I’ve been neglecting my blog terribly! I’m sorry! December tends to be a busy month here as it is for many other households. I cannot, however, in good conscience put all the blame on December. The biggest culprits have been my knitting needles, which have been mostly dormant for the past few years, but are now waking up again. Yes, I’ve gotten back into my fibery pursuits! All my activities seem to run in cycles, which is why I never get rid of craft supplies, even for things I haven’t done in years. I know (through experience!) that some day I’ll get an urge to do that particular craft again, and everything will come back out!
I’m getting to know my knitting habits better as years go by. In fact, my knitting and handspinning preferences are quite well matched! I prefer to spin fine yarns. I know a lot of spinners complain about not being able to produce that irregular “beginner’s” yarn after they master consistent spinning – I am not one of them! I have come to realize that no matter how quickly chunky yarns knit up, I just don’t like the look. I also know that I will never have the patience to knit an adult-size sweater, especially in the finer yarns I prefer, so I don’t even try anymore. I really love socks! Now that I’ve discovered how to knit both socks at once I no longer suffer from Second Sock Syndrome and I find that socks are the perfect portable project, and because they can be finished so quickly I get a much greater sense of accomplishment.
I have discovered that while I love color, I do not like doing colorwork in knitting. I generally knit continental-style, but can also do English style, so fair-aisle is pretty easy (one color in each hand) – I just hate weaving all the extra ends in! I find the need to stop and start the different colors to be a distraction – it messes with my “rhythm” while I’m knitting. I have therefore turned to texture as my preferred design element. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of monochrome variegated yarns, many specifically meant for socks. These are great for textured knitting patterns because the subtle variations in color add visual depth and interest but do not compete with the texture. I cannot justify spending money on yarn when I have several pounds of wool in my house waiting to be spun. Fortunately I also have dyes! Sometime in January I will be dyeing sock yarn!
I have discovered Cookie A.’s sock patterns, and am impatiently waiting for my birthday in February when I’ll be able to afford a copy of her book, Sock Innovations. Fortunately she also has a number of patterns available for free at Knitty.com, so I will have plenty of projects to keep me busy until then. The photo here is her Clandestine pattern, adapted to be knee socks by starting with a slightly larger needle and adding four pattern repeats for length. Because her socks tend to have slightly different instructions for the right and left foot, I decided not to do both socks at once until I was used to how she works. This is the finished right sock- I started the left sock yesterday.
I have discovered that I was not the only person getting frustrated with trying to knit fine yarns with blunt-tipped needles! I love my Addi circs, but what was meant to be a plus (smooth round tips that won’t split yarn) is a real PITA when you’re using size 1 needles with fingering or lace weight yarn. I think this frustration is one of the reasons I had put knitting aside for a while. All the various decreases in texture knitting required several tries before I could get those nice round tips under my tiny yarns! I went looking for sharper tips, and found that KnitPicks had gotten good reviews on all my required points (small needles, sharp tips, smooth joins between needle and cable), so I ordered several pairs (2,1,1-,0) just before Christmas and am impatiently waiting their arrival. I’m dealing with the Addi’s until then, but I know these socks will be so much easier once I have sharper needles!
Finally, I have discovered Ravelry! This is Social Networking for fiber people. No matter what you’re interested in there’s probably a Ravelry group for it, and if there isn’t you can make one! I haven’t really started participating in the discussions yet because there’s so much still to read and look at, and I always prefer to take the temperature of an online group before I start posting. I’m going to try not to get sucked too far into it – after all, I already have enough on my plate with these socks!