Category: Craftiness

Here is the toe of a sock, a sock that just might make it.

I’ve had a few friends tell me that it’s nice to see me blogging again. I’m going to run with that, including writing posts where I don’t have a great deal of revelatory content. For instance, this post is entirely based around the toe of a sock. Knit by me. This afternoon. And some this evening while I chatted with a friend, and watched old episodes of Fraiser. (Don’t judge me. I love David Hyde Pierce.)

It was a long process. It was a hard day. I have a hard time saying that. I imagine what my hard day looks like next to the hard days of a few billion other people without healthcare or financial stability, and I have a dark laugh. All the things I can’t control. Anyway.

So socks.

I measured my foot in four different places. I have formulas that say how to figure out what your cast on should be by the number of stitches per inch in your gauge, including some negative ease (10% is the number I see bandied about). My math was correct, I checked it several times. I knit two sock toes, and both times they came out way too big even though the gauge was spot-on. WHAT SAY YOU, GAUGE FAIRES? I was getting so tired, and trying not to feel depressed that knitting socks was the thing making me tired. I only have so much energy in a day, is this really what I’m doing with it? I asked myself this, and for some reason, heard back, “YES!”

So I ate a bowl of corn chex in almond milk (someday these details may be pertinent) and kept going. YouTube finally helped:

For her toe she uses the Seam Free Rounded Toe pattern, and that’s what you see in my picture up above. I had been looking at two books and three printed patterns trying to figure out how to start, and how to use my measurements that seemed so clearly not to fit on any pattern scaffolding I could find. And then I just started this toe, and I stopped way earlier than I normally do because it just seemed like a good idea, and now I’m going to knit a little farther and see what happens. Maybe a sock will happen.

 

Mother’s Day sock knitting (and cheese)

I woke up at 8 am to Greg bringing me breakfast in bed, which was incredibly sweet except that I was actually still exhausted. I kept leaning my head back on the pillow while I ate, until we were both laughing and he just picked up the tray and set it on the nightstand and said, “Why don’t you see if you can get some more sleep?”

So I did, and I dreamt of cheese. My doc is having me do a food elimination trial of going off wheat and dairy. I’m on my third week, and I’ll write more about it later, but let’s just say the lack of cheese is grueling. I think about it all the time. Brie, fresh mozzarella, the lavender goat cheese some obviously genius person sells at our farmer’s market. I’ve dreamt about cheese every night for the last week.

The first cheese dream was me at a party, standing at a buffet table. Except instead of a mix of hors d’oeuvre, it was just a different kind of cheese on every plate, cubed or tubbed or sliced or in a ball. I looked down and began panicking. Nothing but cheese? Who does that? Where are the vegetables? The chips and dip? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? My hands were shaking and I was willing myself not to pick anything up. Then the dream shifted and I was mingling, seemingly triumphantly away from the cheese table, until I suddenly found myself back there. Except that now, every plate was empty. I looked around. Every conversation had stopped. They all stood in stony silence, staring at me. That’s when I realized who had done it. Who had eaten the cheese. ALL THAT CHEESE. And then I woke up.

I’m hoping the dreams stop soon.

The family asked what I wanted to do today, but unfortunately, the CFS/fibromyalgia situation makes days like this especially hard. Every restaurant in Seattle is crowded to the gills most of the time, but today it would have been impossible to get in anywhere without standing around waiting for an hour or even ninety minutes. I can’t stand that long, especially not outside in the sun. I haven’t reached the point of being able to ask a perfect stranger to give up their seat for my invisible illness (who knows, maybe they have an invisible illness). Crowds are also hard. So we decided to have lunch at home, and then go the yarn store, as I’ve decided to learn how to make toe-up socks.

Technically I guess I already know how to knit socks, I’ve knit two pair. One using the pattern from Cat Bordhi’s book, Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters, way back in 2010 or so. They worked, beautifully! And I still wear them and love them. But I itched to learn the “normal” way. So I bought Getting Started Knitting Socks, and made a pair of cuff-down socks. I like them only so-so.

