Category Archives: Knitting

Sock Struggles

If you have followed me for a while, you know that I usually always have a pair of socks on the needles. Socks are a really great travel project for a number of reasons.
1. They’re small. They don’t take up much room in a carry-on, or in the car and they (typically) aren’t heavy.
2. They’re repetitive. Especially if you’re doing a plain stockinette sock, but even if you’re doing a simple pattern, it’s easily memorized and you can see what you need to do next by looking at the work you’ve done before.
3. They impress people. I get compliments every time.
4. They pass the time enjoyably and you get a pair of socks out of it!

My latest pair have been going for a little while. I started them in March, and as usual, they’ve mostly lived in the car. Even on short trips around town, a couple rounds helps get the whole project finished, so it was great when I got to the heels on both socks in time for my latest out-of-town flight.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Durham, North Carolina for a training class. The flight was short, just over an hour, but I always get to the airport in plenty of time to get through security, just in case there’s an issue. This leaves me sitting at the gate for a good amount of time, usually an hour or more. With the waiting time and the flight time, I had a chance to work on the heel of one of them.

Increasing for hte heel gusset in the airport.

Increasing for the heel gusset in the airport.

 

When we landed, I had just finished the first heel. I felt so great! I made a heel, with all the distractions of the airport and the plane, and it looked great!! I was ready to get going on the other heel that night and get me some new socks!

When I got to the hotel that evening, I tried on my new sock. Whoops. It was about an inch too long.

Too long sock

It’s difficult to tell, but this sock is too big. The toe-end of the sock is about a half inch past MY toes.

 

It’s sometimes difficult to tell where to start the heel when you’re doing toe-up socks. There are different techniques for making heels and they are all different lengths, so I’ve learned. The last heel technique I tried started at (what I think is) the navicular bone of the foot. (The little bony knot in front of and below your ankle.) So, I knit the socks, trying them on occasionally, until they fit nicely up to that spot. Then I started increasing for the heel gusset.

I was tempted to just go on, finish the socks and give them to someone with a larger foot than mine. However, these are MY socks. And besides that, the only sock-worthy people in my life who have larger feet than mine are my husband, my brother and my dad. I don’t think any of them would wear socks in these colors.

So, I ripped more than two hours worth of work out. Not only did I have to rip out the heel, but more than half an inch of the instep, too. I felt a little defeated, but a) I want socks that fit me the right way, b) I would get more practice with this heel technique and c) it’s all just knitting, anyway. I knit one heel the next night and in the airport/flight time on the way home, I finished the other.

Heels!

Sock Heels that fit much better.

 

Now, I can continue knitting on up the leg of the sock.

But….

They’re still not quite right. I like my socks to fit tight, especially in the foot. These fit the width of my foot pretty well, but they are still just a little bit too long. Even though the yarn is superwash and won’t felt up to baby sock size, they will still shrink in the wash a tiny bit. I’m just not sure if they will shrink enough. So, these are sitting in time out for a little while while I decide whether to rip back a little further and get even more practice with the heels. If I did rip out, I would take it about a half inch shorter. Tight socks slip down and off the foot faster than looser socks, though, so if I make them too tight, they won’t stay on. I really want these socks to feel fabulous.

It’s a tough decision. I think I’ll let it sit for a little while longer.

 

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WIP udpate

I’ve recently learned that I can knit and read a book at the same time. When hearing this information about me, many people are confused as to how that’s possible. Well, it is possible, as long as what I’m working on is simple. If you’re working some plain stockinette, garter or even a simple ribbing, (such as a simple pair of socks, a hat, or the long slog of a sweater body) it’s not difficult to read, watch tv, or have a conversation while knitting. There’s confirmed research that says as long as what you’re knitting on doesn’t take much concentration, it can help you focus on the other thing that you’re doing – such as reading or even listening to a lecture or a meeting. (There’s a fascinating interview with Art Markman in this episode of the Very Pink Knits podcast.)

Anyway, I’ve been checking out library books and reading and knitting a bunch of stuff.

I’m down to the smocking section on the Anni sweater. I don’t think I’ll be able to read while knitting this section, but reading definitely got me through the last couple of inches of the top part, and it’ll be great for the sleeves, too. I have several more inches to go, but it’s so gratifying to see this progress.

Anni sweater

 

I’ve finished my sockhead hat. The top part of it is 9 inches of plain stockinette. A perfect reading project.

blue sockhead hat

Me in my slouchy, blue sockhead hat!

 

I finished two blocks for the Knitterati afghan, blocks 10 and 11.

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And here’s a look at all my blocks together so far.

Knitterati Afghan Blocks through 11

Block 10 was fun and a new experience. I’ve done color work before, but it’s always been in the round. I’ve never done colorwork flat and I had a really hard time wrapping my head around trying to purl in color work and catch the floats every other stitch. I ended up teaching myself to knit backwards (also known as mirror knitting) so that I didn’t have to purl anything. Yes, I do realize that I taught myself a new skill while trying to avoid learning a new skill, but I am happy with the result!

Block 11 was very quick. I think it took me a little more than a day to complete. That’s a good thing, because I think I’m going to have to reknit it. I used needles that were bigger than what the pattern called for, in order to keep a consistent gauge, but the block is bigger than all the others. The block right above it is smaller than the others, so both may have to be redone.

