November 30, 2007

Speaking of DPNs

I need new ones because I split the effing tip off one Lantern Moon DPN and another tip is starting to chip off.

Has this happened to anyone else? I’ve never split a tip on any other kind of wood or bamboo needles. Nor have I been particularly abusive of this set. It’s gotta be the needles, right?

I really love the look and feel of the Lantern Moon needles (rich red/brown wood, the perfect grip/slip ratio, decent points), but they’re ridiculously expensive if you can only knit three pairs of socks before the needles disintegrate.

Any recommendations for a less expensive, but still smooth and decently-pointy replacement? I find Clover bamboos just aren’t pointy enough for lace knitting. And my vise-like knitting grip means metal needles hurt my hands.

What do you like to use??

Reports of my death, etc.

Crap, where did the last two weeks go??

I wish I could say I’d been writing this whole time, but really I’ve just been busy with school (final presentation done, final paper will be finished this weekend), and work (where every single project I’ve been working on for months collapsed in a smoking ruin at my feet), and (happily) knitting.

Let’s focus on the knitting, shall we?

First, I finished the second Fancy Silk Sock over Thanksgiving and I love it very much.


Pattern: Fancy Silk Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks
Needles: Mostly Lantern Moon rosewood DPNs, size 2
Yarn: Regia Silk, two balls with quite a bit left over
Mods: I added four heel stitches to make up for my very tight stockinette knitting

Thoughts: a number of people mentioned that Vintage Socks patterns look much better on the foot than they do in the book. And I have to agree - look how much prettier the socks are when worn.


Also, the lace pattern was just enough to keep things interesting – it’s a 12 row pattern repeat, but it’s really just three repeats of the same four rows, with one extra special fun row thrown in. Oh Row 9, how I enjoyed you each time!

As for my other fixation, the Irish Hiking Scarf proceeds. The cable row is just as thrilling as it was when I first started, but the joy of knitting a five foot long ribbed project is waning a bit. Stupid ribbing. It looks exactly the same as it did in the last picture, just eight inches longer.

So here, look at some new yarn instead.




Knitpicks Gloss in Burgundy, Risata in Cocoa, and Gloss again in Woodland Sage. Here in The Land of Failed Yarn Diets, this is just an appetizer for tomorrow’s yarn binge.

Kelley promised herself a WEBS trip when she finished her baby sweater. See, finished! And so damn cute!

That kind of knitting certainly deserves a reward. Aaaaand, I have a Webs gift certificate and all...

So my plan is to fondle, though not necessarily purchase, the following at Webs tomorrow:

1. Shibui and Trekking Pro Natura sock yarn
2. Berrocco Peruvia (mostly because I have a truly shameful amount of Berrocco Ultra Alpaca already, and this yarn comes in similarly gorgeous heathered shades but has none of the “Crazy Alpaca Lady” baggage)
3. New DPNs
4. Misc. small knitty gifts for friends
5. Pinkish yarn to make this – sorry non-Ravelers, this is double secret gift knitting
6. Very Bad Lady Kristy also mentioned that Queensland Kathmandu tweed is on sale, and I will do my level best to resist its tweedy delights, but I am not optimistic.

November 18, 2007

Don't let that get in your way

When other people talk about being bad knitters, I try to reassure them that knitting takes practice. And no one is judging their mistakes.

For example, last week one of my classmates mentioned that she never felt comfortable going to a SNB because she didn’t think she was “good enough at knitting.” I assured her that SNBs were open to all skill levels and that the other knitters would welcome her enthusiastically. We’ve all been beginners at some point.

Then the next day, the woman sitting next to me on the train mentioned that she learned to knit last year. But she said she doesn’t do it much because she’s “horrible at it.” I laughed and said “you just can’t let that get in the way.”

What I should have said is that everyone is horrible at first, and it gets much easier the more you do it. And that the great thing about knitting is that it really doesn’t matter if you suck. The important thing is that you enjoy doing it.

That’s what I say to other people. And I believe it when I say it.

But in my own life, I strenuously avoid things I’m not good at, and I have a near-pathological terror of making mistakes (though not so much with the knitting, thankfully, given my mistake-to-success ratio).

I seem to think I should already be good at everything, even things that take practice. When I struggle or make mistakes, I feel stupid and slow, and I berate myself for it. Like if I were just a better/more focused/smarter/dedicated person I could magically develop skills out of the ether.

This often keeps me from trying new things, taking risks or making commitments. The prime example? I want to write. And I’m not giving myself time or permission to write because I’m desperately afraid I’ll suck at it.

No more. Because maybe I don’t have to be good at it right away, and maybe my writing doesn’t have to be perfect. I just need to do it.

Because it’s important to me. And because doing it - even badly – would be better than not doing it at all.

Much like knitting.

(Please note, I’m not implying that blogging isn’t writing or that it’s less valuable or less demanding than other kinds of writing. I'm talking about writing fiction).

November 13, 2007

Easy entertainment

I know I’ve been rhapsodizing over the lace sock knitting recently, but I’ve got something else on my mind and on my needles too…


Cables. Twisty, easy to knit, yet complicated-looking cables.


This Irish Hiking Scarf pattern is pretty much mindless except for the cable row, and yet it’s such a thrill every single time the stitches CROSS OVER EACH OTHER.

I know I’m easily amused, but does anyone else get such a big kick out of basic cables? Like turning a heel – it’s a series of simple steps, but I feel like a genius every time.

While I usually thoroughly enjoy knitting, the Fancy Silk Sock and this scarf are something special. Even when I’m not actively knitting them, I feel happier knowing that I will be knitting them sometime soon. They’re both such good knits, in such beautiful yarns, that I’m smiling right now, just thinking about them. Now that’s some powerfully enjoyable knitting there.

