The “Next Step” Sock KAL – part two

 

If some of you are wondering – no, my disappearance has nothing to do with my new sharp double-pointed needles and bleeding to death. Actually, if we had a death match with these needles, I would probably win. They are not really good – they’ll bend the moment I pick them up. I guess I’ll have two things to show by the end of this knitalong: a new pair of socks, and two sets of  needles of assorted shapes.

As for the socks, I have reached the heels. My knitting seems to a be a tad uneven, but I guess that is what I get for using such fine needles and yarn for the first time. My grandma was a very tight knitter, my mom is an impossibly tight knitter, but no matter how hard I try, the texture of my stuff is never getting anywhere close.

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The “Next Step” Sock KAL – part one

I love the collective projects that the crafters undertake. I usually just observe (and envy ;)), because setting deadlines is a bit too scary. But sometimes I just can not resist the  temptation – I mean, how cool is that almost 50 knitters from all across the world are currently working on the same thing, while reporting to and discussing with each other!?

So, when Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch suggested a knit-along for socks, I signed up immediately. I have been practicing quite a bit during the past months (here, here, here and there is one more pair which has not made it to blogland yet), so I guess I more or less have a hang of it. But the idea of this knitalong was to try something new, to develop the sock-knitting skills.

I decided out the yarn stash inherited from my maternal grandma. She used rather fine yarn, she loved using different colours, and was quite a tight knitter… I loved the socks and mittens she made. Unfortunately there are very few of those left, and my granny isn’t around any more to knit new pairs, so I’ll have to take care of it myself.

So here you go, my plan for the upcoming knitalong – using 1.25 needles (never used so small ones before, I hope I won’t cause too much damage on my fingers!); finer yarns; and a three-colour pattern (I can sense a huge mess of yarn ahead!). This is just a trial patch, but I’ll have plenty of time to get started in the weekend!

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Marathon socks

No, the socks in question have nothing to do with actually tunning a marathon. I don’t think there is a pair of socks in this universe that would make me even consider running a marathon. But knitting theses socks was a marathon indeed.

It all started with a morning of a day where I had no plans whatsoever. And with some leftover yarn from these socks and some leftover sock-envy for my mother 😀 So, I picked a new pattern (this book is awesome!) and cast on my newest pair of socks. I started from the toe and decided that I will knit until I have no yarn left.

IMG_9185Boy, was that a literal promise. 9 hours later (lunchbreak and some phone calls included), I had stiff fingers and neck, no yarn left and a brand new pair of lace-y socks!

I was so happy I got them ready, that I started wearing them rightaway. Meaning, I was so traumatized about the work put into them, that I only managed to weave the ends in after weeks of wearing the socks. 😀

More pink bubbles!

Remember the scarf and hat with pink bubbles I made for a friend? I met up with her for dinner on Monday, and was happy to see that the hat and scarf are put to a good use. However, she has teamed them up with a pair of white-and-brown mittens…And seh is one of those persons who loves to colour-coordinate everything in her outfit. So, as I still had pink yarn left, and my friend has a birthday coming up next week, I decided to whip up a pair of bubbly mitts to complete the pink bubbles set.

IMG_9178I used double yarn – it made the bubbles much more defined, and they are nice and warm. We are facing temperatures below -20C for the upcoming week. I’d say, I got these mittens ready just in time 🙂

 

Bees!

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When one is blessed with friends who are fun and creative, then one can hardly do traditional gift-shopping. So, when I travelled to the Netherlands for a week to visit a friend (who among other activities, sings in a clown choir – I guess that characterises her pretty adequatly), I took along my yarn stash, let her choose colours and form, and then I knitted her a pair of mittens right under her own eyes.

