As some of you may know, one of my other blogs is Dish and Wash Cloth Mania. While I was sitting here this morning adding links to some of the pages and generally updating the site, I came across this article: Lots of Cloths by Cathy at Wishing I was Knitting at the Lake.
Thank you for writing it.
I read the article a couple of times to take in all that she says. First of all, she offers an interesting variation on an old dishcloth pattern. It sounds like an idea well worth the try. It has been added to my list of “Patterns to Try”.
Secondly, is that she expressed a lot of how I feel about making dishcloths and the arts of Knitting and Crocheting. As a teenager I secretly wanted to be an artist. On the talent end of it I was a bit short to say the least. Because of some eyesight issues, not only do I literally see the world differently than most people, but I do not have some hand/eye co-ordination skills. For me this means that I know what I want to write or draw and how I want it to look, but cannot make it happen on paper or canvas.
This is where my hooks and needles come into play. When I pick them up I can do almost anything I choose. I can change the color of a pattern. The size can be changed either by adding a border, adding or taking away a multiple of stitches, or changing the number or rows made. I can use different stitch combinations than what the original pattern suggests. Did you ever try a garter stitch top instead of a ribbed top on a pair of socks? Did you ever uses a 1×1 rib instead of a 2×2 rib in a pattern? I can also use more than one strand of yarn to make an item. Did you ever take a ‘new to you’ pattern from a stitch dictionary and use it in a scarf or dishcloth? Did you ever combine 100% cotton knitting worsted yarn with #10 crochet thread in a dishcloth? How about crocheting or knitting with large hooks or needles? Have you ever used a yarn other than that called for in a pattern? ( Be especially careful with this one. A gauge swatch could be a life saver with it. ) Have you ever tried making up a stitch pattern? Have you ever made an item using a Cro-Hook or the Tunisian stitch? These are some of the ideas that come to my mind to try.
Hats, scarves, mittens, baby bibs, afghans, doilies, dish and wash cloths and other items become unique creations when these things are done. It is amazing to see a simple scarf pattern look different by using different sizes and colors of yarn. My imagination can and does run wild with ideas. The possibilities are endless. Now all I want is more hours in my life to turn my ideas into reality.
Maybe I really am an artist.
This has been a busy week on the sock knitting front in my house. About a month ago I purchased some Instant Gratification Sock Yarn from Hill Country Yarns. The colorway I chose was Country Carribean. My original plan was to make them on size #7 needles. Thanks to the wise advice received from the Socknitters group at Yahoo, I chose to make a gauge swatch and use much smaller needles. They are now being made on size #2 DPN’s. They were on 2 circular needles for a while so the stitches would not come off the needles while I was recovering for a few hours in the hospital from a test.
The first one was started on Thursday, May 31. Here is a picture of it a couple of hours ago:
This is the fastest I have ever made a sock. It looks a lot neater than the my first pair. The stitches are more even and there is no hole at the start of the gusset. It is also proving to be much easier.
I also finally got the end of the toe woven in on the first pair today.They turned out fine considering the fact that this was my first time making socks. Here are some pictures:
These were made using Trekking Colorway #135. I used size #3 needles for these. The next time around with this yarn I will use smaller needles. The stripes do not match, but that was done on purpose. I wanted to make them without cutting the yarn in between them just to see how they would look. I am happy with them. Now that they have been washed and dried in the dryer, they are soft and comfortable. They are great socks and will be worn with pleasure.
Here is a picture of the completed pair of slipper socks made for my husband:
I used Red Heart Worsted Wt. from my stash. Making them served as extra practice in sock making since they are made from a basic sock pattern on size #7 needles. He has been wearing them happily despite the unmanly color.
The procedure which has been dreaded for the past two weeks was done today. The result is that there are no changes in the disease which affects my body! This is fantastic news!
Thanks to any and all of you who offered prayers on my behalf.
According to the National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease, I am one of 8 million American women living with heart disease in this country. The American Heart Association says it is the # 1 killer of American women. Indeed, I am one of the fortunate ones because I have not actually had a heart attack or stroke. I also do not want to be a statistic. Starting today his instructions will be taken far more seriously than they have been in the past because I do not want to require the testing which was done today ever again. I also have no desire to experience the long term affects of this disease.
For the next couple of days I will be taking it easy while allowing my body to recuperate from the test performed today. I have mixed feelings about this since there is a lot to be done around my home this weekend. By the same token, I can very easily take advantage of the situation to do some updating on my blogs; answer some email and take knitting and crocheting time.
