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July 30, 2006

Sock Study

Okay, I am just not content to believe that cuff-to-toe on DPN's is the best method of sock-knitting, but it is definitely my preferred method. I've tried magic loop and I'm definitely intrigued by toe-up knitting and short-row heels. In the end, however, what I know is that until I'm face to face with total dissatisfaction in the way I am knitting socks, I'll continue the old-fashioned way -- 5 sticks, some sock yarn and immediately commencing with long-tail cast-on and some ribbing.

Priscilla Gibson-Roberts prefers toe-up knitting ("most of the time," as she says in Simple Socks Plain and Fancy). She also writes, "But when it comes time to replace the toe, or the whole foot for that matter, having knitted your socks from the top has its advantages. You can just pull the yarn and watch the stitches go. If you have started at the toe, you will have to pick out the stitches of a full round to separate the pieces, then pick up the stitches and work down."

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a heel to turn.

Comments closed on this entry

July 29, 2006

New Photoblog

I've been wanting to add a photoblog to my site, so when I was asked if I'd like to try one out, I said yes. It's a perfect place for me to put my "knitting inspiration" photos. These aren't necessarily the best photos I take and it's possible there's nothing special about them to anybody but me. However, I do want to share them with those of you who might enjoy getting a glimpse of the projects or yarns that inspire me. I read some excellent blogs and one of the things I enjoy the most about knitting blogs are your photos! Occasionally, I just wish the photos were larger; so what I want for my own photoblog is a simple, knitting- or fiber-related inspirational large photo. This doesn't replace my Flickr, it just serves a different purpose for me. Sometimes I just want to share something without writing an entire blog about it.

Click here to see the new photoblog: Twisted Knitter Photoblog

What's next for me? A podcast perhaps?

July 28, 2006

Purl Soho Cedar Stripe Sock #2 Progress

I'm on the second sock of the striped pair of socks I've been working on:

PurlCedarStripeSkein.jpg

PurlCedarStripe.jpg

There's a subtle difference in these colors from the same dyelot, but I like it. In general, I still enjoy the custom-colored striping yarns in spite of the crap-shoot that is Lorna's Laces hand-dyed yarns. You just really never know how much or how little Lorna's Laces will pool, so I've decided to think of it as charming (and if I had any OCD tendencies, the quirky yarn would drive me over the edge).

As much as I am really itching to work on something more substantial -- a more challenging knitting project, I am totally unable to do that right now. However, there is immense comfort in sock-knitting and it's easily transported, so that's ideal for me during my rapidly-diminishing summer.

A big thank you to my readers for not taking personally anything I said in my blog entry yesterday regarding the dynamics of blog commenting. I enjoy all my comments and commenters and try to reply to each one of them. When a knitter asks questions regarding projects on my blog, or knitting questions in general, I take the time to craft a response as soon as I possibly can. I knit and blog because I enjoy it and I will continue to have a knitting blog as long as I'm knitting. And truly, It's a miniscule part of my blog readership that aren't knitters. The rare comments that frustrate me are typically from non-knitters who stop by and that's when I use my comment moderating power. This blog and its comments will possibly outlast me and I still consider a well-placed, constructive comment to be a gift of a reader's effort and time. So, thank you.

July 27, 2006

A few finds

In the process of catching up on blog reads, I've hit a few of my favorites and discovered some fun and helpful randomness:

Nobody rocks the Pantone Color Forecast quite like Bonne Marie:

Bonne Marie's PF

And Yahaira's Toe-up vs. Cuff-Down "dragon-scale" socks feature a visual of two sock-knitting methods side-by-side. She also shared a link to this helpful little gem: chart creator (hint: click "example" to see how it works).

From And Knitting, Amy linked to Danny Gregory's site and this entry.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's observations about Oklahoma were hilarious (the wind is the deal-killer for me . . . I don't miss it one bit). She'll be in Austin this weekend and of course, I won't be able to be there, but others will and I can't wait to hear what they have to say!

