Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back To Basics

I have placed the sock far far away because somehow it got a hole and in the process of my tinking it back (since I did NOT drop a stitch), I managed to--you guessed it--drop a stitch.

Instead, I have picked up a prayer shawl made out of Lion Brand Homespun that I mis-followed the directions to, making it ribbed. Most shawls aren't ribbed, but this is me giving a flying hoot. (It is not fun to frog a foot of knitted Homespun.)

I don't know if the colorway I have is supposed to make rainbow stripes, but mine is. I picked an arbitrary set of needles and an arbitrary cast on and yet it's making rainbow stripes. Go figure. Of course, as soon as I add the next skein of Homespun, the rainbow stribes will fail me and everyone will laugh at my sucky joining.


I may or may not be overanalyzing this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Um, Not Quite ...

So today I was sitting at a table for my school's Fem Fair -- I had chosen to show alternative menstrual products (sea sponge tampons, cloth pads, menstrual cups, unbleached tampons, etc) and had been getting mixed reactions.

One student who I've known for a few years came over and told me that it was "kind of scary", but then expressed some interest in the items. We chatted for a few minutes.

"Someone told me you had a knitted tampon over here."

Whoa. Stop the train. I held up the sock-in-progress and squinted at it. "This is a sock." I told him. "Or it's going to be."

"Oh, I know," he assured me. "But somebody told me you had a knitted tampon, and I don't know what I think about that."

I informed him he was mistaken, though you probably could knit a tampon, and he went on his way.

... does my sock really look like a tampon?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Joys of Frogging Socks

Well, as per the title, I think you can guess what happened to me over the weekend. When I finally looked at the ribbing, I realized that I'd been managing to wrap the yarn over the previous needle I'd worked with, adding stitches. I'd also dropped a stitch somewhere along the line, and since I have no idea how to pick the darn things up, I began the arduous process of tinking.

Of course, in the process of tinking, I dropped another eight stitches and finally ripped the damn thing up, frustrated. The fire alarm had given me a migraine that still hasn't quite kicked the bucket.

Every time I tried to work on the socks over the weekend, I would lose the last stitch I had cast on and end up with one short when I joined and knit the first row. This happened more times that I would like to count or admit.

Finally, last night I tried the long-tail cast on again (that thing is complicated, but so much faster than knitting on) and amazingly kept all 48 of my stitches. So far, so good. I'm over an inch and a half in the ribbing, I haven't lost any stitches and I haven't gained any. I check the ribbing fanatically every row to make sure I haven't dropped one, either. Makes for more tedious knitting, but it's worth it to me.


Friday, March 14, 2008


When the first thing you grab after the fire alarm wakes up are your glasses, the second are real pants, the third is the sock you've just figured out to knit and finally stopped working on five and a half hours ago, and then the keys to your room -- clearly, you've got your priorities straight.

On the plus side, I used the downtime standing in the freezing cold to keep knitting and got a few rows in (and some amazed looks -- gosh, I feel special), which means the ribbing on the first leg is officially at one inch. Four to go. And then the rest of the sock.

But shh. I'm tired and want to feel like I've accomplished something, so we'll let me have my small, false victory.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

That Fabled First Pair of Socks

So maybe the real reason I started this blog was because of socks. I've knit some scarves, some dishcloths, some coasters, a hat, and a stuffed heart that looked like an amoeba. Clearly, my ability at something that isn't rectangular kind of sucks.

About a month ago, I decided that I Was Going To Make Socks. I went down to my local yarn store, Stitchy Women (I'll write a post about them later), asked the lady for forgiving yarn and needle size suggestions. She steered me in the direction of Plymouth Encore Colorspun Worsted and size 5 wooden DPNs because I told her I knit loosely.

This yarn had the possibility of becoming That Yarn You Bought That You Don't Do Anything With, or That Yarn That You Finally Make Something Out Of Because It's Been Sitting In The Shopping Bag For Six Months But It Wasn't A Pair Of Socks And You're Kind Of Disappointed About It.

(The yarn in question, by the way.)

So a few weeks ago I ordered two books: the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules! and Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks. I trusted my fellow knitters when these books were suggested. I even paid real shipping on them when they came out to be under $25. (Yes, I could have bought something else knitting-related, but you start with stitch markers and end up with a $40 blocking board and you know it.)

Of course, by the time I got them, it was spring break and the only thing I'd brought with me to knit was a poncho. A poncho made out of Lion Brand Trellis on big honking needles. Garter stitch for four feet. I think my rationale was that I was going to work on my thesis over the break. Clearly I was an idiot, because I didn't. I should have brought the yarn and DPNs.