Now for some knitting news. A couple of days ago I cast on a basic pair of socks using this beautiful yarn: Country Caribean.They started off being made on #2 DPN’s and were changed to 2 pr. of #2 circulars this afternoon while lying flat on my back after the test at the hospital. This was done because of a fear of losing control of the needles at the angle from which I was knitting. The odds of them returning to the DPN’s for the heel and gusset are great.
They have been tried on and are a great fit so far. Pictures will be taken and posted later this weekend.
Since returning to the working world, I have been faced with the fact that it takes effort, at least for me, to keep my priorities in order. I will explain.
I am glad to be back at work for a lot of reasons, of which money is only. There is a sense of being needed and wanted by colleagues and co-workers that is important. There is also the normal sense of being busy that I thrive on. This means there is no time for boredom. The list could continue almost infinitely.
However, this is where knitting and the fiber arts come in. I realized this week that I have not picked up my beloved hooks or needles in the past 2 weeks. Even though I needed a break from them, 2 weeks is feeling like forever. The last time was during a trip to a local emergency room. While there, I nearly finished the second sock of my very first pair ever. It only needs about 15-20 more minutes of work. There are other projects in various stages of completeness. None of them have been touched.
Sure, I have enjoyed the break in many ways, but something is missing in my life. Could it possibly be the pleasurable feel of hooks and needles? I think so.
Now the problem has been identified. My course of action is simple. It’s time to pick up where I left off, at least sort of anyway. Completing the sock will have to wait until there is time to sit at the kitchen table and do it properly. I just happen to have some empty size # 7 DPNs and a lot of acrylic yarn. The combination of the two will make a great pair of slipper socks to be donated to a local charity. The hard part of this is going to be choosing the yarn and casting on the first stitch Once that is done the rest will be easy.
There are errands to be done today that are saved for my weekend off. Since we are dong them as a family I will have sitting time in the car. This means fiber time, or in this situation, knitting time. I will see how far I get later today.
Wow! It’s Wednesday already. I almost can’t believe the past week has gone by so quickly. Life has been a bit busy around here to say the least.
Since it is Spring, I am in my usual Spring cleaning mode. This activity has dominated a good portion of my free time. Most recently this has meant catching up on laundry that has been ignore in the laundry room, de-cluttering the homeschool/computer/craft room and helping as needed in the cleaning of son’s room. My next day off will find me moving the living room furniture, cleaning baseboards in the living room and that sort of thing. My husband did some of the same sorts of things in the bedrooms this past week end. None of this is exciting, but it is part of life in my family.
There was time last week for knitting, so I almost finished the second sock of my first pair. It is down to taking the last eight stitches off the needles and weaving in the loose ends. I’ll do that on my day off in the middle of the week in a couple of days. I also have a gauge swatch for another pair on the needles. At the rate I am going, it will be my day off before it gets completed and the next pair of socks gets started.
Knitting and crocheting are two of my passions, but at this time of the year, I normally take a bit of a break from them. Nothing is wrong. I just need a bit of a break for a week or two.
In the meantime, I have decided it is time to catch up on some reading and to learn HTML, CSS and about web design. Since computing has been one of my hobbies for a long time, this is a natural progression. The knowledge gained doing this will be for my own use and for fun. It is one of those areas I have wanted to explore for a long time.
Last week I read Debbie MacComber’s ‘Back on Blossom Street’. I have started, but not finished ‘Susannah’s Garden’. These have proven to be good relaxing reading in my opinion. ( I have no connection, financial or otherwise to these books or the author. )
My original plan today included working on the second sock of my first pair. My logic was that since it is my day off in the middle of the week and I have no plans to go anywhere, then there should be plenty of time to knit. I have not made it that far at this time. There were a few things that interfered with doing so:
- cleaning the kitchen
- reading e-mail
- taking a nap
- looking up information for my husband on-line
- de-cluttering and vacuuming the living
- paying some bills
- exploring the idea of upgrading one of my blogs to having CSS
- doing laundry
I will eventually get to the sock. It is at the point where the toe is being shaped. The rows alternate between a decrease row and a plain knitting row. In order to keep myself from getting confused I normally knit two rows before stopping.
A week or so ago I bought this some Hill Country Instant Gratification Superwash Sock Yarn in the Country Caribean colorway. I made the mistake of starting the sock on #6 needles. I have learned from talking with those more knowledgeable about sock knitting at the Socknitters Group on Yahoo that this was not the best thing to do. The sock has been frogged and the yarn is waiting for me to do a gauge swatch on smaller needles. Once this is done, a new sock will be started. Right now it looks like the new sock will be worked on tomorrow.
