Trying Too Hard…

April 13, 2017

It dawned on me this week, after completing a quilt top and beginning another, and printing off directions for the next block of the 2017 Murder Mystery Quilt (come look over here,) that I had considerably neglected my knitting.

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This sock says…”Get back to reality…”

What’s a poor girl (who should be studying her Abnormal Psych book) to do? Why, knit, of course! I started out knitting my knot socks this morning–only three more rows until the heel. I can make this! After 2 rows, reality set in…(after all, I only complete 1-2 rows a day at school), and I realized I may not wish to set up a heel row as my instructor is handing out language tasks at the beginning of class. I decided to set it aside.

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This sock said, “Go ahead, it’s still ‘sweater weather.”

Then I remembered some darning I needed to complete. So, I got out the socks to darn and the matching yarn, and began darning. This patch was a bit bigger than the last one. I’d waited too long and worn a hole in the ball of the foot. (sorry, no pictures of the hole I covered, but it wasn’t as big as the patch. But I finished it this morning, even if I only had bigger needles to work with and I made these socks wearable until I manage to finish a hole in the second foot. Part of me is certain it’s only a matter of time. It’s still cool enough to wear knit socks. I’m taking full advantage of this pretty “sweater weather.”

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This sock said, “Books, what books…I’m too pretty to be ignored over books.”

Once I finished the darning, I should have set the knitting aside and begun reading Chapter 15 of Abnormal Psychology. How many of you want to bet I did just that? …Any takers? None, not one…. Good, keep your money for yarn then. I picked up my Smooshy Dream yarn in charged cherry. I decided to knit the next row where I got to cable five times over 36 stitches. This is a beautiful pattern, I can’t not knit it. I finished the cable row in time to pack up, comb my hair, check my mail, and go to class….

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This side of the sock said, “See, see what I mean?”

Did I do that? What do you think? Hint–I usually knit two rows of this pattern when I knit it, whether I should be studying or not. The second row is all knit and purl with no cables. So this should knit right up, correct? But this takes a minute or three(or more than the ten you have to finish when you are knitting two socks at a time on circular needles.Of course, I continued knitting, right up to the time I had to leave. Then I had to hurry up and put  away the knitting, the book I never opened and get my lunch…it goes on…but now I have no tea…and no knitting; with 38 full minutes between classes to eat lunch, and perhaps, study.

Update: I did actually study…now I just need to finish the photos to share with you. Perhaps I’ll behave better tomorrow…. Who’s starting the pool? (Not that I encourage gambling much, but once in a while, there needs to be a pool of something started).  Sorry, forgot about the bunny shelf photo…perhaps I’ll get it for next week…If I remember in the midst of tests and papers… Alas, Happy Easter!(or however you celebrate your holidays;-).

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It’s been a crazy week. I’m still not sure how I survived. I still don’t feel like I have a routine, and I’ve been running over half of the week. I added a workout to my Monday and Wednesday afternoon. I work Monday night, so I meant to bring my uniform with me. I left it at home, hanging there in my closet. As I drove home just before 5:00 rush hour traffic to pick it up, I realized I left my work shoes at my boyfriend’s house. It made for one of those Manic Mondays. Not to mention the homework I was becoming aware needed to get done.

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Here they are! My Pussy-Willow socks made to match one of my favorite shirts…

Tuesday came and went with aplomb…it was like a repeat of Monday, only worse. I woke up late, arrived at class late and somehow remembered that I needed my laptop. I hoped to resolve some program issues I’ve been having with a log-in code for class. The material has been provided elsewhere for now, but I had to pay for it to be provided here. The code should work, it doesn’t. So, between classes, I went to get my laptop, switch bags and locked my car.

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Trying to photograph the side detail…I may need help with this…

In class, there were no plug-ins. Nor were there any plug-ins in the hall outside. I don’t like giving up class time for this anyways. I need plug-ins because the battery is dying, and it’s just not worth the price to fix it. Do you see this having a negative effect on my knitting time. After class, I went to take the useless laptop back to my car. I had locked my backpack in there, with my books in it. I realized then I had locked my keys in my car.

