06 June 2007

and now for something different....

When's the last time I blogged about knitting? I can't even remember (and I'm too lazy to look it up by clicking on the label marked "knitting" on my sidebar). When I had the old blog, I used to write about knitting all the time, or at least with much greater frequency than I do on here. I used to knit a lot more back then too. This was before the time when stuffing pocket squirrels consumed my every seated moment. However, I always made it clear that it was not a knitting blog. I don't think I have ever called myself a knitter. I knit. I will gladly tell people I knit. I will happily talk to anyone about knitting. I love knitting. I love admiring other's knitting. I know my stitch patterns, and I know some pretty decent techniques. I even have a pretty respectable stash. I am by no means an expert. I am by no means revolutionizing the field. I knit, and I enjoy it for its simple pleasure. That's not to say that knitting can't be challenging or extraordinary because it absolutely can. Regardless, I have always been loathe to call myself a knitter because the truth of the matter is that while I knit and enjoy it immensely, I do not take it as seriously as some people do. I read some knit blogs where the people behind them eat, sleep, and breathe yarn. They think about knitting all the time. They can't take two steps without wanting to pick up their needles. They could talk circles around my dizzy head about techniques, fiber, who's who in the knit world, patterns, designers, the best stitch markers, yadda yadda yadda. They churn out projects like nobody's business, and everything they knit is beautiful. And that's great. That's how they do it. I love what they do and applaud them. Me? I knit small, portable projects that I can commute with (i.e. socks, mittens, hats), quick knits that my tiny attention span can focus on without keeling over and dying or just shifting onto something else, tubular knits that aren't especially challenging. In other words, more than likely, in the eyes of these serious knitters, I am a neophyte, a dilettante, a dabbler; it doesn't matter that I've been doing this since I was 14. I'm a bit of a poseur to them, and that's fine. I have fun while I knit. I know it's nothing special, but I like to knit socks. And it really has been a while since I made the time to do just that.

Moving right along, I had read on Ashley's blog about a personal challenge to knit a sock in one day. Of course, my curiosity was piqued. Could I do it? I know some people who can do that, probably while blindfolded and hanging upside down. Yes, they are that good and that fast. I thought I had seen a Sock a Day knitalong, but I guess I had it confused for the Sock a Month Knitalong. I think there was a time when I could have definitely done a sock a day, but now? I couldn't resist the challenge. Well, it turns out that I cannot knit one sock in one day. However, I can knock one out in two days (working on it sporadically - not all in one go). Take this one:

twin-rib

I started that one Sunday night at midnight and finished it yesterday afternoon. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and the colorway is Peaceblossom (lightweight), one of the sock club colors from last year. I've been wanting to make myself a pair of socks with this yarn for the longest time now. Finally! The wheels have been set in motion. One sock down, one to go. The pattern is my own (which is not my own but handed down for generations, I'm sure) - I used the Twin Rib Stitch from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury, p. 4, and worked it over 60 stitches on US size 1s. I also gave it a standard heel stitch heel and the Star Toe of Three Points, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, pp. 26-28. I love how squishy this sock is, and it just hugs the calf so lovingly. Oooh la la!

twin-rib - closeup

That was not my first attempt at sock-knitting on Sunday. Earlier that afternoon, I was trying to knit the same sock, but using this yarn instead:

STR - Dutch Canyon - mediumweight

I cannot even begin to describe the pooling horror that I saw unfurl before me. It was just... ew. And you know, normally, I love variegated yarns. I'm a huge fan of STR. Usually, the striping the occurs can work with the pattern, but this just wasn't working. There was no happy striping, only big stagnant ponds of unblended color. Maybe it was my gauge not doing the yarn any favors. Maybe the yarn didn't like that specific gauge. There was clearly a conflict between the two. Hence, I ended up ripping it after getting about 4 inches into it. That was not the first time I ripped that poor skein of yarn. The first time I had to frog it was my enormous, way-off, monstrously heeled version of these, which are much MUCH better now:

