Category Archives: FYI

First Sock Syndrome

We’ve all heard of Second Sock Syndrome– that affliction that makes it nigh on impossible to make yourself knit the second sock of a pair.  I admit, sometimes I get a little flare-up of SSS, but it’s something that I try really hard to avoid.

But, I have to admit that I live with a related affliction.  Something just as (if not more) deadly than Second Sock Syndrome, but perhaps a little less common.  I’m here to raise awareness about FSS.  That’s right: First Sock Syndrome, otherwise known as Cuffonly Sockitis.

I realized that I might be having a bout of FSS this weekend when I went to grab a set of my favorite sock needles for a new project (5″ bamboo US2 dpns, if you’re wondering). I have 5 or 6 sets of these needles, so I figured I’d be able to just grab some from the jar on my bookshelf and go on my merry way.  But no!  I couldn’t find a single needle!

It turns out they’re all being used in socks.  And not second socks.  That would be too easy- just a couple hours work to free my needles and finish off a brand-new pair of socks!  Not a single sock in my house is past the heel.  They’re all firmly stuck mid-way down the cuff.IMG_0193I don’t even remember starting this sock.  I think I started it literally before we moved… almost 4 years ago.IMG_0195And this one… I don’t even know what to say. IMG_0198It looks like I started it, got bored with it, put it down, picked it up again, completely forgot what pattern I was working, and just guessed until I got a couple more inches knit.  Look!  You can clearly see where I totally forgot what I was doing.IMG_0202.JPGClearly, I have a problem, and clearly, I’ve got some knitting to do to finish/fix these socks.

Or maybe I’ll just go buy another set of dpns.

Do you ever get FSS?

Swatch Swatch Swatch

It’s finally happened- I’ve used up all my buffer posts.  Sure, I’ve been writing posts this summer from time to time, when I have a minute (or when the baby happens to have a really good nap), but this is the first one I’ve written that’s truly going out in the present!  Which is good, really.  It means that I can just write about what’s on my mind without worrying about the order that my posts are coming out in.

And I’d love to tell you all about what I’ve been doing…

But I can’t.

It’s the eternal knitwear designer/blogger problem.  I’m all excited about my current projects, but I have to keep them under lock and key (or at least off the internet) until they’re published, well into next year.

I gotta say, though, it’s great to be getting back in the designing game.  I took a decent-sized break around when the boy was born, but I’ve slowly been ramping up my freelance work in the last couple months.  It’s great to be able to stretch my brain again in non-nursery-rhyme-related ways.

And while I can’t show you what’s currently on my needles, I can show you what was on my needles.  My swatches.

Swatching gets a bad rap, and I get it.  Sometimes I just want to get on to the project and get knitting.  After all, that’s the whole point of knitting, right?  Making sweaters and socks!

But when I’m designing, I kind of love making swatches.  They’re fun little samples- I think of them like little sketchbook pages, but made with yarn.  IMG_0142

I used to rip out my swatches once I had determined my gauge, so I wouldn’t
“waste” that yarn on the swatch. (I’m nothing if not frugal.) But over the last few years, I’ve been keeping them.  The ones I’m particularly fond of are pinned up on cork boards in my studio, and the rest live, stacked up in my closet.  Sometimes I like to go back through them, to see if there are any ideas in there that I should bring out again.

And recently, I’ve added something to my swatches that I think will come in handy down the line.  On the backs, I’ve been stapling a little tag with the yarn, needle size, and gauge.  So, in theory, the next time I want to make something with Cascade 220 Superwash, I might already have the swatch all finished and ready to go.IMG_0148

Do  you keep your swatches?  What do you do with them?

Rub-a-Dub-Dub

I’m probably the last person in the developed world to make this discovery, but have you guys ever used a lingerie bag for your laundry?

I just got a couple of these bad boys to help with the baby’s clothes (a friend recommended using them to wash baby socks and other stupidly tiny things that you need to wash, but don’t want to lose).  And, it occurred to me that they might be great for washing hand-knits too.The whole idea of lingerie bags is that they protect your dedicates from being over-agitated in the washing machine, keeping them looking like new.  And, since agitation is what makes knitwear felt, this seems like a perfect alternative to hand-washing.

My (and my husband’s) stash of socks is starting to look a little bit ratty and felted.  And, while I knit socks with only super-wash yarn, there’s a limit to how many hundreds of times that you can wear and machine-wash a pair without them starting to get a little worn-out and sad.

It’s past the point of no return for some of my current socks, but I’m going to try using the lingerie bags to wash any new socks from now on.  It’ll be a long experiment, but I think it’ll work out well.  Ask me in a couple of years, and I’ll give you an update!

Do you use lingerie bags for your washing?  Am I an idiot for never using them before?

Socks from Mom

I suppose it’s no surprise that my mom is excited about the upcoming addition to our family (the baby that is currently practicing some bizarre combo of karate and gymnastics in my belly).  My kid is going to be the first grandbaby on both my side of the family and my husband’s, so you know he’s already getting plenty of attention.

