I cannot live without books

So said Thomas Jefferson and I'm inclined to agree. I love knitting books as much as any other. Recently I picked up Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets Expanded, a collection of 340 tips from regular knitters and crocheters as well as top experts published by Taunton Press.

The illustrations are very clear, like this one for intarsia socks. Now there's something new to try!

And it also had a picture and "recipe" for those cute stay-on baby booties we've been talking about at Socknitters Forum.

Books, glorious books. Can any of us keep up with all the new knitting books? This is a title that's definitely being added to my personal library.


Stars and Stripes

At the risk of having you seeing stars with yet another picture of the same ol' stripes, I'm going to post a few more shots. I'm really enjoying knitting with this yarn, and part of the reason is that I can actually see the stitches. You see, I have cataracts so dark solids are a bit of a problem for me. Then today at the Socknitters Forum, someone mentioned teaching, and it occurred to me that this type of stripey yarn is a marvelous teaching aid. The student can clearly see each stitch. It's a whiz counting rows.

And will you look at the stitch definition here, where I'm picking up gusset stitches? Each stitch is a different color. I had the worst time with this part of the sock when I first learned to knit them, perhaps because I was using a gray tweed. This yarn would have been so much easier to learn on. There's something for all the teachers to consider.



I rather like striped socks, even the self-striping yarns like Opal and Regia which are a bit like mixing watercolors - one never knows what is going to happen in the process. But, I don't particularly care for fancy stitches in the self-patterning yarns as all that extra work and concentration most often is lost to the eye. Still, sometimes the right stitch can enhance a multi-color stripe. Take for example this now-discontinued Sock Garden yarn from Knitpicks. You'll notice three distinctly different stitches and look how different they are. The straight stitch on the bottom of the foot, the slip-stitch on the heel, and the remarkably different twisted baby cable, which has a completely unique affect.

The inside of the heel, on the purl side of the flap, is even more interesting. This is a texture that would look handsome on the entire cuff, and inspires some creative design ideas for future projects. That stitch might even show up with the leftover yarn in the form of pulse warmers, perhaps lined in a solid-color velvet. I can see it as contrasting trim on a vest, too, can't you?


Comfort socks

It's icy and snowy and blustery out here in the Middle of Nowhere. Just the sort of day for creature comforts like chili with shredded cheddar and saltine crackers, followed by a piece of apple pie, fresh-baked from the oven. On days like this, I don't feel very bold and creative. I just want to hunker down and feel safe. And so it is with my knitting. Instead of starting something new and daring, I'm back to knitting my favorite cuff. Right now, that's a simple baby cable which requires no cable needles. I first found it in Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, and I've knit a dozen pairs that way. Here's a pair I made for the Man of the Place.

Thought for the day: The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. ~ Emile Zola


A Day of Madness

Still no luck trying to add comments to the blog even though I changed the template and had to recreate all the royal colors I so carefully chose the first time. It must be something in the air.

I then started a new pair of socks, and we know, don't we, that when we go to pull the yarn out of the center pull ball ..... and half the yarn pops out in one bunch and we have to wind it up around itself ..... well, it might just be a portend of things to come, mightn't it? Growl.

And then when we cast on this new cable pattern we are testing for Anni Design, and discover after just a few inches that we've grossly erred.... now look at this, will you, please? The left cable clearly is missing the cable to the back, the middle cable has two cable stitches to the front on top of each other, and I think the right cable is correct and looks the way the designer intended. Clearly this was meant to be a frogging exercise. And based on the appearance, I think I'll change yarns for the next go. I don't think I'm in love with the light blue for this pattern. Good thing I'm more a process knitter than an end product person, else I'd be a bit frustrated at this point. Notice the cable needle. It's the smallest I have, but it seems a bit unwieldy and too thick for this Opal yarn knit on size 1 needles. I'll have to try another tactic there, too.


Leaving a comment

Spoken in the Royal We:

We cannot seem to add a comment link to our blog, so have included at the bottom of the page a link to our mailbox. Should you care to comment, please refer to the post subject line and mail to Her Royal Highness the Queen of Socks.

