Mistakes Upon Errors Wrapped in Failure, Yet Still a Nice Pair of Socks!

If there is a master list somewhere of mistakes one could make when knitting colorwork socks, I am sure I could check off every item with just this one pair of socks!

Well, actually, with the second sock in this pair, because the first one is perfect! Gorgeous! Amazing! But I made the mistake of knitting the first and then taking a long break from them until I forgot how to knit it, and then tried to make the second just like the first. Which I guess isn’t really a problem if a knitter follows her pattern. But I don’t. Which still wouldn’t be a problem if said knitter took good notes on the changes she made to the first sock so that she could make the same changes on the second. Which I didn’t. In fact, on my Ravelry page for these socks I wrote of the first sock (and I quote)

“I really hate when patterns dictate how many needles you must use by giving instructions per needle instead of per row. Grrrrrr. So I don’t know if I did the gusset as written or not. I worked it logically like any other sock. It looks right. Whatever.”

As if that was going to help me with the second sock at all. I might have been okay if I had gotten right on that second sock and knit it while the first was still fresh in my mind. But I didn’t. Christmas knitting, and contest knitting, and spinning, spinning, spinning, and before I knew it, the sock had sunk to the bottom of the project bag and started gathering dust. Poor sock.

When I did finally dig out this much deserving project, I approached it with all the excitement one usually approaches a second sock. Which is to say none at all. And then I proceeded to make every mistake I could possibly make.

No, that’s not quite right. The leg went fine, as did the heel flap. And then it began. That gusset may look fabulous, but it is an evil I shall not embrace again. I’m sure it is fine if you follow the pattern, mind you. But you remember that I didn’t follow the pattern. don’t tell me which needle to use for which stitches. Give me the whole row and I will figure out how I want to arrange my needles, thank you very much.

So I knit the gusset. Oh, and I should mention that this first attempt was made in the home of a dear friend over coffee and good conversation. This means that I was not fully paying attention to the gusset. I had already done one, right? How hard could it be?

That gusset was awful. I ripped it and started again. But this time I was watching Sherlock (the episode where he dies and I cried because Martin Freeman is such a good actor that even though I know there is another season and Sherlock can’t possibly really be dead, I cried right along with poor John Watson). This means that I wasn’t paying attention. Again. I’m a slow learner.

But at this point I didn’t care. I just fudged some decreases and made it happen. I was done with this sock long before the knitting was finished.

I proceeded to knit… From the wrong chart, continuously mixing up my dominate yarn (it changes across the row – sometimes the CC is dominate, sometimes the MC), missing various color changes and not going back to fix them, and generally just trying to get it over with until I came to the toe. And then I knit the toe.

It really is a shame that I messed up the second sock so epically. This yarn is really nice. I mean, it’s really nice. It’s roll in a pile naked nice, sleep with it under your pillow nice. It’s the kind of yarn one hoards and can never find the perfect pattern for. Both colors are Dream in Color Smooshy, but the contrasting color is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, and boy! does that cashmere make a huge difference. Delicious.

There is a bright side to this tragic tale. And actually, the bright side is enough to blind me to the pathetic knitting catastrophe that these socks became.

Firstly, look at them.

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I can see the errors, but only if I look. Otherwise they are just lovely.

Plus, they are a wonderful kind of squishy coziness that makes my feet very, very happy.

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And, there is so much yarn leftover, that I can make another pair (using a different pattern, of course). I could probably even make a pair out of just the Cashmere.

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So, mistakes upon errors wrapped in failure, yet still a nice pair of socks. I can live with that. So can my happy toesies!

A Slippery Slope

It all started innocent enough. I was sitting here in my cold house sipping my early morning coffee and wishing I had a cosy hand knit sweater to wear. *

Then my mind started perusing the stash and I remembered that I have a sweater quantity of Dream in Color Classy that I purchased for such a thing. It is in the colorway “Black Parade”, a very pleasing black with hints of deep purple, dark blue, and deep dark green.

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Hmmm. What sweater should I turn that pile of happiness into? I wondered. I got out my iPad and logged on to Ravelry.

Fast forward a few minutes and you will see that I had moved on to striped sweaters. I also have a sweater quantity of the same yarn in “Callous Pink”, a gorgeous greyish purply pink. I could make a nice long sweater with extra long sleeves and wrap around fronts if I used the two colors together.

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But, as I usually do, I quickly turned from my search for stripes and began perusing colorwork patterns. Naturally, none of the colorwork patterns that I liked used less than four colors.

And that is how I ended up placing an order at Eat.Sleep.Knit for three different colors of Dream In Color Classy this weekend.

And I still don’t know what sweater I’m going to make!

* I know what you’re thinking. “Hey! Don’t you have lots of handkmit sweaters? Don’t you make sweaters for yourself all the time?” Well, yes, I guess I do. But I tend to make sweaters that are pretty, not cosy. What I am talking about here is a big, cosy, sweater that you may never even wear out of the house. Maybe it is ugly. Or unflattering. But it is the favorite thing to wear because it wraps the wearer in sweet bliss. That kind of sweater. I don’t have one of those yet.

The Falkland’s Will

I asked the wool what it wanted to be.
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It answered back, “Beautiful”

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I was happy to oblige.