monkey

Funny, when I knit it with the STR, there was no pooling and the yarn loved the pattern. It's just that either I knit too loosely, or the needles I used were 2s not 1s, because my first sock was ridiculously huge and just unwearable. I ended up frogging the finished sock and turning to the yarn that will always have a special place in my heart - Koigu. Everyone has their go-to yarn, and I truly believe Koigu is mine. No matter how fantastic the STR colorways may be, no matter how squishy and fabulous Fleece Artist may be, no matter what. I love how the colors in this Koigu colorway play together. Knitting with it is amazing because as the yarn runs through your fingers, you can't help but take in all the subtleties and nuances of the colors as they blend and change into one another. There's no pooling, but there's definitely some kind of pattern going on. (The exact colorway is P119, for anyone who's curious.)

monkey meets twin-rib

I don't think there's any need to name the pattern since everyone and their granny has knit this at this point, but giving credit where credit is due, this pattern is the insanely popular Monkey, by the insanely talented Cookie A. (I love her!) In case you've been out of town and haven't been able to touch a computer for the last few months, you can find the pattern here. I love this pattern. Such a quick and attractive knit! I did some modifications to suit my finicky self, though. I substituted a heel stitch heel for the plain ol' stockinette heel in the pattern (way too wide for my heels), and I gave it a round toe because round toes better suit my pointy feet than wedge toes. I have already cast on for the second sock, and off I go....

(Might I actually have one finished pair of socks by the end of this week? Will it be the Twin Rib Socks or the Monkeys? What if there are two pairs of finished socks? Who will be eliminated from the first episode of "So You Think You Can Dance?" Tune in later this week and find out.)

I promise tomorrow there will be less talk, more rock....

11 comments:

Ashley said...

Anyone who can knit one sock in 2 days? NOT a dilettante. Or, if you are, then I am barely a dabbler.

And I am so with you on the go-to Koigu. Yay Koigu!

knittingphilistine said...

Looks like somebody just inducted herself into the Single Sock Liberation Movement. Welcome aboard, your singlets are both fantastic.

Lolly said...

I totally had one of those double take moments - Maritza is writing about knitting?!? :) wow, love the Koigu. It kind of qualifies for the Green Sock Knitalong! (remember?)

Beautiful work!

grumperina said...

You're rocking the photos today! Gorgeous! Peaceblossom looks like a gazillion times better than Dutch Canyon. Look at the nice stripies!

kris said...

what, you're having FUN knitting?!?! totally crazy and such a disgrace ;-)

looking forward to the rock bit tomorrow, though i still find your socks beautiful (as they've always been) and your yarn totally desirable.

sarah said...

I really need to remember to watch So You Think You Can Dance tonight. I feel dirty for even admitting I like it!

Cute socks!

Steph said...

Ohh look at those lovelies! Very pretty. Socks will always be my favourite thing to knit, so quick, portable, and so many patterns and yarn to choose from. I once knit a sock in a day, but I'll never do that again, it really hurt my hands.

FemiKnitMafia said...

What? You're a wonderful knitter! Poseur my ass.

Speaking of (not my ass, but of knitting), those socks are beee-yooooo-tiful. Partial to the STR, of course, but only because I'm a purpley bluey girl. And that pattern rocks. Might have to copy that one.

Rock on, my knitterly friend.

Sonya said...

I have not known any knitting content since reading your blog. So your surprised me something fabulous. Those are lovely socks and I am with you on the koigu.

sulu-design said...

I'm so glad to see a knitting post here - I was always an admirer of your knit creations: the patterns you chose, your selection of yarn, and, of course, your beautiful work. While I love the softies, I like to see what's on your knitting needles, too.

Barbara said...

I haven't tried those Monkey socks yet, although I love Cookie too. Reminds me that I still have a lonely sock hanging around somewhere, but I have so little time even to knit my toys! Thanks for the little bit of inspiration. Maybe now I'll get a pair or two made for next winter :)