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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

More yum.

After the needle snap over the weekend, I started knitting the sock on 4 DPN's instead of 5. It wasn't so pleasant, and I thought I might snap another, so I wanted a back-up set. I went to my favorite LYS for some replacement needles. They didn't have the bamboo, but the owner pointed me toward these, and WOW. They are my new favorite. I have always hated metal needles because of the slipperiness and the irritating clicking noise (BBMM actually hates that even more than I do, I think). These appear to be metal with a plasticy coating of some sort (I doubt it's really plastic, but the package is all in German, so who's to say). They're almost as sticky as bamboo, they're almost as fast as metal, and they are my new best sock friend.

You may notice there's something else in the picture... I sort of accidentally bought more sock yarn. I've been eyeballing this Tofutsies yarn since it first came out, but I'd never seen it in person before. I'd also never seen it in any sort of neutral color. I do not wear a lot of color, and the thought of wearing hot pink and lime striped socks is the opposite of appealing to me. But this... beige and cream and black, and stripey and soft. It's very much a summer sock yarn, as opposed to all the wool I have. Good yardage too; one skein for a pair of socks. See how many excuses I can come up with?

I started swatching it at knitting group when I stopped working on the too-big sock. It seemed at first that it might knit like cotton (shudder) but it actually was a lot softer and springier than I expected, and very easy to work with. Did I mention that it's soft? Here's the one thing that gets me though; size 0 needles were WAY too big. Like drapey, loose fabric that would make a lovely sweater, but certainly not socks. So I will eventually be looking for those same needles, but in sizes which contain multiple zeros. Gulp.

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I went to my usual Wednesday night Sit & Knit last night, sock in tow. And look at all that progress!

Since I first started this sock, it seemed big to me. Granted, BBMM has large feet, at least compared to mine. He's a man; his socks should be bigger. And his feet are kind of wide, and I just chalked it up to the difference between a woman's size 6 1/2 and a men's size 11 1/2.

Last night, since I was surrounded by some really awesome knitters, I said "hey awesome knitters, does this sock look big?". There was a pretty resounding yes from the room... So I measured. The sock measured 1/4" BIGGER than BBMM's foot circumference. I stopped knitting. I took it home. I made him try it on. The result:

Oh yeah, it was big. Like 20% too big. I was working on 100 stitches, and after putting it on him I'm starting over with 80. Big difference. On the bright side, this means I should knit 20% faster...

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Are size 0 bamboo needles just a bad idea? This wasn't even a tension issue, just total clumsiness. At least they come in a set of 5...

Obviously I started the sock.

I ended up using the basic toe-up short-row-everything formula from SKS, with the stitch pattern from the Globetrotter socks. So far so good, I think. I actually did knit the toe too tight; I was a little too scared of gaps. My needles are a warped bendy mess. I plan on trying to breathe through the next part; I'm thinking that will help. Now that I'm through the toe it can travel with me. Mmmm, subway knitting.

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Not Representing

A little explanation on the last post. I couldn't find the mystery porter on Tuesday either. I had to wait until my doorman came back to work on Wednesday. But in wonderful NY doorman fashion, he had it waiting for me in the lobby when I arrived home. He might be my new best friend.

I've already made a gauge swatch from the sock yarn, and I'm working on stitch patterns now. This first pair will be for my husband, who will forever be known as BBMM (Blog Beautification and Maintenance Master). He spent all weekend, as well as several evenings this week, making the blog pretty and functional and exactly what I wanted. There was confusing code and many strange searches and my little head was spinning. I could never, ever have done anything other than a blogger template without him. He also took all the pictures, because he's good at that, and because it's hard to take pictures of your own feet. He deserves socks. And cookies. And perhaps sainthood, but I don't have a lot of sway over that.

The bummer of the day is this; you have figured out by now that I live in NYC. Tonight, as I type, Yarn Harlot is speaking at FIT, for the debut of her Represent tour. I am not there. If all went as planned, there were knitters all over New York today; they met at the Today show this morning, they met at Strawberry Fields at noon (with socks; lots and lots of socks), they went on yarn crawls all afternoon, and then there was the book signing & lecture at 6. Sadly, work and life and other such things interfered, and I couldn't go to any of it. But I love the idea of it, and I hope the auditorium was bursting at the seams, with knitters spilling out onto the sidewalks and totally freaking out the tourists. I can't wait until I find out how it went.


And Choirs of Angels Sang...


The Comedy of Errors Continues

The package saga may never end.

This morning I checked UPS, and my yarn was on the move; it had made it from Jersey to NY, and onto a truck for delivery. This was good; I wasn't going to be home for delivery, and there is no doorman on Mondays to sign for it, but at least I would be able to reschedule delivery, and I would know exactly when it would arrive.