What I really want is a toe-up sock pattern, one that I can build myself, trying different heel types, until the perfect-for-me sock pattern naturally evolves. This really didn’t seem like it should be that hard, but I’m beginning to doubt myslf.

Phase 1 is Creating The Toe. Easy enough, I think? I’m using Judy Becker’s magic cast-on. Okay, done. I’m still messing around with how many to cast on at once, but I’ve created two prototypes. In both cases, the sock was way too big once it got over the toes and onto the foot. What I keep reading is that you’re supposed to keep increasing until your sock is just covering your toes. Yeah, did that, the sock was huge. But then my friend James said, “You want to knit until it just touches your pinky toe.”<facepalm> WELL OKAY, that’s what I was doing wrong. So I tried again. This time I stopped earlier. I decided to call these Westworld socks since that’s what I was watching while I knit. Things were looking up.

Before I knew it, I realized I was knitting a tube way too big for my foot. Again. I counted the stitches. I was actually 4 stitches bigger than the first.

Maybe the new books will help. We have:

How to Knit Socks That Fit. I’m told this is very good. Practical. “You’ll want to carry this one with you.”

And:

Knitters Book of Socks The Yarn Lovers Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well Feel Great & Last a Lifetime.  I was told today, “This is the bible of sock knitting.”

We’ll see.

I crocheted this…thingie (it’s supposed to be a rug, but it’s a table accessory instead)

I saw this a few days ago:

DIY-Old-T-shirt-Crochet-Rug

The original image originates, from what I can tell, a Russian crafter’s website called Olino Hobby.  Here’s the Makezine post that says this – however, the original link seems to go dead.

At any rate, things live in Pinterest forever, and I found this image and thought, “Hey, I could do that!” Crafting-during-television-powers, ACTIVATE!

But then, BUM BUM BUMMMMM, I was kicked in the ass by my own efforts at minimalism and simplicity: after so many years of keeping all these clothes I didn’t know what to do with and brought me no joy, I’d recently given them all away. Now I didn’t have any t-shirts to rip up. I knew I shouldn’t have read Marie Kondo! See, this is why minimalism is a bad idea! Haha, kidding. Kondo is actually amazing, I love her books and her methods. What needs real work here is my habit of telling myself I’d be happier without all these hobbies, and then getting rid of all my sewing stuff.

To solve this dilemma, I went to my son. I do that kid’s laundry, I know he has about two dozen old shirts that don’t fit, sitting in piles on his closet shelves. He was happy to oblige.

In progress:

crochet_thingie_inprogress

And completed:

crochet_thingie crochet_thingie_with_salt

So the reason why it’s a Table Thingie (TM) and not a rug? I was in a hurry to get going, and without thinking about it, I’d reached into my yarn stash and grabbed the first thing that looked fun, some of my old handspun. But as it took shape, I realized I wasn’t going to enjoy watching people come in from the muddy outdoors and walk over my pretty little rug with my handspun wool. I decided it would be a “spot for the salt and pepper” instead, and I just made it smaller.

This worked out for my hands, too. Turns out that crochet is a lot harder on my hands then I remember. My right hand, that works the hook, gets very fatigued. I feel like I’d have a lot more leverage if the hook had a much longer handle, but I’ve searched off and on for years for longer crochet hooks and haven’t found them. I thought making a rug out of less-beloved yarn would be a fun plan, but I think I’d have carpal tunnel by the end of it, so I imagine a Table Thingie is all we’re getting from this technique.

I made my Tom Bihn Small Cafe Bag into boat storage

tb-pc-back

I know, I know, all you Tom Bihn fans out there are cringing. How could I have done this? How could I take a perfectly good plum/wasabi Small Cafe Bag (Vintage! It even has the old “Portable Culture” tag!) and cut off the shoulder strap and pound grommets into it? WHY, GOD, WHY?

Two reasons:

1.) I love my Tom Bihn bags (despite appearances to the contrary). I used to work at Tom Bihn, and I know firsthand how well they’re made and how great the company is. I have way too many TB bags however, more than I need, and yet I don’t want to sell any of them, because BAGS.  So, I have to find other ways to use them.