There is good news, however. I pay for roadside assistance. I always have and likely always will-for days like this. I called my boyfriend to look up the number, and alert him in case I needed him to get the spare key. I called roadside assistance and they arrived in about ten to fifteen minutes, then opened my passenger in about 45 seconds. It took him longer to remove the tool than it did to unlock me. My keys were in my backseat next to the backpack, thank goodness.

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Here’s what they look like from the inside view…(still an easy pattern, just quite detailed).

Then I high-tailed it to my niece’s and nephew’s school for their track meet. I got there in time to catch my niece running her race. It was kind of cool. Then I came home to do homework. It’s not hard homework, but I’ve had a crazy week and I want to do something that’s just more fun than read books I don’t love. I have attempted some knitting, only to get myself in a bit of a bind with the terpander pattern. I knit one of the cables the wrong direction! Drat! Now I have to tink. I may also need smaller needles for this. It is giving me an idea.

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The sock that has my Psych Graduate Assistant requesting a sweater…If I knit instead of study, I could make this work out…(I don’t knit that fast, better study.)

Next, I worked on a couple more rows between my two classes today after I did a fair amount of reading in the book. This one is a good book, but a slow pace and a detective novel where I’m struggling to see the dilemma and the over-arching case and theme do not seem directly related to the main character. Yet, she’s almost the glue that holds them together, and the better detective. However, I still only have a little progress on these socks. I can hope for a little more next week, but I think I just gave myself more sewing to do. We’ll have to see.

Today was easier. I got through the workout yesterday and only have medium stiffness when I sit for too long. I also took my aunt shopping yesterday. Today, I checked the weather, and said, sixty-four degrees Fahrenheit, eh? I can wear my hand-knit socks today. Yes, I saw that it was likely to reach seventy three degrees Fahrenheit as well…I ignored that and put on my socks and the pretty shirt that matches them. Enjoy my pictures of my feet, as well as the socks on them. It was worth it for a bit of foot sweat. (It wasn’t near as much as work where I sweat to pieces in black socks and shoes). So, I promise, I didn’t kill my Pussy Willow socks made with the continuum yarn from String Theory Color Works.

 

I should be studying.  I should be getting that reading done. It’s about Euthanasia. I don’t entirely disagree with the concept, but I do not blanketly support it, either. It’s for a Philosophy class about Moral Problems. It’s interesting, but not entirely my cup of tea–especially when it’s time for wine.

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The cat, absorbing ethics by osmosis…though he’s recently tried to take credit for my book–or he just wants to collaborate on a storyline…

This week, it’s time for wine. The good stuff…or another glass of something. I may even move onto the hard stuff…but I do have class tomorrow, followed by work. I no longer wish to think.  So, allow me to come to the fun stuff.  Ah, the fun stuff, the mishap I’m still not quite sure how it all happened.

I was knitting my second sock last week as I came to the toe. I was quite excited to get to the toe as it means  I’m nearly done and this baby can come off the needles, ready to start the next soon…or so I thought.  I set down my needles and picked up the pattern. Where it says to knit the next four rounds, I had these 2 cute notes: dec 2.  Yes, I’d written it twice.

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Both socks, almost finished and off the needles…or half of two pair…hmm…

I counted my stitches. I had the 76 stitches I needed. I held sock 1 up against sock 2, and wouldn’t you know it, sock 1 was bigger!  Four stitches bigger. I checked my notes. I checked my blog posts. I searched and searched, and nowhere did I tell myself to knit in four more stitches each round all the way down the foot.

Oh, dear. Now I was at a dilemma. I realized after some searching, that since the size 1 needles made this pair so small and it felt a little tight, I must have stopped decreasing early on the gusset to make up 80 stitches in a round instead of 76. You’d think a girl would learn to take notes. I take notes in almost every other aspect of my life. I even took the decrease 2 notes on the pattern. I just wish I’d taken notes when I decided not to decrease.

