Why Knit Socks

February 28, 2013

What made me decide to knit socks in the round on double-pointed needles as my third project? It was a cross between wanting to learn more while challenging myself to accomplish something new and a consistent topic of debate at Image

My first pair of knit socks…I’ve since learned a little and hope to not have as many ladders…Can you tell which one was my first?

KnittingParadise.com. I love learning new things, so socks appealed since they held many elements I had not yet tried. I also felt challenged by the debates of whether socks were as difficult as claimed or if they were as easy as some claimed.

To paraphrase Knitting Paradise forum posts I read nearly two years ago, some say, “Why bother? All the work, when you buy new pairs for cheaper than you can the yarn?” Some said, “I’ve knit half a dozen pairs(or a dozen), and love it. I rarely wear store bought socks anymore.” Some said, “They’re impossible! I just can’t get them.” Some said, “It was the first thing I learned to knit as a child; I don’t know why they taught me to knit socks.”

I’m working from the back to the front here. I commented on one of the forums that included “I don’t know why they taught me to knit socks first (as a young knitter).” I thought about this comment and considered some options. After all, clothing in mass production is a rather new concept when looking at history. In addition, mom, and possibly grandma were quite busy. Some may have been taught to knit socks first and so taught their child or grandchild or niece or nephew to knit socks first since that’s how they were taught.

I also considered that during times when people knit their own socks because they knew how and likely weren’t commercially available, the child may have sat at mom’s knee and bugged to learn to knit. If mom was knitting socks, or the child had worn through yet another pair, why not be practical and let the child knit their own socks. While it is a challenge to knit socks, I do see good reason to start with them, in some cases. After all, once you’ve managed knitting in the round, of what does one have left to fear?

Others say knitting socks are impossible, and at some points they seem to be quite difficult, sort of like untangling the yarn in the first place. There are points in the knitting of socks that do sound confusing. For some, knitting 8 stitches and turning when there are fourteen on the needle is just not acceptable. But I found with my first pair, as wonky as parts of them looked, I still figured it out. I only sought true help for the toe. Yes, I did have to rip out a row of stitches when turning the heel; I’d picked up the stitches at the wrong side of the heel flap. But my tortured heart and beloved sock project survived the frogging, (Rip it, rip it…), and we continued on to pick up those zany side stitches and knit it correctly. I haven’t had a problem with this since…I’ve only knit the equivalent of baby booties since(and 3 of them for a cactuar-a Final Fantasy video game character).  I wonder if this is where the idea that socks are impossible to knit comes from.

Moving on, to those who have knit a dozen pair, and rarely wear store-bought socks anymore…Kudos! I hope to join these leagues. They’re not cheap. I just bought a skein of yarn out of my income tax return (which I try to keep low, so I can have the money in my hand during the year), and the price of this yarn made me want to wince. However, good yarn and good socks should be worth the price, and she hand-wound the skein for me according to how I was going to knit it. When I told her it would be one at a time, on double-pointed needles, she set her yarn winder up and told me, “When I knit my first sock one at a time, I finished it, only to be disappointed that I had to do the exact same thing again.” I had found that too, I told her, but I figured then I was half done, and needed the second sock so I could wear them.  In addition, the second sock was much easier than the first. I knew where to look for the problem areas. I can’t wait to join the leagues of those who have knit a dozen socks and rarely wear store bought anymore.

https://i1.wp.com/wattsolak.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/green_on_swift.jpg
Winding the yarn…similar in color to my next pair of socks…I’ll take a photo to add below here soon…
In addition, I’ve found small knitting projects like socks travel well, and make a great conversation piece. I try to keep a book I’m reading in order to facilitate lines at the post office or secretary of state as well as the doctor’s office. Since I’ve started knitting, I take my project with me nearly everywhere, so if I have some waiting time, I get to sit down and make progress on a project. It can be especially helpful when substitute teaching, as some days, you don’t do much at all. However, with substitute teaching, I’ve worked with active enough groups that I haven’t been able to get in a single stitch that day either. But this blog is about knitting, isn’t it?

Then there’s the practical question, ‘Why would anyone spend all that time and much of their frustration knitting socks when they can buy a package at the store cheaper?’ There may be as many reasons as knitters, or at least methods of knitting those darned socks we love. It does begin with love…we simply love it. For some, its the sense of accomplishment. For some, those socks are like a thousand little hugs for the feet. Can you imagine how you would feel if someone knit you the gift of socks and you found they were the best fitting gift you ever had? My best friend even knit me socks on the knifty knitter using worsted weight yarn, so they’re more like slippers, but I wear them even if they’re not perfect. After all, she cared enough to spend her time making them for me. They work best for around the house, and aren’t what I would have knit, but they’re special, and I think of her when I wear them.

