knitting disaster

I swear that socks just must really be out to get me.  I ended up casting on for my husband’s socks 4 times before I finally managed to make him a pair of socks!  They are finally finished. Here is a sneak peek. I am going to block them and make them look pretty and then do a big post.  I actually considered ripping the first one (left) out because I liked the striping on the second sock (right) so much better, but I am afraid of what will happen  if I have to cast that first sock on again!

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Last night, I decided to cast on a pair of socks for myself. I am making the Hermione’s Everyday Socks in Malabrigo Sock. I have had the yarn in my stash since early 2009.  I bought it at Hanks (which is now closed).  I did my cast on, joined in the round, and started my first row.  I got half way through when I noticed it…

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Do you see it? When I joined in the round, I was super careful not to twist my round. I did not pay attention to where my yarn was. It is on the inside instead of the outside.  It kept tangling on my needles.  So, I decided I would tink back. In trying to tink back, I managed to lose a stitch.  So, I ripped it all out. I am going to cast on again tonight.  I think it is just that I should expect that my first cast on is just for practice!

I do have to say that I really love this yarn. It is so soft.  I am not sure how well this yarn will wear, but it is a dream to work with (even when I have to rip it all out and start again).


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I am currently knitting socks for my husband’s birthday.  They are the Time Traveler pattern with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the old Franklin’s Panopticon colorway.  I feel like this yarn may not want to be socks for my husband.

Way back in early 2009, I bought this yarn at Hank’s (my LYS that no longer exists). Lorna’s Laces was doing limited edition colorways to honor various knit bloggers.  One of the ones they chose was Franklin Habit’s Panopticon blog (if you don’t follow him, you should).  I had knit my DH a pair of socks before. It is a complete labor of love as his feet are huge!  I decided maybe it would be easier with a snazzy colorway like this.  He approved of the color, so I started knitting the MonkeyMen pattern. It was a test knit for the designer. I finished the first sock only to discover that it was much, much too small (there was a reason it knit up so fast).  I tried several times with larger and larger needles.  The socks got closer to fitting, but the fabric would never have held up to wear.

So, I decided that I wanted to learn 2 at a time, toe up socks on a really big circular needle.  I had gotten the book (which was new way back then) 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  So I cast on just the Classic Sock from the book.  It was slow going. I hated how the stitches moved on the circular. I kept tangling my yarn (and occasionally knitting from the wrong skein).  I gave it the old college try. I did not love it. I did not love it so much, I put them away for years. I decided that I was going to tough it out one more time just a few weeks ago. I pulled them out of time out (yes, after nearly 6 years in time out).  I knit a round and decided that 2 at a time socks was just not for me.  I frogged them, and went looking for a new pattern.

My criteria for the pattern was that it had to be something with some interest (no plain, vanilla sock with miles and miles of teeny, tiny stockinette for me).  It had to meet my husband’s criteria for “manly”.  It needed to be something I could knit on DPN’s (the pattern is written for a circular, but is easily converted).  I also still wanted to try a toe up sock, so I wanted a toe up pattern.  The Time Traveler pattern fit the bill.

I did a quick gauge swatch and decided to start with the size 0s.  I did all the way up to the end of the toe increases and realized that it was no where near big enough. My gauge was suddenly very different (I think because my quick swatch was knit flat, but who knows…I could have just measured wrong or something).  So, I pulled it back out. I went up a couple needle swatches. Did another swatch (this time in the round). Decided it was good, and cast on again. If you are keeping track, this is the fourth time casting on with this yarn.

They have been going swimmingly. They fit beautifully. They are interesting enough and are knitting up super fast.  Today, I had just a little bit of the cuff left (like 5 rounds). I am doing a 1×1 twisted rib cuff.  I have seen it on project pages and thought it looked nice, so I decided to try it.  I figured, “5 rounds, I can easily knock that out at lunch”.  I want to be done with the first sock so that I can get to a good point on the second that I can take it on vacation over Easter.  So, I ate my lunch quickly and pulled out my sock. My hands were shaking (my food hadn’t hit my bloodstream yet, and breakfast was apparently not enough today). I knew I should wait, but I just kept thinking how quick I could knock it out.  Big mistake. I ended up dropping a bunch of stitches when I dropped a needle and fumbled for it. I think I dropped about 8 stitches. I then fumbled some more and they dropped down a couple of rows.  I do not have the right size crochet hook with me.  So I had to pick them up with a cable needle. It took me my entire lunch break to pick those stitches up in a twisted rib pattern with a freaking cable needle.  Guess who still has 5 rounds left?  This girl!  I didn’t make any progress!

