Thursday, April 17, 2008

The World's Ugliest Socks

Bar None. And just in case you aren't convinced:

Project: My First Toe Ups by Ann Budd, from the Summer 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Socks that Rock, Medium Weight, Christmas Rocks colorway
Needles: Size 2 1/2

And despite what my husband says, they do not glow in the dark. Really.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Finishing it all up

I've read on some other blogs about other knitters making the push to finish up some projects--like this Seaman's Cap for the Christmas at Sea program. I can understand this urge to finish. As spring hits (like it did today in Seattle in a big way) I just don't have the desire to dive into something huge, but I do feel a sort of guilt for all my abandoned projects that have fallen to the wayside because I've developed a crush on something thing to knit.

But happily most UFOs are forgiving, as long as you can remember where you were in a stitch pattern, what needles you were using (I am notorious for pulling needles from projects for something more important but not making a note about what needles I just yanked free) or where you put the rest of the yarn. On the needle front, I've gotten good about tying "needle knots" in the tail of the cast on. 8 knots for a size eight needle and so on. Haven't quite figured out what do about 1/2 sizes, but for the better part of valor a safety pin and a post-it might be a good idea.
Here's an UFO that I've sitting neglected in the knitting basket since Christmas. This is my first pair of toe up socks, using the Interweave Knits (Summer 2007) article by Ann Budd. I had bought this skein of Socks that Rock (I believe the colorway is "Christmas Rocks") in November thinking it would be cool to wear Christmas socks for the holidays. Now I never specified which holiday and it looks like they will be adorning my feet just in time for May Day. Besides, there is too much yellow in this skein for Christmas. Now the colorway has done nothing but pool, they are ugly as sin, but I am determined to finish them because when I put the one completed one on, my toes nearly died and went to heaven.

Their other benefit is that they have taught me a couple of new techniques: A Turkish cast on, short row heels, and toe up simplicity. But here was the rub, I did all that several months ago, and had stopped knitting Sock 2 just before the second heel. And what a heel it turned out to be. After my third rip out, a few tears and the husband's requisite comment: "But I thought you knit to relax . . . ", they very nearly ended their life on the needles.

But like most things that baffle me at 10:00 at night, come the next afternoon, a good latte in front of me and a quiet hour at the kitchen table, I muddle my way through it . And that is what I love about knitting. That no matter how difficult a pattern or a technique looks, if you just sit down and do it one stitch at a time, and don't look ahead and don't let yourself get flustered by reading directions ahead that appear to have been written in some ancient, forgotten tongue, you can do it.

Now where did I put that yarn for those Monkey socks.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Slammed with Busy-ness

And not enough knitting. I just finished another book, my 14th I think, and with it came just way too much time in front of the computer and not enough knitting. I did take a few hours on my recent trip to Minneapolis to finish A Better Bucket Hat (modeled here by Matthew, because he wasn't opposed to putting on Mom's hat for a pic) and then knit up another Two Hour Handbag, from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders.

Note on the Bucket, I made the hat a lot shorter than the pattern called for, about 2 inches shorter. I ripped it out like three times trying to get it to the right depth, but now it is perfect and it worked great at keeping both the Minneapolis chill and the return to snow here in Seattle hardly noticeable.

I do love a good simple knitting project when I travel. Okay, I love traveling. Can't say the same thing for all the craziness that comes with being a Mom-about-to-abandon-her-helpless-family and having to leave clueless Dad in charge. Oh, he can cook and clean and feed them and get them to bed. It's all the running around with the kids that just puts him over the edge. (Try it the other 360 days, buddy) So to save some angst and household peace, I foisted off one kid on my mother and left the DH with the little man. But still, I had to leave the detailed instructions for the school pick ups, drop offs, lunch menu essentials and backpack essentials. Men just don't speak the language, you know?

So nothing made me happier than breezing through the airport solo and then flopping into my seat with nothing to do but turn on The Tudors on the iPod, and knit away, knowing that no one is going to interrupt you with "Mom! When is Dinner!" or "Mom! Matthew is __________(insert some sort of disaster here and do be creative, because I doubt you can come up with anything Matthew hasn't done.) A couple hours of knitting and watching Henry VIIIth cavort can cure all kinds of ails. Oh, yeah. Mom Heaven. Can I book a seat on this flight every week?

But I've gotten done with this book feeling creatively drained (dark angsty heroes always do that to me) and I just can't get my knitting cojones together to cast on a sweater or some other really challenging project-- something lacy like this or this. So I've come home and settled into easy knitting, one Axel Mitt done, (apologies for the horrid pic) and the other on the needles (note to self: need more Malbrigo--isn't that just a crying shame.) and another Seaman's Cap for Christmas in Winter.

I'm ready for spring and some gardening and some outside time, and nothing more challenging than a dishcloth or two. Which I just happen to have an unfinished one laying around, as well as a skein or so that need to get out of the stash and have a life.

What have you got lying around that you pick up when you just can get that swatching vibe going?