-white color (I was thinking of a 2nd Tempting with it but might try something different).

Photos will return in my next blog post.

Last weekend, I worked the anniversary sale at Twisted Yarns and I really shouldn't be surprised at how the sock yarn flew out the door! I know it wasn't because I was gushing over the new Cherry Tree Hill Supersock sock yarn or the Trekking XXL. Everybody truly IS knitting socks these days. For the sock yarn stash (which I did mention I would be enhancing this year), I purchased another Trekking XXL (Color #69) and a Burgundy Cherry Tree Hill (and oh yes, I'll go back for the variegated ones I want later).

There has been a lot of progress on the sock-knitting (and re-knitting) front here at Chez Twisted Knitter. Don't you hate photo-less blogs? I DO! If you want to see a cool pair of Trekking socks, click here.

On the Sockapalooza update, I have purchased yarn for my Sock Pal's socks! They should arrive via USPS soon! If I don't totally love the yarn I ordered, then I'll choose something from my sock yarn stash in a color that I think she would enjoy.

February 10, 2006

Quick Knitting

Pink Dishcloth
Click the photo above for pattern notes at Flickr

It's hardly worth blogging, but dishcloths are what started it all for me. A little over two years ago, I challenged myself to learn how to knit dishcloths like this (with a gentle prod from a friend who was already learning to knit) because my mom loves them so much. She's terribly hard to buy for and is allergic to precious metals and nearly every fiber other than cotton (and polyester! LOL!), I knew that these humble little dishcloths were the perfect gift for her. Obviously, I've ventured beyond these since then and am coming up on my 2-year knitting anniversary. I am quite a slow learner when it comes to knitting. I knit six Sophies before the whole design "clicked" for me and I figured out how to count rounds correctly and how to do left- and right-leaning descreases. The Booga Bag was a bit more straightforward and I learned circular knitting (and i-cord) on the Booga and discovered a serious NORO addiction. I love the bits of organic matter embedded in the yarn and I get so much pleasure out of knitting with anything NORO.

This year, I am conquering sock-knitting and shooting for a finished pair of socks every month. It will likely take my knitting several pair before all of it clicks for me, but I'll continue to do it because I just enjoy it SO MUCH. There's nothing like facing your fears (sock-knitting was a huge fear) and discovering new things about yourself.

Next year -- Fair Isle. I scare myself.

In a totally unrelated vein, I came across some excellent copyright links at Bonne Marie's Chic Knits blog this morning. The links are in her sidebar. I have seen several well-meaning people (and not just knitting-related sites) blatantly stealing others' works. Some of the most serious offenders knew better but did it anyway. Of special interest to me was 10 Big Myths About Copyright..

February 08, 2006

Chunky Cable Purse - Knitpicks Version

This was a quick and enjoyable knit:

Chunky Cable Purse - Knitpicks.com - Sierra
Click the photo (above) for a link to the pattern notes

Chunky Cable Purse - Knitpicks - Sierra

I've decided that I really, really love knitting cables! It gave me a break from knitting this:

Lorna's Laces Cedar Stripe
Lorna's Laces "Cedar Stripe" from Purl Soho

with this:

Lorna's Laces

After this pair is complete, I'm giving striped sock yarn a rest for a while. While knitting this morning, I listened to a new knitting podcast that I highly recommend: Pointy Sticks podcast. Christine's a local knitter and fellow fiber enthusiast. She can also be found blogging at Big Pink Cookie and sharing her photos at Flickr. Most remarkable to me is her total lack of a Texas accent. Congratulations, Christine, on your first podcast!

February 06, 2006

First Socks of 2006

REGIA Ringel

I completed my first pair of socks of 2006! (I finished the 2nd sock during Super Bowl XL last night). I've learned that it's more difficult to knit these darker colors and actually see the stitches, so I've since cast on for a lighter-colored sock on Size 2 rosewood needles.. I'm using Beth Brown-Reinsel's "Basic, Easy Socks in Seven Sizes" for the next pair of socks I'm knitting. It's knitting up so quickly on 2's! Since starting last night, I'm already to the heel flap.

I'll be frogging the pink Trekking XXL socks since I think they are a bit too tight, even for me.