In addition, the yarn isn’t that much more, and if you knit them well, these socks should hold up for years, or be able to be darned if they spring a small hole. Many people can’t do that with store-bought socks. Plus, I find the colors and varieties more interesting. In addition, I love the pattern work that you can knit into them. So, why bother? Because some days, it will have been the only way you stopped long enough to take care of yourself. Because when you knit them for friends or family who will appreciate them, you’ve a great gift for less cost than you likely would have purchased one. Because, some days, boring white socks without patterns just aren’t good enough and you’d rather have a pattern you knit into the socks because you liked it, not because some designer dreamed it up and had someone else create a print and dye the socks with said pattern.  Because, in the end, when you do anything good for yourself, you should step back and say “I’m worth it.”

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Tea and Haggis Chips with Jenn McQuiston.

How can you hug your feet and walk around all day feeling as if you are being hugged? Knit yourself socks, it’s that simple. If you think about it, you may have figured I was moving onto socks next. I began with a challenging pattern that required my attention. I graduated to knitting in the round. I joined Knitting Paradise. I then watched ladies debate love, hate and fear of making socks.

Now, I do not approach life fearlessly…if I find a bee in my toilet that won’t flush-I call the boyfriend over to smash it. If I find a bat flying in my house, I call the boyfriend over to rid my house of it. Insects and flying nightlife along with a few other creatures simply do not belong in my house and cause me to scream. I have no idea why. I can stand spiders, they eat bugs. But what does this have to do with socks? Glad you asked.

One–I’ve learned if I have a child around or multiples of them, I simply put on my big girl pants and kill the darned insect, while directing or moving the child to safety. And Two–what is life, if not learning to overcome challenges? Though I’m in no hurry to deal with the bat challenge any time soon. For those of you disappointed in me, I’m sorry; please call it a quirk.

Socks…I received a skein or two of turkish ice fingering weight yarn in purple though a Knitting Paradise gift swap. (I do not know if they still do these swaps at this time). I looked at the yarn and fell in love with it. I did learn later it was part acrylic. Most socks are knit with wool or a bamboo/silk blend. I decided to give it a try anyways, and bought the appropriate double-pointed needles. I then searched for a sock pattern to knit. I picked a simple 2” ribbed pattern without project work on the legs or feet of the sock. I did not feel ready to tackle anything more intricate than ribbing. Though I had worked some ribbing on the boyfriend’s hat, it took me most of that to feel I’d gotten the hang of it.

Since I put the needles down for a couple days to a week between projects, I would need a ribbing refresher as well. I did cast on some 68 stitches, once I determined the right size for my foot. And I did my best to rib the first sock…I got close in the last three rounds of the 15-20 rounds that made up my first two inches. I settled for what it looked like and kept knitting in the round for the next few inches. I could not bring myself to rip it out, and they were for me. If they turned out truly terrible, I’d knit the first one over again. But sometimes, I think its okay for the first one to show the angel kisses and to show how far we’ve come.

Finally, after weeks (my boyfriend, James, would even dare suggest months), I got to the heel and had to figure it out. The most helpful advice here was found on knitting paradise again–”Just do what it says.” I’m not sure who posted it, or when, but it worked. Once I got what is called the heel flap started, I had to begin turning the heel. Here, you knit a bunch of short rows, turning the row before you finish knitting the entire row. On paper, it sounds tough, but in reality, once you get it and just do it, it works. Then again, women (and some men) have been doing this and passing it down for centuries. It must work. It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever knit…I’m think that might be the panel I started with, but it did work.

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So, I turned the heel and picked up the stitches along the side by finding the little V’s and created something that began to resemble the sock. Now comes the laughs, because when you are knitting for yourself you can try it on as you knit. After I had at least three inches of foot and shaping, I started trying on my sock to see where I was in knitting it. You do look kind of silly with a foot half sticking out of a sock and slim, double-pointed needles poking out in triangular form to check length.