Typically, I don't have enough time to read through the hundreds of comments some of the well-known knitbloggers receive, but I've noticed a strange tendency lately on some big-name blogs for the commenters to get a little bit negative and passive-aggressive in what they write. I guess the assumption is that if one reads a blog for a few years, she thinks she KNOWS the blogger based on photos, blog entries, etc. From "that wouldn't look good on you" (how do you know that . . . really?) to "I could never afford to knit with xxxx yarn" (who asked you?) to "that would make you look stumpy and short-legged" (and the blogger asked for your opinion?) and of course, one of my biggest pet peeves is something that sounds like a variation of one or more of these, "my sister's friend knit with that yarn once and it's not my color" or "my daughter/mother/aunt likes pink" or "I don't knit with animal fibers" (so what?) I suppose some commenters cannot refrain from drawing attention to THEMSELVES in the comments section of a blog?

I think I need to go back to my practice of not reading others' blog comments.

July 23, 2006

Sweater Workshop

The first I heard of The Sweater Workshop, by Jacqueline Fee, was on Skittermagoo's blog. I can't believe it's taken me almost two years to buy a copy of this book for myself.

Last night, I was able to read a couple of chapters and I can't wait to get started on my own "sweater sampler," but wait I must. However, I'm just as excited about the concept now as I was over a year and a half ago - I think this sampler is a great way to learn important techniques without fudging on a sweater-in-progress. I'm all about "learn as you go," but when there's a significant yarn and time investment involved, it pays to try to acquire the knitting knowledge BEFORE you're faced with having to know it.

My only gripe about this book is a superficial one - I don't like the slick, glossy pages. I do love the photos, diagrams and charts. My favorite thing is "The Gauge Page" -- a page you can photocopy and use to figure the number of cast on stitches according to your own gauge and a logical percentage system (inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann of course).

A quick quote from the introduction: " . . . The Sweater Workshop is a viewpoint. Its aim is to cause you to take an analytical look at sweater knitting with your yarn as the starting point. . . The purpose of this book is to hint at the potentialities, to stimulate your ideas, and to foster a keen appreciation for the knitted fabric."

July 21, 2006

Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock Finished

In the midst of family crisis (yet again), at least I'm able to finish something:

Lornas Laces Sheperd Sock - Purl Soho Colorway - CEDAR Stripe

Yarn: Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock - Purl Soho custom color - "Cedar Stripe"
Needles: Crystal Palace DPNs - Size 1 (2.25 mm)
Pattern: A basic sock pattern - see the blog entry here

I'm still working on the Mountain Colors "Wilderness" sock and am closing in on the toe decreases.

Now, if you don't really "get" sock-knitting (i.e. why knit socks when you can buy perfectly fine pre-made socks at the store?), I had my own shining moment of understanding when I was reading this: Properly used, socks get used up. They are, like so many wonderful things and people... here for a good time, not a long time...and it's our duty to get our footwear out and show it a good time.

July 18, 2006

New Header & Colors

Real life intervened yesterday and I didn't get an opportunity to post about the changes in my blog design.

Becky (Fluffa!) is my wonderful web hostess who created the new graphic header here. I wanted something bright and bold and it's definitely bright and bold! How she finds the time to do all this and finish her knitting and sewing projects, I will never know. Thank you, Becky!

July 17, 2006

Mountain Colors Bearfoot Sock

It's been wonderful knitting my first sock with this yarn:

Bearfoot_Wilderness_Blog.jpg

I've swatched it before on 2.25mm needles and it was too dense. For me, this yarn behaves best with a 2.75mm needle. I'm already a huge fan of Mountain Colors yarns, but hadn't had an opportunity to knit a sock using this Mountain Colors Bearfoot until last week.

The basic sock pattern is my own -- 64 stitches with K2P2 ribbing for the leg and stockinette for the foot. The stockinette portion is where I really fell in love with the colorway. I envision a scarf or sweater for myself with this color in their 4/8ths worsted weight wool (someday). I've used the Mountain Colors 4/8ths wool in Ruby River, Indian Corn and Tango for 3 different multidirectional scarves -- the yarn knits up so quickly and wonderfully.

Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock is still a close contender for my sock-knitting heart, however. Both sock yarns are nicely unique and enjoyable.

I also have to share my fun new "peas in pod" stitch markers:

I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but I can't wait! They're not only cute, they're beautifuly constructed and presented in a labeled tin:

Stitch Markers from Amy

You can get yours from Amy at Good to Be Girl.