I will try again tonight, and hopefully have a finished sock to show for it (as I knock frantically on wood)!

Here is the rainbow I saw on the way to Knit Night Out.  On Tuesday night, my knitting group met at a local restaurant.  We meet on the first and third Sunday of the month.  There is an extra week between the third Sunday of August and the first Sunday of September than we would normally have between meetings. We decided to get together in between. It was a lot of fun.  How can anyone complain about knitting, adult conversation, and food!!  It is like heaven.   I really enjoyed myself.

Of course, it was raining that evening. The rainbow was a complete rainbow (I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing).  It was really beautiful!  I knew that it was going to be a great night when I saw it!

While at Knit Night, I worked on my one row scarf.  I have about 14 inches done so far (much of that done at dinner).  It is moving so quickly! I am still loving the pattern. It is so simple. It is easy to travel with as well because it is easy to pick up anywhere in the row and know where you are.

The only thing I don’t like is that I am doing it on straights. It would be a bit more portable if I had put it on circulars because they fit in my bag a little better. I keep poking myself with the needles reaching into my bag.  I am going to have to get some new circs this weekend!  I am planning more of these scarves so I will make good use of the circs!

Lately, I have not been very happy with the way my stockinette stitch looks.  I haven’t done a lot with stockinette because I do a lot of knitting in the round and garter stitch. I have been noticing that my stockinette just didn’t look right.  You can see in the above picture that every other row is twisted.  I started to question whether or not I was doing the knit stitch right. I taught myself to do Continental knitting with drawings on a website.  I went onto to watch a video to see how it is supposed to be done.   I have been doing it right. My next thought was that maybe I have been doing the purl stitch right. I also taught myself to purl using this video.  I checked the videos on KnittingHelp. I realized that the purl stitch in Continental knitting is not how the video shows. That being said, I love the way I purl.  I didn’t want to change. I decided to try to figure out what I needed to do to make that purl stitch work. I then realized that I was knitting Continental style, but purling in Combination knitting!  I found Annie Modesitt’s website. I changed the way I was doing the knit stitch (only when knitting in stockinette…in garter stitch or in the round I have to do the knit stitch the way that I was)!  Here is the result!

Look at how nice and neat and pretty that is!!  All better!  It looks like it is supposed to look.  I was so very thrilled!  Not only does the knitting itself look so nice and neat, but it made the edges of knitting look so much nicer.

This is the monkey head. The top area is the top of the head.  The bottom area is the snout (it is bent down).  Both are made using short rows.  The red arrow is pointing to the “seam” made on the knit rows before I made the change in my knit stitch.  The blue arrow is pointing to the same thing, but using my combination knitting.  You can see that it makes the “seam” look a lot neater. It also makes it symetrical (the same as the “seam” made on the purl row).  I also noticed that my tension is more even between knits and purls. I think doing the knit stitch is easier this way too. I was so excited, I almost ripped out the whole head to start over. I decided just to leave it and consider it a “design feature”!  I have ordered Annie Modesitt’s book because I still can’t visualize how to do an SSK (and a few other random things).  I also found that Grumperina has a really helpful combination knitting page. I haven’t gotten to explore it as much as I would like, but that will be for this weekend.

In doing the research on combination knitting really helped me to have a new understanding on how the stitches worked. I realized that all combination knitting really means is that you always knit/purl into the leg of the stitch that is closest to the needle tip (unless you want to twist a stitch on purpose).  It really helped me understand how some of the decreases and increases lean.  It all made sense!  It was a big “aha” moment!  I can’t believe that I have been twisting stitches for so long and not realizing it!  Now I know why things haven’t really looked exactly right!

