Monday, November 10, 2008

A First Pair of Socks

In which a first time Sock Knitter knits a pair of socks:

a. Without knitting a gauge swatch.

b. With no pattern.

c. With no clue of how to turn a heel.

d. And insists on learning from her mistakes by making an uneven pair... You know, it took too long to knit the first sock to unravel it again.

OK, so the part about no pattern was an exaggeration. I did use a pair of hand knit socks I received for my birthday (made by my mother). And I felt confident enough that I could figure out how to turn the heel by looking at my model. Some day I will actually try and read a pattern to see if I did it "right." The socks turned out so that's right enough for now. The thing about the gauge swatch though... it would have helped to knit one. Note the part about the uneven pair of socks. I also wasn't paying attention to the toe decrease, resulting in somewhat pointy toes. My mother used a different thickness of yarn and size 2.5 needles. Minor details, ha ha!

Pattern: Mom's Birthday Sock
Material: Kiogu handpainted merino sock wool
Amount: Two skeins
Needles: Size 1 bamboo
Started: June 11, 2008
Finished: September 27, 2008

One of the most enjoyable aspects of these socks? They were knitted mostly on my Europe vacation last summer. Nothing is quite as civilized as riding through the countryside in a train while knitting.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Why I Don't Knit Socks

Yes, this picture shows TWO DOZEN HAND KNIT socks, lovingly knitted for me by my mother and by my grandmother.

My sock drawer floweth over. The sock drawers of my brothers, husband, and sisters in law are equally stocked. Why would I ever knit a sock for myself and those same loved ones with all this wealth? Especially when I have so many maroon socks that I haven't bothered finishing all of them yet?

That was then. This is now... Yea... I found this delightful Kiogu yarn...

Maybe I'll try just one pair...

Hello Lovely! Come here and let me knit you...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A 30th Anniversary

Today is a special anniversary for me: the 30th anniversary of beginning my knitting career. I received a "Strickliesl," AKA Knitting Nancy similar to the one pictured above, for my birthday 30 years ago from my cousin who is also my Godmother. More on the special role of Godmothers and knitting in a later post. Sadly, my original Knitting Nancy is currently MIA, but I did find the results of my youthful labor.

I think all that snakey product was supposed to become a pot holder. Thank goodness for the maturity of age that now allows me to finish my knitting products.

Oh yes, and Happy 35th Birthday to me!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Memories of Last Summer, or Long Live Harry Potter

As the first day of this blessed new summer vacation draws to a close, I find myself sifting through some photos from last year.

Last summer at this time, my family and I were eagerly awaiting the 7th Harry Potter book and discovered (with horror) that the book would come out on the first day of our big annual family reunion vacation. The emails flew thick and fast to establish "the rules" about reading, sharing the books, not divulging, etc.

In the mean time, I stopped by my LYS and found a stack of "Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter" by Alison Hansel right next to a large selection of yarns that were recommended in the book. Halleluia, a store that understands my need for straightforward yarn choices right next to the new pattern book. I still obsessed about the "most perfect" color choices for a Ravenclaw scarf (requested by my sister-in-law) for at least an hour... Had I needed to roam the store to find the appropriate yarn brand, weight, etc., AND COLOR, it would have taken me a half day deciding... The upside is that I love hanging around the yarn store. But you knew that!

Of course, I was also taken by those most seductive Gryffindor colors and thought to myself that my husband might just adore it. I also had a venue in which to knit it in secret - a trip to the Grand Tetons with a friend - later in the summer. Turns out, I spent two days getting from Philadelphia to Jackson Hole... and another two days in reverse. The traveling was a very, very ugly affair, but the upside was a finished Gryffindor scarf.

With two scarves down, a thought of making my brother-in-law a scarf germinated somewhere in the back of my mind. When asked, he joked that he was certainly a Slytherin type. Perfect. New colors to maintain knitting interest. Back at the yarn store I decided that I couldn't just make three of four house scarves, so I also purchased the Hufflepuff colors for me. The lucky upside of those two scarves is that the Slytherin scarf also shares the same color scheme as the Philadelphia Eagles (brother in law's favorite sports team) and the Hufflepuff colors are the same as my alma mater (University of Colorado, Boulder) and the current school that employs me. Win, win, WIN!

The big reveal was Christmas and I didn't want to let on that I was knitting Hufflepuff for me (three out of four scarf scenario, husband could get suspicious, etc, etc...), I also had to knit the Hufflepuff in secret. It was very tricky, since I usually drive or watch a movie WITH my husband while also knitting. There were many sneaky moments and near misses in this process. Lying too. Not comfortable. The final product was barely finished and wrapped in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve. All is well that ends well... Note the unfinished Hufflepuff scarf below.

The Reveal:
Each scarf was given to its recipient by at least one member of each Hogwarts house.
Ravenclaw scarf: from Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang
Slytherin scarf: from Crabbe, Goyle, and Brian Dawkins (check the Eagles roster in case you were looking in the HP books for that last name...)
Hufflepuff: Cedric Diggory. I wish I had a picture of my husband's confused and amazed face when this was announced and opened! Worth the price of knitting time, hands down! ("You made and gave yourself scarf?? I am so confused!")
Gryffindor: from the ghost Sir Nicholas de Mimsey-Porpington!!

Needless to say, the whole event was a smashing success! Ah, the happy memories of summer, a completed book series and matching scarves!

And here we all are in our be-scarfed glory!
Left to right: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff

Friday, May 2, 2008

Who Needs Another Knitting Blog?

Apparently, I do! A combination of stimuli recently inspired this move toward posting my own blog.

First and foremost, I have been admiring the beautiful craft of many other knit bloggers and would like to say "Thank you!" for the inspiration. Hopefully I can contribute a tiny spark of inspiration to you as well from time to time.

Second, my family has been bugging me to create a virtual home where they can check up on my knitting escapades. I already photograph all of my works and have a little photo album. You have to be near me to look at it. The amount of work it represents makes me feel very protective of it. This blog will allow me to share. More posting and hopefully some pictures soon as well...