Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Begin as I mean to go on

It is time to begin as I mean to go on. 

For a very long time, the first thing I did each day was get to the computer, consult the news online, read a few inspirational things, knit a little and write my blog.  I did that even way back when I worked in an office and first started writing my blog.  But without an office or out of the home job, I really need a brand spanking new schedule.  

It is too easy to sit down here and while away a couple hours perusing good things on the net, on Ravelry, on blogs and the many many yarn places I enjoy looking.  I know me.  I fall far to easily for the delights of my life so I cannot allow myself to come to the computer till the days tasks are done.  

I'm starting the schedule change now.  No computer, no knitting till the laundry is done for the day, the days cleaning tasks are done, the peas are picked, the pickles are made, the jelly is set.  (You will note the complete absence of any mention of the doing of dishes.  I intend to adjust my schedule, not become a saint.)  

Once the big things are done, I can play.  I will likely be posting just a little later in the day, the evening rather than the early morning.  The upside will be that I will have all day to think about what I'd like to say, develop an idea, discuss the goings on in my world.  It will mean less of the 2 sentence posts of late.  It will mean proper discussions of  scarcity of or abundance of weeds, produce, bugs, the state of my laundry and the mobius-ness-esses of my knitting.  

I have always had a place to go to for work. I have tried to be a good employee, to go just a wee bit beyond because I knew I could get there.  I tried to leave things better than when I arrived.  Mostly it worked.  Mostly I worked.

Now I am going to be my own boss.  I have to put on my big girl panties and work as hard for me as I did for my employers.  (I know me for the gornisht schlemiel I am.  I know I will have to be stern with me.)

I am the boss of this this here show.  If I work, I win.  If I don't...well, if I don't, I guess I won't be allowed to be the boss of me.  Its a little exciting and a lot scary when you think of it like that.  


Damn Mobuis.

The knitting gods are taking their retribution for my slip.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I warned myself

My resolutions fell apart.  I caved.  I am knitting something new.  It doesn't look like anything much yet.  Currently it looks like this. 
Eventually, I hope it looks like this.   There have been a lot of variations on how much lace people have knit on to the top but I think I like it best as is.  I will make the shoulders a little wider but I think that is going to be the only change other than fit issues.  It isn't a top to wear alone.  It is a top to wear over a little camisole or tee.  

The very next thing I need to do is pull it apart and add 4 more stitches, 2 more on each side. (Ordinary knitting alert.  Start multiple times till you get it just right.)  

It is made out of Fleece Artist Seawool. The two balls of Nova Scotia, the brilliant blue-green colours, were purchased at different times and are different in intensity.  I had hoped that I would have enough yarn with the light green Seawool mixed in between rounds of the other two balls, but there was not quite enough.  By the time I knew this, the store was down to 1 skein of a richer darker green, but coordinates beautifully. (optimism alert)

It means I have to work all 4 balls at the same time though, changing colours row by row.  It means a lot of tangled threads.  It means taking much care so there is no tightness or pull where the change happens. It means a little busy looking knitting but it has a drawer.  It ought to be fine. (hopeless optimism alert)

It means it is going to be springlike and green with shots of blue. I expect exciting times ahead.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Of Endings and Beginnings

No matter what you do, there are always endings and beginnings.  Everyday, a series of them, constantly changing the landscape of your life.    

I'm near a pretty big ending for me, but an ending I anticipated for a while and while it is an ending of something wonderful, it is not a sad thing.  My time with the yarn store is coming to an end.  I'm a little sad, but it is time to move on and who knows what is beyond the next turn in the road.  Life is always a grand adventure and there are a thousand things yet to learn before I am done my journey.

I am going to miss working at the store.  I have grown so much, learned so many things, met so many good friends. I would not be where I am today, but for them and I will always be grateful for the chance the RCY ladies took with me.  If you searched the world for the best bosses, the ladies at the store would be the culmination of the search.  If you searched the world for the best staff, you would stop at River City Yarns.

To mark this change, I decided some time ago, that I was going to do something special for myself.  
Meet something special.  5 skeins of Kid Silk Haze in the deep rich blue called Hurricane.  For something special and blue.  Suits how I feel at leaving, even though it is time and I feel good about my decision.

