Wow, it's been a long time since I have written anything. So what have I been up to? Well, it has been a difficult summer. By best friend, Martha, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer at the beginning of the year and tried her best to fight it. But things took a turn for the worse by summer and she passed in August. So I've been spending my time trying to deal with this loss.
This has, oddly, come with a burst of creativity. Or maybe not oddly - after all, what better way to distract yourself then by making things. One of my knitting machines had been sitting out gathering dust for months, and shortly before Martha's passing I accidentally realized that my machine does double knitting. I wanted to try it, but it looked really complicated. Then once Martha was gone I realized that double knitting would be a great way to put her simple doodles into knitting. Here is the result:
Her favorite color was green, and I just happened to have some lovely alpaca/silk yarn in green and white to use. Her husband has it draped around her urn and pictures on his mantle. I think of it as a sanity piece - focusing on the struggle of learning a new technique (and having to repair my machine a bit to get it to work) helped distract and keep me going through those first few weeks.
Now that my machine is back up and running I've been playing with other things. Like making Halloween stockings - because why should Christmas get all of the fun? Besides, the Great Pumpkin needs a place to leave treats for all of the sincere boys and girls. And because I already have a Halloween stocking I'm selling my new ones on shophandmade.com.
This, of course, is why I now have a Shop page here. You can click on the pictures to go directly to my shophandmade.com store.
I've also been playing with Spoonflower, but nothing for sale yet...I'll talk more about my adventures there when I have a little better idea just what I'm doing. In the meantime, I'm having way to much fun seeing what my doodles would look like on fabric.
Until next time!
I don't know where Salem the demon cat is so I'm going to take this opportunity to write up some notes about the socks I just finished. Since this is a new blog and I'm basically talking to no one, this is more notes to myself - but maybe some day someone else in cyberspace will see it!
Anyway, here's the issue: I have a severe case of second-sockitis. Historically, even if I did make a second sock it was usually so much later that either I forgot the pattern or my gauge changed so much they didn't match at all. I'm not talking about the slight gauge difference like I noted earlier - I'm talking about socks that were an inch or two different in length! Not good. For years I just assumed I would never be a sock knitter, but then I started feeling left out. Anyone remember Sock Summit in Portland? I dared to go once and fell in love with the socks. (Alas, that turned out to be the last Sock Summit.)
So, to solve my problem I decided I had to knit both socks at the same time. Not on the same needles - that just created a tangled up mess. No, I knit both socks at the same time on two sets of needles, magic loop style. I have matched sets of my favorite sock size needles and knit a few rows of Sock A, then a few of Sock B until I have a complete pair. This leaves me with two reasonably matching socks completed at roughly the same time. Cool.
But for some odd reason, when I made the last two pairs I did them one at a time. This was largely due to laziness since I would need to wind the single ball of yarn into two balls, which would require figuring out where I left my ball winder. So I dared to try one at a time and tempt fate. But I am also no good at taking notes or counting rows so I needed a way to easily make the socks the same length. Solution - knit a code into the first sock that I could follow to make the second one.
You can't see it well in the pictures I posted earlier, but the first set has a bit of a zigzag of purl bumps in it. What I did was purl one stitch per row in an otherwise stockinette stitch sock, moving the stitch over one each row. This way, when I knit the second sock I knew to start the heel when the zigzag was in the same place where it was in the first sock. No counting, no notes. I changed the zigzag a little in the leg just for fun and again used it as a guide to know when to start the ribbing. That left me just needing to know how many rows were in the ribbing, but counting 10 or 12 rows is easier than counting 76 or whatever.
Since I don't like knitting the same thing twice (thus the second-sockitis) I decided to do something different in the second pair. I opted for a ribbing pattern that I made up as I went. Every two rows and/or two stitches something changed from knit to purl. It's not terribly visible in the socks, except where it switches from horizontal to vertical ribbing, but it served the same purpose in the construction.
Now I'm going to have to figure out other ways to code my socks. Or just go back to the safety of knitting them both at the same time!
I managed to complete my latest pair of socks last night, no thanks to the four footed ones who thought I should be doing something else. Here they are:
The black floof is Salem, demon cat. I'm trying to type with one hand now thanks to him. He doesn't need socks.
You may notice the side effect of knitting these months apart - the tension isn't the same. The first one, on the right, was started when I was visiting my family and the narrower stripes show it was knit tighter in the foot. (These are toe up.) Then I did the leg in the comfort of my own home and the tension loosened up. Yes, that says something about my family...
Then I started the second one while relaxed and wanting to finish. Roughly about the heel I realized they didn't match so I tightened up. The stripes and swirls tell a story, don't they?
Since I'm showing off socks I thought I'd show the pair I finished on that family visit. They have been sitting here since February waiting for me to weave in the ends. I've been known to leave socks waiting for a year or so waiting for the ends to be tucked in. I think I'm going to start a new fashion of socks with tails hanging out.
I have more of a story to tell about these socks, but Salem has other ideas so that will have to wait.
Well, hello world! Welcome to my first blog. What am I doing here? I don't really know yet. Probably babble on about knitting, mostly. But I've hardly met a craft involving yarn or fabric that I haven't tried. In fact, I have so many hobbies I have to cycle through them. Sometimes with a very long cycle - after decades I recently starting crochet and needlepoint again. Guess my hands need a break from knitting every once and a while.
So what am I working on now? Do you mean actively working on or have unfinished somewhere in the house? 'Cause if I gave a complete list of UFO's I'd be here all night listing them...
OK - let's just stick with current projects: