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November 27, 2006

The more I learn, the less I know

I've started consistently using the improved SSK as several experienced knitters have been recommending it. My son's sock was an opportunity to audition it as a permanent replacement for the tradtional SSK. (If you're confused, click the link -- there's an example of both).

Decrease 2

It still doesn't precisely mirror a K2tog, but it's aesthetically better than a regular SSK -- not substantially better, mind you, but it is easier to execute.

Decrease 1

I've one light blue Baby Ull sock down and one to go. The little socks are so quick to knit and it's a good thing, because I know a 6-year old boy who really expected to immediately have a pair of socks fly off my needles. Absolutely nothing FLIES off my needles unless you count a whimsical little elf hat knit for a quick felting (technically, "fulling") fix and some holiday color.

A few friends and I have been discussing our goals for the upcoming year -- actionable things we hope to accomplish. These aren't "resolutions" but goals for which we can be held accountable. For me, it will be learning to spin. For those of you who commented on my previous post and provided insights and advice about spinning with a drop spindle and about spinning with a wheel - THANK YOU! It's immensely helpful to hear from people whose knitting and spinning skills I respect.

Now for something random I realized today after spending some time in Bloglines . . . negative emotions seem to ring more true than positive ones. I was reading a blog yesterday that sounded overly joyful, too precious and affected. The blogger could have easily been me and probably has, but it just didn't feel like the truth. I'm writing this because I want to remember it. It's a random observation on my part that I tend to "believe" a blogger more when they appear to be writing to release unpleasant feelings. i think I'm going through a phase where I prefer the gritty truth over the well-dressed lie. Or maybe I'm just burned out on my few remaining non-knitting, non-spinning reads.

I have other opinions too -- such as how I feel about those paid placements on blogs (i.e. an advertiser PAYS YOU to mention their product in your blog entry), but you didn't come here for that, did you? Rest assured if I blog about a product I love here on Twisted Knitter, I am NOT accepting a payment to do so -- nor will I ever. And that's the extent of my disclaimer and all I am going to write about it.

November 25, 2006

Can you be distracted?

Apparently, I can. In addition to illness (all three kids), school programs, holidays, and my lame attempts at using a drop spindle in the midst of all those things, I also worked at the store. Yesterday was the first day of the annual After-Thanksgiving sale, so naturally, I had to buy some yarn (and this is the extent of my purchases):

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (L-R): Baby Stripe, Iris Garden & Happy Valley

Drop spindles. Okay, why would I use one if I know I am going to buy a wheel? (I'm asking this not with impertinence or impudence, but out of genuine curiousity). A local spinner, Sissy B., recommended a Kromski Minstrel and Kristin has one too. My goal isn't to be a perfect spinner, but a productive one. I'm most likely to spin at home in half-hour to one-hour intervals (sometimes more) and I just want to make good use of that time. I realize that I have a a LOT to learn, but I want to dispense with the drop spindle if I can, and it's not because I'm crappy at it (I am), but rather than shop for (i.e. spend money on) lighter or different drop spindles . . . well, you know the rest. My comments are open for any and all advice from spinners.

Now for the knitting. The gorgeous Shepherd Sock pictured above is for baby hats; specifically -- newborn baby hats for shower gifts and new arrivals. I'm picturing ribbed hats with fat pom-poms. I've already started one and can't wait to make more. I'm making it up as I go along with a generous heap of help from Knitting Rules. Do you have this book yet? You must get it! On page 110, there's a handy chart with typical head sizes. On page 115 are the ingredients and how-to's and some general hat wisdom. What better way to use a skein of a yummy sock yarn?

November 15, 2006

Knitter, Know Thyself

Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals,
and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. Ieyasu Tokugawa

I've not begun the spinning yet. (If I had, Elizabeth, I would gladly show you the twisty mess!) I haven't started or finished anything in the past week because I took a break. I was feeling that overstimulated, antsy feeling again (I promise it's me -- it's not you!) so I had to disconnect for a bit from the stimuli so that I could focus on what it is I want: from the knitting, the blogging, the time. I'm irritable when I'm not spending my time in a way that's in synch with what I want, what I value.