July 15, 2006

Another dishcloth entry

My daughter knit her first dishcloth using this pattern; she caught on to the pattern immediately and finished her dishcloth the same day. I've noticed that she's a much faster knitter than I am (she just learned to knit last fall). She's not a "process" knitter but a very intense results-oriented knitter. I don't think I could enjoy knitting as much as I do if it made me tense or nervous.

dishclothEJJ2.jpg
Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme, Lemon-Lime

dishclothEJJ.jpg

For a new knitter, this dishcloth pattern is a great way to learn YO (yarn over) and K2tog (knit two together) as increase/decrease methods. Materials can be purchased at your nearest hobby or discount store -- the yarn and supplies won't set you back more than $5 (USD). Knitting is accessible to anybody who wants to learn.

July 14, 2006

2006 Knit Alongs

Knit-alongs

2006 Knit Alongs:

Fetching Fingerless Gloves - Knit Along
(joined but not started yet)

I Knit a Noni
(Completed)

sockapaloooza2006
(Completed)

200Sox Button


Irish Hiking Scarf Knitalong
(In progress)

July 12, 2006

Knitting Without Tears

I keep Elizabeth Zimmermann books on my bedside table to read before drifting off to sleep and last night while I had socks on my mind, I read this, "K2, P2, rib is one of the best stitches for socks, as it is so elastic that it clings to legs and ankles, and tends to stay up and not wrinkle. So cast on sufficient stitches to reach comfortably around ankle and/or instep, seeing to it that they are divisible by four, distribute them on three needles, and rib a long enough piece for the leg."

I love E. ZImmermann's breezy but opinionated (and deservedly so) writing style. Reading this last night helped me make a decision about the socks I started the other night -- that is, whether to keep the K2,P2 ribbing throughout or knit in stockinette after a 2" cuff. Since this is another pair for my husband, I'm keeping them ribbed. Thanks, E.Z.

Incidentally, this is the book in which you can find her Seamless Sweater and her famous percentage system for knitting a sweater without a pattern. The modular Tomten jacket is also in here (knit in garter stitch throughout or as E.Z. writes, "contains not one stitch of purl.")

And my favorite knitting quote is in this book as well:

"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."

And since she's not one to make bold statements without expanding on them a bit, she also said, "If you hate to knit, why, bless you, don't; follow your secret heart and take up something else. But if you start out knitting with enjoyment, you will probably continue in this pleasant path."

Mountain Colors Bearfoot Wilderness


July 10, 2006

Summer of Re-knits

It really wasn't an all-out plan to re-knit things I was marginally dissatisfied with, but that's what it has turned out to be:

Purl Soho Lornas Laces

Cast on 60 stitches
K2 P2 ribbing for 1-1/2"
Knit till leg is 5-1/2" and then start heel flap on 30 stitches (half the cast on stitches)

Gauge - 8 st/in unstretched and 7 st/in stretched on Size 1 (2.25mm) Crystal Palace DPNs

My ankle circumference is 7.5" (9cm) so if you do the math, it works out to 60 stitches for the sock fit that I like. I have a crazy affinity for numbers evenly divisible by both 3 and 4, but I played with Elizabeth Bennett's Perl Sock Program until I settled upon a plain vanilla sock pattern that I like. I deviate from her heel pattern and instead use Heels by Number (which hasn't failed me once).

I had already completed a sock knit on Size 2 (2.75mm) DPNs with this Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock yarn (a special Purl Soho striping colorway) but didn't like the results -- the sock felt too short and I wasn't crazy about the way it knit on the 2.75mm needles. It was one of those projects that I ended up putting away for a while until last weekend. Sometimes it's just terribly satisfying to rip out and start over.

I'm still sticking with my preferred sock construction - cuff-to-toe knitting with a traditional slip-stitched heel flap. Someday I'll get excited about the logic of toe-up construction and short row heels, but for now, knitting socks this way is comfortable for me. And, yes, I'm perfectly aware that it's high time I knit some patterned socks. Soon.


July 07, 2006

Inspiration

Source_blog.jpg

I'm emerging from focused effort and thought and things are getting back to normal. Cleaning, clearing and organizing has helped as did immersing myself fully in the things that inspire ME. I really do enjoy seeing what inspires others and I think that's why I am drawn to knitters' and artists' blogs in the first place. But I'm not in a hurry, not rushed. I'm digging deeper in to the things I've been wanting to learn. I'm learning to be a more intuitive knitter and not relying so much on the written pattern, but understanding more and taking notes. I personally prefer blogs where the writer shares his/her source of inspiration and product acquisitions, and who shares with me some photos and decision-making process. And because *I* like blogs like that, I try to share every detail here as well.

