So with my travel knitting, I decided to make a few people socks as Christmas presents. I’ve finished three pairs of socks in less than two weeks. I knit simple toe up socks with short row heels on two circular needles. I can do anything but two at a time socks. Seriously, that magic loop method has my brain scrambled. I’m looking at Pinterest for new twists on the simple socks.
I had a conference in Arizona and had to come up with a travel worthy project. I seriously considered bringing my blanket but it would have taken up the entirety of my backpack and just think of the looks I would have gotten. On second thought, the flights to Phoenix were pretty chilly. It’s day 5, and I’m in Houston International. I’m currently working on the foot of sock #4. I pulled out some yarn I bought in December of 2011 in New York City for the first pair. I can’t remember the name but it was something sister. . . Twisted sister?While in Phoenix I took the light rail and then walked to Tempe Yarn. The shop was cute, the people were crazy friendly but everything was so expensive. I picked one skein of sock yarn that were the colors of the desert (but I wanted so much more.) They also had roving for spinning and felting as well as a loom.
So I kept it simple. I ate some good food. I didn’t care so much for Phoenix downtown but loved Tempe. I rode the light rail from end to end. It was probably the friendliest area I’ve been to with some quirky but nice people. I went to Papago Park early Saturday morning and walked up to the left most peak. All in all, I loved Tempe and Phoenix area and if it weren’t for the lack of water, I’d be pressuring hubby to move. But the drought is extreme and with today’s climate changes, unlikely to improve.
I have been chock full of ideas in this last week. I’ve ignored the housework and have been focusing on fiber related projects. I spun up a skein of white alpaca and yellow wool plied together. This came out perfect and I’m really happy. However, I had some left over potluck wool on one of my spools so I decided to try navajo plying, which is spinning one ply into a three ply by creating loops with one hand and controlling the twist with the other. It took a little bit but I caught on and can’t wait to try it again.
I have some wool/mohair mix that friend gave me and I decided I would try a few new things that I’m looking forward to. It spins up real easily. I started this yesterday and then the hubby and I went to a neighbor’s party. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but if I have more than one drink, I can’t sleep! So, I wake up repeatedly this morning and finally around 6 am I give up. With a glass of water and a cup of coffee, I sit in front of the spinning wheel.The rest of the wool/mohair mix spins up quickly and I go to navajo ply it. I try and try and try but I can’t get the flyer to pick it up. The yarn keeps breaking. I was really looking forward to navajo plying and then dyeing it with food coloring. Uh well. I finally give up and pick up my socks that I’m making with my homespun.
SOCKS. Filled with frustration, I rip out what I’ve already done. I’m using Judy’s magic cast on for toe up socks. I love the book, Socks from the Toe Up. I think toe up socks are easier to do and better for someone like me who tends to drift from the pattern and think, “I know how to do this.” You can try it on as you go along and can fix problems as they come up. The problem I have with the Judy’s Magic Cast-on is that it is easy to create a whole in the toe area if your cast on/knitting is not tight enough. I had tried this twice before and decided to switch to smaller needles. I am a simple sock maker and wanted to try something a little nicer. I try different patterns on the top of the sock and can’t seem to get anything to look right. The yarn is variegated (or closer to muddled) so it should be a simple pattern. I’m now on my fifth attempt trying a seed stitch pattern. Oh, and I don’t like how it looks. Sigh.
So I’ve been on a foot related knitting spree lately. For Christmas, I made my Grandmother a pair of slippers, followed by a pair of socks for myself and now I finished a pair of socks for my husband just in time for his birthday, which is today. They’ll be ready for him when he finally gets home. These are made out of a yarn my friend bought me when she visited Sweden and are soft and comfortable. I’d love to tell you what they are made of but the label is not in English. These socks took forever with my tiny size 1 knitting needles but they are finally ready for wear. Oh and hubby, if you are reading this, do NOT throw these in the washing machine.
Most knitters have at least tried to knit socks but many of us have a love of creating those unique pair of toasty warm socks. It is a bit crazy, considering that you can buy a three pack in Wal-Mart for a few bucks but many of us will go out and spend ten to twenty dollars on yarn and a week or longer of our blood, sweat and tears. Blood because of the small sharp pointy needles, sweat due to trying to follow intricate patterns while using small sharp pointy needles and tears when one of those needles fall out and you lose your place in the pattern.
There are several ways to knit socks.
1- Toe up. This is what I’m working on. It is easier because you can try it on as you knit and don’t have to worry about running out of yarn.
2- Double pointed needles. Take 4-5, five to seven inch long needles and spread the stitches out between them. Work in the round and try very hard not to allow the needle to fall out.
3- Two circular needles. The stitches are split between the working points of two circular needles.
4- Magic Loop. This uses one circular needle that is at least 40 inches in length. The stitches are split between the cable and the working needle point. One side is worked, moved and the next side is worked.
5- Two socks on two circular needles. I haven’t figured out how to do this, but there are many books and websites willing to explain further. Someday I will conquer this too.
6- Cuff down. This is the classic method that most patterns refer to. You work on dpns, knitting from the cuff down to the toe.
The Sunday after Christmas, a few members of my family and I went into Manhattan to see a few sites and of course- to visit a knit shop! After seeing Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz, we headed down to 79th Street to visit Knitty City. The shop was cute. It was a long narrow without a lot of space, as all places in Manhattan are short on space, but there were still comfortable niches to hang out in. My mother bought me a skein of Misti Alpaca hand painted sock yarn. I had plans of designing a shawl from it and it would be the best thing ever. I started and frogged repeatedly until I finally relented and went to the website. I knitted a pair of socks off their basic pattern, and they are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn. The last few days have been so cold in the new office, I’ve now taken to wearing these. They truly are better than slippers.