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If you look closely, you can see the bigger one peeking out from the smaller one…

I’d settle for, “Hey, Dummy, you have wide feet, make the sock a little wider, say 4 stitches.” I can’t even ask you guys why you didn’t stop me, because its not in the blog. Oh, how I wished I’d blogged about it. Someone would have caught it.

Now I have a bigger dilemma, continue on with two different size socks, rip-out and re-knit…or go buy more purple, brown and blue variegated yarn and knit up two more socks…one for me, one for my diminutive 11 year old niece as part of a Christmas gift…

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Here’s the latest (terrible photo, sorry) on a much easier sock to knit. It may be time to cast on some vanilla latte socks…

Oh, the choices. The last idea holds some appeal. (Wondering if I can get even close to the previous dye lot). But I’m ready to move onto another pattern. I’m going to focus on the gray and dark purple colorway this week.  Next week, perhaps I’ll have bought more yarn…we shall have to see…

Wish me luck with these darned purple socks…yes, you may have a laugh with me on this one. My aunt already did–though she pointed out that once they’re inside my shoe, no one will know. However, I think my feet will feel the difference.

Feel free to weigh in fellow knitters…What would you do in this predicament?

Wondering…With Pride

May 13, 2016

Where to begin: with the Pride Moment: Grades are in…dun, dun, dun…This girl got a 4.0, in all of her classes. That’s not all. I worked for it. I worked part-time. I picked up a second job. I attended a quilt retreat, and knit a sock and most of another. Now, I only took 9 credits or ¾ time for the academic world. (But I couldn’t have done it all if I’d done any of it full-time. But raise a glass (mine was Chianti) to the smart girl who won’t shut up about her knitting.

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Scamp, helping Mama knit her sock…or distracting me for attention…

Now we get into the wondering part. As I knit the second sock of this set, I wondered about the sock. Will it be long enough? Will it fit? I’m not used to knitting on this small of a needle. I’m using ones instead of twos. I have seventy-six stitches though…I should be okay. I even have a photo of the first sock on my foot…it looks fine. (You’ll just have to take my word for it;-)…till next week, hopefully). Or search through my late February, early March blogs…

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Current progress on the socks made of Christmas Yarn….

Then I got out the pattern to make sure I was done with the cable repeats…it looks as though I am. It’s even close in length to the other…see? And I read on, and I have notes to decrease two stitches twice in the next four rows. What? Why? I’ll have to review each of my blogs and see if I mentioned the decreases. I hope I did. Perhaps I was aiming to get at a smaller number to decrease for math reasons. Remind me to answer this mystery for you next week, won’t you?

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Previously, when these two socks were near the same completion rate…

The other half of the wondering equation involves the gray sock. I looked at it last week and re-tried it on, or perhaps it was after I tried it on James’ big foot. Set down the beverage while I defend myself. His feet are still bigger than mine–there’s more of him to balance.  Okay, I’ll let you have another sip for a moment. I tried the sock on me, and it was too loose. I knew this was happening. I’ve been warned, but I’m going to forge on anyways. I don’t think I can get more yarn in these colorways, and I don’t think there’s going to be enough for three socks, especially if one of them is too big. I’ll have to hope for the best. But you’ll get to see where I went from this:

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Briannag helping me model the slouchy sock. (And it was slouchy…see all that extra room?)
To this:

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Pretty close to where I unraveled it to…it was almost therapeutic, as I knew I would knit something better with it. Same pattern, just a better fit.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Though there was much winding of wonky yarn. Now, there will simply be more knitting, with hopefully a simpler pattern to travel with me for between class and work or days there’s nothing else to do. They do creep up in June, well, a couple of them. I’m doing my best to fill them with visits to aunts and a couple of birthday parties and some quilting and knitting. I’m never not busy for long…and then I let myself get lost in silly games that make me say bad words. I’ll stick to the knitting for that, as I have something to show for it in the end. P.S. I shouldn’t mention this now, but I’m finishing these socks. I got this yarn this Christmas, this may be the fastest I’ve knit a pair of socks in some time;-). Until next week–Happy Knitting, my friends, and may your yarn be knot free and your knitting tink free.

