Fraternal

Hand knit socks are one of the little luxuries that non-knitters don’t get to experience (unless they have a knitter who loves them very much.) They are so comfy and warm and can be customized to fit perfectly. Then there’s the endless variety of amazing sock yarns–pretty much any fiber blend and color you can hope for. Here is my latest pair (and by latest, I mean they were finished in October.)

Side note: taking pictures of your own feet takes an inordinate amount of body contortion. These are plain stockinette socks following the Yarn Harlot’s Sock Recipe. As much as I like the look of fancy socks with cables and lace, and as interesting as they can be to make, my favorite socks to wear are the plain knit ones.
These are knit with Patons Kroy Socks FX in the color way Clover Colors. By sock yarn standards this yarn is incredibly cheap (in price) and can be found in most of the big box stores like Michaels and Jo-Anns. It’s a blend of 75% wool 25% nylon so its nice and sturdy. It’s definitely not as buttery soft as the luxury yarns with cashmere, merino, etc. but its definitely fine for wearing on your feet. These feel like they will wear really well and after a full winter of wear I don’t see any signs of weakening in the heels or balls where I tend to wear holes through my socks.
I made no effort to try to make the colors match from one sock to the other. I just started each sock from the beginning of a 50g ball and let the colors line up as they may. With such a long color repeat and slow transition it would have been a real pain and really, I just don’t care that much about having matched up socks. I think the fraternal pair is actually really cute.

Yarn Harlot

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That’s her.  She just wrapped up her book tour and Portland was the last stop.  I went to her 2008 book tour when she stopped in Madison, Wisconsin, and I think if it’s possible, she’s gotten even funnier.

My brother went with me.  I asked him too.  Portland feels pretty darn safe, but the location of the book store isn’t close to the parking structure and there can be some strange people on the Portland streets, especially after dark.  My brother is very big.  People don’t really mess with him.  How big you ask.  This big.

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That’s me, my brother, and the Yarn Harlot.  She is standing on a chair.  Her knees are at the same level as my hips, and yet, Adam is still taller.

Adam even chuckled several times during the talk she gave before signing books.  On the way out of the book store he said the strangest thing to me: “She sounds like you.”  I discovered the Yarn Harlot’s books about the time I started knitting and we seem to share the same sort of… impatient… nature when it comes to doing things the way we want.  Of course, Adam had never heard of the Yarn Harlot until I roped him into being my escort for the evening.  It sort of makes sense that he would attribute all the knitterly attitudes and frustrations to me since I’m the one he hears it from.  Still, I think of Stephanie as someone who has impacted my knitting attitudes greatly and contributed to the way I think about knitting.  I think it reality, I sound like her.  Still, it was a flattering sentiment.

Now off to knit Adam some Zelda inspired tri-force gauntlets, the price of his attendance.

Backpack project

I like to keep a very simple project in my backpack all the time.  That way if I have a weird half hour block of time that’s not really good for working, I can pull it out and get some knitting done.  (Or if I’m really stressed, I can blow off steam knitting in lieu of studying, which strangely enough does reduce the stress.)  These backpack projects take a long time to complete because they only get a little work done on them at a time, they usually only get worked on on school days, and I don’t have spare time every school day.  My last backpack project was Ryan’s blue beanie and it took about a month and a half to finish.  Here is my new backpack project:

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Please ignore the chipped toenail polish, it has not been sandal weather and so I have not been vigilant.  It’s a plain sock in a Yarnia house blend called Boylston.  This is an extremely popular house blend.  It’s one strand of navy bamboo (50%), one strand of navy merino and one strand of bright blue merino (27%), and one strand of gray alpaca (23%).  As you can see it makes a great dark heathered blue and is a color that could totally be used to make man things.  (I usually tag plain socks with the Yarn Harlot’s Sock Recipe pattern, even though I don’t really “follow” it, I just make a sock.  Cast on a number of stitches that seems reasonable, knit some ribbing, knit until I think the leg is long enough, flap heel, gusset, knit until 2″ before toes, shape toes.  Since this is basically what the Yarn Harlot pattern is, I tag it for convenience.)

I have several requirements for backpack projects.
1) It must be small enough to fit in the front pouch of my backpack.
2) It must not require me to look at a pattern, read a chart, or count rows/stitches.
3) It must be a pattern I can knit without looking; this includes garter stitch, stockinette stitch, ribbing,   and things like seed/moss stitch which are basically just ribbing so long as you know where to start.
4) There can’t be any shaping, and I should not have to pay attention to what row I’m on.

Given these criteria some projects can go from being backpack projects to not at various stages.  A project may start out small enough to be a backpack project then grow too big.  Ryan’s blanket was once a backpack project, now it takes up my whole living room floor.  A project may have a pattern or shaping only a certain times.  This project was in my backpack for the whole leg, but had to come out until the heel and gusset were finished because that involved counting rows and paying attention to decrease placement.  Now they’ll stay in the backpack until it’s time to shape the toe.  Do you have a take-everywhere project?

Some Actual Knitting

Alright, so now that you’ve been apprised of my new house and my major yarn-related outing it’s probably about time for me to tell you about so actual knitting that I’ve done. First, though I know it doesn’t look like it, I’ve made some progress on my Op Art blanket.

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The last time I showed this to you there was a giant tail of circular needle sticking out because I was magic-looping it on a 60″ needle. Now the entire needle has stitches around it and it’s not even half the total number of stitches. I’ll probably not show you any more pictures of it until I get it off the needle since it will just look like a bigger and bigger wad of knitting. If you really care a lot you can keep up with the progress on the side bar.

Next are a couple of FOs. The first was actually finished in time for me to wear to sock summit, which was very lucky because they’re probably my “funnest” pair of socks yet.

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They are just a basic sock with a short-row heal. I decided to try the short-row heal because it is supposed to be the best kind of heal for striped yarn because it doesn’t screw-up your stripe length like a heal with a gusset does. I don’t much like it but at least I learned a new skill. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in colorway Coney Island.

Finally, I finished my Ishbel shawl two days ago and it finally finished blocking this morning. It’s made from yarn that someone handspun and sent to me as part of a swap. I managed to make the full large size with the yarn and still have about 15% of the skein left. It’s not made from very soft wool but I can wear it with no problem.

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I never know exactly how to wear shawls but I enjoy making them and they make good gifts so I guess my lack of fashion sense isn’t really a problem. Next post I’ll tell you all about the new house guests.