After I realized that I was knitting in a very mixed up way, I started examining the scarf I was working on. I had been not very satisfied with how my knits looked in the scarf as well.  I put in a lifeline and then just changed to combination knitting. I was hoping it would look a bit neater without looking dramatically different.  It looked different enough that I ripped back to the lifeline.  I considered frogging the scarf and starting over (it is fun to knit). Instead, I decided to continue knitting in my “mixed” way and consider it a design feature again!  I will do it “right” on the next one.  14 inches of scarf is too much to rip!

Saturday was WWKIP day (or at least one of them). There was an event at our local mall.  DH agreed to watch the two boys (something he never does alone) so that I could go.  It was great.  I worked on my Shawl that Jazz. I got to the beginning of the ruffle on it. I am still on the first skein, so I am going to do the extra ruffly ruffle.  I might also make the ruffle a bit longer.  I learned that there is a local group that meets 2 Sundays a month.  I am going to start going to that. I am pretty excited. It is hard for me to go to group in Gainesville because the drive is so long. A 2 hour knitting group becomes a nearly 4 hour trip.  This avoids all that travel time, so I am able to go more often!  I am pretty excited.

We also had the option of making a donation and getting a goody bag.  The goody bag was great. There was a skein of yarn. It was Classic Elite.  It came with 2 soap sweater patterns. I love these things!  I can’t wait to make one.  I think my first one will be out of this yarn for my mom. I bought her some handmade soap at Hanks for her birthday (in January…yes, it is still in my house). I think I am going to put a sweater on that yummy soap!  The bag had all kinds of coupons and adds for local crafty places. There was some wool wash and lotion, a needle gauge, a ruler, and a button too.  It was pretty fun!

While I was there, several people were knitting 2-at-a-time socks toe up.  I have been thinking about knitting toe up socks.  I promised myself that I would not cast on any socks until I finished DH’s socks.  I had gotten to the toe decreases and realized I was still on my first skein of Lorna’s Laces (this was about 6 weeks ago). There is no way I should be able to get a whole sock for DH out of one skein of LL.  I had that sick feeling that the sock was too small. Naturally, I did what any good knitter does…I put the sock in a drawer hoping it would grow on it’s own.  While watching everyone knitting socks, I confessed that I had DH’s socks in timeout.   I was told to get them out, frog them, and cast on a toe up sock for DH out of the yarn.  I decided this was a fantastic idea as it kills two birds with one stone.  I have decided that I will not only do a toe up sock for DH, but I will go ahead and do it 2-at-a-time (on one circ).  I have an extra 47″ cable, so I just need some tips. I am going to make a Knit Picks order tomorrow and will add those on.  I ordered 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes today too.  I think I am going to ditch the Monkeymen pattern for know. I think I am just going to do a ribbed sock.  So my knitting disaster that I have been avoiding has turned into an opportunity to learn something new.  So, I celebrated WWKIP day by frogging a nearly complete sock!

I have also finished the second April Square. I have one more April Square to do. Then I have to do the May and June squares!  For some reason, I don’t love knitting the April Square. I haven’t been working on them. I am excited to try the May one. It is a cabled square.  I have never done cables.  Even that has not gotten me moving like it should.  Once I get this last April Square done, things should pick up on the blanket making!

 Mmmm….new yarn!! I went to Hanks on Saturday. I intended to go on Friday, but CB was with me. He got very grouchy in Target. I decided I didn’t want to bring a screaming baby into Hanks (I am sure that everyone there that day is grateful…or would be if they knew what they had been spared).  I knew I was getting yarn for DH. I thought I would get this yarn, but decided to look around. I nearly ditched the idea of yarn for DH and bought myself some Malagbrigo sock yarn.  After looking, I decided to buy DH’s yarn, and this was still my favorite!

Since then, I have been looking for a pattern to knit these up in.  DH is a little nervous about the way Lorna’s Laces can pool a bit. I hate the thought of giant stockinette socks.  I finally found the Monkeyman pattern.  I love my monkeys.  DH does too, but didn’t fancy the idea of holes in his socks (not lacy is a big requirement for men’s socks, apparently).  I am pretty excited. It is taking all of my willpower not to cast on tonight.  I have promised myself that I will finish Shay’s scarf first (it is about 50% done).

