Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Still more of the socks

You know how some projects just keep trucking. Well so do the socks for the amazing morphing foot. I completed the first sock last evening and did not run out of yarn. I have a tiny bit left over. Making socks for smaller feet and thinner legs means you can do it with 1 skein.
And here it is. If there was a band around, I'd have them play.

Usually by the time the first sock is complete, I have the second sock worked past the heel. It helps me make sure the 2 socks were made the same way, the same number of stitches. (I forget easily) It lets me adjust on the fly as it were. Anyway, 1 more session and we shall have a pair.
This point, this almost complete place is my favourite time in a project. It's where you can taste the finish, and where you begin to dream of the next stitches on a new project.
My next piece is sort of a surprise. I will show it here as we go, because I am pretty sure that the intended recipient does not stitch.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


We have socks! You will be thrilled to know that they fit!!! So.....

I am going to rip them back.

Yes, you heard it here. I am going to rip them back to where the split single begins. The stitch is slow and its kind of a pain to do, and I'm not really enjoying it. It is making a superior warm rich fabric except that it doesn't have a lot of give. Considering this is for feet with shapeshifting ability, I want the fabric to be stretchy. I want the fabric to surround the feet so the feet say ' hey, that's nice. I'd like to rub a little closer to that.' I want those feet to snuggle up to the yarn, rather than shrinking and making the sock appear too big. You have to be very tricky with this particular set of feet.

There is also the little part where I will run out of yarn if I keep on, in this stitch. I'm going back to the single row and v stitch rows, repeating, that I first tried with this sock yarn, for the foot. I figure that I will run out by the time I get to the toe. I'll counter this with some Jawoll Sock yarn (scroll down the page to see it) which just happens to match reasonably well. They are both superwash.

As you can see though, this Trekking XXL yarn is doing a really nice striping effect, even though the stitches are double crochets on the leg.
With the single crochet/v-stitch pattern, the striping will be more pronounced.

Crochet takes more yarn than knitting, by about 25%, and manufacturers build their yarns for knitting. You should be able to get away with 1 skein if you are making a small ladies sock, but anything more and you will need just a wee bit more than one skein . Had I known then what I know now...I'd have bought 2 skeins.

It all goes back to that reading the pattern problem I have.

The socks

Every once in a while in a needle persons life, there comes a peice of yarn or thread that just will not cooperate.

This is once such yarn. I have crocheted the top of socks 4 times with this Trekking yarn, in the Jacquard pattern. It was doing lovely stripes. It was fascinating watching them. Each time the proposed recipeint tried them on, they were too big. Or too small. 4 stitches apparently made that much difference. I am trying this new pattern, hopefully a very stretchy one (again from Crocheted Socks ) called Ribbed Hikers. I had it ready to put the heel on first time round when I got her to try it on. Too big. So I ripped. I took out 6 stitches. Still. Too. Loose. The picture above is just before I ripped. Again. This girl must have the strangest legs and feet anywhere. They morph to whatever size the sock isn't. This is the last go before this yarn is consigned to posterity and the depths of the yarn pile.

This is this mornings work. Rather than making it smaller by stitches, I have gone down to a 2 mm hook and will go back to the 3mm hook when I get to the heel. I hope that this will compensate for the slightly slack top, but will still give us the stretch and the total width we need to get it comfortable over her heel.

I have come to realize that it might be helpful to ummm, measure, or at the very least, read the actual sock instructions with respect to size. Which is so not like me. Or maybe look at this girls legs and consult with her mother. Her mother would probably tell me that her socks never stayed up, that no socks ever really fit her. Or not.

Sigh. I will keep you updated.

Monday, 28 May 2007


After Friday's quick stop at the yarn store for straight needles of good quality, I have in my hot little hands yet another skein of sock yarn, and a couple sets of small circular needles. My goal for the weekend was to learn to knit correctly, rather than my way. Since I did not buy the specific item I went to the store for, 3.5mm new straights of good quality, I will work on my crappy old needles. I really hate these crappy needles.

Its time to learn how the rest of the world knits. If I can do that then I can convert everything to my way. And then I can do something I have wanted to do for several decades.

I have loved lace knitting forever. For years I hid my inability to interpret simple knitting instructions. I pooh poohed fancy knitting, as something that could be done far more swiftly in crochet (which it can), and hid my secret shame. Now that I am in this 12 step program (12 skeins of sock yarn, 12 sets of socks, leading to 12 skeins of lace weight - its is my personal principle of smaller and smaller needles.) I am determined to knit a loveliness of lace. It remained out of reach to me until a few weeks ago when I realized what I do differently than most people. I always work in the back loop on the knit rows, and the front loops on the purl side. I can tell you that it is quick to work because there is no yarn over, but it also tends to be very loose in comparison to most people.

If I really want to be able to knit lace, I have to understand regular knitting. So I am learning to start my stitches at the front, and purl with a yarn around the needle. After this simple stockinette vest
(yes it is an acrylic yarn) I am going to practise on dishcloths to learn to combine the fancy stitches, to do the right sort of tension. Right now, it's slow and feels strange, but when I understand it, when I can see the form of the stitches in my mind, and build them to suit, then I know that I will be able to translate the stitches to my way of working and I will once again be able to move at the speed of light. Or I will just keep working the more common way.