Using a process of elimination works well for me -- I chip away at what I don't want in order to reveal what I do want. It's easy for me to walk away from something unproductive, inefficient, and unrewarding. I don't linger and suffer. (This is going somewhere . . . it's not just existential angst)

For some reason, I had decided when I started knitting that I would never "spin" my own yarn. It's not like me to say no to something I've never tried, but my stubborness was due to my monogamous devotion to "just knitting." I didn't want to be tempted away and I didn't want to be bad at something (inevitable) so soon after learning to be good at something. It's a whole new vocabulary and it requires new supplies. How could I justify buying roving (and perhaps someday . . . a wheel) when I have so much unknit yarn in sweater-knitting quantities? I'm sure you've noticed that finished sweaters aren't exactly flying off my needles right now. I was mulling over all of this when I began to make a mental list of what I *do* want. And I've re-established for myself that knitting represents my choice and my privilege to spend my time and resources doing something I enjoy. It makes me the person I want to be whether or not I can justify my knitterly existence by being the first to finish and photograph and document something.

So today I am going to try to make a twisty mess and I'll let you know how it goes.

November 10, 2006

How it begins


November 08, 2006

Past, present and future socks

I have a completed sock, but I'm just showing the ribbing detail because otherwise, even in it's completed state, it's just a predictable and plain stockinette foot. I contemplated carrying the ribbing down the top of the sock, but since I knit the sock for a man's foot, I confirmed with him that this ribbing on the instep would be uncomfortable. So stockinette it was . . . many inches of redundant stockinette.

Ribbing detail on Fortissima socks

The neat thing about the ribbing is that with the garter ridge in there, I can duplicate the cuff on the second sock exactly by counting the ridges. (Obviously, helpful little details amuse me). With the Fortissima Socka gray sock completed, I've gone from four to three socks on the needles:

Socks in progress

The light blue 3x3 ribbed beauty in the middle was a special request from my youngest son. I had barely cast on when he asked if they were finished yet (apparently, there's no way I can knit them fast enough). Months ago, he requested "light blue" handknit socks. I finally got his color approval when I brought home 2 skeins of light blue Baby Ull.

Baby Ull

I am so delighted with this soft, squishy economical yarn! It's incredible to knit with. If you have baby knits in your future, try Dale of Norway Baby Ull. My only complaint is a tiny one - dropped stitches are difficult to pick up.

For future knits, I'm obsessed with silk right now - wool/silk blends, 100% silk, and the way silk feels cool next to my skin. Expect more silk in 2007. I'll also be unveiling something else soon (it'll be anticlimatic to some of you). Remind me to never say never.

Finally, I have to share one of my favorite new blog reads -- there's just a small handful of "new" blogs out there that impress me and this is one of them. Kiddley is the brainchild of Claire Robertson of LoobyLu. Back when I was ten years old, this would have kept me busy for hours. And this too . . . isn't it sometimes the simplest things that bring so much joy?

November 01, 2006

Say nothing

The Yarn Harlot's graceful solution to one's desire to have an out-of-control verbal reaction: Say nothing. Knit. Knit. Knit. Have you ever known somebody who claimed to want you to share your inner thoughts but was, frankly, wanting you to do so in order to use it as a weapon against you? Say nothing. Write nothing. Knit. Knit. Knit.

I found this charming photo and blog entry through Kristin Nicholas' blog entry today. Primitive sock knitting has been on my mind for a number of reasons, but the origins of sock knitting in general fascinate me. I also discovered that I love seeing photos on your blogs of well-worn handknit socks. Socks are meant to be worn out. If you're ever given handknit socks, the best compliment you can give the knitter is to wear them often.

For my Socktoberfest recap, my goal was to focus on sock knitting, acquire some never-before-tried sock yarn from small independent producers and visit new-to-me blogs of Socktoberfest 2006 participants. There was one small project I had in mind for Socktoberfest that I didn't get to complete -- a short video of me knitting socks. I will eventually have a link to a sock-knitting video in my sidebar, but the only videotaping equipment I had access to was seriously lacking for this project.

From last year's photo archives:

Finally I have something Hable

Hable Construction inspires me. The Hable pincushion is in my kitchen where I can see it every morning as a reminder to be curious, adventurous, and grateful. With so many family tragedies along with unnecessary drama last year, I really just wanted peace in 2006. And I've had that. In 2007, it's time to launch and fly.