Speaking of works in progress, my shawl is at the same point it was during my last post despite lots of knitting on it.  How does that happen?  Well, I decided I didn’t need to do lifelines because the lace pattern is easy and easily memorized.  Why would I need a lifeline?  Well, it turns out the silk content in the yarn makes it slippery.  I dropped a stitch. When trying to fix it, I dropped several (they just flew off the end of the needle and then pulled all the way down to the garter stitch border).  It was beyond my ablility to fix.  I ended up frogging and beginning again. I was halfway through the third repeat when that happened. I am once again halfway through the third repeat, but the difference is my very cool dental floss lifeline!  If I don’t have to keep reknitting the first couple of repeats, I might make some significant progress!

This is why you should never leave yarn unattended around a toddler. This yarn is part mohair (it is Schaefer Anne). That means that it is a mess that will never, never be untangled. It was wound in a small hank. I unwound it and had it laid out ready to go on the swift. I was winding tiny 10g balls for a scrap swap. I stepped out of the living room to get the swift (why didn’t I have it set up ahead of time? no reason, really). I returned to this. LB (now also known as Naughty Monkey) said, “Mommy, I fixed your knitting for you.” Yup, it is fixed! Every attempt to detangle, just made it worse. Everywhere that mohair touches mohair, it sticks. It is almost like the yarn is spit spliced in several (very long) sections. I can’t bear to throw it out though. I just put it in a plastic baggie in my yarn drawer. I can’t imagine having knit with this yarn and having to frog! That would be terrible!

Ok, now for the good monkey. I am knitting Monkey socks with the Nefarious Club April selection. The pattern is sooo addictive. It is easy, quick, and knits so interestingly. The yarn is a merino/silk blend that was kettle dyed. It is gorgeous! The yarn and the pattern perfectly complement each other. I am really enjoying the socks! DH’s giant socks are on hold for a week or so while I wait for more yarn to arrive. It is nice to have a break from them (especially with these socks). I am on the heel now. The yarn is so soft and the pattern is so interesting….back to knitting on them!

I have been knitting like the wind for the last week or so. I think it is the new Knit Picks needles. I love the slick metal. I knit much faster with them. I have finished several things in very short period of time. First up, the Wee Tiny Sock for my pal, Pischi. This is knit with Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock in Buck’s Bar colorway. This is the leftover from my Valentine’s Socks.
I put the quarter in to show scale. The sock is so little and cute! Next up, the socks for Little Bug made out of the Regia. They are a little bit big, but probably won’t be for long. After finishing the first sock, I had LB try it on. I discovered that I had mismeasured. The foot was too short. I knit the second sock, and then went back and frogged the toe of the first and reknit it. I was pretty scared since it was the first time I had pulled something off of the needles and pulled back that far. I didn’t drop any stitches, and you can’t even tell.

I took what was left of that yarn, and I knit a little “sock” for my Zen MP3 player. It only took about two hours. I will post more about it in a day or two. I have been without a camera since the weekend. I decided to sell my camera, and buy a new one. My old camera was a Kodak Easyshare DX6490. I loved it, but I never carried it around. It was big and heavy. It had manual settings, but I never learned to use them. I always said I would, but never had the time. I decided I needed a small camera that I could throw in my purse. I also wanted it to be a simple point and shoot. I decided to get a Canon Powershot SD850 IS Elph. It should be arriving tomorrow. I will then take pictures of the Zen sock.
I also started some Lace Heart Anklets (Ravelry link). I knit the whole first sock. I was getting ready to Kitchener the toe when I decided that I would try it on. It was too small. I checked my gauge. I was getting 10 sts/in with size 1s (2.25 mm). I need to get 8 sts/in. I frogged the whole thing and started over with size 2s. My confession is that I only frogged after asking numerous people their shoe size. If they had fit someone else, I would have just knit the second sock and given them away. I will post pictures of these in progress when I get my new camera.

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