My last day off did not work out the way it was planned. Life got in the way with the result that I did not accomplish many of the items on my original list.
The closet in the computer/craft/homeschool supply room was cleaned out a bit. This room contains so much it will take more time to clean it out. There is a pile of items in the living waiting drop off at a local charity.
The only knitting goal I accomplished was knitting on the mate for the first sock. In the past few days the gusset decreases have been completed and the remainder of the foot is being worked on. The other items on the list are still waiting for my attention. They will eventually get done.
The weather in our area is supposed to be beautiful this weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70′s. It is my weekend off so my hunch is that knitting time will be limited.
The second slipper sock is almost finished. It only needs to have the final stitches on the toe woven in. My original plan was to finish it today, but there were not enough hours in this day to accomplish that.
Most of the morning was spent cleaning. First on the agenda was deep cleaning in the living room. All of the furniture that I could move was moved, dusted and vacuumed behind. The floor of the entryway was washed by hand. The kitchen floor and the hallway were also vacuumed. It was a time consuming project even with help from my family.
The late morning and early afternoon hours found us running errand such as grocery shopping and taking recyclables to our town’s Recycle Center. These were not exciting or fun tasks but are just part of life.
There was a little knitting time this afternoon to work on a scarf that has been on the needles for a while. Between the socks and slipper socks, there has not been enough time to complete it. I will post pictures another time.
It feels like it has been forever since I have written here. Life has been busy as usual.
My first sock is finished!! Here it is:
The owner of Hearthstone Knits, Georgia, helped me finish it off a couple of weeks ago. I threw the sock in the air very shortly after completing it. Then it was tried on and admired by those nearby. It felt like such an accomplishment.
The second one of the pair was started before I left the store. Part of my reasoning was that I wanted to avoid Second Sock Syndrome. The other part of my reasoning was to make sure that I cast it on correctly and didn’t have a problem.
I was able to the second one done without help up to the point of turning the heel. At my knitting lesson this past Wednesday my questions were answered. I felt silly taking notes as Georgia shared her knowledge of sock knitting with me. She was patient as I did this.
Here is a picture of the second sock in progress:
I am working on the gusset and should be able to complete the sock in the next few days.
There is more to this story than this. Since I had reached a stopping point on the second sock, I decided to start a slipper sock, using the same pattern with fewer stitches and larger needles and yarn. My intent was to have a teaching and learning tool. I dug out some Red Heart Worsted Wt. in a light color and a pair of size 7 dpn’s. I was able to turn the heel accurately on my own. I got stuck on how to pick up the stitches for the gusset. The only other time in my life that I had done this was on the first sock.
The slipper sock and the regular sock went to the knitting lesson with me. Georgia understood and showed me on the larger needles how to pick up stitches on both items. I finished off the first slipper sock Friday morning. Here it is:
Despite its faults, it is still a wearable item. My husband has graciously said he will wear this and its mate around the house. The off white is not his favorite color, but he has been promised a more manly pair before winter. The mate to it is in ready to have the gusset started. My goal today is to do that later today.
This has been a fun and busy week as far as knitting goes.
I finished one more scarf from yarn in my stash. I used some worsted wt. in a shade of Aran and some dark green. It is a thick scarf that should be warm when worn.
A lot of work has been done on Sock # 1. There are about 2 1/2 inches to be done before starting the toe shaping. The toe needs to be completed except for a few rows before my next knitting lesson on my Tuesday. At that lesson the sock will be completed and Sock # 2 will be started. Yeah!!
Yesterday was fun. I had promised myself a trip to Hearthstone Knits. There was not time last week to look around very much because so much time was spent on my knitting lesson. Yesterday was the last day of the Spring Clearance Sale. I wanted to get some yarn from the Clearance bins and some sock yarn. Here is what I brought home:
This will be combined with other yarn in my stash to make scarves. All but the yellow came from the clearance bins and were inexpensive.
These will become socks. The one on the left and the one in center are for me. The one on the right will become a pair for my husband. It was originally to be for my son, but after I got home he put in a request for some plain white or blue socks. Hopefully there is such yarn. I have not looked for any yet.
At first I felt badly about buying the yarn, but after thinking about it and talking with my husband I no longer feel that way. One of my knitting goals for this year is to try other yarns, especially the fun fur type. It makes sense to do this with yarn bought for less than its original price. Sock yarn on the other hand is to be purchased when I choose to do so. The fact that it was on sale was a bonus. It is hard for me to find store bought socks that feel comfortable because I am sensitive to textures. From now on most of my socks, other than those worn for work, will be hand knit.
Have a great day!