Let me begin by saying I have a distinct bias: I started on dpns. I am comfortable on dpns. I like the way my dpns make socks. However, I’m open to change to change and am trying one sock toe-up on two circular needles at this time. Later, I will revisit this post or create a similar one, once I get to two socks at a time on one circular needle. I have a specific pattern in mind for that sock. Alas, allow me to return to the socks I am currently working on.

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Briannag, helping me model the pussy willow sock…

I’ve been working the Knot Socks top-down or cuff-down on four double pointed needles. This pattern is also cabled. I am on the second sock and getting excited to finish. I knit the heel turn after an exam today and so the sock is taking on a periscope shape, which is one of my favorite parts of knitting with dpns.

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The heel-cup(short rows on the purple sock…coming to one of my favorite parts…

I have also been knitting the Pussy Willow socks toe-up on two-circular needles in that pretty gray yarn. I love and hate the circular needles. The extra circular needle is always dangling below. You get used to it, but it can be annoying. The good thing with circular needles is that I haven’t lost any stitches in traveling. I have managed to drop a couple stitches when switching between needles during tricky knitting sections, but nothing major-not even the swearing.

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Both socks together…easy drop on the left and picking up to do…lots of cables on the right; there may be no perfect method-but that’s why we love socks, right?

I did not have to tighten the first stitches as much with the cables, but there is a minor amount of confusion about which needle leads to which. I tried to keep the needle I wasn’t working on centered, but that couldn’t happen as I was knitting the heel flap and turning the heel. In fact, turning the heel was actually more cumbersome on the two cable needles as I found myself trying to work two needles together that weren’t meant to cooperate. I ended up slipping the stitches onto the working needle and marking my spot. It wasn’t a tough fix, but the heel is somewhat more difficult on the circulars.

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The beginning of the periscope on the purple sock.

This being said as I’m about to pick up my heel stitches and knit across on my dpns. I’m just beginning working into the foot on the purple socks. I’m beginning on the leg on the gray toe up socks. In addition, the toe-up sock pattern is a simpler knit to knit as there is only one spot in which I am working the pattern. The purple cuff-down sock is cabled and more complex with much flicking back and forth on the needles. I’m not sure this pattern could be easily worked on the circular needles.

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Current progress on the Pussy Willow sock…It is nice to try it on as I go along…Wondering if its a little big, but sometimes, a girl likes big, slouchy socks. And, Briannag is cuter with her eyes open…usually.
I almost have to work two similar patterns to get a true feel for it. Perhaps when I get to the single circular with cables, but I suspect my purple cabled socks will be done by then…or at least they should be. I’m not ready to track more than two sock patterns at a time. Picking up the heel is going to enough for tonight, provided I do not decide I’m too tired to knit. (I wish there wasn’t such a concept. So, fellow knitters, which style is your preference?

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Likely not. No one ever told me she was a knitter…but if she was, would she lose all sixty-four stitches as she’s about an inch from finishing the foot so she can begin the toe? I somehow doubt it. She’d probably have a super-secret method of returning the stitches to the needles. Perhaps just put in a life-line, which i have not started using yet. I probably should use a life-line, those little contrasting pieces of thread that mark places and minimize damage.

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Putzer, guarding my knitting bag, with attitude…He deserves a massage for his efforts, after all.

I sat down and let the dog snuggle in next to me, as he does sometimes while I knit. Except when I picked up the knitting needles, all of the stitches slid off. Oh, the horror! ALL 64 stitches were now exposed to the elements-air, cats, dogs, me! I needed to get these stitches back on the needles, 5 minutes ago. I hoped not to lose any of the stitches, but I did lose about eight of the cream colored stitches. Oy, and vey…or other sentence enhancing words of your choice. I had many of them. I also include “Don’t talk to me,” and “Go away,” for my Dear James, who was in a chatty mood that evening. The poor guy, he took it so well when I pulled out both tonight, in no uncertain terms. I work every night he does this week. I also wanted these socks done and ready for work this week. It also looked doable…before the socks came off the needles. I wasn’t even at the toes yet.

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Getting there, just beginning the toe of the sock…(after the recovery)

I spent a stressful twenty minutes placing the stitches back on the needles, in a near silent home, and the poor dog lay on the floor waiting for Mom(with the big, deep, in charge voice) to relax. Once I got the stitches back on the needles, I started knitting and let James know that he could once again chat with me.