So often I take a braid of fiber and I form it into what I want it to be. This time, I let it do what it wanted, taking me out of my comfort zone, yet soothing and easy at the same time. This braid of Falkland from Friends in Fiber spun up into such a gorgeous single that I knew it didn’t want to be plied. So I fulled it and snapped it and hung it to dry, then anxiously awaited the finished object. 

It did not disappoint. This lovely yarn is going to a dear friend and I cannot wait to see what she makes with it. Maybe it will tell her what it wants to be.

Ta-Da!

Are you ready for the big reveal? (drumroll, please)IMGP4491

Ta-DA!

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A sunny Tessa Ann Button matches perfectly. I sewed it to a toggle button so that I can move it around or take it off when I want to wear the sweater open. IMGP4503

I found the perfect orange ribbon to cover up the steek edge. IMGP4504

I designed the color work chart to make the best use of the yarn, “Selah Deconstructed” set from Mosaic Moon.

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Happy sweater makes me happy!

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Ravelry project page here.

Mosaic Moon Mini Set Contest here.

Rushing It

Carried by the high my first steek afforded me, I blithely picked up stitches along the neckband of my colorwork sweater.

As I sat and chatted with my in-laws during their week-long visit from Ohio, I worked away at it.

Watching Muppet movies with my kids, I worked away at it.

Drinking coffee and staying up late, I worked on it.

And then I bound off. It was done.

It looked awful.

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I knew all along that I was rushing it.

I picked up 2 stitches out of 3. It really needs 3 out of 4.

I knit a 2×2 rib, but to match the hem and the cuffs, I should have done 1×1 rib.

I was relaxed and happy, so the stitches are relaxed and happy, too.

The end result is an awesome sweater with a sloppy, poorly sized, pathetically executed button band.

I don’t have much time left if I am going to enter this sweater in the Mosaic Moon Mini Skien Contest, so I skipped the pouting, knitting something else, procrastinating, and whining phase of frogging and got right to it.

I will be glad to have it done right. I will be happy that I frogged it. I will like the look of a more dense 1×1 ribbing that actually fits the sweater. I will be proud to wear it when it looks good.

But today I am a little pouty and a little whiney as I pick up all of those stitches again. Today I am wondering if I can finish it in time to block it and photograph it for the contest. Today I am a little irritated with myself.

I guess that is what I get for rushing it.

The Steek

My heart was pounding in my chest. My palms were sweating. I could barely breathe.

Carefully, I double checked the blue lines of thread that ran up the front of my colorful knitting.

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Taking the scissors in my hand and inhaling a deep, steadying breath, I put the steel to the wool.

And then I cut it.

I think I might have started to black out a little, so I paused and waited for my sight to return.

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Seeing the shiny silver scissors eating up my knitting made me a little nauseous, but I carried on and cut up the entire length of my sweater.

My hand was shaking as I set the scissors down next to my carefully constructed knitting. I stepped back and leaned against the china cabinet for a moment.

Then I looked at my work and I was happy.

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My first steek was a success!

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She is SO Predictable

My inner knitter is doing it again. She is so predictable. You see, I had the audacity to plan out my knitting for the next couple of months. I have made a list, I have checked it twice. Christmas is coming and it is deadline time once again. I told my inner knitter that she has to buckle down and get some things accomplished. She was happy at first, to have such a pretty list of knitting to do. Inspiration was flowing and the yarn went on the needles in a happy fashion. It was hard to not knit all the things! This list was inspiring! This list was exciting! This list was totally doable!

Fast forward to today, however, and my list has made a mysterious change. My once alluring siren has now morphed into a harsh task master – whipping my conscience for not completing projects in a timely manner, shaming me for desiring a smidge of inspiration, and shackling my creativity with a sense of obligation.

My inner knitter yearns to be free from her list of must-knits, but knows that she will be so satisfied if she could only see it through. She slogs through knitting projects that long ago lost all of their cast-on excitement, and she dutifully works to complete what she started with great determination and resilience.

But she also dreams of the day when she can cast on some frivolous knit with no deadline and no anxious little person endlessly asking, “Mama, is my ______ done, yet?” and no Christmas tree to mock her.

And so, oftentimes when I sit down to knit, I will find myself on Ravelry, surfing through everyone else inspiration, living vicariously through the creative expression of other people. I will waste the entire window of knitting time poking around on other peoples’ project pages and adding more patterns to my queue.

The irony is that my queue is full of the things that I found the last time this list tortured me so. And some of the things that I am knitting now came from that wandering eye when I was trying to avoid some “must-do” knitting of the past.

It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. Vicious. And my inner knitter never strays from the merry-go-round. Make list. Cast on. Knit. Get bored. Surf Rav. Make new list. And on and on it goes.

This actually reminds me of my stash. Oh, inner knitter! You have gobs of gorgeous yarn! Pounds upon pounds of heavenly fiber! Why do you continue to haunt etsy? and Eat.Sleep.Knit? and swap groups? Use the amazing stash that you have, already!

My inner knitter is so predictable!

Dirty, Rotten, No Good, Lying Piece of Swatch!

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Swatches lie. Big time. I only swatch when it is absolutely necessary, and this time it was absolutely necessary. I made a great swatch. A beautiful swatch. A swatch to base an entire sweater pattern upon. Behold, the gorgeous swatch! … Continue reading