But this afternoon I checked again, and it said "Delivered". To whom? The porter. I was not aware that my building even had a porter, but apparently it does, and he had my yarn, and it was a beautiful thing. I raced home after work and realized that I had no earthly idea where to find my mystery porter. I scoured the basement, but nobody home. I actually called both UPS and my super to make sure the package was actually delivered to someone who works here, as opposed to a random street urchin who knows how to sign a name. Indeed, my package is in the basement, a mere 6 floors below me.

But there is a catch, since the yarn gods clearly have no intention of ever letting me knit a sock again. Apparently the porter works regular business hours. He is not here, nor is anybody else who has the keys to the little room where my lonely yarn sits.

I can't get my yarn until tomorrow.

Perhaps now would be the time to learn how to pick locks.


The Sweater that Kidnapped the Yarn

This is another recent FO; the sweater that started the "where's my yarn" madness. We have a pregnant relative; she's having a girl and she's due in April. My MIL and I decided to make her a baby set. We found this adorable pattern, and split up the work; I would make the sweater and she would make the bonnet and booties.

The pattern told us to buy 3 balls of yarn; 2 for the sweater and 1 for the hat and booties. She knit the bonnet in record time, using about half a ball of yarn. However, we realized about halfway through the sweater that we were never going to make it (this was probably the first time in my life that I didn't buy an extra ball of yarn just in case; go figure). Concerned about dye-lot, we decided I would use her extra yarn to finish the sweater, and we'd buy her another ball for the booties. That extra ball of yarn is what's currently being held hostage by UPS in New Jersey, along with the sock yarn and stitch markers that I threw in the cart to "round out" the purchase.

So my poor MIL has been finished with the bonnet for 2 weeks, and is STILL waiting to start the booties. Once I get the yarn, I still need to send it to her; I think I'll be using FedEx.

As linked above. It is oh so cute, and a really fun knit, but the pattern is AWFUL. There are parts that truly don't make any sense at all, especially on the hat and booties. I think it would drive a beginner batty with frustration. The only change I made (other than a lot of deciphering) was to knit the sleeves in the round instead of flat; I hate sewing seams.

Yarn & needles:
Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash merino, color Shell Pink. I read great things about this yarn, so we decided to try it. I loved working with it; it knits up quickly and easily despite the fine gage. On the needles it felt pretty scratchy and inappropriate for a baby. After a washing, it really softened up, and bloomed to a much loftier look. I used size 3 needles for the body and size 2 for the ribbing; my MIL had to size down to a 2 and a 1. The ribbon is some 1/4" double-faced white satin I had laying around; it will be used in the bonnet and booties as well.

If I could do it over:
No changes, other than buying enough yarn in the first place. The instant gratification of baby clothes slays me; size 3 needles, fingering weight yarn, and I still finished in about a week. The YO patterns are very cute on this set too; the band at the hem and sleeves is also on the booties. The YO decreases at the yoke are mirrored on the bonnet. I'm not a girl who likes cute, pink things, but I am head over heels for this set. I have a pregnant coworker, and if she ends up having a girl I will make the whole set again for her.

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Beaded Rib Socks

These are the socks that have been my subway knitting for the last month or so. They are also the first socks I've ever made for myself, and I may never take them off. I now know why people become addicts for these babies. Warm, but not too warm. Soft, but not squishy or slippery. So very, very yummy. They fit really well too; I've been wearing them for several hours with and without shoes and they are staying up without slipping or binding. Desperate for the sock yarn (still in Secaucus) to arrive so I can make more. I've been trying to convince my husband for months that he needs homemade socks, and he's finally given in and is letting me make him some. So if I'm feeling generous I'll make these. But what I really want to do next are these; I'm looking for a challenge!

Beaded Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch . Knit exactly as pattern; toe up with a short row toe and heel. I love this book; I tend to mess with my patterns a lot, and she provides basic formulas, gives you a bunch of stitch patterns, and lets you have at it.

Yarn & Needles:
Wildfoote, color Mums, 2 skeins with quite a bit left over. It's a beautiful color; 1 ply each of rust, black, beige and coral. I'm not sure if I would use it again; it's beautiful, but not terrifically soft. It's better on the stockinette sole than on the patterned bits though. The yarn is also pretty thing; I compared to most sock yarns; I compared it to Trekking the other day, and it was about the same or a little thinner. It's very easy to knit with. The plies seemed pretty loosely twisted, so I was worried it would split a lot. To my surprise, it didn't at all, despite having to tink and reknit the bindoff 4 times. I used size 0 DPN's for the foot, and size 1's for the leg so I'd have a bit more room.