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I never really knit alone…it’s just that some company is sometimes quieter than others…

Now, a while back, I admitted that I sometimes like to knit alone, especially when I’m at a tough part of the pattern or a spot that requires concentration. Dear James was home and was in the mood to chat. He even kinda wanted me to chat with him. This is a good thing that I wish to encourage, usually, especially if he’s playing video games. Except when I’m knitting, and I’m close to the toe, and ready to finish that blasted sock…and soon, I get to put away the black yarn until the next pair. And, well, I just placed all sixty-four stitches back on the needles.

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There is hope, ahead. I still made it through…chatty phase and all…

We worked through his chatty phase and the dropped stitches, and I began the excitement of re-joining the socks in the round and finishing the cream colored toe. So, just how did I make my socks so unique? Well, I’m good at finding challenges. Sometimes, I make them work. This time, I knit and purl the socks almost if they were flat, and every three to four rows, usually, I joined the two yarns.

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Trying them on, with Briannag’s help…she thinks my feet and towel/blanket are comfy

This join was accomplished by inserting the needle into the first stitch of the cream or the last stitch and wrapping both colors of yarn around the needle, then pulling through, leaving a two-color, two-stranded stitch that I worked as one in the next row. I tried to get good photos of my feet, and the happy ones showing how they will look for work. I do have a cream colored stripe on the top of my foot that does show slightly above my shoes, but my work pants should be long enough to cover it. Besides, we’ll just test how much they’re looking during one of our busy weeks;-).

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See, I’m never really alone with my socks. Zeus must see what the fuss is all about.

This pair is happily now off the needles. I’m going back to pink yarn soon and debating about what the next pair of black socks will look like. I will talk more about the foot test next week.      023

What my feet will look like as I go to work this Thursday evening…’Course I’ll be wearing black slacks instead of shorts.

Sleeping on the Job

June 12, 2015

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Squib, snuggling while mom knits…

Most of us get in trouble for sleeping on the job, unless it’s written into the contract. With the kitties and puppies, it just may be. Yes, I get it, 80# dogs are not supposed to be called puppies, but they are always going to be puppies to us…trust me on this.

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Briannag and Zeus sleeping while I knit

So, tonight, I sat down to knit my lace repeat thinking about sharing upcoming birthday or father’s day gifts. I decided if I dish before I gift, then it’s the one time the recipients will load this up to check it out, and only one of the gifts is knitting related…I’ll save that for when I really need something else to talk about.

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Maeve, snuggling in while mom knits, right on top of the knitting bag…

Tonight, I sat down to knit, then realized the younger and more exuberant of the two was up to something he shouldn’t be in the kitchen. While working through the correction on that, and telling him that every surface of the kitchen was “MINE,” I had to shoo Briannag off of my knitting bag. She was climbing upon the couch right where I’d left the knitting bag. Talk about distractive efforts, especially as Zeus decided he should run into the bedroom after each good, firm, command.  I hope we’re making progress…I think he thought last nights homemade chili powder smelled good.

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Putzer laying on the crocheted afghan my aunt made for dear James…

Once the dogs and I came to terms, I sat down to knit. I knit away on the lace chart as I have over the last two weeks, trying to keep things going according to the chart. While I knit, I noticed Briannag asleep on the other corner of the couch.  Squib decided to join us as well. Maeve was next to me in her favorite spot on the couch. Later I realized she was curled up on top of the knitting bag. Leave it to my cats to find the oddest places to sleep. Putzer was curled in the chair on one of his favorite spots, and Scamp was off on the floor.

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Zeus, looking for some snuggles while mom knits…

After a bit, Zeus decided to check that Mom had indeed forgiven him and curled up next to her on the couch while stepping too close to Squib for comfort. Snuggling sounded really nice. Scamp woke up from her napping spot on the floor and sought mom out while giving her cooing meow to check that I was still here, I think. She’s the only cat I think I’ve had that coos and meows to tell you she is awake.

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Scamp, seeking out mom to check on knitting progress…

Oh, wow, is this a knitting blog. There isn’t much to tell knitting wise, and I’m thankful for the kitties and puppies sleeping through most of it, as the photos will show you. There is progress on the sock, which would have been much more challenging with more interruptions.

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Squib, checking my knitting progress, since Zeus woke him…

So, for this week, I’ll simply leave you with a log of sleeping pets and show you the progress on the knitting. Enjoy.  And, yes, that is cat hair likely found in my socks. I’ll never be able to claim my knits come from a pet free home.

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Sock progress, see…told ya I made progress;-)

Managing Interruptions

June 5, 2015

I get it, really, I do. “Life is messy, full of interruptions and complications,” states Karl in Love, Actually (2003) when Sarah apologizes for her brother interrupting their blooming relationship scene. You want to scream at her to make another effort throughout the rest of the movie. But Karl is right, and this week, I’m simply knitting socks…but they’re a small love affair of their own.