Meet something specials little sister.  Killer Red.  Because with some colours under the sun,  you must.  :)

Friday, 25 March 2011

Did I mention that I am getting really, really sick of this big blanket?  

I might have to cast on something new for sanity's sake.  Seriously.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Continued from yesterday

I might not be knitting the cookie jar yarns or casting on with that pretty blue, but it sure isn't for want of it.  Oh my how I want to.  
But, I am determined to reform my cast everything on right now sort of ways that led to the long list of works in progress I am working on. 

The blanket first.  The blanket must be finished before I allow myself to knit something new.  It isn't part of the list of WIP's from last year, but it was in the current knitting pile (current at the beginning of the year) and I can't wait to get it done and out to its rightful owner.  I think he is going to like it.   

That blanket, that beastie (It's getting large.  Passed into beast category last night.) is the only knitting I don't have to think about right now.  Everything, every single one of the projects left in the WIP bin, including the current socks has counting. Counting, counting, counting.  The blanket is relief.  Knitting it is easy.  

Except it isn't.  Its a fairly small needle for the size of yarn, a 4.5 mm needle on a chunky lofty Comfy Chunky from Berroco.  I was looking for a firm knit and that firm lofty crisp garter stitch I was looking for is there in spades.  The small needle to yarn ratio has a price.  

Last night was knit night and I could not keep knitting the whole night. After 6 - 8 garter stitch ridges, my hands give out.  I could knit more, but if I did I might injure myself and end up not knitting at all for a long time.  No matter how much I like the project and no matter how much faster I want it to go, I am not willing to hurt on its behalf.  

In the meantime, the two pretty Icarii are working up nicely, keeping pace with each other.  

One other thing of note:  Last evening, on the way home, I passed a sanding truck.  The highways were clear and dry.  It was windy, but it wasn't a cold wind.  It was a nice spring-like wind, a little warm, a little not.  A mile later, I understood.  It got icy, and driving got downright miserable.  By the time I got home, I was looking at several inches of heavy wet snow.  Mr. Needles figured about 4 inches.  

Ah,  springtime in Canada.     

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

There are a hundred things I would like to say this morning, but it isn't quite time to say them.

Till then, I do as I always do.  I knit.  I'll keep knitting the socks.  I'll keep working on the blanket.  

I'm not going to look at the pretty yarns sitting in the cookie jar. 

I won't cast an eye on the rich warm blue at my elbow.   

Not even to swatch.  

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

March Socks

These are my March socks.  I am having a lot of fun with them.  Paying with cables, 
just a little 4 stitch cross over on every 5th row.  Pretty for sandals this summer.

Playing with heels.  I'm using Lucy Neatby's garter short row heel.  It is interesting to do it that way. With garter stitch, the wraps don't have to be picked up and knit.  They seamlessly work into the garter stitch surface as is.    

Playing with toes.  
This is using an old fashioned garter square toe.  You knit a garter stitch square.  In my case, I cast on with 12 stitches.  I then knit 12 garter stitch ridges.  I picked up 12 stitches along the cast on edge (you could use a provisional cast on, but for 12 stitches, that is more trouble than I think it is worth.) and 12 stitches, 1 in each garter ridge along the side edges.  With your live stitches, these form your toe.  Because I only knit a 12 stitch square and I have a foot that needs more than 48 stitches, I did have to do some traditional toe increases.  On another pair I would probably do more stitches and ridges, so that by the time I have picked up all the stitches around the square, I would have enough stitches to simply begin knitting the rest of my sock, but for this pair, too late to worry about that now. 

I'm very pleased with the way this toe fits my flat stubby appendages.  Lucy's garter heel has been a form fitting favourite for a while now.  I'm really looking forward to a very comfy pair of socks.  

What I am looking forward to just a little bit less, is how fast I am going to have to knit the second sock.  March is slipping away so rapidly that the second sock is going to have to be knit in 10 days, twice as fast as the first.  Sigh.

On the other hand, March is slipping away rapidly!!!  Even though the snow piles in my yard seem to be invincible, spring is here and if the sun ever peeks out from behind the  clouds...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Roots and growing things

A lot of my online buddies enjoy linking to their favourite music and so do I.  Last night, I happened on an Ian Tyson musical biography on Bravo.  Now that was a true musical memory.

and what is probably my all time favourite Tyson Song  - its tough to pick just one -  performed  by Susy Boguss.