My mom’s a knitter, and her excitement is being expressed in a way that I think we can all relate to- she’s knitting up a storm!

And her preferred item to knit for babies is socks.  Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of socks.

She brought the baby a big box of hand-knit socks and booties over Thanksgiving, and sent more for Christmas.  She came to visit a couple weeks ago for the baby shower, and brought along even more socks!  I tell you- this baby’s going to have the toastiest feet in Seattle!

I love all the socks, because, well, hand-knit socks are the best!  but there are a couple pairs that I think are particularly lovely.

These rainbow booties are too cute!  I mean, look at that adorable drawstring!And these teensy blue slippers!  Mom thinks they won’t stay on the baby’s feet, but by God, I’m going to try to keep them on.  I mean- look at those pompoms!These white and blue gradient socks are so lovely, I wish I had a matching pair.And these boots are just gorgeous (though I think the baby will have to grow up a little bit before he can fit into them).  I love the contrasting garter stitch soles- how cozy!My mom’s definitely got some mad sock-making skills, if I say so myself.  And my baby’s definitely  a lucky little dude.

Do you have a go-to baby project?

A Sweater By Any Other Name

I’ve never been great at naming things.  When we adopted our dog, his previous owners had already named him “Ollie,” so we just said, “Sure!  That’s a fine name.  We’ll keep it.”  It’s an known fact among my friends that when I have to name a character for a video game or a D&D campaign, it’s always terrible.  And whenever I put my toe back in the Fiction Writing Pond, I’m never happy with my characters’ names.

Same goes for naming my patterns.  At first, I tried to name my patterns something clever.  Then I tried naming them with practical descriptions.  Then I gave up on that and started just using random girls’ names (which every other designer has already done).  Just try finding a girls name that hasn’t already been used for a piece of knitwear.  I dare you.

Anyway, long story short, I hit upon the idea of naming my designs after places in and around Seattle that I like visiting.  Lucky for me, Seattle has about a million neighborhoods (I’ve lived here since 2010, and I’m still discovering new neighborhoods, there are so many).  And if you start including parks and neighboring towns/cities, well… I could keep designing for years and not run out of names.

You might remember the Ballard Pullover from a few years ago. 

Ballard is a historically Norwegian neighborhood that’s rapidly changing from a cute working-class neighborhood to a super-hipster area, full of bars and resturants.  I love spending a Saturday down in Ballard, hopping from micro-brewery to micro-brewery, with stops for coffee, tapas and board games.  The Carkeek Pullover is another of my favorites.Carkeek Park is a great place for a nice walk with the dog.  It’s got miles of wooded trails (in the middle of the city!), and a nice little beach that looks out on the Puget Sound.  On a clear day you can see the Olympic mountains.  The beach is a great place to look for sea glass, and if you’re really lucky, you might even spot a seal or two playing in the water.My newest sweater is named after a tiny town to the north of Seattle, Snohomish.Snohomish is a really tiny town- it actually reminds me of where I went to high school.  It’s rural and sleepy, but close enough to a big town to not feel 100% like you’re in the country.  It’s nestled in the foothills of the Cascades (gorgeous!).  They have a really great paved hiking/biking trail that I love to visit with my roller skates.  Nothing better than skating down a nicely paved country road on a clear day with the mountains all around!There might be a more logical way to name my sweaters, but at least I have some sort of a method to my madness.

Do you give your projects names?  What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve named?

It’s Time To Call It

You’ve fought a tough battle.  You’ve spent your winter (and probably a good chunk of your fall) working on your Christmas knitting.  It’s now time to rest.

If you’re an amazing go-getter, maybe you’re already done. You can wrap up your gifts, pour yourself a nice glass of eggnog and take a nice Christmas nap, knowing that you’ve completed everything you need to do.

If you’re a human being, you’ve probably got a pile or two of half-finished projects still hanging around.In that case, I’ve got a little poem for you to use on Monday morning, explaining what’s happened.

An Apology

Rudolph has his reindeer

And Santa has his elves.

There’s only one of me, alas

Just knitting by myself.

I tried to get everything done

And bind off all my rows,

But Christmas comes just when it comes

And that’s my source of woe.

I haven’t finished up your scarf.

Your sweater has one sleeve.

I haven’t completed your present

Though it’s late on Christmas Eve.

I beg of you forgiveness.

Let me knit the last few rows.

As soon as your gift is bound off,

I’ll deliver it wrapped with a bow.

And, I’ve made it into a nice, printable format, so you can print it out tonight, wrap it up and give yourself the weekend off.

You can get the printable version here: Christmas Printable 2017

Enjoy your weekend!

Christmas Cheer

It’s almost time!  You’re almost there! You can do it!

You’ve got until Monday morning to finish all your Christmas Knitting!  That’s five whole days!