001      Squib, wanting to snuggle as I knit.

I sat down Monday night, or Tuesday, whichever night I had enough energy to knit the inch of stockinette stitch that would lead me to the next section of hearts.  Shortly after I began, Squib decided to join me and offer some assistance with the knitting. I will never be able to claim these socks free of Squib hair.  He just matches the skein of yarn too well.

Fast forward to tonight, and I’m cooking and knitting. I’ve had a recipe I’ve been meaning to get finished much of the week, so I prepped it earlier tonight before I started knitting, and I placed the humble breakfast casserole in the fridge to rest before I cooked it. We were out of half and half, so I used greek yogurt with milk. It worked, thankfully. As I preheated the oven, I began the lace knitting chart. In the first row, Squib came to say “Hello, love me.” During the third row, Maeve decided to test my ability to memorize the row of knitting I was working on. Briannag decided to test my pattern for drool-proofness(waterproofing) as she snoozed on my leg. At this rate, its lucky I get any knitting done.

004Maeve, testing my memorization of a chart ability…

Then the familiar beep of my chat window happened, and my dear James was online during a break from work. I reported the kitties and puppies activities while attempting to knit the third row(a pattern row) and told him some about dinner. Once I finished row three, I set the knitting aside to finish with fewer interruptions.

006Briannag, testing the drool-worthiness of my jeans…or offering subliminal suggestions that I should let her have “her” spot back…

Dear James went back to work. I scooted the dog from my spot (Briannag truly thinks it is her spot), and poured a glass of wine. Then I knit the simple stockinette stitch for row four, and marked my spot.  I finished the row with about a minute left before the breakfast casserole was finished cooking. I waited for it and checked the egg setting. It looked done, but it’s hard to be certain the egg has set. I turned the oven off and returned the casserole to its warmth. It would help the egg be certainly set without overcooking it while I knit the next round.

017Squib, considering his chances to learn knitting…or my lap is on his way to there…

I was two-thirds of the way through row five when the timer went off five minutes later. I knit to the end, then pulled the casserole out once more. I knit a few more roles to let it cool, then at the end of row ten, decided I needed to eat as well. Its yummy. Its easier to pay attention with a full belly.

007Maeve interrupts my knitting for snuggles…

I also noticed tonight that I was developing a new counting system. I came up short on one of the rows, and had to tink back nineteen black stitches to repair the problem. I must have skipped knitting a yarn over stitch on a previous row. I quickly began counting each needle’s worth of stitches to be sure I had them all. There is no way I desire to tink back an entire row of this lace chart in black yarn. I have only had to for one needle at a time in this, and that was difficult enough to see.  Here’s the progress:

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024 Current progress on the sock…one more lace heart repeat to go…then the heel.
May next week bring even more before I begin training to learn to deal roulette.

020Scamp, sleeping through my knitting, this time…

After working through the cast-on and ruffle decreases, I needed to knit an inch of cuff before I began the lace chart. I found it relatively easy to simply knit in straight stockinette for ten rows, or about one-inch of cuff. At the ten row point, which my last notes confirmed, I set the knitting aside Monday night, and left it alone until tonight.

It’s Thursday night, or Friday morning for some of you, which I love. I get to recover from the over a hundred half squats I performed while dealing Poker four about four hours, with breaks in there, too. Dear James is stuck at work(the poor guy), and I only have critter company, which doesn’t usually require much thinking, other than “Get out of my knitting or sewing bag.”

004Squib immediately sat down with me to inspect my sewing items this evening.

He pretended he wasn’t curious the entire time I had the camera on, until I left the strap dangling. After a bit, he settled down and snuggled in. Zeus decided on his spot next to the couch where he makes up his own bed. Scamp took the footstool that serves as a pet bed, more than a foot stool, anymore.  It’s not like we spoil the animals here, no? Briannag chose to keep her spot at the end of the couch. She was worn out jogging a bit in the heat earlier and likely won’t move much until Dad comes home.

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Briannag, holding down her end of the couch…Zeus, snuggling as mom knit.

As I knit, I checked my notes. I’ve begun to learn my lesson. While I primarily have hash marks in the proper places, they’re enough to remind me what I did before. I began knitting the chart with minimal distractions other than animals changing places to snuggle up, or find somewhere else to sleep.  I even got through one entire repeat of the chart and knit the 16th row of the chart I sort of added.