We went for a drive up to the farm.  Its covered in snow and barely recognizable as ours, but it was time to visit it again.  It is going to take a powerful sun to melt it all.  

We also wanted to check out the roads.  Its a great time of year to see what is kept open and kept clear and it says something about just how much and how unusual the snow pack we had this winter is.  

The piles at the roadside were as high as the truck roof.  I'd be disappointed except that means more water for us come spring and water is just something you never ever take for granted here on the prairies.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Under a Gothic Moon

This morning when I got up, the moon was shining through the breaking clouds and the tall still skeletal trees in a most gothic fashion.

It immediately made me think about old gothic novels and movies made from old gothic novels and drapey shawls and big brim bonnets.   I am reminded too, of empire waistline dresses...

Ah.  I get it.  The things I am knitting, the blankets and the shawls, and my interpretation of the things I am seeing, mean it is time to watch some Jane Austen, to read Jane Austen.  

I'm not sure why, but spring, or whatever this time between spring by calendar date and spring by climate is called, is when I read Jane Austen.   

From Jane Austen, I end up re-reading all my old favourites.  Laura Ingalls Wilder, Swiss Family Robinson, Mrs. Mike. This might be the time to read that copy of the 'Mysteries of Udolpho' I once noticed somewhere online, at Project Gutenberg, I think.

 I will have to watch all my various Austen and Austen inspired movies.  I will pull out my VHS copy of Sisters in the Wilderness, about Catherine Parr Trail and her sister, Susanna Moodie.  I might even have to go out and find some of their writings and perhaps find the biography of the two sisters that the documentary movie was based on.    

I love this time of year.  This time, when it is too cold and snowy and frozen here to see the green things grow, but the sun and everything in you says surely the winter is done.  

It is a time between, and surely a time between is perfect under a gothic moon.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Today for lace

In the continuing push to make it to Icelandic lace, I will be working on the cotton candy Icarus. The goal is to keep the same pace as on Icarus the Second.  There will also be knitting on the blanket till my hands won't cooperate.  

I'm really not counting repeats, though.  It is more that I count the number of columns along the spine.  The pattern in the book shows 7 columns of stockinette.  Right now cotton candy has just moved into the 5th repeat and a quick count of the second, reveals it too, is just into the 5th.  

Hmmm.  This is a little unexpected.  I thought the pink was much farther along.  I'll take it though.   

The yarn was too dainty for my original shawl choice, but I just absolutely had to have it. Too delicate to resist. This was the start of my little lace obsession and the tipping point from a good lace stash to a grand lace stash.  Yup.  1200 metres of soft dainty pink lace. Who knew it had such power over me? (This pink was also the start of my burgeoning bead stash.) 

Icarus is a simple complexity.  Its long columns would show the dainty pink to advantage.  Lots of solid ground.  Dainty delicate showy lace on the border.  Perfect for my pink.

And then, sometime after I started, I got hold of a ball of Zauberball lace, the brilliant multicolour. Yarns like this, with its many many strong colour changes, demand a certain sort of pattern.  I like ones where there is some change in direction and I particularly like shawls where the elements are large and well defined.  After much gnashing of teeth, I accepted what I already knew. That Icarus was the perfect shawl for the yarn.  

All of a sudden I had two Icarus on my needles and a good opportunity to compare these two very different yarns.  The Zauberball single, and the gently plied Merino.  The Zauberball on big 4 mm needles and the pink on dainty 2.5 mm needles.  

I'm not sure why I went so small on the pink, but it may have something to do with the quantity of pink lace on hand.  I have plenty to do as many repeats as I need of both lace patterns to get the size shawl I want. 

The Zauberball was a purposeful choice to knit with larger needles than the pattern asked for.  I am monitoring the weight of the ball to make sure that I have enough yarn to knit the lace at the end of the columns.    

My adventures in lace have revealed a few things about the two projects.  The biggest thing I found so far?  I have singlehandedly rediscovered why the ssk (slip slip knit to create a left leaning decrease) was invented. Small yarn.  Small needles.  SSK is easier.  Inexplicably easier than just pointing through the back loops. 