And, heck, if you don’t make it, it’s no big deal, really.  Christmas will come either way, whether your presents make it or not (isn’t that the moral of How the Grinch Stole Christmas?)  I’m a big believer in doing what you can, then letting go of the rest.    I love a good plan, I love big ideas and lofty goals, but there comes a point in every holiday season when you just have to shrug, and go “good enough.”

BUT WE’RE NOT THERE YET!

Go!  Knit like the wind!  Weave in ends like a champ!  Block like there’s no tomorrow!

You! Have! Got! This!

Ollie believes in you!What are you finishing up this week?  (Or are you being lazy like me, and skipping the Christmas knitting entirely?)

One-Month Warning!

It’s coming!

Get ready!

I hope you’ve already gotten a jump on your knitting.  Because:

You’ve got one month until Christmas!Good luck!

(OK, really you have a month plus one day, but still…)

Knitter’s Block

You guys have all heard of writer’s block, right?  When a writer simply can’t bring themself to keep writing, or maybe they just can’t figure out what to write next.

I propose that I am currently experiencing the knitter’s version of writer’s block.  Knitter’s block.

Since I finished my super secret vampire project, I’ve been kind of at loose ends.  I’ve got a bunch of knitting I should be doing.  And, if I’m being honest, I’ve been working on it a bit.  I’ve added a couple dozen rows to my Papaya Sweater, and I’ve knit up a handful of Christmas Balls over the last couple weeks. I even added a couple inches to my last Mother Bear of the year.

But, I gotta say, I’m not terribly inspired.I’ve been thinking, and right now, it seems I have a couple options:

  1.  Keep plugging away.  Pro: I get to finish the projects I’ve started.  Con: I’m boooooored.
  2. Dig out some other half-finished project and finish it.  Pro: They’ll be finished.  Also, I’ll get back the project bags and needles that have been sequestered (in some cases) for years.  Con: There’s a reason those projects ended up in my pile of hibernating WIPS.
  3. Start a new project.  Pro: New project!  A new excuse to go yarn shopping! Con: What about all the other projects?

Or, I could just continue to ignore the problem, make myself another cup of hot cocoa, and take Ollie on a walk.Options.

What do you do when you get bored with your knitting?

Vogue Knitting: The Damage

Woo!  What a weekend!

(Yes, I know it’s Wednesday.  My weekend went all the way through Monday, which is why I haven’t updated you on Vogue Knitting Live until now.)

The yarn show was amazing.  So much pretty yarn!  So many beautiful sweaters!  So many lovely people!

I visited the Knit Picks Booth and finally got to meet everyone I’ve been working with for the last couple years (we’ve been working via email and hadn’t met face-to-face yet).  And, I’m happy to report that everyone is just as lovely as I hoped.  (Although it was mega-weird for little ol’ introverted me to have people recognize my name, and pull out their WIPs of my projects!)

In fact, I had such a good time on Saturday, that I 100% forgot to take any pictures!  (I’m so bad at social media!)

I did, however drop a good bit of money on yarn, and yarn-adjacent accessories.  (I got mighty close to buying a $75 skein of alpaca, but just managed to control myself- it was just so pretty!)  Unfortunately for you guys, most of my purchases are earmarked to be Christmas gifts, and their recipients read this blog, so you won’t get to see those. (I promise, they’re super cool, though!)

Anyway, here’s my haul:Not too bad, if I say so myself!  (Sorry about the colors- it’s very overcast here (it is Seattle, after all), so I had a hell of a time taking pictures this morning.)  Two amazing skeins of sock yarn and an adorable set of buttons.

I got this skein of Country Yarns Presents Artistry, and when I showed it to my husband, and he said “Oh, it’s your colors.” Apparently my colors are teal, turquoise, blue and violet.  I can’t say he’s wrong.  This picture does not do this yarn justice- in real life it’s bright, vibrant, and very peacock-y.  I’m itching to start making some socks with it.

I’ve actually purchased Hazel Knits Artisan Sock before, and made a really lovely pair of broken rib socks in a beautiful, subtle charcoal/navy color.  I love those socks.

Unfortunately, my husband loves those socks, too.

So, I purchased this skein of electric-purple so I can have my own socks (since my husband won’t (probably) steal them).  We’ll have to see if it works.I forgot the name of the vendor that was selling these buttons- she had hundreds of resin buttons in every color in the rainbow.  Some were shiny, some were glittery, some had tiny flowers embedded inside them.  They were all beautiful.

I couldn’t pass up these little gorgeous guys.  They remind me of gumdrops or tiny hard candies.  I think they’d be fantastic on a little baby sweater, but they might end up on something for me, instead.  For now, they just look great hanging out on my desk.

I am so happy with my purchases, I can’t wait to get knitting with them!  Maybe I should put aside my Papaya Sweater again?  That thing’ll never get done at this rate!

Have you made any especially exciting purchases lately?