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I really love how colourful and warm those mittens turned out. I haven’t knitted with three different colours before, so that was a bit of a challenge. I mean, there were tangles that would make any respectable knitter faint. At some point I decided that it was easier to knit the right mitten in the lounge, and the left mitten in the dining room, just to keep the probability of a huge mess as low as possible

But of course, I was there for a whole week and could come up with more than just the mittens – my friend needed an actual bee to go with them. She found a crochet

 bee pattern at Crochet N Play, which is pretty easy if you pay attention (wink-wink)

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Things I learned over Christmas

Lesson no 1 – pack plenty

Forest green bubbly mittens 1When packing your craft projects for the holiday travels, make sure you don’t just pack stuff for project A, but also for project B and project C. Because it might happen that when you arrive to your granny’s house, and want to happily knit away on that mohair lace shawl you’ve been working on, you might discover that the yarn has mysteriously gone missing. But you can’t possibly spend all those holidays  without doing anything. So, it is great to start working on a pair of forest green bubbly mittens. And then on a pair of pink bubbly mittens. And then come home and discover your ball of mohair on the stairs, loyally waiting for your return. (I know, I am such a careless yarn parent, I should not have custody of any yarn, I’m sorry!!!)

Lesson no 2 – new patterns and champagne don’t mix

Our extended family extends beyond blood ties, but what is common to us is that we all enjoy a glass or two of champagne before dinner during the festive season. Those who know me can attest that I have no problem working on simpler patterns  and having a glass of wine at the same time. However, if one is knitting mittens for the first time, one should definitely stay away from all spirit-raising drinks (and that includes coffee). This is how the knitting of the forest green mittens really went:

Day 1: start knitting, try not to be distracted by family conversations and champagne, get to the thumb and then undo everything because the mittens are too wide.

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Day 2: start knitting again, try not to be distracted by family conversations (especially when they make jokes about you undoing your mittens) and champagne, get done halfway and then undo everything down to the thumb, because somehow you ended up with two right-hand mittens. Then continue knitting, try not to be distracted by your family laughing even harder, and knit almost to the tip of the mittens, and undo a big part again, because there is a different amount of bubbles on the mittens.

Day 3: continue knitting, try not be distracted by your family making bets on how soon you’ll start undoing things again, and champagne, and victoriously finish your mittens and show off to all family members.

Days 4-5: work on a pair of pink mittens while remembering all the lessons from the past 3 days!

Socktober-y Christmas

26122012281Remember that day when I promised to make a pair of socks in a way completely new to me? Believe it or not, I actually managed to whip up my very first pair of lace-y socks, starting knitting from the toes, surprisingly fast. And the socks left my home even faster – mom loved them, put them on, and walked out with them before I managed to take any photos.

Christmas is a time of coming together. So, when visiting my hometown for the holidays I met up with mom and her new pair of favourite socks (and the traditional Christmas juniper, which you can see peeking from the background :)).26122012285

Knitting from the toe was somehow easier for me, it allows more flexibility with lace patterns, and I really like how the heel looks. I am thinking of making a pair for myself now… if only I remembered how they are made… back to google it is!

 

Socks with a Little Ray of Sunshine

What else would be a more perfect start to a blog in the autumn than a pair of knitted socks? I must admit, I had only managed two pairs of socks before in my life – one pair more lopsided than the other. But even if I am not a 100% happy with my pair number three, I can still pat myself on the back for a rather decent and wearable(!) pair of socks.

It all started with the Estonian handicrafts forum, where they have declared October a month of socks. Or rather, Socktober. I have always admired (read: stalked excessively and with awe their collective projects, but never had the courage/initiative/time/(insert any other pathetic excuse) to join in. This time, I finally signed up. I mean, making a pair of socks couldn’t be that hard, could it?

And it appeared it really wasn’t. Especially when you spend your Saturday evenings at home watching 3-act ballets on TV and knitting (I know, I lead a life so terribly exciting).

I used grey Jumbo – an 80% acrylic yarn, which is a great practice material. Jumbo is affordable and comes in a variety of colours. To add a little flash, I used the yellow from the stash that I inherited from my maternal grandmother (I miss her. And I miss her socks. I could not even imagine how many pairs would one have to knit to achives such perfection as she did).

Praise is also due to the almighty internet. Without the possibility to google “how to knit a sock heel”, I would have had to go and hunt for the 6th grade handicraft books from the library. And of course, the more you surf around the more “I must do this next!”-ideas you gather. So, inspired by all the sock pictures that I’ve seen and the joy of actually being able to make a pair myself, I have decided to embark on a new sock-adventure. And this time I will start knitting from the toes!

Yeah, like I said, my life is full of exciting things… But to all of you, have a great Socktober!!!