It's like Forest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Or where you will end up.

Mow, mow, mow your oats

Well, its not really oats, its lawn. Looking at the pictures of my yard from an earlier post, you will see a large amount of green surrounding the house. This green oasis looks great but need a lot of cutting. This time of year, we have to cut every 3 days. Fortunately, the grass is in patches. The front is 3 smaller parts, a great big side lawn, and then the back around the fire pit. Oh yeah and the ditch. None of these pieces connect. I can cut all the front patches in one evening, then the big side yard, and then on a third evening I get the back done. I like doing it this way.

My husband who shares lawn mowing duties, likes to do it all at a run. He can do the entire thing in about an hour. Sometimes its like dueling lawn mowers, but in the end the yard gets mowed.

Right now the yard is in flux. Flower beds that need attending to, mulching over, diminishing even in some cases, weeding, and there is just no time to get it all in. A few years ago we put in borders on the beds in the front, and about half of them are mulched with cedar bark mulch.

The goal for this year is to finish the mulch part and to get edging around the rest. . If I am really motivated, or this happens before September, I might even get the mulching done on the rest of them!

I used to find time for all of that, but now it feels like its impeding on my working time. I keep hearing socks call my name, and their siren call is a lot more appealing than the sound of mow me.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Today's play

Today I worked at finishing last weeks projects.

I had a really great black dress afflicted with buttons up the front. I'm not fond of all the button uncertainty that comes with this kind of closing. Changes were in order. I removed the buttons, took the loops closures out, and then sewed a seam up the middle of the dress. To hide the new seam I crocheted a lace insertion that runs all the way to the hem.

The insertion looked good, but everything else was too plain. I made a narrow band in the same patterns as the insertion and added it to the neck edge. It looked good till I realized that, holy bosoms batman, the dress was low cut. How did I not notice this the first few times I tried it on? I crocheted a little panel to raise the neckline.
When the panel was on, I realized the narrow neck edge did not balance well against the the width of the lace insertion and the visual weight of lace panel.
I made a wider collar, and voila. Perfection.
Here is a little detail of the lace. A dress suitable for the office and no nasty buttons to worry about all day.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Home and Hearth

The other day, Yarn Harlot , was extolling the virtues of biking and knitting round the city. Part of me is sad that I don't get to live that sort of lifestyle, but most of me is not. I get the pleasure of working in the country, a different but equal and special joy.

Every few stitches, I have to stop to breathe deep the smell of the wild roses,

as I sit in the back,

Or on the hill,

I have to stop sometimes and look at the clouds, and dream of all the things I have yet to stitch.

I don't think it matters so much where we live and love to do our knitting, or crocheting or whatever special things we enjoy. What matters is that we stop for just one moment and appreciate that place, that moment, and remember just how lucky we are.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The bloggers socks

These are the first pair of socks I made. The pattern is from the same book noted in yesterday's post. If you want to learn socks, this is a great book, carried many places. Local craft stores carry it, Amazon has it, Chapters has it.
For the life of me I don't remember what yarn I made these with but I can tell you that it is very comfortable, it is warm and it is completely machine washable and dryable. If I find the wrapper at home, I will update this post.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Where the blogger learns to link

Ignore me, I am just practising this blogging thing. One day I might get it right.

Days after first attempting and failing dismally, I am ready for my second failure.

Crochet socks - 16 Fun to Crochet Patterns

Needle Time

As you might have guessed, I do a lot of work with needles. And strings. Alright, we'll call it yarn, and threads. Since my Auntie Lorraine taught me outline embroidery when I was 5 or 6, I have always had some kind of thread project going, or been learning something new. I have done many forms of embroideries - crewel, needlepoint, petit point, cross stitch, hardanger, blackwork. I have knitted, crocheted, tatted. Always, always there is the simple, sublime pleasure of taking a piece of string and making it be something more.

Other people play with numbers, or words, or lego, but I played with string and needles, and very often fabric.

This is the only picture I have of any of my needlework. These hand warmers are crocheted with a leftover of a Regia sock yarn from my own pattern. I used the top of a basic top down sock to start , the Jacquard patterns, from 'Crocheted Socks - 16 fun to Stitch Patterns' by Janet Rehfeldt, and Mary Jane Wood.

I worked a 6 double crochet cable up the back of the hands for fun, and when it came time to do the thumb space I worked a short chain to circumvent the stitches I needed for the thumb, and then worked to the length I wanted. I went back and crocheted an edging of single crochets around the thumb space, and voila, warm hands.

I work in a cold office, and my yellow study at home is chilly in spring and fall. These kept my fingers and joints warm and free to keep on working.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

My Home

Time to learn how to put photos onto the blog.

This is my yard in summer.

This is my yard in spring. Sad, isn't it?


I will make it clear right off the bat. I don't have spelling errors, I have typing errors.

First Blog

In the rush of things I try to do in life, I need this like I need a hole in the head. so why? I need to record the life inside my head, and online is better than anywhere else. I need to have tracks, so that I have a honest record to explain the dirt between my toes. And my ears. And my hips.

I read, I play with string, I work, I have a family, I am, I exist.