My poor stockinette sock in Austermann step just can’t compete. Though I’m considering ripping out the heel and turning the sock into a legwarmer, for a little variety. I think the promise of blue-striped legwarmers might get this back into the queue.

And since I’m in the middle of so many projects, now seems like The Perfect Time to start another project. [In my defense, I wasn’t actively looking for another sock pattern, but a knitterly coworker sent me a link to the Forest Canopy Shawl and I happened to notice an intriguing sock pattern in the sidebar.]

Check out the Lombard Street socks.

Do you see what I see?

Lace AND cables, baby. Sah-weet!

November 12, 2007

Día de los calcetines

The sock love continues. The entirely awesome Olga sent me the most wonderful package last week.

There was chocolate with chipotle chili (I'm pretty sure smoky, spicy and chocolaty might be some previously undiscovered holy trinity), and knitty notecards, and stitch markers...


Did you see!?!? Skull stitch markers!! How have I been knitting this long without skull stitch markers? Every time I get to the end of the round I actually go "Woo-hoo!" Sometimes out loud.

There were other Dia de los Muertos and Mexican-inspired goodies too, which were particularly well-chosen because I grew up in Tucson, and they remind me of home.

I also have a fair-size collection of these goodies of my own. So Olga, this is Frida's new spot on my bookcase. I like to think she'll feel right at home.


But most importantly, there was this sock. The Fancy Silk Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks, to be exact.


And oh, this sock.... Not only does it fit perfectly, but the yarn (Regia Silk) is the softest and most delicious yarn imaginable.


Don't you just love the fancy cuff? And everything else about the pattern?

The best part? I have a whole other skein of Regia Silk to play with because I'll be knitting the second sock for myself.

The pattern and yarn are so thoroughly enjoyable, I think this bad boy will fly off the needles.

Thank you, Olga!

November 10, 2007


I know it's November and all, but really every month is sock month 'round these parts. And I did squeeze in a fair amount of sock knitting while working on my October goals.

As for the other October goals, let's just say my results were "mixed."

1. Finish September socks - DONE

2. Start toe-up socks.

I tried. I really, really tried. I followed the highly recommended toe-up sock with short-row toe and heel pattern from Knitty. And I Just. Didn’t. Get. It. Then I tried the Interweave toe-up sock tutorial, which also resulted in a rather impressive series of failures, much cursing, and (possibly) flinging of yarn around the room.

This flirtation with toe-up socks also required an uncomfortable foray into crocheting that I do not care to repeat, though I felt pretty bad-ass when I managed to do a provisional cast-on without growing another hand (which I was sure was required to manage crochet hook and knitting needle simultaneously).

So I knit Queen of Cups instead. Which was by far the most complicated sock I’ve ever attempted, so I’m damn proud of myself anyway.

3. Finish Wicked. – Let us never speak of it again.

4. Swatch for Tangled Yoke - Turns out my passion for this pattern is actually almost completely offset by my loathing of swatching. So no swatching yet. But soon.

5. Starting another basic stockinette sock is permissible, but not required.


I did start another basic sock in Austermann Step. The Daft Crafter has an impressive tribute to the joys of this yarn, in verse, that you might want to check out.

Those of you on yarn diet watch (and Jess, I mean you) may wonder how I got this yarn. I used the “specific knitted gifts” loophole to buy it for my friend Kelley’s first sock knitting attempt. But she didn’t love the colorway, so we found her something prettier. And, um, Windsor Button’s really far away? And I haven’t gotten around to returning it yet? And I don’t have any blue socks? And I COULDN’T POSSIBLY PART WITH IT.

And speaking of the yarn diet, I also bought this:


In fact, I specifically, knowingly and gleefully broke my yarn diet for this yarn because it’s the most beautiful sock yarn I have ever seen. And really, who can resist a yarn called “Fetish Superwash,” in the “Nymph” colorway? I feel like a naughty little minx every time I look at it. Which is often.

Plus, it knits up like this. That Valerie is a tricksy one with her pretty, pretty yarns. And she has many more delights available in her store. Also, she’s very nice and you should buy lots of things from her.

I haven’t decided what to knit with it yet, because this yarn deserves something very, very special. I’m thinking something in a lacy sock.

Because all I want to do all the time is knit lacy socks.

November 8, 2007

In my cups

First, thank you for all the sympathy, humor and boobie jokes. You all are awfully nice. And it honestly takes a lot of the sting out of doing something that spectacularly stupid if I can make other people laugh. So thank you!

And no, I have not frogged the rest of Wicked, nor have I restarted it. It’s actually wadded up in a bag next to my couch, where I can cast disparaging glances at it as I walk by. I like to think it feels my disapproval through the plastic bag and will behave itself better next time, whenever next time may be. Though I may need to step up from "disparaging glances" to "carefully aimed swift kicks" to get my point across.

And, though sorely tempted, I have not in fact been drinking this whole time.

I’ve actually been knitting.

Fittingly enough, I recently finished a Queen of Cups sock.

I thought this lace pattern was really interesting and different. Not floral or leafy or geometric. More like, well, wine glasses. And I do love me some wine. Plus, I worried that something more floral would look like tarty black panty lace. Which is fine for panties, don't get me wrong, but not so good for socks.

I realize that this sock’s complexity and loveliness is in no way represented by these ass-tastic pictures. But black yarn doesn’t photograph well, especially at the tail end of a gloomy November day.

You won’t be seeing better shots from me though, because this sock has been sent to a fellow knitter (the talented and funny, if awfully fond of dark yarn, Specs) who will knit its mate.

I'm just thrilled that she liked it and hope she has as much fun knitting it as I did! 'Cause I actually didn't mind knitting a black sock one bit.

The only problem is that TB saw me working on it and is now agitating for black socks of his own!