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Maeve joining the snuggle fest with mom…knitting needle on left above the cat…

The chart stops at 15 rows, which ends at the bottom knit 2 together and yarn over in the point of the heart. While I am going into stockinette right after, I feel it better to secure the chart with a row of stockinette before I set the work down until next time. You may note this is denoted to the right side of the chart with a simple hash-mark.

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You can see the chart reasonably here, but I did not photograph the key on purpose. This pattern is available free from its designer at the following link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blackhearted

012Scamp decided it was best to settle for Zeus’ homemade bed in the meantime.

It’s simple, but it’s effective and leaves me worrying less about how far I have to frog or tink back to fix things if stitches come off the needles. I have enough choice words or phrases for when stitches come off the needles. I’m not leaving a lace chart to chance on that one. Now, to get one more photo without much cat intervention and show you what I mean. Until next week, happy knitting.

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Here’s the progress I likely would not have made if Dear James had been at home.

I decided during my crazy-busy week of mid-terms and laundry and stress from schedule changes, I decided to give in tonight and do nothing related to studying. I do mean nothing, with the exception of checking my grades. I typed up some previous writing for a story I like to work on. I photographed the cats reclaiming my work chair. I photographed the dog when she tried to turn a stocking stuffer gift into a puppy toy. Then I sat down to finish planning the spacing for the next set of lace hearts. It seems that when your brain is fried after midterms, or even during, one just isn’t enough.

005Squib, guarding the yarn(so he says) during a break…

I thought I’d worked out spacing for eight rows in between the sixteen row hearts. Only there may be two problems. I like to anchor my work, which I discovered after row sixteen this evening, and I missed the mark, I believe. In addition, I may have forgotten to mark a row as I was knitting the “eight” spacer rows. I may now have ten spacer rows.

I have yet to decide if two sets of hearts will be enough or if I will attempt to recreate this spacing(which I will have to do on the second sock as well) or if I knit in the round for a few more inches. I currently have three and a half inches of leg, and the pattern calls for six inches. I’ve debated if I’m going to knit one more spacer and one more set of hearts, or if I wish to attempt two more sets of hearts. Then again, I suspect this sock will look cute enough with only two sets of hearts.

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Squib, checking out the work I’m really doing, since I’m not petting him.

Why make it harder than it needs to be? Because I like challenge. Because if there is a challenge, something pulls me back to push through it. If I simply knit in the round for two and a half more inches, I will have to make getting to the heel flap the goal, and decide how to knit this set-up, as there will be a distinctive choice. So, for next week, I may have to decide between more open lace work hearts and faster method to the heel.

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The second set of hearts worked into the sock…I hope this fits;-)
If I choose more hearts, I have to figure out an amount close to what I knit before for the spacers. Ah, the choices knitting brings us. Perhaps I will design my own sock one day. However, I will not be going to class when that happens. Wish me luck with this (black)hearted sock and the next.

…is harder than it looks. I can say this. This is the second time I’ve truly attempted knitting a lace pattern from a chart. The first time I knit the pattern entirely upside-down. I don’t think it mattered much, those socks still came out looking reasonably good, just not perfect. But they are lace-work.

002Maeve, snuggling in while I knit

006Squib, inspecting the knitting as well as my lap

This is the second attempt to knit lace. I happen to be using black yarn. I’ve learned that you start from the bottom. As I knit row four across and began on row five with less kitten help, but more puppy help, I wondered if I was knitting this chart correctly. The author went easy on me, making every other row a knit across row. It reads like a palindrome.

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Briannag, re-claiming her couch spot

The heart I’m knitting into the socks does not. It’s close, but there’s a stitch to the left or right of center from time to time. I do not know if I am knitting the heart in the correct order. I don’t know if I can find this out, even if I look up the blog. Excuse me while I pop over here to check.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blackhearted

I cannot tell from the pattern. The good news is that it doesn’t matter. So long as I remain consistent, I should get a good heart shape in my black socks. Photographing these hearts may prove to be another matter, and that took over my thoughts as I knit more rows of the pattern. I’m wondering what I have that contrasts with black yarn without stretching the work yet to utilize to show off the lace work I’m not sure I’m completing correctly.

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One of the hearts I so diligently knit tonight

Alas, one day, I may learn to master lace-knitting, perhaps. For now, I’ll master keeping the kitties and puppies out of the yarn. It may become easier to master the lace-knitting charts, however. Now, I must decide if I will place more hearts along the leg, or if I shall leave the leg in stockinette stitch.

010Scamp joined me again shortly after I picked up the knitting once again.