Mt Rushmore Knitting

Last week, when I was talking about my love of Hermione’s Everyday Socks, I mentioned that they were probably on my Mt. Rushmore of knitting.

I’m not sure why, but that phrase got stuck in my head and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

And this happened (I’m not great at Photoshop, but it is fun):(I think Roosevelt looks particularly fetching in his PussyHat.)

What patterns (besides the Hermione socks) are really on my Mt. Rushmore?

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket is definitely up there.  I love how it’s constructed- it’s so clever and interesting.  And, it’s perfect for using up all my leftover sock yarn!If we’re going by sheer number of times I’ve worked a pattern, the Mother Bear teddy bears have got to be up there.  They’re simple, quick (ish), and are for a great cause.And, it feels a little weird to put this on here, since it’s my own pattern, but I flipping love my Socks By the Numbers pattern (though I should probably look it over again… it’s been years since I actually read it, and I’m sure it’s full of typos).  I love this simple technique for making perfectly-fitting socks in any size.  I’ve made dozens and dozens of socks using this system, and it makes me happy every time.I know you’ve got all-time favorite patterns, too.  Are they perfectly-written, interesting patterns?  Or some simple pattern you’ve knit dozens of times?

Treasure

Ssh…

I’m going to let you in on a secret!

In the corner of my studio, behind a small bookshelf (that is currently holding a half-dozen half finished projects instead of books), there is a small wooden chest.If you pull that chest out, and open it up, you’ll find something amazing.All the homeless projects I’ve made over the years!I’ve got prototypes, and one-off projects.  Socks  that turned out too small or to big.  Hats that are too warm for Seattle.  I’ve got scarves that I really wanted to knit, but don’t really want to wear and more dishcloths than I could ever use.

(I’d show you everything, but I know I have friends and family who read this blog and might just receive some of these items as gifts in the future…and I’d like to preserve the surprise at least a little bit.)

I don’t usually think about what I’ve got stashed in my secret chest, but it is satisfying to open it up from time to time to see the result of all my hard work.  And, it’s particularly handy when I get invited to a baby shower/birthday party/whatever at the last minute- I can pull out a pair of socks I knit in 2012 and look like I did a heck of a lot more planning than I really did.

Do you have a finished object stash?  Or, is this a symptom of my hoarding tendencies?

Christmas (in July) Balls

I’ve been knitting up a storm lately- but unfortunately (or, if you look at it another way, fortunately) it’s mostly been “work knitting.”  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thrilled that I can count myself as a “professional knitter,” but sometimes I long for the day when I could just knit whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without deadlines or due dates.

(Woe is me, right?)

I’m crazy busy, but whenever I have a few minutes free, I’ve been slowly chugging away, working on a project just for me.  It’s fun, it’s straightforward, and it doesn’t require me to do any math! Woo!

Since I got Arne & Carlos’ book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, I’ve dreamed of a Christmas tree covered in their adorable red and white ornaments.

I bought a big bag of red and white yarn in January, and I’ve slowly been making my way through the book.So far, I’ve completely finished 3 balls, stuffed 6 more, and have one freshly off my needles.

They’re quick little projects- it takes me an evening to knit up a ball (not including finishing).  And, its great to be able to just follow a pattern, knowing that it’ll turn out great.

Have you been working on any “just for fun” projects lately?

Pattern Spotlight: Hermione’s Everyday Socks

Sometimes you find a perfect pattern, and all you want to do is to keep making it over and over.  Sometimes it’s a perfect in its complexity and detail.  Sometimes it’s perfect in its simplicity.

Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder is one of those patterns.I’ve made socks every which way- plain stockinette, lace and cables, toe-up and top-down.  But I think Hermione’s Everyday Socks are on my Mount Rushmore of knitting patter designs. They’re simple, but interesting.  They’re easy but don’t not boring.  They’re sturdy, but not bulky.  And they’re truly unisex (in fact, my husband claimed my first pair of Hermione’s socks that I made… It was a sad day, but it did give me an excuse to make a second pair).I’ve been playing with the simple construction and knit/purl texture with some of my more recent socks- adding stripes, or changing the frequency of the purl bumps.  I’ve worked them top down and toe up, with a variety of toes and heels.  It’s amazing how many different variations you can make from such a solid starting-point. If you’re looking for a perfect-sock-for-everyone, you couldn’t do much better than Hermione’s Everyday Socks.