Once your pinky toe disappears, it is time to decrease your size and graft your toes. Don’t get too scared, decreasing is usually a series of knitting two stitches together on either side; though it’s sometimes listed as slip, slip, knit on one of the sides. I translated it as knit two stitches together. If I got entirely confused about that, I apologize, but my sock does work. Now grafting is the real fearful term to some. After reviewing a very thorough tutorial online at Please link to http://www.cometosilver.com/socks

The tutorial explains grafting better than I can. In the interest of conciseness, I would say it is like sewing in a knit stitch to join to parts together. The needle is inserted knitwise, purlwise, purlwise, knitwise around the two stitches you are sewing to create a bind off that looks as if it has been knit. Part of me was flabergasted, but more, I was fascinated as well. In the end, I love the result, and am glad I used the tutorial to finish the sock off and keep it looking good.

So, finally, after some time spent knitting this purple acrylic, I have one sock done. I’ve proven I can do it. Now what is a girl to do but knit a second sock with far superior ribbing?

With the second sock, the ribbing was much improved and the sock was knit up faster. I think it gets easier to knit as you become familiar with the stitches and the pattern being used. I was motivated to finish it so I could wear the socks I knit for myself. I was excited to see how they would feel on my feet. The socks feel like 1,000 little hugs for my feet. They fit like gloves and felt better, mostly.

There was one drawback once I got them on my feet. Since I used an acrylic blend yarn, the socks did end up feeling a little bit like wearing plastic. I have decided that my next pair(and yes, there will be a next pair;-)) will be knit with a wool or a bamboo/silk blend or anything fibrous and not made with acrylic. However, when I need a hug for my feet, or I’m running around in my sweats all day, they’re a perfect sock. I just want a pair I can enjoy wearing to work with dozens of little kids all day.  Next week, maybe I’ll work on the whys of knitting socks.

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My warm, hugged footsies;-)

The boyfriend’s hat

February 14, 2013

Image of Adult's Simple Knit HatAs this is a Valentine’s Day post, or even the day after, I have decided this post fits here better than my second post, because after all, one of the best things to talk about on Valentine’s Day is a gift hand-made for someone they love and wish to keep warm. It’s also one of my favorite days, and a perfect time to keep warm because it is snowing outside. However, this year, my dear, sweet James is not getting a hat for Valentine’s Day. But since he checks these posts once in awhile, I will wait to mention what I did get him, though it wasn’t knitted this year. Now, back to the knitting world…as romantically as possible for my knitting experience, today.

I mentioned in my first post that I’d learned about double-pointed needles and knitting in the round while knitting my first scarf “panel” and my second scarf “panel” as well as a third and a fourth which are each waiting for me to dub them as end table decor or to sew them into a finished project. How did I learn about it? What does knitting on two straight needles have to do with knitting in the round and double-pointed needles?

Keep the questions coming, I’ll answer as many as I can. Feel free to add them to the comments. At that time, I had joined a fun website called www.knittingparadise.com. Knitting Paradise was my second internet home for a while, and some days my first. The photos there are beautiful, and they had a great concept a KP’er set-up and another continues to this day (I believe), its called a Knitting Tea Party that starts around 6PM on Friday and invites knitters, crocheters, seamstresses and anyone else who enjoys tea, coffee, carbonated caffeine or just plain ol’ water to come sit for a spell and have a chat. For a time, I even revolved my weekend computer time to catching up on this weekend long tea party. This is a great forum and worth some time. I finally came away from this forum but still check in from time to time.

I do recommend the knowledge and most of the people on Knitting Paradise. I don’t think anything like it can be found to match it on the internet, we could claim facebook…but that’s where I go to complain about my day, not learn about knitting, usually. Knitting Paradise is where we complain about husbands hiding stashes, or replacing them as you thought you were making progress and where we celebrate the wins–when the gift we just spent 28-32 hours knitting is adored and where we cry when kids or friends say, why don’t you just buy something? Not to mention the pictures…oh, the pictures…some days, when I need a break, I log in just to see the pretty knitted projects photographed so adorably.

So, as I was beginning knitting anew, I was looking for the next project as I often seemed to be, I found and would log into knittingparadise.com and get oodles of ideas. Now, the projects seem to be coming to me without much help…one day, I’ll re-learn the word “No,” with the same gusto of a toddler who’s just learned it’s meaning and is being offered something gross to eat. Okay, maybe not so emphatic, or at least with a “Sorry, but…” attached to it; but it’s easy to get wrapped up in making stuff for others and never knit anything for yourself. I think it comes from being a woman, in some cases.

