Seven years later.

It’s my 7 year blogiversary! Heck yes. I think this blog is getting better with age, or at least it gets increasingly more fun for me to write. How can we not improve at something we routinely practice? I really wish I was celebrating my blogiversary at Rhinebeck, but maybe I’ll get to do that next year. Hope all of you Rhinebeck goers are having a blast!

Here is one of the secret projects: sock trio-2I got to hand over the trio of socks to the parents at their son’s 1st birthday party yesterday. They indulged me and opened the gift before we had to leave.

sock trio

Classy as hell

They’re a colorful sight.

sock trio-3I hope they fit little Charles. I tried to measure his foot against my hand when we were over at their house for a play date last month. These, and a pair for Z have comprised my Socktober work thus far, but the month isn’t over! The pattern is my own: Kiddo Kicks. If you want details about the yarns, check the Ravelry project pages here, here, and here (left to right).

I was really hoping to release the cardigan pattern with my blogiversary, but it’s still in tech editing. I will definitely be done in time for NaKniSweMo and I plan on releasing it with a bit of a discount for the occasion. I’d like to be generous for my blogiversary, so I’ll gift 3 commenters (chosen at random) with one of my patterns of their choice gifted to them on Ravelry or through email. This can include the future men’s cardigan pattern, which I’ll be able to gift as soon as it’s released. I’ll pick the winners on Wednesday by 10 am. Please leave your Ravelry name in the comments, or make sure you use a working email when you leave a comment.

Thanks for reading! I’m so happy I’ve made it seven years so far!

Your purl side is showing

I lost it a little bit on Monday night when I realized that my biggest secret project (Ravelry members only link since the recipient isn’t a Raveler) looked too small. I swatched, and even blocked my swatch, but it was nagging at me. When I measured the center panel it was 9 inches, rather than the 11 the pattern said it should be. There’s no way that was going to block out that much wider without some serious yarn stretching. So…I ripped it all out. I had about 7 inches of the back done. It was painful. Nothing to do but cast on again with bigger needles. Sigh.

Toddler socks? Love them. I forget how quickly they go, and I didn’t have any stitch markers on hand at work on break when I got to the heels. Turns out that paperclips are great substitutes. Heel turns also happen in about 5 seconds on these. This is my pattern, using Madelinetosh sock in Turtle. I could never find the right adult-size stitch count socks to avoid massive pooling in this colorway, but they seem to be working well on the 1-3yr version here. I’m not sure whether I’ll use this yarn all the way up the cuff, or switch to some leftover Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Oliveturtle

I just finished the chapter in Clara Parkes’ book The Yarn Whisperer, called “Public/Private.” I love all of her metaphors for how elements of knitting apply to other parts of life. Her writing is incredibly clever. If you’re considering some non-fiction and you’re a knitter, this book will probably be dear to your heart. I know this is a book I will re-read many times over the years. In this particular chapter, she connects “right side” and “wrong side” of knitting to our public versus private selves. She discusses how we all possibly show much more of our private selves through self-revelation online. One of my favorite lines from this chapter is, “It’s getting hard to tell if we’re viewing someone’s smooth stockinette facade, a genuinely vulnerable bumpy backside, or a new kind of reverse-stockinette-stitch fabric that’s a highly edited, fictionalized version of our true selves.” It’s something to ponder. In most of the blogs I read regularly, the content is mostly about a specific topic: knitting, or food, or sewing, etc. People don’t get hugely personal that often, but there are always touches about their lives. Most balance this very well.

Occasionally I come across posts or reveals in my Facebook feed (much more often there) that are so passive aggressive or painful, seemingly aimed at someone that should just know who they are. I never know exactly how to respond, but I usually just ignore things like this and move on. These things seem to qualify as the “genuinely vulnerable bumpy backside,” but the communication is so indirect I don’t know how it can be effective. Sometimes we come across as completely polished and perfect, showing our reverse-stockinette selves that are highly honed. I think I’m guilty of this at times, not showing knitting until I can get the perfect picture for the blog or having to re-take pics because I don’t like the way I look. I’ve also deleted some old old posts on this blog that I felt were too highly personal (my purl side was definitely showing) or could be frowned upon professionally. Don’t worry, they weren’t knitting-related anyway. In a time when potential employers demand Facebook passwords, what we put online about ourselves deserves scrutiny. It’s hard to find this balance. I have to think about being myself, while also considering how future employers or clients might view me if they stumble across my blog. Our notions of privacy shrink daily as we highly customize our lives, but I’ll never try to go off the grid like Ron Swanson.