If I could do it over:
I would keep the toe-up construction (perfect when using a new yarn), the short row toe and the short row heel. I love the look; heel flaps seem chunky to me on plainer socks. The rib pattern works really well with this yarn; there's just enough going on with each that they don't compete with each other. I had actually swatched a cable pattern and it was pretty invisible for the effort, so I went with this.
I would make the foot about 1/2" longer before starting the heel. I thought the heel would be deeper than it is, so it doesn't quite cup the heel. That makes the heel is a little short too; the pattern starts up again underneath the top of my shoe. None of this seems to bother me as far as fit, it's just little details that keep them from being perfect.
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Lonely, lonely yarn

I just finished my first pair of socks (picture to follow once they are dry). This is pretty monumental for me; other than toes and heels, the ONLY time I knit on these socks was on the subway, and only when I get a seat, so my total output was anywhere from 0-8 rounds a day. Slow going, but a really nice portable project. And I learned that I love knitting socks. And wearing socks. And trying on socks in progress.

Last weekend I had to order another ball of yarn for a different project (more on that later). Now it seems just silly to order one ball of yarn, and pay shipping for such a tiny thing, and I didn't have any more sock yarn, and excuses and excuses. So I threw in some sock yarn; I figured the timing was perfect, I wanted to start another pair this weekend, and it would be sure to arrive by Thursday. Ahem.

The last UPS tracking message said that my package left Chicago on the 14th at 1 am. No problem, well on track to be here by Friday, maybe even Thursday. Then, nothing. No update Thursday. 36 hours went by, and I didn't know where my yarn was. I've driven from Chicago to New York; even on a slow UPS truck, no way it would take more than, say 20 hours. I assumed the worst; the truck crashed, spilling yarn across the highway. Or thieves absconded with my yarn (because that Patons Kroy is SO valuable). Or the driver got pulled over for drunk driving, and was now in prison while his truck just sat there. Either way,the yarn was getting lonely. I was getting lonely. I don't WANT to work on a sweater; I want to make more socks, and I want to make them NOW.

So this morning I got up and ran to the computer. Actually, first I ran to the window, because there's this storm coming, and if it hit early maybe I could stay home today, but no, only a half inch. So then I ran to the computer, and hit UPS, and it says that the yarn is in Secaucus, NJ. This is very, very close to me. Unfortunately it also says this "THE PACKAGE IS DELAYED DUE TO EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL".

Now I know there's a storm coming. I know they keep upping the expected accumulation. I know there is probably some ice already on the roads. I am aware of all of this. But there is no storm outside my window, and there probably won't be until this afternoon. There is no way that weather is causing this delay. So I'm thinking that one of the above theories must be true. And I'm telling you, if my yarn has highway grime on it when I finally get it, I'm going to be PISSED.

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Deep Breath

OK, I've done it. I've started a blog. I've been contemplating it for a long time, but it seemed like such a commitment. Knitting takes up most of my free time anyway. Then I started reading knitblogs. Now writing one... I don't know how (or even if) I'll find the time.

So why am I doing it? It's a last straw sort of thing for me. I love reading knitblogs. I love seeing what people are knitting, I love sympathising with the frustration, I love cheering along when someone learns something new, or accomplishes what seems impossible, or just makes something beautiful. And I don't know many knitters, so there are very few people to sympathise or cheer along with me. I know very few people who can view my knitting with fresh eyes; who can tell me if something is working or not, who can help me step away, take a deep breath, and say "frog it honey, really" or "this is worth showing off".

So this last straw? Today I wore a sweater to work. It was not only a sweater I made, but a sweater I designed. I had an idea, I played with stitch patterns, I swatched, I wrote a pattern, I knit, I adjusted, I knit some more. I finished it, blocked it, and let it sit in a drawer for a couple months. I thought I liked it, but I couldn't tell if it was a good sweater, or if it was just something I was proud of accomplishing. Today I wore it for the first time. Lo and behold, the second person I saw at work said "Hey, that's a great sweater." Gulp. Then another one; "I love your sweater." So I decided; I need to show people my stuff. It's so dumb to spend so much time on something and then let it languish in a drawer. Granted, I have made things that ought never see the light of day. That's fine. But sometimes the process and the product get all tangled up like a bad ball of mohair, and I just can't tell. Do I hate it because it's awful, or because I'm sick of cabling? Do I think it's beautiful because it is, or because I'm just proud to have finished. Hopefully, this is where I'll find out. And if not, at least I'll have taken the time to take a picture and put it out there.

Oh, and I promise this is the last rambling philosophical post for a while. Next time, there will be socks and yarn and other yummy things!