But what does all this have to do with the second project…It’s how I came about it. I needed a gift for my boyfriend and after looking up ideas, I settled on a hat that he would need and would likely use, if the dog didn’t get to it first. She hasn’t (and lives), yet…though we still can’t find where he stored the darned hat until winter. I searched hat patterns and opted for a circular pattern at the time. I thought it would be easier to work than double-pointed needles. Sometimes, it is, but even in circular needle knitting, one must utilize dpns at the end. I used a size 8 circular needle with a double-strand of black acrylic that was gifted to me. I learned soon after why some people insisted they would not use black yarn again, or navy or anything that dark that didn’t let you see the stitch.

I had chosen a pattern that required two inches of ribbing as I began the hat. The first thing I learned about ribbing is that ribbing takes focus. If you are tired, you will make mistakes. Depending on where the mistake is, you can choose to fix it, or choose to ignore it and call it an angel kiss. I suspect this hat was made with more angel kisses than even I was aware. The second thing I learned about ribbing with black yarn is-its harder to detect mistakes. If you are a perfectionist, I recommend that you carefully choose your yarn color or make sure you have great lighting as well as a good amount of ability to focus as you knit. I was grateful at the time there was only two inches of ribbing as I began the hat.

Then I began knitting in the round, which wasn’t as difficult as one might think. There were, and still are, parts that seem cumbersome at first. But as you knit, they smooth out, or you get used to them and learn to compensate for those cumbersome parts. After a while, you find you are just knitting with two needles and a cable to hold your work so you don’t have to sew it together at the end. However, I did have to change to dpns for the last few rows, as with the decreases, it became easier to knit on the dpns. Later, I learned that dpn knitting wasn’t any harder to me than circular knitting. But that’s another post.

All in all, it was a relatively easy pattern to make. I do wish I had my own photos of this hat, but here is what it is supposed to look like:
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L20403.html?noImages=

It very well may have been this Lion Brand Pattern, in which, yes, you do have to register to use Lion Brand, but they have never sent me anything I didn’t ask for. Now, simply imagine this in black, but a little thicker due to using two strands of acrylic yarn in worsted weight or 4 ply thickness. Since I had circular knitting needles, I made any necessary adaptations, which weren’t many and switched to dpns as it became tough to work with. I will go over dpns in more detail when I tell you about knitting my first pair of socks.

Why purl?

February 8, 2013

Recently, I was knitting in the Media Center at a local High School where I was substitute teaching, and one of the staff members approached me to discuss my knitting, which I always enjoy. After talking about the sock monkey arm I was knitting at that time, she asked me a question I’ve never given much thought to, but found it a valid question: “Why Purl?” She said she knew how and mostly knit scarves, and other flat objects–my apologies, I don’t recall all of them, but she didn’t get why the purl stitch was needed.

Feeling slightly on the spot, though it wasn’t likely intended, I thought about it for a second and replied with the best I had…”It gives the project a right side and a wrong side, in case that’s important and it provides some structure. And as you can see in my ‘knitting in the round’, the purl is already formed on the inside as I knit around. It gives it structure.”

I never feel an off the cuff answer covers everything, and I am by no means an expert, but later, I pondered that pattern work couldn’t be shown off if there was no purl stitch. It just wouldn’t look the same if we left little holes in between sets of knitting as opposed to forming purl stitches that are meant to construct the pattern. I decided to seek out answers in online forums as well. I put a post up on the Knitting Paradise website asking this very question: Why Purl?

What have I gotten outside of my own thoughts so far? Some great answers that follow, that’s what. One of my favorite answers, eloquently written is: “There are only two stitches in knitting… knit and purl and there are good reasons for both. Often, cables are set off by purl stitches on each side…… Not everything is knit in the round so you must have purl stitches to create stockinette and many other stitch patterns. The better question would be ‘Why not?’” –Dreamweaver on Knitting Paradise

Hillary4 on Knitting Paradise also informed me that “I love lace and texture in my knitting, so there alone is the necessity to purl.I also make scarves, shawls and cardigans, none of which are done in the round – so that’s my next reason.Just performing the same stitch over and over would soon have me sick of knitting – reason 3!
“I know one can learn to knit backwards to avoid the necessity to purl when working backwards and forwards – but I actually don’t mind purling. Some knitters do seem to have a thing about it though.”
http://www.favecrafts.com/Loom-Patterns/Knit-Cable-Hat-Scarf-and-Mittens

Also from KnittingParadise, cakes informed me: “I don’t know anything about ‘in the round OR backwards and forwards’ But I love the good old purl stitch. Garter is OK but stocking stitch gives a love smooth face.”