OK, that is a lie.  It is obvious to me that the knit 2 through the back loop twists the stitches, shortening the amount of ease available.  SSK opens the stitches up.  On fine yarn with small needles, more ease = easier knitting.  

The inexplicable part is that I find it easier. SSK usually feels so foreign.  One of the wonders of the great mysteries of knitting.     

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

"Wisdom begins in wonder."  Socrates
This is the quote at the bottom of my page this morning.  This one is short, ancient and yet it holds truth, which is how and why we still know Socrates today.  Still relevant.  

Its hard not to find wonder in the earth.  And it is even harder not to wonder at the many ways we have screwed and will continue to screw it up.  

That includes knitting.  Some time ago, I started playing with the Icarus shawl.  And then I played again.  

This is the first one I cast on, in some very fine merino lace in the softest cotton candy pink colour. This shawl is being worked in stockinette as per the pattern and I plan to bead that wonderful lacy edging.   

The second done in a vibrant Zauberball Lace ball.  This second one I am knitting in garter stitch, no beads.

These shawls, which I hope to work as a pair worked in tandem, were halted for one reason and one reason only.  The Zauberball shawl had an error in it about 8 rows below the working row.  

I thought about trying to fix the error, but decided to just bite the bullet and pull it back.  There are times when that is the easier thing.      I did that on Monday and have been happily knitting on it since then.  

Well, in between the blanket of course.  Todays knitting is going to be on the pink version of Icarus.  We'll see if I can knit this dainty lace at knitting tonight.  Lace and Knitting group don't usually go together, but I'll succumb to the wonder of the lace, and see if I can avoid screwing it up.   

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Of shipping and other good things.

Some time ago, a friend went to Iceland and brought me the loveliest gift, 
some gorgeous red Einband, the mythic lopi laceweight. Its only mythic to me because it is completely unavailable in my local market.  It is a very rare thing.

About the same time, I got a copy of the Book of Wool and fell in love with the Lillia Hyrna shawl.   
I had started it in some Harrisville Shetland and loved the way it looked.  The shawl is designed for Einband and once I had some in my hands, I was determined to knit the shawl in it. (I'll save the Shetland for something else.) Lillia Hyrna needs two colours of the laceweight and so began my quest.  

The only North American source of Einband is Schoolhouse Press.  I did try.  I wanted a crisp deep black or natural deep gray to offset the vibrant red.  No luck.  Not in stock.  I tried the natural cream. 
Not quite what the look I wanted, but still wonderful.  I now had two extra skeins of Einband to play with.  In all the months since, Schoolhouse has not had the rich gray I wanted in stock.   

A couple weeks ago, March 1, to be precise, some budgetary room opened up and I was seized with the need to search for the right colour laceweight.  I hit the Shop Icelandic online store.  Its a dangerous place.  I planned only for the laceweight, but they have flat shipping.  Flat rate shipping is a bargain.  A person would have to be an idiot not to realize that if you are shipping it from Iceland and it is flat rate...I'm just not the sort of person to let that sort of bargain go.  I did it right.  

There was a discount if I ordered 10.  So I did.  10 Plutolopi cream and a couple of colours.  
Plenty for a sweater and a little left over for play.  
10 laceweight.  The other creams were lonely?  No excuse.  And right back to what I was looking for in the first place,  two each of the richest blackest colours.

Better with the black.  
Much better with the heathered dark gray.

It took less than 8 days to get to Canada.  I got notice that I could pick up the parcel at the post office on the 9th day. It took customs 3 weeks to clear the Schoolhouse Press package.  So ummm...

Shop Icelandic! 

I promised myself that I would finish another project from my list before I allow myself to start this new shawl.  Sigh.  (If the resolution was not making me feel better, I would toss the list in an instant to knit Lillia Hyrna).  I picked the second Icarus to work on.  I want to get the Moderne blanket out of the way too. (Brier is done.  Blanket is not.) I thought I would have a couple more weeks before the Icelandic yarn would arrive.

Its interesting how fast things knit up when I am highly motivated.   And boy oh boy am I motivated.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Fridays leavings

Some terrible things happened in Japan Friday.  Just before I left for the city and work I saw a tsunami warning at Facebook, but dismissed it.  I did to not have time to pay attention and did not have time to really think about it.  I am sorry about that.  