2.) My boat needs storage.

tb-pc-front-regular

I haven’t entirely figured out how I’m going to hang it yet, but I know it will involve some paracord and maybe a couple of small cleats screwed into the wall. This bag is a test to see how well it works. A Flicka 20 is a very small boat, and Elska needs more storage. If I can find a way to harness the power of my many, many bags, in a creative way, then I’ll be golden.

I used a Lord & Hodge 1073A-0 Grommet Kit [Amazon link]:

It worked pretty well, except for the first step of using the cutter tool to cut a hole in the fabric. I whacked on that tool with the hammer for several straight minutes, and nothing. This just goes to show how durable Tom Bihn bags are. I finally broke out the sewing shears and ended up making two small holes that way.

Once the holes were in, the hammer was the only tool I needed to whack the grommets into place. It took longer, and required more strength than I thought it would, but that’s fine. At least it worked! I feared I might have made holes in my bag for nothing, but I think this will work great.

I could have left the shoulder strap on and just tucked it in, but there was no point really; I don’t use the Small Cafe Bags for much, I prefer the Medium and Large Cafe Bags.  I have two Smalls, and of the two, the purple is the less precious (the other one is a beloved Nordic/Solar, you TB fans know what I’m talking about).

Once I figure out how and where to hang it, I’ll make another post! I love the idea of seeing my beloved bags in the boat, working their storage magic. I think this will work really well.

tb-pc-front
(I have a new photo editing app. The futzing has begun.)

Oh, and in case the puzzle background is puzzling – those are foam puzzle pieces [Amazon link] you can buy for your kids’ playroom. I have a set down in my office for going yoga and other exercises on, and they’re also great for blocking knitting (far cheaper than the “blocking mats” that knitting stores often sell). I’ve discovered they’re also useful for whacking things with a hammer.

Motoring our new Flicka home

elska_home
The lovely Elska.

 

She’s home! The trip was last weekend, she’s actually been home for a week. I’m late updating the blog thanks to a stressful week of mess and deconstruction (the flood remediation guy uses the much more colorful “demolition”), but the whole process finally seems to be getting officially underway this weekend, so relief is in sight. Living without a working kitchen is tougher than I thought. I have such an unstable and moody working relationship with both my kitchen and the food in it, I didn’t think I’d miss it when it was gone. I was quite wrong.

On Saturday, my parents drove myself, Greg, and my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Mark up to Oak Harbor. We were so grateful for the ride. If we’d been on our own, we’d have had to coordinate driving up and pick the car up later,  or taking the bus. I’ve actually been taking the bus more often in the past few months, and enjoying the peace of not having to battle traffic or find parking. But the trip to Oak Harbor from our neck of the woods, by transit, would have been four hours. For someone in normal health this would be exhausting. With fibromyalgia, it would have entirely gutted my energy for the day, and most of the next one. So the ride up was very much appreciated.

 

knittingincar

 

On the way up, I knit. I can’t read in the car, but knitting causes no nausea, and I’m grateful to have an escape from my awareness that I’m hurtling in a metal box down a narrow road filled with other hurtling metal boxes, piloted by people who seem to enjoy texting while driving. I don’t like cars. What gave it away? Whenever I have a new knitting project, I pack it with me wherever I go, and it begins to take on the stories and experiences of what happens while I’m knitting. It’s sweet, until the knitted thing isn’t useful anymore, and then I can’t let it go because I’m attached to the memories. I need to learn how to un-knit a thing, to pull it apart and reuse the yarn for more projects and memories. At any rate, this hat is now the Bringing Elska Home Hat (I finished it last night, and wore it to bed after I realized I’d neglected to turn the heat on upstairs).

 

greg_me

 

Here we are at the ferry in Mukilteo, waiting to ride across to Clinton, on Whidbey Island. Clinton is at the south end of the island, and our destination is at the north end. You can actually drive an overland route if you’re so inclined, but I love taking the ferry.