It’s in the bag

I’m flying through socks right now.  I’ve got two separate socks from two distinct pairs on my needles right this second.  I’ve even started a new pair of socks without finishing the first pair… something I never do.  It’s like I’ve been bitten by some sort of sock bug.  I’ve contracted a terrible case of sock-fluenza.  I’ve been stricken with sock-itis.

It’s a problem. (Not really.)

Because of my sock-itosis, I’ve been schlepping my sock bag around a lot, and I thought I’d give you a tour of what I carry with me when I’m on a sock binge.I’ve got a handful of sock bags, but I think this one might be my favorite.  It’s tough- I sewed it out of poplin and scraps of cute green quilting cotton.  It’s nice and roomy, but still compact enough to fit in my purse.  And, it’s got a nice big zipper to keep my knitting safe and sound as I schlep it around town.

Open it up, and all this fits inside!  Two big skeins of yarn, a half-finished sock (plus needles) and my trusty notions kit full to bursting with scissors, tapestry needles and stitch markers.

(OK, if I’m being honest, my bag also contains this Snickers wrapper from when I got real hungry at work last week and had to stop for a candy bar.  I’m a grown up, so I can eat candy when I want.)It’s not terribly exciting-there isn’t anything super surprising in my bag, but it still is pretty satisfying to know that I can keep a whole project with me at all times.

Ollie thought it was cool, too.Do you carry a knitting bag?  What’s in yours?

Well, I done goofed.

I’m on a bit of a sock kick lately.  I love making socks.  They’re fun, easy(ish), and they fit in my purse.  Plus, I love nothing more than slipping on a pair of brand-new pair of socks- they’re one of the best things in life.

I’ve been trying a few new techniques, and came up with this adorable sock:Picot edge, eyelets, and cute purple details.  What could be wrong with that?

Well…

Apparently something went wrong, because, hoo boy!  This is the tiniest sock ever!(Sure, I’ve got great big feet, but still!)  I don’t know what happened!  I’ve made dozens of socks, maybe even hundreds.  I’ve never had a sock come out this little before!  I must have spaced when casting on…  Oh well…

So, do I rip out the sock and try again, or do I make a second small sock to match and find someone with little feet?

What to do, what to do?

Have you ever goofed on a pattern you’ve made a bunch of times.

Inspiration: Jughead

So, this is a post I never expected to be writing.

It’s a little embarrassing, talking about the dumb TV shows I watch.  Stuff that I only watch when nobody else is around.  I’d love for you guys to think of me as someone with impeccable taste, who only takes in thoughtful feminist TV shows and interesting foreign indie films. (Then I remember I wrote about the Bachelor last season, so I guess the “I watch only good TV” ship has sailed.)

Anyway, Riverdale has shown up on my Netflix, and instead of re-watching Parks and Rec for the umpteenth time, I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s… not good. But dang, if it isn’t compelling.

So far (and I’m only 2 episodes in, mind you), there’s murder, catty cheerleaders, a love triangle, a secret affair, and gorgeous 20-something actors pretending to bee teenagers.

It’s a lot.

Now, I never read Archie Comics growing up, so I could be wrong.  Maybe all this stuff is in the comic books.  But, my impression is that someone thought, “Hey, people liked Archie Comics back in the day.  But, these days everyone wants a dark and gritty reboot.  I know!  A dark and gritty Archie reboot! It can’t fail! It’ll be ratings gold!”

Like I said, it’s not “good” TV, but it’s certainly entertaining.

Anyway, the reason I’ve brought it up here is that Jughead wears a knit cap!I always thought his hat in the comics was a little weird (or at least what I saw of it when I was a kid while waiting in line to buy groceries with my mom) .  Was it a crown?  Was it a hat?  Why did he wear it?  Why didn’t his friends call him out on wearing a weird crown/hat?  Did they call him out on it, but he ignored their advice and kept wearing it?  Where did the design come from in the first place?  I had a lot of questions as a kid.

Anyway, the costume director for the show did a good job making a goofy-looking crown hat look kind of cool. (I even kind of want one now.)

And, it looks like a bunch of knitters seem to have had the same thought!  (If you search on Ravelry for “Jughead” almost a dozen patterns show up.)