The scope of it, in a very very technologically advanced country show how vulnerable we are, no matter were we come from.  We are small in the scope of time and geology.    

My thoughts and wishes and hopes and prayers are that the next big thing, that nucelar thing,  will find resolution without further damage or contamination.  I pray.

Knitting is small consolation, insulation from that reality.  It is a protective instinct to want to curl up inside myself and hide here with my knitting.  It does not mean I will mourn less.  It does not mean I will worry less.  There isn't a lot I can effectively do.

So I will knit garter stitch and focus on thoughts and prayers and wishing Fridays leavings were done.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Small things

In between working on the big things, there are always a bunch of little things.  I sometimes forget to take photos of them.  

I recall the first time I saw the braid so common to Eastern European mittens, being worked.  As she knit, the braid formed itself and sat quite politely and tidily on top of the rest of her knitting.  It didn't look hard because the knitter was not struggling with it, but I was pretty sure there was some magic going on.   

And it is.  And I can do it. 

Knitting has shown me that there is magic in my hands.  This one, I don't want to forget to take photos of.   

I can also screw it up.  A little humility with the magic.  Knitting teaches that too.  There should be photos of that as well.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mr. Needles goes to a yarn store.

I have the yarn so I know he went, but now I have photographic evidence.

I might be doing this but I am not going to like this.

Friendly people made the choice painless.

I lived to tell the tale.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tuesday morning when I woke up, it was -30C (from a reliable thermometer. I do think the tall trees round here hold in the cold the same way they hold cool in the summer. The nearest Weather office station said -26C) and by lunchtime, people were going round with unzipped coats or no coats.  There are tons of things I'd like to say about the weather we have been having, but this is a family rated blog.  Besides, technically, it is still winter.  

Before this degenerates into a completely weather related day, I'll move on to something sensible.  

Some time ago, I started knitting a blanket for son3.  He asked for something with no holes, and when asked what colour he wanted, in a very guy way, he said orange.  What he meant was he had no idea and he was going to leave it up to me.  

I ordered the yarn and planned to start a fantastic colourwork piece, but with Mr. Needles vest on the go, I decided to save my sanity to I started this.
Carrying two strands up the side was making me nuts. As I worked up the rows, the two yarns would tangle and twist and before I knew it, I had a yarn barf ball that had to be released each and every time I had to switch colours.  I did not like the gauge I was getting.  I hated the clunky big needles but most of all, the pattern was singularly uninspiring.

Over the winter, with a lot of time spent mulling blankets, I decided to switch everything around.   I picked up a few more balls of yarn in some rich eye popping colours and...

Much better. Smaller needles.  Fun pattern.  No carrying yarns.  Brainless brier watching knitting (Brier = Tim Horton's Brier - 2011= curling, the real Canadian winter sport ). Eventually these colour blocks will be the Moderne Log Cabin from Mason Dixon Knitting.

Plus its got orange.  

Monday, 7 March 2011

Empty spaces

Today, I dug into that last remaining bag of WIPs behind the closet door.  It was kind of surprising.

This is what was in it.  Well this and 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock that had once been the start of a shawl and had been frogged.  The entire bag was just yarn without a home.  

I was surprised, but very, very pleased.  This means that I did not just choose projects that I cared about finishing for my 2011 challenge.  I chose all that there was.  I feel light and happy and intensely relieved.  

My job for the morning was to find homes for homeless yarns.  That always means the closet gets emptied and everything gets stirred and refreshed.  I paused along the way for a little R&R.
Cheery, yes?
Springlike maybe?

I did go back to work and fit quite a bit more into the closet.  
That empty shelf was the lace stash.  My whole entire massive lace stash fit!  I felt so good about that, I went to town to have lunch and then played with colours for the Bacardi sweater I would like to knit.  
Opinions?  I had a lovely rich rust from my stash picked instead of the gold, but I appear to only have one skein of rust. I already have 2 of the gold, so I guess I am going with the gold.   Here is crossing my fingers that it looks as good in the swatch as it does in the pile.

When I got home, it was time to face the music.  Some of the music was nice, like a cheery little whistlers melody, 
and some, not so much. Like all cleaning, till the last Ziploc bag is folded and put away, till the garbage is taken out to the bin...  