 

greg

 

We dropped my aunt and uncle off at their motel (there’s no way we could all four sleep on Elska), picked up a few groceries, and then my parents dropped us off at the boat. I was giddy, I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way through town. Camping on our Flicka! Overnight! First time! SQUEE! Everything felt exotic. Here we are, in distant Oak Harbor Washington. On our boat! It’s the same climate and evergreen-dotted scenery as anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, but I felt like I was a million miles away, on an amazing adventure. I was flooded with the same familiar excitement I felt as a kid, whenever I’d get to pack up a backpack and go somewhere new for an overnight, or on a trip somewhere. I loved to travel.

But this wasn’t just me and a backpack, this was Greg and I, and Elska. She’s our new satellite home. A sailboat isn’t just a means of transportation, it’s a thing of elegant beauty, a guardian, a friend, a being all its own, a place all its own. Maybe not everyone feels this way about their boat – that’s too bad.

Me, I’m transported, just in stepping aboard. Elska is the perfect size. I continue to get stares and lulls in the conversation when people ask me why I’d want to go from a 30-foot  Hunter to “this little thing”, and I just grin hugely and say, “I wanted something I could manage on my own.” Most sailors consider 30 feet to be easily managed alone, and many solo sail happily at 40 feet and even above. I get it. Maybe if I were in better shape or better health (or both would be nice), I’d feel differently. But I don’t think so. It isn’t just that she’s manageable to sail for someone with fibromyalgia. It’s that she’s just….right. She’s like Goldilocks’s boat.

I’ve read a great deal about the tiny house movement, and it strikes me how consistently and emphatically people will express joy in the concept of just enough. That’s how Elska feels. All my needs are met. She’s small, but just….sturdy, capable, cheeky, beautiful, sassy, strong. She’s just right.

 

stern_sunset

 

I parked my boots under the dinette table, and we made some tea, and sat in the cockpit. The lights from the cabin were warm an inviting, but we both wanted to soak up the evening light. We read our ebooks. And then here it was, our first sunset off the stern. My face hurt from all the smiling I was doing. I thought, this is what it’s like when a dream comes true. It’s a pretty great feeling. I popped back into the cabin to get something, and Greg said, “Come see!” I stepped back into the cockpit, and looked where Greg was pointing. In the water, right below that dinghy on the stern of the boat behind us, a great big grey seal slid by, looking first at us, and then at the other boats in turn. His gaze was so intelligent and observant, I almost expected him to whip out his notepad and pencil. He rolled around a few times, and then slid under the water and left.

We ate cold pizza for dinner, and went to bed early. Greg crawled into the quarter berth, and as is his way, was asleep ten minutes later. I lay in the v-berth all snug and cozy, and for a long time I did nothing but stare up at the heavy bronze portholes and into the darkness outside. It was too cloudy to see stars. It was cold, but thankfully not so cold I couldn’t keep warm. I thought about how this was the start of everything. I haven’t felt the specialness of a transition like that, the movement over a line from this is the way it was  to this is the way it is now, since my kids were born.

Then I read my book, did a little more knitting, and watched part of a movie on my iPad. This is all normal for me – I’m a terrible night owl. Finally I felt the familiar pull to sleep, and put everything away. I turned off my headlamp and buried my face in the pillow. I could hear the water lapping against the hull. Must be windy. I said goodnight to my boat, quietly. I felt safe in her arms. I slept very well.

 

bow

 

The next morning, Mark and Ginny showed up bright and early at 7:15am. Dave and Sherrie, the lovely couple from whom we bought the boat, came to see us off. We gave them back their marina keys and took pictures of all of us, and finally I just had to hug them. I couldn’t help it. They actually pushed us off the dock, a lovely symbol of the boat passing from their hands into ours. We found out later they’d driven to Langley to watch us motor by – how sweet! See what boats mean to people? It’s a special bond.

It was rainy and cold, but we all settled in for the long ride home. Admittedly I was probably the only one beaming with joy through the wetness.