Blocks 12 and 13 have been released and I really like them. Block 12 uses a technique called entrelac. The block on the pattern photo is all nice and neat and square, but I’m wondering if that’s going to be the case for mine…

Knitterati block 12

Block 13 is another colorwork block. I’m trying to decide which colors to use in mine.

Knitterati Block 13

Since I’ve taken so long to publish this post, Block 14 is out as well.

Knitterati Block 14

I really like this one!

 

I also settled on a pattern for the bonfire socks. I wanted something with a little bit of texture, but not something that would interfere with the lovely colorway. I am doing a simple twisted stitch every three stitches. The second sock will have twists that lean to the left. (See, I’m knitting while reading!)

Bonfire Socks Instep Start

 

I’ve also been working on a CrochetAlong of a doily pattern from Grace Fearon. This doily is named Evelyn and it’s fun! There are lots of new-to-me techniques in this one, and at first they seem a little daunting. (Such as FP-4TC tog and FP-DTR.) But, like with most things, once you learn how it’s done, it really isn’t that difficult, just different. I love all the texture in this one! My finished doily is 16 inches from point to point.

Evelyn Doily

Evelyn Doily

 

Of course there are lots of other things on the needles, as well. There’s a little baby blanket in the works. Jellybean’s morning teacher at daycare is due with a babe in September. His afternoon teacher just had a baby, too. I’m excited for them both. There’s a sweater for a family friend. I’ll share that with you when I get to a point where it looks like something. I went ahead and started another doily. This one is Francisco, another of Grace Fearon’s patterns.

Finally, I don’t know if you remember the Evenstar shawl that I started WAY back in August. I’ve been working on that a little bit lately. I’ve made good progress, but it’s run into a… well, we’ll just call it a snag and that shawl is sitting in time out. That story is for another blog post, though!

Have a great week and keep knitting on!

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Robot Fever

Since we just had a last first birthday, we just had a last first birthday party. Since it is the last one, I wanted to make it good. It wasn’t a big party, just our family and close friends, but of course I had fun with it anyway.

The theme was Robots!

I must say a huge thank you to Pinterest for all  my ideas. I did this party pretty easily and cheaply, and still made it adorable. I recycled a bunch of stuff to made cardboard robots and the supplies I did buy were inexpensive. I got a lot of practice with spray paint and a hot glue gun!

One thing I splurged on, though, was a set of printables from SimoneMadeIt. I felt the price was reasonable, considering the absolutely adorable robots. I didn’t have to design it, I just had to put my text on it and print it out. She has tons of other cute ideas for party printables, too. I will be keeping her website on hand for the future.

robot parade

Robots ready for the invasion!

First, when our guests came in, there was the GreeterBot. He stood next to the front door and showed everyone the way in. He would have been holding balloons, but it was a very windy day and he was quite unstable already. I didn’t want him to fly away!

Our guests were welcomed to wear some robot antennae from the idea below. I hot glued the silver sparkly pipe cleaners to the headbands, and I folded half of them ahead of the party. I invited our guests to fold their own, and some were very creative!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of our guests’ antennae, but they were a hit. Lollypop sure enjoyed wearing them. And a week later, both boys are still playing with the leftovers.

We had a fun banner hanging over the table.

robot birthday banner

Click to see the image larger

Big brother even drew a robot for his little brother to hang with the decorations.

robot party big brother

Big Brother’s Robot. This is SO going into Lollypop’s baby book!

We even had robot themed food. Since it was an afternoon party, we had only light snacks:

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20170508 Robots Cyborg Cakes
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Nuts and Bolts –¬†Homemade Chex Mix
A Robot utensil holder
Anti-Freeze – Juice Boxes
The whole spread
Cyborg Cakes – mini brownies
Microchips – Crackers
Treat Bags for all the guests, which included a kazoo, a glow stick, Robot Energy Cells (Hershey bars) and a lollypop (of course!)

These are not pictured, but we also had Mega Bytes – hummus with pita bread and naan, Robot Oil (for robot adults) – Decaf Coffee, and of course we clearly marked the disposal unit (the trashcan)

Lollypop was spoiled with gifts from all our friends and family. I mentioned to several people who asked for ideas that he had a really pitiful amount of stuffed animals (three, to be exact) compared to his brother who had tons. So among the clothes, books and other toys, he got stuffed animals galore. Mimi got him his first teddy bear, he got a three-toed sloth (Awesome!), a lion, a tiger, and three dinosaurs. Well, and this wouldn’t be a knitting blog if I didn’t tell you about my stuffed gift to him. You guessed it, a stuffed robot!

remy robot

I think I really like making stuffed toys. The pattern is Remy Robot by Rae Blackledge. I used leftover Knit Picks Brava yarn from my stash. He’s cute and was a lot of fun to make, even though I put him together completely different than the pattern specified, and his left foot/leg is on backwards. (I can fix that later.)

We all had a really good time visiting with friends and Lollypop thoroughly enjoyed all the attention.

Our first year with two kiddos is in the books, and I am looking forward to the rest.

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Mini Update

Hello, blog. I miss you and I do love you, I’ve just been very busy the last few weeks and, well, you’ve fallen to the wayside.

I’m back to my routine, now, so I’ll be back next week with an update for you, ok?

Take care and have a great week.

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