Anatomical correctness

The man of the place also likes these socks. You'll notice the toes are a little different. That's because I knit them to be proper for the left foot and the right foot. They don't interchange, being anatomically correct. I really just started decreasing on the big-toe side later than on the little-toe side so that the space for the big toe would be longer and wider. He hasn't knocked a hole through the toe yet, so the concept seems to work. These are knit from Austermann Step, that curious yarn with softeners like aloe vera added. It is indeed a very soft yarn, but be forewarned that it tends to tangle and knot during the knitting process. I suspect it's because of the added ingredients.


Hubby's faves

These were knit in Brown Sheep worsted and were my first cable socks last year (or maybe it was the year before). They are now slightly fulled from washing and wearing, and hubby loves them all the more. Really, they're almost like felted boots. Speaking of which, I do so wish that Fiber trends would modify the clog pattern into a taller boot version. Men would love it!



Something about the new year must bring out the housekeeper in everyone, because I've read numerous posts about cleaning out stashes and reviewing incomplete projects... just in the last day or so. That prompted me to do the same, and I was happy to discover some unfinished projects I had no interest in frogging. Included were these two socks, totally utilitarian but nice enough, and luckily with the pattern details on a slip of paper tucked in each sock. So, I'll finish those off in a hurry; hubby and I will each have a new pair of woolens for our peds before the month is over. I am a bit concerned about the dark blue ones for him. They seem a tad loose, and alas, they're superwash so not much chance of fulling them a little. Unless I try boiling them in a pot of water. I've wanted to give that a go for some time, and this is a low-risk pair so I think I'll try it and report back. I want to find a way to abolish the superwash characteristic if I want to.


I had to show off this very cool gift I got from my hubby for my birthday. He also made it... out of sterling silver. It's a Queen Pin for my shawls... a nice, graceful, large and beautiful Q to hold my knits together. I can't bear to tuck it away in the jewelry box when I'm not wearing it, so I display it on the handwoven shawl that's draped over one door of an armoire. Don't you think queenpins are much better than kingpins?


Washing our socks

There's a lot of discussion about how to care for socks. I straddle the fence on the issue. On the one hand, it seems one should honor the time spent knitting socks through handwashing. On the other hand (or foot, as the case may be), once we've knit dozens of socks, it's nice to be able to throw them in the washer. I do that with my favorite pair. In fact, I've washed and dried them by machine for over a year and I bet I wear them weekly. I'm sure you all recognize the famous discontinued Brasil pattern by Opal Yarns. These socks wear like iron. I love their patterns, but I have quite a few solids in my stash, too. I buy almost all my Opals from Angel Yarns in the UK. They have the best prices even with trans-Atlantic shipping. Plus, they offer Socknitters Forum members an extra 10% off by signing up on their forum. I receive my order in exactly seven days out here in the Middle of America. So I consolidate my orders to diminish the environmental costs of all that mileage, and perk up my stash every 4-6 months. I'm about due for another order soon! I'm going to knit about three more pairs from the stash and then give myself permission!

Little Lola for Big Feet

I made up these little shorties for myself from a skein of Shaefer Yarns Little Lola my pal sent for Christmas. It was like knitting up a box of crayons! I loved every minute of the process, although I have to say the end result was a little different than I expected. It was the first time I've knit with this yarn, and it is the yummiest. I'm a Shaefer fan for life. I think this yarn may well replace the Brown Sheep... it's softer, no pesticides, and, of course, much more expensive.
These socks are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do! Perfect for my Adidas.


Socks for friends

These are a pair of socks I made for my high school pal, Jill. Just basic socks knit from Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Alpine... as a remembrance of a skiing trip she took last year when we had a nice little visit after, oh, about thirty years or so!


Here are the Christmas socks

I made these for myself and another pair for my friend, Ann. Brown Sheep worsted in Red Baron. Permanently moth-proofed with some kind of toxic pesticide. Do you think I've just done us both in??
Seriously, it is important to question these sorts of practices. Even if the FDA does approve it.... well, they approved Teflon, too, and after several decades of daily use, we're now told it's harmful to our health. So who should we trust.... our collective commonsense or the government? I'd like to know how many times I have to wash these socks before the pesticide is permanently removed! I'm also wondering if a skein of Brown Sheep in every stash might keep the dreadful moths away entirely.


I just challenged the Socknitters group to start blogging so we can share each others creations. So here's my contribution to the cause!