Honest, opinioniated, or rude depending on how you look at it.

Archive for August 2008

5 Commandments of Sock Knitting

leave a comment »

Yeah yeah, I know I make too many lists. But its fun, so if they bore you, you’re reading the wrong blog!

5 Commandments of Sock Knitting

1. Do not select a complicated or lacy pattern for your first socks. It just gives you a headache on top of all the other techniques that you have to learn for socks.

2. Do not select an extremely stringy yarn for your first pair of socks. Learning the sock techniques isn’t difficult, but it does take time. It’ll just make the whole project seem harder than it really is if you have a ridiculously small gauge. Had I known this, I would have made Worsted Weight socks for my first go for more instant gratification!

3. Do not use a combination of lacey sock pattern and brightly variagated yarn. You’ll end up losing your pattern in the rainbow of colors. Solid colors work better for lacy and cabled patterns. Variegated colors work better in simple stocking socks.

4. Do not expect to finish a pair of socks quickly, just because they are a small item. You are basically knitting with toothpicks, and the gauge takes time no matter how fast a knitter you are. When you throw in using the magic loop method or dpns for the first time, you are going to end up reknitting many parts over and over again until you get it right. Let’s not even talk about Second Sock Syndrome.

5. Do not attempt to knit socks without moral support from knitters and non-knitters alike. Friendly knitters should be consulted frequently for advice and problem-solving. Friendly non-knitters should bring you beer and chocolate whenever you throw your sock across the room in disgust. In fact, let’s just make an addendum of “Thou shalt not knit socks unless you hit a two beer minimum.”

That being said….I broke each and every one of those rules, and it shows. It took me 8 months to finish these damn socks, and they are definitely not my favorite FO to date. I ended up hating the yarn texture/weight, even though the colors were what drew me to them. And I now know that my gauge was horribly, HORRIBLY off. So please, gentle readers, learn from my mistakes.

Widdershins Socks
Yarn: South West Trading Company TOFUtsies
Needles: US 1 circular

Notes: I actually did these both at the same time on one circular. I didn’t enjoy working with this yarn, and I think that made the project more tedious. Its a beautiful yarn, but really really thin and stringy. I wish I had used sharper pointed needles than my addis.

The finished sock was much warmer than I anticipated, but less stretchy as well. I added a band of elastic in the cuffs, and made it an ankle sock since I got bored with making them. They do wash up really well and I even tossed them in the dryer with no problem. Unfortunately they are a bit loose, but not bad for a first-time attempt.

I am now attempting my second pair of socks, and am much much happier with the results so far. Using the right yarn for the right project makes all the difference in the world. This is going so fast, that I anticipate being done with them by the end of the weekend at latest.

Please note that I have not yet fulfilled the addendum. Hence, I shall strive to find a second beer posthaste.

I also stopped by “Once Upon a Child” today, and found the most adorable swing. $40 for a hardly-used swing that retails at $100. The complimentary baby ain’t bad either.


Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

August 28, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Last-Minute Reprieve

with one comment

Yes, I actually come bearing a knitted item and yarn pr0n. Proof that I do still knit, and occasionally finish things.

First, the finished thingy.

Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK in Aqua and Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby 4 Ply
Needles: US 5 circular

Notes: I was very determined to use up my stash yarn for this project, so it made gauge a bit tricky. I also think that baby patterns aren’t the most accurate for sizing. I ended up double-stranding the Dream Baby, and using one strand of the Debbie Bliss in alternating rows.

I’m no expert (and this was the third baby sweater that I’ve made) but I found the instructions for attaching the arms pretty confusing. Now that I’ve done it once, I’m sure it’d be easier a second time around. I think the stripes make it more interesting, but it would be a lot less work making it in one color with alternating cuffs and collars. It’s a pain in the butt to line up the stripes of the arms and the body.

I’m happy with how it looks, but a few of the finishing details look sloppy no matter how much I mess with them. The right arm ended up with a small blip of stripe that doesn’t match up to the body of the sweater. And when I sewed the bottom edge of the placket to the body, it pulls at the other stitches causing a bit of a warp. They aren’t terribly obvious though, and I guess that’s how you know it’s hand-made!