 

selfie

 

Ginny and Mark were so kind to come up and do this with us, it just meant the world. They’ve both been sailing for years and have offshore experience, whereas Greg and I have much less experience. We were both exposed to boating and sailing as kids, but we never learned to sail until we were adults and I got the crazy idea (thanks, Dad) to get lessons. In the three years we had our Hunter, I think we went out just a few dozen times, and our longest trip was about 11 nautical miles. This trip was 43. And it was our first voyage on a boat we had no familiarity with. So, to have two experienced sailors say, “Sure, we’ll sit in the cold and rain with you for an entire day, and help out if anything goes wrong,” well, it’s a big deal. I bought them a bag of peanut butter cups, but that didn’t seem like enough. So I kept thanking them all day.

 

talking

 

That’s my Aunt, and her cute hat, that I will someday lift when she isn’t looking. For all the grumpy weather, we had a very pleasant trip. Flickas are small, but they have a very heavy hull and a full keel – that means the keel goes from the front to the back, versus a fin keel that looks like, well, a fin. This means she’s very stable, and you could really tell as we headed into Saratoga Passage, with the waves kicking up and the spray hitting us, how little she was getting batted around. She didn’t lurch or roll, she just put-putted happily through the mess, steady as she goes.

We alternated who sat at the helm. I took two short naps, because fibro is a cruel mistress. Mark taught me all kinds of navigation information as we went along, it was great. We ate lunch, Ginny made us tons of tea and cocoa, and we looked for dolphins and orcas but never saw any. I loved having my family with me, what a treat. If the outboard failed or we struck a log, I was relaxed knowing that we had two heads on board with years of experience. That’s right, I didn’t mention the debris, it was crazy; a gazillion logs littered the water, we assumed it was all from the crazy windstorm the weekend before.

 

greg-handsofblue

 

Here’s Greg at the helm. Ginny brought these gloves, and then left them with us! They were so toasty warm, and rubberized so you could grip the tiller. I think they’re for gardening, originally. My hands were turning beet red from the cold, but these warmed them right up.

 

galley

 

We made quite a mess. I’d like to say this looks nothing like our kitchen at home, but I’d be lying. That little tiny bottle, with the white cap and the orange $1.00 price tag, behind the barrier in back of the bananas, is a teeny tiny bottle of ketchup I bought at the marina cafe. It was SO WEE that I just couldn’t help it (gee, sounds like another purchase I just made, for considerably more money). It looked like this teeny tiny bottle of dijon mustard, which I will also now have to procure. Teeny tiny boats require teeny tiny condiments.

 

shilshole

 

Almost home! The lighthouse is where Shilshole Bay Marina is, our home port. It’s so odd how different everything looks from the water. I’m usually pretty good with maps, but in an urban environment you don’t realize how your landmarks are so often man-made and quite distinct. On a map, it seems obvious where the towns are that line the shore, but when you’re actually in the middle of the water, it’s like one landmass, another land mass, some hills, some other hills. Everything looks like everything else. I can see why people are so in love with their GPS units.

We made it home in 8.5 hours, which I thought was pretty impressive. We kept the outboard going the whole way, and it covered the whole 40+ miles with one 6-gallon tank of gas. Wow. I loved having an outboard. So much quieter than a diesel, much less teeth-rattling vibration, and no stink! Diesel smell makes me queasy, and once it gets in your clothes and sleeping bags, it takes a miracle (or 27 consecutive washings, as I discovered with my red windbreaker – I just threw it in with every load until it didn’t reek anymore) to get the smell out. I will never go back to diesel. Mark my words.

Finally, home sweet home! Safe in her slip, after delivering us safely home.

 

elska

 

But before I go, I want to share a few pictures of a this lovely little something or other that was docked at the same marina as our Flicka. Such a beautiful little boat! I stopped every time I walked by to take a quick look. Her name caught my eye, Nil Desperandum. I looked it up, it means “never despair”. Tonight I looked up the actual boat, and lo and behold, her owner wrote an article about her. Here’s Lawrence W. Cheek writing in the Seattle Times about the rewards of small boats.