There are hats with slightly more subtle crowns:

Jughead hat 7 points by Karen KopperThere are hats knit in worsted wool:

Jughead’s Hat by Alecia SoloveoffThere are even crocheted hats:

Jughead Hat Crochet Pattern by Roxie McCaraWould you wear a Jughead hat?

But, for real though, why is this a hat?  Do you guys know where the design comes from?  I want to know, but I don’t really want to do any research.

Snips and Scraps

I’ve been making a lot of socks lately, which means I’ve been ending up with a lot of little balls of scrap yarn.   You know, the 10 or 20 grams of sock yarn that’s left over after you’ve finished your socks.  It’s not enough to make another pair (or anything else really), but it’s enough that you can’t bear to throw it away. When I have leftover bits of worsted yarn, they go into my Mother Bear stash, but when it’s sock yarn… I just kind of hold onto it “just in case.”

So, let’s take a look at some gorgeous pattern ideas about what to do with those last little bits of sock yarn.

I love this simple blanket- it’s nothing more complicated than a mitered stockinette square, but the combination of all those sumptuous colors of leftover sock yarn… gorgeous!

Giant Square Scrap Blanket by Laura PetersOf course, this quilt is the new standard “using up all my lovely bits of yarn” pattern.  I’ve seen lots of knitters making the little hexipuffs, but I’ve never actually seen a finished one in person.  Maybe that’s a sign that I need to make one for myself. (Or maybe it’s a warning that if I start it, I’ll never finish it.  It could go either way, really.)

the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits

I really love this blanket, too.  I love the seashell pattern, and the fact that it’s all knit in a single piece- no seaming!  I imagine the short rows might get a bit tiring after a while, but the finished product is so pretty, they might be worth it.

Seashell Scrap Yarn Blanket by Charan Sachar

What do you do with your scrap yarn?  Do you have a go-to scrap yarn project?

Heel vs. Heel

Two heels enter, one heel leaves.

Dun, dun, duuuuun!

(OK, both heels leave, because I could never throw away knit socks- just take a peek into my sock drawer… about 1/3 of my hand-knits are ancient and full of holes, but I refuse to throw them away!  I worked hard on them, dang it!)

It’s been a while since I’ve switched up my sock game.  I’m a fan of a top-down, turned-heel sock.  I make my socks the same way almost every time, switching out the textures but keeping the construction the same.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my socks, or anyone else’s, for that matter.  There’s about as many ways to make socks as there are knitters.  I just happen to like making socks a certain way.

However, I decided to go crazy with my green socks, and go toe up!  And I decided to make a mitered heel!  Shocking! I know.

I love how they’re turning out- the toe was fun to do, and the mitered heel was so much simpler than my usual heel.

But look! See how much narrower the green sock is than the striped one?

I used the same kind of yarn, with literally the same needles.  Of course, the sock on the left has already been blocked, the the sock on the right is going to be a little narrower because of the cables.  But holy cow! I forgot how much narrower socks are without the nice gusset to accommodate the heel.

I haven’t been able to try the green sock on yet (I don’t want to lose all my stitches from off the end of my needles)… I hope it fits.

(If it doesn’t- someone with smaller feet than mine will be getting a pretty nice Christmas present.)

Do you ever try getting out of your knitting comfort zone?  What do you usually do?  What do you do to mix it up?

Little Green Socks

OK, if we’re being honest, there’s nothing little about any socks that I make for myself.  I’ve got great big feet- the better to stop me from falling over.  (Oh, if only that were true… I’m such a klutz!)

But, these socks are coming along great!

I decided that I wanted to have tiny mirror-image cables running up the sides of the legs like this:  And at first, I thought that was all I wanted.

But you know me- never leaving well enough alone.  If there’s a way to embellish.  I’ll find it, and sew sequins to it.

So I decided to take one of those cables and run it down the top of the foot, too.  (I actually had to rip back a little bit when I decided to change it, which I think was worth it.)

Right?!  I love how this sock is turning out! The color- the tiny cables, the excitement of making them toe-up! (Yes, I’m a dork.)

I can’t wait for the other one to be done (and the weather to cool off again) so I can wear them around!

Are you working on any project that’s gotten you excited lately?