Even though I've been back at school for a few days, I haven't had the time to look for them. In some fit of organization which apparently only lasted five minutes, I'd put them away somewhere -- away from the other 18 places I keep my stash. Kind of hard to make socks if you can't find the ingredients.

Of course, they ended up being right behind me, literally. I found them in the file cabinet behind my desk chair. They were within fiber-inhaling distance all along.

So I started them last night. I even did something Very Important And Rare.

I swatched.

Since I've basically made rectangular items and items that don't mind if you don't swatch (seriously, if I can't get one tiny stuffed heart out of 158 yards of Lion Brand Wool, I shouldn't be a knitter), I have never actually swatched before. I didn't want to swatch, but both the Yarn Harlot and Ann Budd gently dissuaded me. Okay, maybe the Yarn Harlot was a little more hyper about it, but I swatched. I swatched and it was Okay.

(Just because I swatched doesn't mean I swatched four inches of stockinette like Ann Budd suggested. Ann, so far I like you, but I don't like you that much.)

I found out that I got 6 stitches to the inch, a stitch above what the yarn suggested. Apparently I don't knit as loosely in the round. But whatever, because Ann had a pattern for it. I dutifully measured my foot and promptly couldn't figure out whether I should make the child large or adult small. I went for the small, but with my luck this sock will fit on Bigfoot when I'm done with it, so oh well.

I will say that Ann's visual directions for the cast-ons (Long-tail and Old Norwegian) weren't too helpful. In fact, I went to several other websites. The one on Knitty helped, but then I couldn't replicate it. So I found the one from KnittingHelp on YouTube.

Success! I began casting on my 48 stitches and started working in K2P2 ribbing.

Which was all fine and dandy, until I realized somehow I'd managed to tangle the yarn around a needle, and it was now a closed tube. Since I'd already made a yarn ball, it wasn't going to fit through a bunch of tiny DPNs to untangle itself. I tried, though. I tore out feet of yarn from both directions. I don't know why I did it, but really I do. I didn't want to frog. It had taken me this long to get it started, and I didn't want to frog.

But I did frog, and rewound the entire darn ball of yarn. I even began to cast on again, but by then it was like, two in the morning and I knew that I would stay up until I'd done five inches of ribbing and that's a bad idea when you have school in the morning.

In the meantime, I've lost my stitch marker. Oh well. You know, I think "oh well" is going to be my motto here. I have hairbands. I don't have a lot of hair. Hairbands can be stitch markers, damnit.

While I have an hour where I'm proctoring an exam later, I'm not going to bring the sock. The sock is not conducive to making sure people don't cheat. Besides, I still need to work on that thesis.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well! My very own knitting blog. How weird. I really like reading knitting blogs, and since I knit and blog, I guess it only made sense to blog about knitting. Or maybe it didn't, but everyone has one, so nyah.

You'll have to forgive me since I haven't had a public blog in a good few years. I'll probably be sarcastic, snarky, somewhat amusing and/or boring. Maybe all at the same time; we'll see.

A bit of backstory: I taught myself to knit as a freshman in college in late 2004. I ended up buying some things off a friend who was not returning to school and part of that ended up being a basket full of unlabeled acrylic yarn and some Boye straight needles. I didn't know how to knit, so I looked to the Internet.

Keep in mind this was before YouTube, so I didn't watch videos. I looked at pictures and read. It was arduous and frustrating, but eventually I figured it out. I can't remember if I ripped out the first thing I ever really knit, but since I can't find it in my closet where the knitting lives, I can only assume it went to the frog pond. I went out and bought a pair of Clover bamboo needles (size big -- 10s, maybe?) and made my first scarf. Garter stitch. Acrylic. Crappy. Seriously, I don't wear that. It acts as an (ineffective) draft blocker sometimes.

I don't have a picture of the scarf, but I think knitting blogs are much more fun with pictures, so I'll try to post at least one an entry. After that scarf, I decided to knit myself a hat. I found a free pattern online, taught myself how to decrease, and somehow managed to produce something that fit my head without so much as a single swatch made. Believe me, I can't figure it out either.

While the hat is made out of the same acrylic yarn as the scarf, I wear it much more frequently. It's not the best hat ever, but I'm darned proud of it. The second hat I made was not so successful. I haven't made a hat since. In fact, that hat might be the most complicated thing I've ever made. Four years later, that's probably pretty sad. Then again, I stopped knitting for a few years in there, so maybe it's not so sad.

Anyway, I promised a picture, and you've all been good readers and stuck with me this long, so here's a picture of said hat:


Yeah, so maybe it stretches a little, but whatever. I love it, and that's really all that matters.

Thanks for tuning in, kids. I have a lot of old projects and stories that I'd like to share, so keep an eye out for more pictures and updates. Until then, this is Nitzie, signing off.