February 05, 2006

Change is in the air

What I am reading today:

Breaking Away - Creative Ideas to Jump-Start Your Knitting
Knitting for Maniacs
Sabrina Ward Harrisons - The First 34 Things on My Mind Today

I'm starting a daily journaling exercise (on paper) in which I write down all the themes (one word each) that are at the forefront of my mind; I keep writing (or typing) until I stop. I've discovered some common themes each time I sit down to write and think. Today while I was going through some of my favorite links, I realized I was "finding" some of the themes that have been on my mind. Is it coincidence or the concept of good fortune favoring the prepared? I'm discovering through this exercise that my mind is prepared to see the answers as I go about my day.

Creative successes aren't achieved merely by investing in products or materials (though it often gives us a sense of excitement when we do so), but it's fully experiencing a moment and recording a thought or idea in a way that's meaningful and memorable. For me, I have that experience whenever I put pen to paper, open my word processing program, or pick up a skein of yarn. I appreciate those of you who take the time to write about your creative processes and your enjoyment of or disappointment in your projects. Bloggers I am drawn to (and continue to read) are those who are able to transcend the insignificant and superficial and focus on what fulfills their creative vision.

Enjoy whatever it is that stirs you and have a sense of adventure about it.

February 02, 2006

Sockapaloooza 2006


I'm participating in my first Sockapaloooza and received my "sock pal" information yesterday. I signed up as a beginner since this is my first time participating. Meanwhile, since it's the "Year of the Sock" at Twisted Knitter, this fits in nicely with my theme. (It's also the Year of the Dog and Polly wrote it about it last week). This morning, I noticed that Margene is participating in Sockapaloooza (and look -- there's a a very familiar-looking skein of Trekking XXL in her blog entry). And yesterday, she so kindly introduced her newer readers to Beaverslide Dry Goods. She's generous that way.

I found a wonderful blog a few weeks ago and I highly recommend it for inspiration and incredibly pretty design - Posie gets Cozy. I also love Good to be Girl for visual appeal.

If you want to follow progress with me on Kate's Butterfly 2, hop on over to her blog to see her take on the Rowan "Butterfly" in a scrumptious color. And while you're hopping around keeping up with me, since I am all over the place this morning, be sure to visit Annie to see her completed Celtic Dreams.

Do something creative today!

February 01, 2006

Wonky blog layout & wonky me

That's what happens when you start playing with Stylesheets and CSS . . . at least that's what I think has happened here. If you're reading me through Bloglines (which I highly recommend, btw), then you're not aware of the "wonky." My Bloglines feed is set up in such a way that you can see the photos/graphics, etc. as well as the full blog entry.

If you're reading this blog entry at my blog and you see a white background (and not a patterned one) behind the words, then all is okay.

As for my mood, it's better. I'm not as angry-feeling as I was this morning. Something hit me today that was the culmination of comments made to me on Saturday, then yesterday and now today. I won't elaborate on it other than to say the following:

1. Knitters use the internet! If you own a yarn store and you aren't aware of this and you don't plan accordingly, then you are ignoring an essential group of knitters -- knitters who, although they are not LIKE you, rely HEAVILY on the internet for information about yarn, for improving their knitting skills and keeping abreast of trends. They are willing to spend their money with yarn merchants who understand them.

2. When I share my ideas, once those ideas or suggestions are released, the rest is up to you. I'm not saying that every one of my ideas is good, but I do share them.

3. Time spent on helping improve somebody else's business is time that I willingly spend until it's taken for granted. I've not asked to be compensated in any way for ideas generated on my own time. I listen, I learn and I choose how to spend my time. So . . . today . . . I learned a very valuable lesson.

Irish Hiking Scarf Progress

Irish Hiking Scarf

UPDATED: 2/2/2006 - Mossy Cottage "Mango" Irish Hiking Scarf and Yarn Obsession "Mango" Irish Hiking Scarf (for Irish Scarf Knitters Who Love Orange)

Today . . . I am dealing with a totally frustrating situation and THE KNITTING HELPS . . . as does a day or two off. I am wisely going to refrain from writing about what it is until I can get some distance from it. By then, maybe I'll have the wisdom to keep it to myself and nobody will be the wiser. However, I do wonder if I'm a better knitter when I'm angry. I'll let you know.