 

This Christmas’s diversion: paracord bracelets

Every Christmas, to assuage the holiday stress and overwhelm, I pick up a small hobby. Novelty makes a great distraction. This year, making paracord bracelets accidentally became my project. My almost-11-year-old daughter came home from school a few weeks ago with a paracord bracelet craft kit she’d picked up at her school’s book fair. “Aha!”, I thought. “That’s what I’ll get her for Christmas!” I bought her three bags of paracord, a book, a wooden device for making bracelets, and some shackles. I hid it all in my office.

A couple weeks later, I ask how the paracord craft kit she bought is working out, and she tells me that it was fun for a couple days, but it isn’t something she can see herself doing as a hobby. I laughed out loud, which brought a look of confusion from Beth. “It’s just…..” I said, “……I might have based a few Christmas gifts off of that idea.”

She laughed with me, and then clearly wasn’t sure what to say. She’s such a sweet kid. I could tell she didn’t want to appear disappointed, but at the same time, I imagine she wasn’t looking forward to getting a bunch of supplies for something she wasn’t into. I said, “No worries, Boo! I’ll figure something else out for Christmas!” And I did!

Meanwhile, although I knew I could send it all back, I thought why not see if I could make one myself. None of it was crazy expensive. I opened it all up last night, and after watching a few YouTube tutorials, ended up making seven of them. My son and husband are wearing one, and I have a bunch more that are sized to my own (big) wrist, although I’d be happy to give a few away. How many paracord bracelets does one person need? I’m about to find out.

It’s a colorful, tactile activity, that doesn’t take take a lot of concentration, and unlike my knitting, if the cats try to join in, their potential for destruction is much less (I worked the bracelets last night while wielding a squirt bottle). And the finished product, especially the fishtail weave, is very pretty.

How I got started:

I didn’t like the book I’d bought, Paracord Outdoor Gear Projects: Simple Instructions for Survival Bracelets and Other DIY Projects. It assumes too much prior knowledge, and the diagrams weren’t complete enough for me. I went online and found YouTube videos, instead.

The best one I found for doing the basic bracelet is this:

But after I’d done a few of those, I wanted to learn how to do a fishtail weave, so I ended up on this video:

And there I stayed, making fishtail after fishtail.

I now have several:

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Blues, purples, and greens are my favorite, although I need more pink in my life (the pink one pictured is a little too pink, so I’ll probably give that one to someone else). The silver shackles look big and clunky, but they’re surprisingly comfortable. Last night I accidentally wore a bracelet to bed, and I didn’t notice until I woke up this morning.

Next up: I want to try a belt. And maybe a dog leash. And a monkey’s fist:

If you want to try playing with paracord, I highly recommend YouTube. A few channels to start you off (between these four you have hundreds of videos to peruse):

Go forth and knot things! And have a lovely, stress-free holiday season!

My first knit socks: went better than the Hindenburg

This post is part deux in a two-part series that I like to think of, “That time I learned that I both can and can’t knit socks.”  As in, I can knit them, apparently, but I can’t follow a series of directions to save my life. Part one* is here.

Well, okay. Knitting socks. I started feeling like this was a mountain to climb, a thing to cross knit off my bucket list, and I do feel as though I’ve done it. Despite their objective lack of finesse, for my first real socks, and having done them in my crazy ADHD distracted-by-everything-why-can’t-you-just-stick-to-knitting-blankets way, I think I have something to be proud of here. I’m happy with the result, and I will knit more socks, I’m sure. I don’t have any cast on at the moment – instead I’m knitting my daughter a hat – but when it’s finished, I plan on raiding the sock yarn box again. I still have at least a dozen skeins to torture.

So, where did we leave off last time? Oh right. The heel of the first sock. I was knitting the heel flap. It went well. I was knitting on 5 dpns (Signature Needles).  I got through the heel, and followed the directions from my Craftsy class with Lucy Neatby, all the way to the toe. At the toe, I decreased a little wrong at first, but soon got the hang of it, and it looked fine (my missteps aren’t visible).