I’ve knit four sock monkeys, which are knit similar to a pair of socks, just with bigger yarn. I’ve knit two complete pair of socks and am on my second sock of the third pair. I’ve had to work with increases and decreases in each pattern, and began one of my earliest patterns with increases and decreases  as a challenge to keep me interested in the pattern. I need challenge, or I am likely lose interest. In many of these patterns, I’ve encountered a number of ways to increase and decrease stitches. Today I plan to focus on two specific decrease stitches.

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Progress from two weeks ago, with little concern over correct knitting of ssk or k2t

Originally, when knitting a project and I encounted a ssk(Slip, slip, knit) decrease, I treated it much like a k2t(knit 2 together) decrease. The achieve the same purpose, to decrease the stitch. Since I didn’t notice much difference between the two stitches, I often just knit two together on both sides of the sock or sock monkey in order to decrease the number of stitches. Most of the time this wasn’t noticeable.

I also noticed over time and multiple projects, that ssk was often on one side of the gusset or toe, and k2t was on the other side. I thought perhaps it was a directional thing. But my socks are comfy and warm; so I did not worry about the difference between these two stitches. As I knit my current pair of socks, I reviewed my lace chart for the next row one day and realized I had both ssk and k2t in this pattern, and was expected to use them at different times and places. the ssk is on the left side and bottom half of the lace pattern and the k2t is on the right side and top half of the lace pattern.

 

The goal of this design is to create a diamond or “Almondine” shape. As I was knitting, and reviewing this pattern, I decided to review my definition of each type of stitch and investigate the difference, if, in fact, there was any. There is a difference. While it is not a huge difference on some simpler patterns, or something that uses bulky yarn. I noticed that the ssk left a smoother stitch in its wake.

ImageCurrent Progress with more concern for the difference between the ssk and k2t

The ssk is defined as: “With yarn held in back of work, separately slip two sts(stitches) as if to knit. Insert the font of both slipped sts and knit them together.”

The K2tog(k2t) is defined as: “Insert the right needle into the front of the first two sts on the left needle as if to knit, then knit them together.”

ImageScamp (The “Kitten”) helping me photograph my knitting as she’s not allowed to help me knit

Someone scanning this or casually reviewing it might think both definitions mean put both stitches onto one needle and knit them together. They don’t. The ssk requires extra steps, and it leaves you with a much smoother work I hope my pictures explain, as for the bottom half of this lace pattern, I was careful to knit all ssk stitches as defined. It left a smoother decrease than the bumpy knit two together. I hope my pictures can do this stitch justice as I don’t have any cool draw on my photo tools that I can use with the understanding which I have displayed regarding these two stitches.

Sock #1 is done!

February 13, 2014

I did it! I did it! Now I want to do it again so I can wear them;-). I took a high school Math and Business English job yesterday in the hopes that I could rest my voice for much of the day. Lucky me, there wasn’t much presentation, just current work and a Math Terms Puzzle that looked pretty fun. I knit much of the day, and helped with the math terms puzzle when asked. Many days in elementary school, I am far from a “baby-sitter” as substitute teachers are often referred, but that day, for the sake of my hoarse and gravelled voice, I was grateful. So, I knit the toe, and I knit away, remembering, that no matter how long it seemed to take, the toe got smaller every other round in this case.

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The pattern maker went with a simple wedge toe with a decrease of four stitches every other round. It was a simple stockinette stitch pattern for the toe as well, which you may notice in the pictures. Part of me, knit the simple pattern, wondering if I could work the pattern into the end of the toe. If done carefully, I think it could be done, but unless I want to re-knit an entire 2.5 inches of toe in pattern, and delay the second sock, I will not be doing so. Some days, I’m good at complicating matters. Perhaps I will try this as I knit this pattern again in the future.