The bag is going back to its happy home on the hook behind the door but the only thing in it is air...and maybe a stash of Ziploc bags.


I'm really pleased with it!

and from the back

The pictures are a little fuzzy and the colours are just so muted from what they are in reality, but oh I like how this one turned out.

I've been sitting here all morning, wondering what to do next.  There isn't any rush.  I have plenty of things to finish and there is always Mr. Needles vest to work on. I have a big blanket to reformat and restart.  The Shetland Shawl is waiting but it isn't really calling me yet, so I will let it be for now.  In truth I feel like simply knitting socks.  Today is errand day and laundry day anyway so I don't want to succumb to the knitting mysteries too deeply.

What has been bugging me as I work through the many WIPs in this study is this.  What is in the big blue basket hanging behind the door? It should contain other projects once begun, that did not make it to the list of WIPs to finish for 2011 but I cannot tell you what on earth they would be.  

So, I looking in there. I'm going to rid myself of the irritant. Its a sort of scary thought.  But it is time to face the scary things.  

Friday, 4 March 2011

Almost and next up

I've been knitting lately on the Seaglass vest in that rich lichen colour of Cascade 220.  I'm so close, so very close but not there yet.  
It took an entire day to finish the knit bits.  With all the problems in the pattern and the schematic,  (Seriously? 8 inch armscyces?  For a plus sized woman?  Seriously?) there was a bit of additional knitting to do where the collar sections met the shoulders and the other collars sections, but by the time I got to the end of this project, I expected that.
You get the idea though.  Just a nice vest, with an awkwardly written pattern and a schematic that just makes no sense.  Yum.  Perfect for winging it.  I mostly did.  
You can see here some of the changes I had to make.  The pattern called for ribbed sections under the arms and at the back.  I made them 3 x 3 ribs instead of 2 x 2 along the hem and added a couple ribs to each sections.  As I knit up, I took out the extra stitches and the extra ribs.  It fits great and looks nice.     
One thing left to do with it.  I have to knit the other arm edging, and I have to take out the bind off on this one and redo it with a little more stretch.  And then I have a really cool button to attach.  

Not sure how I missed the button hole though.  Perhaps it is one of the perils of winging it.  I'll have to sort out another sort of closure.  Probably an i-cord loop or something.  

In my head, this one is in the done pile.  Its time to get back to the Shetland shawl.  

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Heels for Jill!

I like simple things and though I am sure I have posted the hows and whys before, I will do it again.  You can never say enough about simple socks.  

I love afterthought heels.  You can just sit and knit, without that need for the concentration that a heel turns needs.  There is none of the counting and wraps that an average short row heel needs. Have a bunch of time to knit, and want to get ahead start of holiday sock knitting? Just knit a tube, make a toe at one end and you are good.  

You can knit these sock blanks without needing to know the size of foot you are knitting for.  You don't need that till you start the heel.    If you have a basket of these sock blanks at hand, you can give anybody a pair of decently fitting handknit socks with just a few hours notice. (Of course if the foot is particularly chunky, or longer than about 12 inches, this is going to take some knowledge of said foot.  Or for kids.  All bets are off for small kids. )

So here it is.  How Needles Knits Socks:  An Afterthought Heel Toe-torial as requested!

First you will knit a tube with a toe at one end.  For feet up to a size 9 or 10, you can knit and use the same 12 inch (from the toe) blank for all sizes.  After 12 inches of stockinette, knit whatever cuff treatment you wish till you have just a nice big walnut in the shell sized ball of yarn left.  It does not matter if you start cuff down or toe up, just knit, reserving about a good walnut size.  Knit the second sock.

(In a pinch you can now actually give away the socks.  They will  not wear so well as a sock with a fitted heel but a tube sock works too.  )

Measure your foot from heel to toe.  Deduct two inches from that number and mark that number of inches or centimetres on your sock, measuring  from the toe, by picking up one leg of a single stitch, in the middle of a side.  For instance, my foot is about 9 inches long.  Deducting two inches leaves me about 7 inches.  I actually use 6 3/4 inches.    
Snip one leg of the stitch.  
Pull one end of the snipped stitch out, back to the side of the sock.  As you can see, when you pull out this one thread, suddenly and magically, there appears a row of live stitches on both sides of the hole. 
 Pick them up with a needles.  Keep pulling back that thread, revealing live stitches till you are 3 or 4 stitches around the side of the flat half sock.  Pick up and repeat for the other half of the sock, carefully weaving , and picking.
Now, you see the stitches all pulled back, picked up and you are ready to go, but for one thing.  You are going to knit across a set of  the live stitches with your walnut of reserved yarn.  When you get to that gaping hole along the sides, you must pick up 3 to 5 stitches to help lessen any tension that forms as you knit across the stitches to the other side.  Then, knit across the stitches on the other side, pick up gap stitches, and knit 1 complete round  across all 4 needles. 