Then came Kitchener stitch. I posted to Facebook:

Hollie_Butler

I watched a couple of YouTube videos, and threaded my needle. Then, right after I got “set up” and began stitching (there’s a little bit of moving things about, to get your yarn in the right position), I suddenly lost track of where I was both in my sewing and in the video. I don’t know how it happened, I just remember looking down and realizing with a sudden wave of fear that I had no idea where I was. SOCK NIGHTMARE REALIZED! I panicked and grabbed a sock book, where I found something called the three needle bind off. I hastily turned my first sock inside out, and bound the toe off that way. Then I had a stiff drink.

Despite the momentary crisis at the end of the first sock, I had to admit that, all in all, things had gone well. Here in my hands I was holding my first sock. A “real” sock, in the sense that it actually matched the pattern that I’d been given, it had been created in the correct gauge, and it fit my foot. I’d done it!

Now all I had to do, was to do it again. Ha! This is where things got really interesting.

I discovered a few things with the first sock. I hate double pointed needles. They poke you all the time, ALL THE TIME, and they fall out of their knitting even when you knit as tight as I do (my socks could hold water), and it’s way too easy to drop a stitch off the end. I hate them, and their little pointy heads. I couldn’t suffer knitting another entire sock with those damn things. My head would explode.

For years I’ve had a copy of Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. Well, this was my moment. I cast on the second sock on two size 3 circular needles (24″). I began knitting the cuff. So easy! Much easier than on those double-pointed torture devices! Then I knit the heel flap. Still so easy! What will that Cat think of next?!

I turned the heel. I lost track of the pattern – okay, let’s be honest, I’d stopped following the pattern entirely – so my heel was a little off. I need to find a basic heel formula, with percentages. I wish all knitting patterns were nothing but percentages (God bless you, Elizabeth Zimmerman). All I could find were patterns with row-by-row numbers, which didn’t mean anything now that I’d totally lost track of what I’d started with or where I was. And yet, it got done! At some point, there a heel was. Because magic, that’s how.

At this point I had to figure out how to pick up stitches with two circular needles, and then join them for knitting back in the round. I spent about an hour staring at this. Okay, honestly, I spent about ten minutes looking at it, and when the solution didn’t immediately come to me, I watched an episode of Penny Dreadful. Somehow that set my head to right, and when I looked down again, the solution seemed obvious. Sort of – I did accidentally make a purl row over the top of my ankle, but after I noticed it, I kind of thought it was charming in that this-is-what-happens-when-you-don’t-pay-attention way, and I left it there. These socks are only for my enjoyment anyway.

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I decreased in a totally haphazard fashion, and then there I was again, at the toe. This time I put on my fez thinking cap  (the hat I wear when I’m deep in thought and want to signal, “Please don’t distract me” – it’s a great idea when you have kids, who will never remember that you told them ten minutes ago to avoid interrupting you for a while) and got to work.

This helped a great deal:

And……..[drum roll]………….I did it! I finished the second sock! I have a pair!

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A few things to notice:

  • They fit! I know from reading a lot of knitting blogs, that this continues to delight sock knitters the world over. Of course you hope it will fit, of course you assume it will, but when it does, it’s just pure glee.
  • The second sock (left), has that row of purling.
  • The dog likes to bring in pine cones, and he’s slowly pulling his dog bed apart (hence the stuffing all over the floor).
  • The ribbing is different on each sock – this was intentional, I wanted to see which one I liked best. The first knit sock, on the right, is 1×1. The second knit sock, on the left, is 2×2. I prefer the 2×2.

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The only thing I don’t like about the socks are the toes. It isn’t the knitting, it’s the shape. They’re too boxy, there’s a little pointy bit that comes off the edge of each sock. I think I just don’t like flat toes with Kitchener. I prefer rounded toes. So now I have to figure how to make a percentage sock, cuff down, with rounded toe, on two circulars. That’s my next challenge. I think this article might help. Oh and I also have to add in Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Sock Heels.  What could go wrong?

 

*Sorry. Un.