Long post! Phew! Last day of my 30% off sock sale using the code SOCKTOBER. Happy Socktober!

Kiddo Kicks!

My fever and ickiness is still creeping away more slowly than I would like, but I couldn’t resist getting these sock pics and the pattern ready to go. toddler socksHere are some of the kiddo socks I’ve been diligently working on for my Socktober project. There is still plenty of time in October, so the sock fun isn’t over, but I thought I’d show what I’ve done so far.

I also wrote up the pattern, since I make almost all of my socks toe up, and there wasn’t a pattern out there that had all of these elements. I put in some step by step pictures for the heel turn and gusset pick ups for working the socks two at a time.  If you’re new to working socks toe up or two at a time, a smaller foot size is a great way to learn. The pattern is called Kiddo Kicks and it’s included in my 30% off sock sale till the 16th. Use the code SOCKTOBER at checkout to apply discount.

toddler socks-2The pair shown above used Shibui Knits Sock in Teal for the foot and Wasabi for the cuff. These are all the 1-3 yr size. They used about 24 grams of fingering weight for the foot, and 13 grams for the cuff. I like to maximize the use of leftover sock yarn, so I thought I should make contrasting feet and cuffs.

toddler socks-3These were my first pair. I ran out of Shibui Knits Sock in Rapids right at the end of the heel flap, before the heel turn, so I switched to some Koigu KPPPM in P312 at that point to finish the sock. I kind of enjoy the oddity of the color change placement anyway.

toddler socks-4The final pair uses Colinette JItterbug in Ochre on the feet, and Jitterbug in Whirly Fig on the cuff. These are leftovers from two of Z’s sweaters from last year. All of these yarns are super soft and snuggly, and relatively easy care. I’ve found with any of my knitted socks that I’m comfortable with a delicate machine wash, but they don’t wear as quickly if I let them air dry. Now Z can have some warm feet for winter!

I have so many leftover sock yarns. I can’t wait to whip up more color combinations. If you want to pick up this pattern, you can . The 30% off sale continues until next Wednesday.

Beginnings have so much potential

toddler socksTeeny bikini? Nope. Sock toes. For Zooey. Last year I made her a tiny pair when she was 6 weeks old, when I first felt the potential chill of autumn. That time has returned. The pair I made her last year slid right off her foot. Now that’s she’s so very close to walking independently, her feet move more like feet do, and maybe these things can stay on this time.

The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug in Ochre, left over from this sweater. I think I will knit in this color until the heel flap is completed, then switch to some Whirly Fig leftovers from Z’s Little Oak sweater. My Socktober is fairly dedicated to toddler socks at this point. This is the start of my third pair since the beginning of the month… They get kind of addictive.

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because my computer is being repaired, and I have no way to process my photos without it, and I dislike relying on phone photos. My computer should be back soon this week and I have updates on Oshima, Z’s Halloween costume, and I’ll show you more sock goodness. My three for-sale sock patterns are still 30% off till the 16th. Use the code SOCKTOBER at checkout to apply the discount.

It’s Monday. Hang in there.

Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, right?

PHEW! I feel like I have undertaken a lot of things lately, and more and more are coming my way. First up, let’s look at a finished pic of the Little Fox hoodie:little fox

I gave it to the recipient, but didn’t get to take a picture of him wearing it. His parents loved it. He’s 2, and promptly set it aside, just as I expected. I made so many mods to this pattern, it’s practically not the same pattern. I did it in the round on the body to the armholes, worked the sleeves from the top down in the round using short rows, modified the size of the pocket slightly, and made the ears 2 rows shorter to look more like a fox. I did not stripe it. Pre-ears, this thing was just a hoodie. With ears, the cuteness of it is multiplied by at least 1,000.little fox-2

When I gave it to Moses his mom said, “How appropriate. A fox just killed one of our chickens.” Yikes. No one was actually offended and we laughed it off. I think it might become one of his Halloween costumes, which is pretty cool. A toddler chicken killer.

