Socks and More

Okay, updates! Once again, been a bit of a while. I had a great January and start to February. J and I took a grown-ups only trip to Los Angeles, which was a ton of fun. It was meant to be a bit of a pre-baby-moon, as they say, and I’m glad we did it. We drove all over the city in a tiny rented Fiat and even saw a few celebrities. I knit my first toe-up socks, with this extremely satisfying toe-up cast-on method. The pattern is Cat Bordhi’s Pussy Willow Stockings from my book Sock Master Class.

Pussy Willow Socks

Then, about 2 weeks ago, after a wonderful shopping trip at the Lego Store, my water broke, around one of the two little twins. I won’t go into the gory details, but it was a slow trickle and took awhile to diagnose, but eventually the doctors were able to confirm it by ultrasound. This kind of preterm, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is obviously a potentially big problem at this stage of pregnancy (21 weeks when it happened, 23 weeks now). But there’s not much you can actually do about it except sit and wait and see what happens. So I’m sitting (actually lying down) and waiting and seeing. And attending frequent doctor’s appointments. And resting, and waiting.

My Grandmother’s Knitting

My sewing machine is in the shop for a week and wasn’t working for several days before that. I took it apart when a needle got jammed inside and somehow it didn’t get back together quite perfectly… err. I feel sort of naked without it, especially as I have a corduroy Sunday Brunch jacket all cut out and ready to sew, and a pajama pattern coming the mail, and we are moving in a month and I don’t know where to and in all likelihood we will living temporarily in a furnished rental where they may be no room for craft supplies. I am not stressed. I am not stressed. I am not stressed.

Since my own sewing is at a bit of a standstill, I thought I’d share this bit of knitting done by grandmother thirty-some years ago for my younger brother. Isn’t it darling with the little ducks? It is being worn again by my brother’s young son and suits him very nicely.

ducky sweater

Botanical Socks

There’s something very satisfying about making socks, even though they take quite a while. You work work work on the cuff, and then the heel goes in a snap, and suddenly you’re at the foot and the toe and they’re done! There’s quite a bit of technique – picking up stitches, turning, and making that satisfying heel.

Lacy Socks

This pattern is Almondine, and is from a book I grabbed called Sock Master Class. There’s even a DVD in the book, though I haven’t watched it yet. You wouldn’t believe how many books there are devoted to socks out there.

These were cuff-down, so the principles were mostly the same as the Churchmouse Socks I made earlier. I never did memorize the lace pattern although the book claims it’s simple and easily memorized – probably haven’t knitted enough to “understand” the pattern. That meant lugging the book around when I knit. I also made them on size 4 needles because I was travelling and only had 4s. I should have made them on smaller ones, but the gauge actually wasn’t far off. Still, they may have looked neater on 2s. I made them from Sweet Georgia Sock Yarn in “Botanical” Colourway and I liked the yarn a lot.

Almondine

I intended to make them for myself but then my mother hinted she would love a pair of woolly socks, so I plan to give them to her. I noticed recently on a weekend away that she still does that whole bathrobe and fuzzy sock thing in the morning, so I know she will wear them… unlike my dear husband, whose knit socks haven’t seen the light of day in weeks. To be fair it is summer, but it gets pretty cool at night. Ah well the pleasure is in making them.

House

We sold our house! That has been eating much crafting time, as time I’d usually be at the machine is spent poring over housing listings. It’s a little disconcerting to sell before you buy. We’ve never done that in the past – we’ve always known exactly where we were going. But now we’re on somewhat of a deadline to find something new, and that can be stressful.

But it does allow for a lot of dreaming about what will come next, which is always nice.

On the knitting front, I cast on the Levinwick pattern recently and am about a third through that. I keep meaning to knit stuff for the kids, but I just keep making things for me. I’ve also had the Wiksten tulip skirt cut out for ages, but haven’t started sewing it yet.

I need to make a list for fall of the back to school clothing the kids will need… that will motivate me a bit to get back to the machine.

Knitting Catch-Up and Father’s Day Socks

I’ve been really into knitting these days. I know it’s a little weird – who takes up knitting as you approach summer? But I can make significant progress on my bus ride home.  It’s social too – no whir of the machine growing out conversation.  Lately, I’ve even been knitting while I sing my kids lullabies… of course when I drop a stitch I start to hum, and P has to remind me of the words.  Sewing can, of course, be social too, but there’s something about just knitting for 5 minutes here and there that makes it very appealing.

I have knit before, but I’ve knit more in the last month than I have in years.  Knitting has changed a bit, with the availability of gourmet yarn, and the fact that everyone is knitting on circulars now. Sewaholic features some beautiful knitted garments on her site, which were inspiring too, and she has a great post on how knitting can improve your sewing.