Garter is simply knitting to the end of the row/work, turning the project and knitting again. I agree that if it wasn’t for the purl stitch, I would’ve stopped knitting long ago. As I said in my first post, I needed some challenge in my projects, and so I chose projects that had an extra element, and each project is different from the last.

Another opinion posted, “Where would we be without PURL? We being us backward creatures who only use two knitting needles each having a knob on the end. I would not be able to create my very favourite stitch MOSS STITCH or any variations.  How can anyone ask WHY PURL.?” offered JustDrene.

As I said at the beginning, it was something I never gave thought to, but sometimes it is good to think about why we do things out of habit.  After all, how many of us have more appreciation for that purl stitch after this post? I hope you do.

An additional note–I don’t believe in backwards knitters, unless you are intentionally knitting backwards. Each of us has our own way of knitting. I knit the monkeys in the round because it engages me, and my friends, and the students I substitute teach…I have one student ask me to make them a sock monkey nearly every day I step into a classroom to sub for a teacher. It also serves as a conversation piece and shows young people that you don’t have to have blue hair to knit… though that may be another blog. I also have a beautiful yarn I received as a birthday gift which is hand-made locally and shall be made into a scarf on my simple straight knitting needles including a purl and possibly a “Tree of Life” pattern. In my humble(sometimes) opinion, this pattern is worth looking up.

“You might have asked “WHY MEN” the other half of life!” said cakes of knitting purl later in the forum, and some days, many of us has (or if you’re a guy, perhaps, you’ve said, “Why women?”  from time to time, but it is true…there is a chinese proverb that reads “Women hold up half the sky,” which could very well mean men hold up the other half…just as with knitting and purling. This response is apparently a favorite on the chosen research forum of www.knittingparadise.com.

http://favorite-free-knitting-patterns.com/beginner-patterns/free-baby-blanket-knitting-pattern/92/#!prettyPhoto

I chose this photo to show different patterns you can do with the two stitches of knitting. While I have not begun to create pattern work into my sock monkeys, beyond shaping the curvy parts, I do enjoy the beautiful look of each of the different knitting stitches and patterns. Most of these pictured, if not all could not be created without a purl stitch. So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Why purl?” perhaps ask yourself, “Why men?” or come back to read my blog.

Also, since it has been such a generously helpful and entertaining forum…please visit the ladies and gents at www.knittingparadise.com if you wish to learn more about knitting, see knit patterns worked up beautifully and a few ready to be frogged, and some interesting ideas which usually make me want to knit even more. Until we meet again, Happy Knitting and Happy Blog Browsing, friends

The knit beginning

February 1, 2013

As a child of 8 or 9 years old, I watched the women of my family crochet. Sometimes, my aunt Maryal still makes me crocheted wash clothes for gifts when I mention how much I enjoy them. My mother would sometimes attempt to crochet, but she only had one go-to stitch and the yarn and the project would often disappear before she finished it. I don’t know what happened to it. I never saw a finished project, but every once in a while the yarn or new yarn came out, and she tried another project.

I was fascinated by the art of crochet and demanded to be taught. I learned how to chain and could create long beautiful chains that we could laugh at as we strung them around the Christmas tree. When I attempted the “double crochet” stitch which I later learned was a “half-double crochet” stitch, my tension became too tight and I could no longer fit the hook into it. Frustrated, I would rip out the stitches and either start over, or call it another chain. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, these were my first lessons in tension. Unfortunately for me, no one I knew of that crocheted nearby knew how to fix this. I would create chains and leave it at that, for that time.

When I was 10, we had moved from the quiet, small town of Haslett, Michigan to a rough area of Lansing, Michigan. We had found a suitable duplex that was a major improvement over some of our interment dwellings. We had a neighbor who tolerated three rambunctious kids ages 10 and under pretty well. She had adopted a collie, husky, malamute, shepherd mix she’d named Bozo. I’d visit them (and was more tolerated due to being a relatively quiet girl). Plus, I showed an interest in her knitting. She told me about it and began to teach me, but moved within a month of beginning my education in knitting and we got the dog, but I did not pick up knitting at that time. We renamed the dog Bear, and I was soon lost to Bon Jovi and boys.

