Sisterly Socks

 What a weekend!  We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house, so I’ve spent the majority of the weekend cleaning, baking and generally throwing things out.  The girls have spent the weekend cutting up paper into teeny tiny pieces and strewing those pieces everywhere.  Currently there are at least three tiny little scary faces in our living room.  Apparently these faces are alien traps.  I don’t know what they’re supposed to do, but I’m afraid to move them as Addie may think something terrible has happened. 

Despite the craziness, or maybe because of it, I have been knitting fast every night.  It’s become that time of year where I feel like I can’t churn out warm knits fast enough.  My little sister has worn through the socks I made her last summer.  She wears them at night while watching TV and occasionally wears them to shovel snow. My sister is a very appreciative knitting recipient and as she’s often telling me, I owe her another piece of knitwear. 

So I decided to surprise her with a sparkly pair of socks.  Since little sis is wearing the socks without shoes for the most part, I decided to make them out of worsted weight to keep them extra toasty.  Honestly, I tried the socks on while I was knitting the second sock and had a hard time giving them away!  I think I need a pair of these for my own TV watching pleasure.  I also sent a tiny bit of leftover sock yarn (from the original green socks) to my sister so that she can try darning her other socks. 

It’s the season of darkness here in the Northland, so there will be a lot of flash photos going forward.  It’s just too hard to get a decent photo during the day, especially since I work full time and have 2 very busy little girls. 


Yarn:  Merino Gold worsted weight.  94% merino wool, 6% metallic sparkle.  This is the last of the Merino Gold that I had in my stash.  I originally bought it thinking I would make a sweater for Addie with it.  However, she rapidly grew out of the size that I would use that yardage for.  Over the years, I’ve used partial skeins for hats and other little things.  This used just under 2 skeins of yarn. 

Pattern:  Syncopated Rib Boot Socks from Toe Up! by Chrissy Gardiner. 

Modifications:  None.  This was not my first toe up sock, or my first afterthought heel.  However, it has been a very long time since I have done either of these techniques.  I really enjoyed knitting these from the toe up.  I felt like the pattern really flew along – although that could be as much from the worsted weight as from the technique.  Chrissy Gardner has a very good explanation of all the techniques in the book.  I have a couple other patterns from this book bookmarked for knitting later.  In fact, I might be seeking out more toe up patterns in the future.  I would like to find a different heel though, I’m not crazy about the way the afterthought heel looks as compared to a heel flap. However, for speed’s sake, I think I can get over the looks fairly quickly.

A Good Knitting Group

I am a big fan of knitting groups; whether they meet in a yarn shop,a coffee shop or in someone’s home.  Finding the right group is almost like dating, you are getting to know each other.  Do you like the same kind of projects or are the other members of the group knitting binary code into a sweater while you’re starting your first hat?  (not that you can’t find some common ground there, but are you comfortable enough to find that common ground)  Can you all discuss the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy or the last symphony event?  Is there chemistry with the group?  Is there an outright feud between members of the group that would make you feel uncomfortable?  I searched around for a while before I found the group that was right for me.  I even went to a few groups on a semi-regular basis before I found the one I like the best. 

I still might float into another group for an hour or two if it fits into my schedule, but they don’t quite feel like home to me.  The one that feels like home knows me by name and celebrates each completed project.  They ask what is wrong when you haven’t attended the group in several weeks.  They even know my children’s names and welcome the girls when they come to knitting night.  We talk about our trials and tribulations and we commiserate over our mistakes (both knitting and otherwise).  Someone is always willing to help show a new technique or talk about the latest patterns.  Someone will always point out to Mary that new purple yarn has come in.   Each person contributes to the group to make it better than it was before them. 

So, as we move closer to Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank those women who have welcomed me into their midst and let me be a part of the group.  I appreciate the chance to step away from the hectic routine and just hang out and play with pretty string.  Thank you for your friendship.

I Dream of Knitting…

In the Three Irish Girls Studio, there is a quote by van Gogh that says, “I Dream of Painting, then I Paint my Dreams.”  I saw the quote on the wall and it stopped me in my tracks.  This is the way I feel about knitting.  If I’m worried or anxious, I can always calm my mind by thinking of knitting.  Either by designing something in my mind or just going over the motions of making the knit stitches.  If knitting is a way for me to calm my mind, Sharon’s studio is a jolt of high octane coffee straight to my neural synapses.

I had an opportunity on Saturday to attend a workshop on using handpainted yarn at TIG.  The Three Irish Girls Studio is brightly colored with high ceilings.  You can see the old-world styling of the original building (and that’s without going in her “Scary” basement).

Yarn Waiting to Go Out

Although Three Irish Girls is right down the street from my office, this was the first time I was able to get a full tour.  I felt like I may have gone overboard a few months ago when I announced that I was going to become a stalker, so I’ve been trying to hang back and not be obnoxious.  Even though it’s been killing me not try to buy yarn directly out of the dye pots.  I am very happy that at least one yarn store in the area is already carrying her yarn.  In fact, I may or may not have tried to convince a LYS owner to carry Kate in the bulky weight.  I hope Kathy’s arm isn’t hurt from the twisting I gave it.

Skein WinderDo you need a skein winder in your house that can wind 3 skeins at once?

VestOr a beautiful vest just hanging out on a mannequin?  I absolutely love this vest, but I’ve decided that it is best suited to a somewhat flatter chested mannequin.  I’m afraid that on my short busty frame it wouldn’t look quite right.  Ah well, not every knit is for every body.  It is an amazing example of using tonal yarns together to make a stunning impact.  Alone, the variations in the blue might have been distracting and had created an odd pooling pattern.  But when you break it up with colorwork, the result is stunning.

More Yarn Waiting to Be Mailed HomeMore yarn waiting for a home.  As part of our tour, Sharon took us back to the shipping station.  This is where all the skeins of yarn hang out waiting for the rest of their order to be completed.

After the tour, Sharon talked about how to determine whether a skein was kettle dyed or hand painted.  She then told us characteristics of each and how to encourage or discourage pooling – depending upon your preference.  Although this wasn’t anything new to me, it was a really good refresher of how to get what you want out of your hand knits.

Yarn GraveyardThe final take-away?  Life is too short to knit with yarn you don’t like.  So, if you don’t like your yarn, you can put it in the Yarn Graveyard like this photo shows.  (That’s the yarn that doesn’t make it past the discerning eye of Sharon).  Or give the yarn away.  If you don’t love it, there’s sure to be another knitter who thinks it’s the best stuff eva!