How to not fend off starteritis

I’ve got a few must finish projects in the works right now. That pair of Hedera is not actually for me, but I have to send them off to someone else by a certain date, so they’re taking precedence. I have a shawl I am making a friend for her wedding, and that needs to be finished by mid-May. I have a sock pattern that I’m test knitting, but that doesn’t have quite as much of a deadline so it’s in third place. My mother’s blanket has been somewhat ignored again, but that’s mostly because of these other projects. And there are a couple of pairs of socks on the needles that I just need to finish for myself at some point. So what should I not have done?

I shouldn’t have bought two new sock books, that’s what. I can pick up almost any other kind of knitting pattern book, or knitting magazines, and be perfectly okay. The reason being that I don’t really have enough yarn lying about to make a sweater or a pullover or any of the kinds of garments that typically make up pattern books or magazines. However… I have a lot of sock yarn. And I know, supposedly it doesn’t count as stash, but until someone can explain how it is not stash yet still takes up room as stash, the amount of sock yarn that I have will continue to grieve me, in a sense. (Please note, that probably won’t stop me from buying more if I find a good deal or pretty colors or yarn I’ve never used before…)

The first book I picked up was Carol J. Sulcoski’s Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn. The majority of my stash is full of bright and colorful handpainted yarn. (That photoset only represents maybe half of my stash, by the way–feel free to check my Ravelry page for a better idea of my stash.) As Sulcoski points out, all those brightly colored yarns tend to fight and battle with really intricate patterns, which can be aggravating if you really want the pattern and the yarn to play nicely.

Sulcoski introduces the book with a fascinating discussion of the process of dying handpainted yarns and how various techniques can affect the amount of pooling or flashing that goes on in a knitted sock. She also explains ways that knitters can combat the pooling, such as changing gauges or simply starting the sock at a different part of the color repeat. And the patterns that she’s collected are quite awesome too. I’ve already queued the Braided Gem socks, Chevvy, Copper Penny, Escher, Spot Check Socks, and Switcheroo Socks, and added more to my favorites. (All pattern links will take you to Ravelry.)

I had pre-ordered the second sock book months ago, and it arrived yesterday. I had to stop at my apartment before heading over to Orlando so I could pick it up, and started reading it on my drive over (at stoplights! I put it down completely when I was on the interstate, I promise). It’s Cookie A’s Sock Innovation book, and whoo boy.

This book will make you think. A lot. And that’s awesome.

When I first started knitting and joined Ravelry, there was a lot of buzz about some high-profile knitters and being a new member of this world, I started “investigating” these people and trying to figure out why the big deal. Cookie A was one of those. EVERYONE and their mother (huh–that phrase can actually apply to many knitters) was talking about Cookie A and especially her Monkey socks (okay, they still do). While I have yet to knit any Monkeys, I have knit two (can I count the unfinished Hedera as a third) of her patterns, and ogled many more, and I definitely get the buzz. As far as my Knitters I Fangirl list goes, Cookie’s in the Top 3 (the other two being Eunny Jang and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and please don’t try to make me choose which falls in which spot because I refuse).

Unrelated and kind-of-embarrassing-because-I-kind-of-just-admitted-that-I-am-a-big-knitting-dork story aside, when I found out Cookie was releasing a book full of sock patterns and design ideas, I got extremely excited. A whole book! Full of brilliant patterns! It’s like Christmas! Christmas has come early, my friends (thankfully, not really, because I’m still adjusting to this age and need more time before I get to the next).

Sock Innovation delves into Cookie’s theories behind designing socks, and is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of charts. She gives an excellent overview of a few more prevalent techniques for cuffs, heels, and toes, and explains how these structural elements should flow with the pattern and textures that are chosen to make up the leg and foot of socks. She also explains charts in great detail, and as a chart-lover myself, I found it really helpful to get a glimpse into how to adapt flat-knitting charts to charts for knitting in the round. I have to admit, I didn’t quite finish this section, as it required more caffeine than I had in my system at the time, but it’s an excellent resource for anyone considering or attempting to design socks.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there are 15 brand spanking new and amazing patterns. I’ve queued Rick, Glynis, Sunshine, Vilai, Angee, Wanida, and Kai-Mei. I love how all of the patterns are inspired by and named for people who are important to Cookie. That’s a nice and sweet touch.

If I even think about casting on another pair of socks, please, friends, for the love of all that is holy, take my needles away!

apologies if this looked a bit wonky on anyone’s feeds, I had a bit of a rumble with WordPress as I was writing this

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