I went through my teen years knit-less, and occasionally crocheted a border chain for our 12 x 14′ living room. My parents were no longer impressed by this feat, nor amused. I gave my attention then to sewing partly due to interest, partly due to a 9 week course in home economics where I found I was a natural with a sewing machine. However, we did not have a sewing machine at home and I didn’t visit the aunt who did once I turned 12. So, I hand-sewed when I could get my hands on fabric to sew. My dad declared me the best button sewer he knew of and refused to pay money to have a button sewn back on, since I’d been taught how “professionally.” However, since I wasn’t big on the recycling theme that’s so prevalent today, getting my hands on fabric was easier dreamed than accomplished. My teen years and college years were spent pursuing college and the money to pay for it.

Once the money for college ran out, I joined the Navy to help pay for it. Out of boredom and due to missing my family before I learned what “underway” really meant, I began sewing again. I had some spare cash and access to fabrics and thread. I began sewing a quilt as a gift for my best friend and I sewed my niece and nephew fleece and flannel blankets for their birthdays. The feeling of the fabric and the simple act of creating calmed me. I even went on to sew dresses to show I could. I made one for my two year old niece and a civil war style work dress for myself. However, this is not a sewing blog, even if I do consider myself an accomplished seamstress.

So, how in the world did I become a knitter if I never learned and sewed for some time. I’m getting to that, I promise. Mostly, I think it was sheer curiosity and book. I’d read about characters knitting as a relaxation. In addition, while searching Goodwill one day, I found a bundle of knitting needles wrapped together in a rubber band for an affordable price. I bought them and proceeded to Jo-ann’s Fabric and Crafts where I found an interesting book called Knit Stitches & Easy Projects. I looked through this inexpensive red & white book and its stitches, liked the photos and the descriptions and decided to buy it. I also found a beautifully soft burgundy yarn, which would make a great scarf. I bought the yarn and the book and went home to begin knitting.

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By this point in my life, it had been suggested that I could have ADHD. I have never had this confirmed, but I’ve never had it confirmed that I didn’t. I thought my symptoms were related to anxiety, which I knew I had. I couldn’t have it. But then I ‘had’ to research it, and learned I did have symtpoms. I decided to apply some suggestions that worked for people with ADHD. One of the problems I had was that I would start 15 new projects of various mediums and I might finish 3 of them.  I reminded myself that finishing could be its own reward, but I had to get over that hump from “the beginning” to “seeing the end of this tunnel.” In addition, I needed a system.

I decided to write each project I was working on a 3×5 card and post it on a card on my fridge.  I also decided to create a rule that I needed to finish a project before I began a new one. Then I decided to be brave and set up some goals including organization and included them on my fridge. I’m still working on the organization. Some days, I’m not sure there are enough shelves in the world. But how are these note cards and organization items related to knitting? I had to learn about me, and how I worked.  I had already been shown the stockinette stitch and held some of it in my memory. I just had to access it. I also realized, if it was too easy, I’d grow bored with the process. So, I needed something that engaged me, like reading a book and you keep reading so you can find out what happens next…. I had to find out what happens next in knitting and I leafed through my booklet to find a pattern and a project with a simple twist that would keep me focused on the item I was creating. Yet, I had to be careful not to overdo it, as I’m good at overdoing it.

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I found a 63 stitch scarf with a pattern that repeated every four rows called “Little Shells.” It was pretty and would make a nice scarf. I got out my burgundy yarn and two matching needles and began to knit according to the pictures. I decided this scarf would be for me as it would likely be full of mistakes, which it was. As I knit, I also discovered that my stitches tended to increase until I remembered to count them and realized my tension was almost non-existent, and all over the place. Even with the scarf’s imperfections, the yarn was beautiful to me and the pattern remained engaging. I completed my first and began another. Since it was too wide for a scarf in the end, I thought about making it into a shawl or part of a small blanket. I then finished a second ‘panel’ as I had begun referring to them and somewhere in there found http://www.knittingparadise.com which led me also to Debbie Macomber’s books-specifically the Cedar Cove and Blossom Street Series.  They still remain two of my favorite series ever, and though I do not re-read many books often, I have read and do recommend Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber to anyone who wishes to read a book of inspiration.

I did continue knitting the little shells pattern with a different yarn, a variegated brown with turquoise I loved, but was later disappointed that it didn’t quite match the burgundy, so the blanket would have to wait.  During this process, I learned about double-pointed needles(dpns) and knitting in the round. I’ll save that for the next blog.