I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash in Persimmon heather and Oyster Heather. This was the first time I’ve tried the yarn. I’m not a huge fan after using it. I kept avoiding the project because it wasn’t as soft as I expected. I think for worsted weight kiddo knits, I’m probably going to stick with Cascade 220 superwash from now on. It feels much softer.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. Remember how I’m casting on ALL OF THE THINGS? Well, those things are the for me or Zooey and they are for-fun things that are public. One thing that I haven’t blogged about yet is her Halloween costume. I’m making a lion hoodie, improvising as I go. It has a definite deadline of at least the 26th to attend a birthday costume party.

There are a few secret projects that I can’t really talk about (which always kills me), plus Socktober starts TODAY. I had planned on getting my Girl with the Purled Toes pattern out and ready for October. It’s written, but I haven’t finished the knitting, so I don’t have photos for the pattern! EEEEK! It might be a couple of days later into the month, but I’ll put it on sale to make up for my Socktober tardiness. October sneaks up on me every year! What am I going to knit for Socktober?! I’ll have to think about it.

Dapper Man is off to testers and the tech editor, so that should be released mid-month! It’s a big relief to have finished that sent that off to those folks. It was weighing heavily on my mind as a big, fat WIP.

I need to just take a few breaths, and maybe knit a few stitches. It’s going to be ok. Now, don’t anybody mention holiday knitting and I’ll be fine.

Socktober 2012 is finished!

My Socktober project is finished! I made Tern socks by Pam Allen. I changed the heel and did not increase to do an additional repeat on the sides of the socks, but I’m just going to be cool with that now. Knitting challenge deadlines are deadlines.

I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in mediumweight. I love how it feels, but I think I might try the lightweight sock yarn next time. These are sure to be nice and cozy for the recipient nevertheless.

Up next…the mermaid tail and Zooey’s three month birthday!

Oh, right. I’m supposed to be knitting socks this month!

I know it’s Socktober and all, and I should be knitting on these since they have somewhat of a deadline. I can’t stop working on this Tiny Rocky Coast for Zooey though! It’s balmy and pretty warm here today, but the weather changes back and forth quickly here, so she could potentially wear it any day now!

I think I’m going to get super dorky and knit myself a matching Rocky Coast, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttt…I really don’t like worsted weight sweaters that much. Arkansas has pretty mild winters, and I think I’d get much more wear out of something sock weight. I’m knitting the Tern socks out of Blue Moon Fiber Socks That Rock mediumweight. It’s a pretty hefty sock yarn. It’s even a bit thicker than Jitterbug or Koigu, two of the thickest ones I’ve used. My plan is to get some gorgeous color from their Shaded Solids or Watercolor Wave colorways and maybe go up a needle size and/or add a repeat to the largest size in the kid pattern. It’s a 34 3/4″ chest on the largest kid size, so that’s not too much of a stretch to get to the 36″ size I would make in the adult version. I’m already using a smaller needle to get gauge on Z’s version, so a slightly thicker yarn and the needle recommended by the pattern should do it! I think the hardest part of this venture is picking out a color.

I am also enjoying the Terns. I haven’t knit on them since I got past the heel and decided that a baby sweater was much more thrilling for the moment. It’s the 23rd. I still have a whole week at least! I’m going to aim for finishing by Sunday morning so I can have them modeled by someone with the right foot size, since these are not for me.

I did alter the heel, because I can’t stand not doing a heel flap and I hate short row heels. These look so much better stretched out, so I’m going to recommit myself and get these done for a modeled shot.

Don’t forget, if you feel like purchasing one of my patterns, they’re all on sale for the blogiversary until Halloween!