I have a few projects going on right now – socks for J and a short-sleeved summer sweater for me, and I have even more on my agenda. So far I have only finished one item – Joelle Hoverson’s Placket Sweater from her book Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. It took me several weeks, from about mid-April until the start of June to finish it, but I find things are going much more quickly now. It was a bit of a challenging sweater to start with and I relied on many youtube videos… Only one major issue cropped up, which was that the underarms were a wee bit holy even after I joined them as per the pattern, so I sewed them up with some yarn. But at least that part of the sweater is not visible. If I were to do it again, I’d just pick up an extra stitch at each end and the join to avoid the holes, but I only learned that technique after finishing the sweater. Also, I was definitely doing some weird knitting – I was corrupted by one of those Youtube videos – gotta be careful with that. So the stitches are kind of weird and wonky, and then get corrected about 2/3 of the way up. I’m taking a sock-making class at my local knit store and she showed us that when picking up stitches for the heel.

My First Sweater!

Here’s my next project – the Purl Bee Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, which looks perfect for a Northwest Summer.

Cap Sleeve Lattice Top in Progress

And of course, just in time for Father’s Day, the Churchmouse Basic Sock.  Poor J gets pretty neglected in the made-by-me category, so here was something to make-up for it.

Socks for J

If any of you are on Ravelry you find me there with username lookingatstars and I’d love to see what you made.

Weekend Round-up

A weekend that goes by without any sewing at all is a sad weekend indeed. I was laid up for 3 days this week with the stomach virus from hell. Have you ever had an illness where you seriously wondered “Could this could kill me? And if it would end this pain, would I be okay with it?” Because that’s where I was at this weekend. Not only too sick to sew, but too sick to knit, which is sick indeed. And then of course I had to work all weekend to make up for the off days. I don’t usually like to use the word “Sigh” as punctuation but… SIGH!

On the bright side, I did start a sock-making class at my local yarn store. When I decided to do my one-year challenge, I said that I wouldn’t make socks and underwear. But then I thought, but how would I make socks if I wanted to? I looked up a pattern in a book and it seems pretty complicated, so when I was pretty excited when I saw this store offered classes… I won’t apologise for what gets me excited these days! If you see me taking an underwear course, you have permission to snicker.

I don’t intend to knit every pair of socks the kids need this year, but I’d like to try and make one each. I’m actually making the socks for J though since I almost never sew for him, and since I needed to give some sort of reason for why I was spending two hours of our anniversary in sock-making. He was a bit underwhelmed at the prospect of socks, but I have no (well, only a few doubts) that once he tries them on he’ll change his mind!

At the class I learned that I have been casting on an entirely unusual way. A friend’s mother showed me how to do it when I was seven, and I’ve been doing it the same way ever since, but what I was doing was a cable cast-on and there’s another way, apparently. I have quite a bit of homework to do for that class, so knitting may take center-stage this week too, although hopefully I will finish my Crescent Skirt soon. That’s my current work-in-progress.

So, I am now over a month into my one-year clothing challenge and am proud to say I have bought nothing for myself or the kids during that time. In that time, I have made M a top, two skirts and a vest. I made P a pair of pants. I’ve made myself two dresses (one work-friendly, one-casual) and a blouse. So despite a weekend without sewing, not too shabby overall. If it seems like P is getting short shrift, it’s party because I want to do some knits for him, and am saving up for a new serger. After years of being relatively indifferent about what he wears, he has decided within the last couple of days that he only wants to wear either a Lightning McQueen tee or a one with a robot on it, so I’m going to have to find some jazzy knit prints to make sure we don’t all lose our minds.

Once I Knit

Do you have lots of unfinished craft projects lying around? I do. I used to knit – I can’t even remember what; mostly hats and stuff for people, none of them particularly good. But I’ve recently started a knitting project – my first in about 5 years, and I thought I should take inventory of what I have. First I found this project, which always fills me with a pang of guilt for its unfinished state:

Unfinished Baby Blanket

I still remember going to the yarn store and picking out all these gender neutral colours for my baby-to-be’s blanket. This is a baby blanket I was knitting for P when I was pregnant 5 (!) years ago. Then I had the baby, and, well, haven’t touched the blanket since. Not sure if I would even remember how to do those cables, although I guess I could figure it out fairly quickly. Still, I don’t have enough yarn to make it more than baby sized, and neither P or M are babies anymore! But it is cozy, and the yarn is quite nice. Maybe I’ll be finished it by the time I have grandchildren.

Then there’s this work-in-progress:

Unfinished Toy

This was going to be a stuffed animal for P’s first birthday. (He’s now four and a half.) Most of it is knit, only needed to do 2 more legs and the trunk (it was to be an elephant) so I’m not sure why I didn’t patch it together, but I can’t even find the instructions anymore. I do like that yarn though – I will find a use for orange stuff someday.

Next stop, unfinished scarf:

Untitled

I don’t even remember when I did this. Like, this may have been from my university days – or at the latest, law school. I don’t even remember seeing it when we moved here. You can’t see in my crappy phone photos (complete with extra foot) but it’s actually a fairly complex checked design, made out of some kind of acrylic wool. The thing is, I kind of think it’s ugly now. But oy, it looks like a lot of work went into it. That’s in the ‘maybe’ pile for now – could be ditched.

And then, whoa! This…
Unused Wool

I swear I must have 10 of these things of this acrylic bumpy yarn. Why on earth I bought so many, I have no idea. Was I planning to knit a tent? I thought about using them up, but I really don’t have much interest in knitting with 100% acrylics anymore. So into the goodwill bag they go.

How about you? What’s lurking in your closet?