In the first round, as I knit over the gap stitches, I usually move them so that the heel has 3 of 5 and the cuff has 2 of the 5 gap stitches.  

From here on in, you are knitting a toes as if you were doing a normal top down toe.  Yes, the toe shape and heel shape are the same.  When you are down to 16 stitches (the total on all needles), you can graft it closed, weave the ends in and there you are, a pair of socks.  

And that is that.

A heel toe-torial! 


Mr. Needles was golfing in Palm Springs this last week.  I teased him about finding the yarn shop and bringing me something nice. He done good.  

Isn't it nice? 5 skeins of softly spun wool and soy from Jarbo Garn called NR. 1.  NR. 1 is a pretty plain name for a special yarn.  Fingers sink into its thick and thin depths and might become lost and never come out again.  Softly flowing natural colours, warm, rich, deep colours of sheep, even if it might be dyed, still sheepy colours.
I don't have a lot of bulky yarns and I don't often set out looking for a pattern to make out of them.  This whole thing is going to be a real adventure!

To Mr. Needles buddy, the driver, I owe a special debt of gratitude. Indeed I owe it to all of the golfing crew.  His golf buddies all piled into one vehicle with all the equipment, to free up a vehicle so he could venture out to find it.  Much appreciated.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


One of the things I have set as a goal for 2011 is a pair of socks a month.  I just barely made it with Februarys.  

Done but for the heels and heels are quick and easy to do.  They are between knitting, knitting in places.  Once you get the sock itself done, it is an easy task to get the rest in place.  Done.

So I knit on all sorts of other things.  I knit on the Shetland Shawl.  I knit on a little red vest I amplaying with.  I knit on a few rows of the  Seaglass vest which is so close to done I can taste it, but I have to rip some out so it has to sit for a bit before I can face that.  I knit on a scarf to match Fuzzy Wuzzy, the mittens from before Christmas.  

And then I cheated and started Marchs socks. I started a Spillyjane free pattern called Naive, a lovely cabled thing, but honestly it drove me nuts.  Topdown.  Pattern.  It took all the fun out of it.  I had a couple inches done but I knew that the knitting would be torture. I ripped back and began again.  

I played with a different toe, the garter toe.  Cast on, knit a garter square and pick up around.  Its sort of interesting, kind of cute and it makes a puochy sort of toe that ought to work nicely for my flat and stubby toes.  

And then, as you see, I did my own thing.  I've cast on a few more stitches than I normally would but with its cables, the extra width is going to be taken up with the twists in the cables.  I intend to play with cables, practising knitting them, playing with seeing them change and grow up the leg.  Its cable practise I am after, and the best way to practise a thing is to do it in a non threatening place.  Socks are as non threatening as it gets in knitting.  

It is without a doubt a response to something I have gone through lately.  The wee gansey had cables.  One simple cable, the same twist on every one and I struggled.  I struggled and reknit and reknit and I am very sure it isn't quite perfect yet.  If I am ever to get past simple wee cables and simple wee twists, I am going to have to learn to see when they are right and when I have screwed up.  

We all know I struggle to follow patterns, so if I set myself up to learn to see them in the same way I see lace, I will save me much time and energy when I decide to knit 
(photo from Knitting Plus by Lisa Shroyer, published by Interweave, sweater designed by Marlaina Bird, photo via Ravelry) The book is on its way to me as we speak.

If I ever decide to knit a traditional Styrian sweater, I am going to have to understand.  I already have this book, Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher

So many things to knit, not nearly enough hours.  

PS.  The laundry is done. One to fold and one to put away.  How did that happen?  Where did I err?  What is this world coming too?