I've enjoyed Mason Dixon Knitting (the book itself) since I purchased it a few months ago, but picking it up this week yielded new discoveries (there's no way to ever be truly 'finished" with this book). It's not the patterns themselves that intrigue me . . . it's the underlying theme: "the curious knitter's guide." I'm definitely that! I like Greetings from Knit Cafe for the same reasons. Knitting can be simple and not fussy or precious; it can help you discover untapped creativity. So I am keeping these books nearby.

I now have two new links in my sidebar - to knitting blogs and my favorite free knitting patterns. I'll be updating these more frequently now that it's more efficient to do so.

July 03, 2006

Blog Redesign

If you visit my actual blog space (i.e. not via Bloglines) you might notice some occasional tweaking and changes when you stop by. I'll have a new graphic header soon and I'm revamping the sidebar. My knitblogger links will be back and my other buttons will reappear in a day or two. The color scheme will change and I intend to have a more consistent method of posting photos. Meanwhile, you can click on the Flickr badge in the sidebar and look at some of my knitting photos any time you'd like.

If you have questions about a specific knitting project, please email me or leave a comment on the blog entry related to the project.

July 01, 2006

Creative Energy

Years ago when I was involved with building databases and developing software, one of my mentors told me to avoid throwing the innocent users into "symbol-shock" -- giving them too much interactive stimuli in one screenview. Good software design allows the user to approach the experience feeling in control and not immediately overstimulated.

That's how I've been feeling . . . overstimulated.

Recently, my blog-hopping and Flickr-hopping has created that dreaded "symbol-shock" experience for me. I feel that some of own creative energy has been sucked from me (and I take total responsibility for choosing to keep clicking). Even though I focus primarily on knitting blogs and photos posted by fellow knitters, there's now this bit of cacophony that prevents me from generating my own thoughts. I already know that I don't want to always be knitting the thing that everybody else is knitting or knit the thing the same way everybody else does, so why I am exposing myself to it? (This isn't a judgment of those who knit the latest and the coolest designs -- I do that too; rather, it's just that I don't get a particular charge out of doing this unless it's something I would want to knit anyway). I've become more of an observer than an active participant in the thing that brings me joy and fulfillment -- my own creativity and my own ideas.

I don't produce ANYTHING commercially viable nor do I use this blog as forum to market my thoughts to anybody, but I've been feeling that tiny bit of discontent and dissatisfaction with myself that indicates that I'm no longer on track. I'm not talking about extreme self-consciousness but that feeling that I'm being dishonest with myself by not doing what I enjoy. There . . . do you see it? It's the absence of JOY. It reminds me of what I felt when I worked for people who felt it necessary to micromanage and contain everything I did (incidentally, those are the jobs for which I was paid the least . . . but I digress). Contrast that with my most fulfilling and successful jobs -- the ones in which I was given the mandate to achieve a particular goal and given the FREEDOM to use the resources at my disposal to achieve the objectives. I had the authority to make choices and decisions using my mind, my creativity.

Knitting and blogging is enjoyable for me whether or not I actually produce a single finished object. It really *is* about the process for me. I have all the resources at my disposal (excellent knitters and knitblogs, visual resources, reading material, search engines), but I've stopped using them to my own ultimate goal of pure knitting enjoyment and instead have focused more on the "look what I did" aspect of knitblogging. And . . . that is really just not ME. What I intended to share here is my enthusiasm, my energy and offer encouragement to others. I really appreciate those of you who read me here and recognize what I am all about and what I have to offer.

I was so sure when I started knitting that I would hit a wall in knitting -- that is, find something I simply could NOT do. But I had some encouraging mentors and friends who told me that yes, I could actually learn how to purl and yes, I could knit whatever I wanted if I tried and wanted to learn. (Guess what? They were right). So yeah, you can too. Don't ever come to this blog and say, "I could never do that." All I possess is a desire and enthusiasm -- I wasn't born knowing how to knit. For what it's worth -- i's not a compliment to the blogger to type in the comments box, "I can't do that." I'm not here to show off, yet that's the implication when somebody leaves a comment like that.

I will find JOY in my knitting again.

Coffee and a Magazine