And finally, my older son and I stopped in at Knit’N From the Heart on our “Super Special Top-Secret Fun Mommy and Aidan Day”. Its just a coincidence that it was two shops down from where we had lunch. Really, it was. He surprised me and asked a thousand different questions when we got inside, and was fascinated by the antique spinning wheel on display. When I showed him the sock yarn, he asked me to make him some toasty socks for his tootsies this winter, and I let him pick out the yarn.

This is only the second pair of socks that I’ve ever made, but I already like the yarn a ton more than the Tofutsies I used on my last pair. It feels like actual yarn instead of string. I bought two skeins because I have no idea how much yarn a pair of child’s socks will take. I figure if I have any left over, I can make baby socks or booties for Jamie.

I was thinking I’d just try to master a simple stocking this time around instead of a fancy pattern. It’d just get lost in those lovely colors anyways. I’m going to try out Evelyn Skae’s Most Basic Kids Sock, and see how it goes.

Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

August 27, 2008 at 1:41 am

Posted in Finished Projects

Woe is me

leave a comment »

Excuse me while I have my own private little tongue-in-cheek pity party. The summer is becoming a blur, and I feel like I can’t fit everything in.

5 Reasons I am not posting all the cool stuff I’ve finished/working on:

1. My poor boobs are decimated from nursing a squawking (but cute) piglet of a child. And everyone knows that you knit with your breasts. Duh.

Mommy says Im just big-boned.

"Mommy says I'm just big-boned."

2. The sleep deprivation from having a 6 week-old has gotten to the point where I’m not really sure if I’m awake or asleep. I’m not even sure if I’m really posting this right now.

3. The cats have revolted because the new baby is getting more snuggle time than they are, and have taken my laptop hostage.

Pet me or suffer the consequences!

"Pet me or suffer the consequences!"

4. My husband politely reminded me that it’s been quite a while (wink wink, nudge nudge), and promptly locked me in the bedroom with a gleam in his eye.

5. The camera is chock-full of “baby’s first…” pictures, and the memory card can’t hold another pixel. All I’m saying is if you hear rumors of “Baby’s First Stink Eye” pictures, I plead the fifth.

* * * *

But seriously, my maternity leave is winding down pretty quickly, and I’ll be going back to work in a couple weeks. I’m trying to squeeze as much quality family time in as I can before school/work start up again. We spent last week in Milwaukee visiting my parents and it was nice to see everyone and have so much help with the kids. Plus it’s always so much fun seeing my parents enjoy their grandkids.

I’m so proud of how Aidan has adjusted to being a big brother. He’s been nothing but happy and helpful since we came home from the hospital. He’s always offering to help, and asking questions about how babies learn things. Everyone kept saying how he’d have such a hard time adjusting, and I really resented the implication. He’s such a sweet-natured boy, and nearly 8. Sibling rivalry doesn’t really sting as much with that sort of age difference, in my opinion. Plus, we make a big effort to give him lots of one-on-one time with each of us. I’m really lucky to have such a great little boy! Sniffle sniffle…

Tomorrow Aidan and I are having a “Super Special Top-Secret Fun Mommy and Aidan Day”. We’re going to go to the zoo, the playground, school shopping, and have lunch together while Andy and Jamie snore away the day at home. I may even get some time to knit at the playground! Joy!

I’m currently working on the February Lady Sweater, and was sooo close to starting the lace pattern…when I realized that I screwed up my number of stitches at some point. I held it up to me, and it didn’t look like it was going to be roomy enough, so I ripped out the whole thing and started over.

Luckily I didn’t have any trouble staying at the correct gauge, which is rare for me. I tend to knit a bit loosely, but I’m getting better at adjusting my tension. This is my first knit sweater (baby sweaters don’t count!), so I’m using an acrylic so that I don’t spend a fortune on something I probably won’t master the first time around. I’m learning more and more as I go though, and I’m glad that I knit the baby sweaters that I did, first. They taught me all sorts of things that apply to an adult-sized sweater, but with less work involved. If I’m lucky, I may finish redoing the yoke again tomorrow.

Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

August 25, 2008 at 2:27 am