 

For now, I have begun the second sock, and have realized I need to buy more yarn. Yes, even as I complete this, I realize my mistake. One could argue it shouldn’t have been, but I lacked the foresight to stop into my local yarn shop with my book to show the proprietor what I was attempting. I was hoping at the end of knitting the sock that I would have just enough yarn to make it through, leaving me without any for my stash in order to make a stash-buster pair of entrelac up-down socks in the future.

 

However, I did not have enough yarn, and will need to purchase another skein soon, likely on pay-day, before I have time to decide some other purchase is more important. This one purchase will not be particularly expensive, but it isn’t a small couple dollar purchase for me, either. The trick will be matching up the dye lots. I hope there’s simply one skein of this dye lot left when I get there. I hope the color is still there for that matter. In part, it will simply be the toe I need to knit, but it is such a beautiful yarn, I wouldn’t want to finish with another color.

 

I won’t mind as much with a different dye lot, as these are on my feet, and my toes are often covered. It will hardly be noticed. But, if it is important to you, learn from my mistakes, check with your local yarn shop proprietor first. Otherwise, contact an experienced sock knitter, who may tell you, that 80 stitches with an 8 inch leg, may mean you will run out of yarn and should buy an extra skein you can always knit fingerless mitts with later, or some barbie dresses, or use in Up-Down Entrelac socks after you build up some more stash yarn.

 

In the meantime, enjoy the photos of my socks. Know that I have already begun the cuff of the next pair. For those of you who are curious, the toe is sewn together with a kitchener type grafting stitch meant to give the look of knitting.

 

Enjoy the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi this week, as I am. I love skating, I just wish China had gotten the gold in the pairs the other night.Image

 

My socks now look like a periscope. Who doesn’t want to knit a periscope? I’ve been told socks are boring, but I get to have a periscope and stick my foot out of said periscope at some point…. Note to self: cut toe-nails before photo. As for the possibility of painting them, we’ll see what Saturday brings. For now, I have a cute little periscope. I have cartoon imagination;-).

Okay, childish periscope cartoon images aside…photos to come to prove it, I promise. Let’s talk a little about the pattern and more about the sock (I hope). This pattern is not for an inexperienced knitter. This pattern may not be for a semi-experienced knitter. I’m not saying “Don’t use it.” I still like the overall pattern, but a few more specifics would have been nice, such as where to decrease the gusset. I had knit short rows, turned the heel and picked up 18 stitches on either side. Decreases have to happen. In a good sock pattern, the pattern creator tells you where to decrease. This one didn’t.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vanilla-latte-socks

Left to my own devices, I had to judge for myself where the decreases should be included. One might say, obviously on either side of the heel. Some would say, smack dab in the middle. Some would say, check other patterns. Each of these might be good advice. But somedays, I am a do-er as opposed to a planner. Or in the writing world, a pantser, rather than a planner. I sit down and write what appears on the page. Planners outline, rough draft, and usually make points 1 through 5.

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When I am forced into the torture of the outlined world, I usually hit point 1, the introduction and get a good start on point 2, the first point of my topic. Then I am struck with inspiration or hit a tangent I can’t ignore, and segue into another entire paper. However, this is not a writing blog, but a knitting blog. This entire diversion is meant to serve as an example of my inability to plan a sock that isn’t written out for me. I put the decreases in where I thought they would work. I’m not sure if they’re perfect, but they’re mine.

The next tough decisions must come. Should I rip out the decreases and replace them after research? Most likely, even though re-knitting will occur faster, I won’t. I will likely live them as they are and hope for the best. However, having learned from sock #1, my next question is, repeat the perceived mistake or knit it with decreases in better spots. Knitting with the decreases in potentially correct spots may make me wish I had removed the stitches and re-knit the pattern.

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I must say, I’m a little surprised the decreases weren’t listed, but I did begin this leg and foot of the journey stating that this pattern is not for a beginner. It has been fun, so far. After all, I have a periscope. But I need to turn my periscope into a sock and create a mate for it. I will keep you updated each week as to my decision on this sock and hope for the best in the meantime.

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