New year, new goals, new socks

Happy 2012 to everyone! My New Year’s Eve was pretty anticlimactic. Laura came over, we poured some drinks, wound some yarn, and knit while watching Romancing the Stone until another friend came over and we chatted. I definitely fell asleep before midnight. Go me!

I’ve already started on a new project to finish soon—a couple of Hitchhikers to knit as belated birthday gifts for a couple of friends. It’s a nice, relatively mindless garter stitch pattern, and is doing some fun striping in the colorway I am using first. I had planned this project a few weeks ago, so here’s to my first project off the queue, using stash yarn!

As you know, last year I decided to knit 12 pairs of socks. And while that didn’t end up happening, I did finish the socks for December, but didn’t have a chance to post about them until now.

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December’s pattern, Wishbone Socks, was originally January’s pattern, but I ran into some yarn problems (in the form of giant tangles). I started these socks on December 21, and knit most of them when I wasn’t reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or tearing my way through the Stephanie Plum novels. I just finished Hot Six last night, and I’m trying to pace myself—my mom loaned me books five through eight, with the promise of sending the others in the mail, but they won’t arrive until the end of the week. Anyway, socks.

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I wasn’t sure how I felt about this yarn while I was knitting it. A wool-nylon blend, it felt a little scratchier than most other sock yarns, but I have to say it was pretty comfortable for wearing. As for the pattern, I really don’t recommend using the pattern as written if you’re new to sock knitting. It is a free pattern, and a pretty easy to follow pattern if you know what you’re doing, but there are some vagaries and no chart key (it’s an easy chart, worked over 4 rows, but again, if you’re new to chart-reading, it may not be the best project for you).

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These socks are knit toe up, and I really can’t stand fiddling with a Turkish cast on, or even Judy’s magical one, but I love knitting short-row toes. And then I’m wacky and don’t really like knitting short-row heels, so I made up a gusseted heel thing (I’m sure I’m not the first, and I got the idea from looking at other toe-up heels, so I’m not going to go into detail). Ashley pointed out Wendy Johnson’s toe-up heel flap technique, so I’m going to try that out on my next pair of toe-up socks, which may happen sooner rather than later, as I have some awesome pink and deep purple self-striping yarn to make as-high-as-they’ll-go socks.

For now, though, I’m going to sit back with my garter stitch scarflet.

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Month in Review: December

Adios, December and 2011! It’s been a productive month, and a productive year.

I did finish a pair of Wishbone Socks (blog post coming soon).

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I finished a Maile Cardigan.

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As well as my Chambourcin.

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And I knit another Due North.

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I broke out a crochet hook even!

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And I started on a Parseltongue Hat, which I may finish today to include in December’s count.

I did bring in a good amount of yarn as well, but mostly in the process of stocking up for next year’s yarn diet. Let’s just leave it at that.

I’m looking forward to 2012 and having a little more freedom with my knitting goals, while hopefully creating a little more wiggle room in my stash bins. What are you looking forward to in 2012? I hope everyone’s having a fun yet safe New Year’s!

Month in Review: November

For most of November, there wasn’t necessarily a great amount of projects finished—only one so far, actually—but there was a lot of progress made!

I did finish this month’s pair of socks…

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…and knit the back and then the front of a sweater, and then re-knit the separate fronts (I did manage to rip and re-knit the second front in a bit of Criminal Minds marathoning).

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In between finishing the socks and waiting for sweater pieces to dry, I cast on for a couple of small baby photos. One is another Due North that has no photographic evidence yet, and the other is a Little Star Afghan that is enticing my cat like no other project ever has.

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And then there was too much yarn, and I won’t talk more about that, but I will share this (which isn’t all of the yarn, as some of it hasn’t arrived and some hasn’t been photographed).

Too many yarns

That was my November! For December’s socks, I think I’m going to revisit January’s debacle and knit the Wishbone Socks, as my friend was able to whip the yarn into shape and it is now ready for use. Of course, I also want to finish the two baby items I started and try to add in at least one baby cardigan so I can hand them to a friend in person at the end of the month, so we’ll see what ends up happening.

Sock Status Sunday: DONE!

Putting my Chambourcin on hold to block and try on the body meant I had a lot of free time on Wednesday evening. Free time plus a disc of Criminal Minds season 6 meant a second finished sock for a complete pair of Nutkins.

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As I mentioned last Sunday, I opted to mirror the pattern on the second sock, and I’m really happy with that decision.

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Another easy pattern to knit, I didn’t realize that the patterning would make the socks twist like crazy. They’re relatively straight in the photographs, but that’s because I had to fight with them every time I shifted positions. I only mention this so that if you plan on knitting this pattern and then wearing them with a skirt or short/pegged pants, this might be something that drives you crazy.

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I love the yarn; this is the first time I’ve knit with any Madelinetosh yarn, I think, and I’m glad that I have some more in my stash. I’m sad that the color (Skinnamarink) was a limited edition, as I would totally buy more. The way the colors shift and play together in the pattern is so pretty.

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After I finished these, I started working on two different baby projects, so hopefully there will be some more FOs to share soon. And now I’m off to rip back a sweater front. Wish me luck!

Sock Status Sunday

As I mentioned yesterday, my sock knitting mojo has been usurped by my sweater knitting mojo—I separated the fronts last night and began shaping the right armhole this morning. But I have been working away on my second Nutkin sock as well, progress just seems to be slower than befits this pattern.

Thankfully I had some time in a car yesterday, as a passenger, so I had some time to work along and got a few repeats in. Three more repeats to go on the cuff and I can start the heel!

On this second sock, I’m mirroring the pattern from the first sock.

I tend to prefer mirrored patterns for things that come in pairs, like my mittens from last year (I had to read the chart backwards to get the mirror effect, as the mitten pattern is supposed to slant the same way on both mittens). I don’t exactly know why, I just know that I do. So for this second sock, on the first row of the pattern, I’m knitting 9 sts, k2tog, knitting 3 stitches, and then working a yarnover. Well, I would be working the yarnover, except that would create very loose purl stitches, so I’m picking up the yarn over on the second row.

Here’s a closer look at the mirrored patterns.

What about you, do you prefer perfect symmetry or mirrored patterns?

Sock Status Sunday

I have finished the first of my Nutkins! I really like the way the colors play in the patterning—almost like an oil slick.

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I had a little trouble with my SSKs, in that I kept getting ladders between the last knit stitch and the SSK stitch. So I did some finagling and came up with a solution. I worked an SKP to get that left-leaning decrease, and it seemed to snug up the ladders between stitches pretty well. Hopefully once they’re blocked, the yarn will fill in some of the holes.

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There’s not really too much to be said for one sock on its own, is there?

Sock Status Sunday

Yes! In addition to Sweaterday, I’ve decided to devote Sundays in November to keeping track of my sock knitting progress. If nothing else, this will keep me plugging away on my socks instead of setting them aside to work exclusively on my Chambourcin.

This month I’m knitting Nutkin by Beth LaPensee. It’s an easy-to-remember pattern and has been zipping along pretty smoothly so far.

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I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Skinnamarink, a limited edition colorway that I bought a couple of years ago. It’s knitting up so pretty. It’s pretty impossible to get a good photo to show how the colors are working together.

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I turned the heel yesterday, so I’m now halfway finished with this sock. Hopefully next Sunday I’ll have one finished sock to share!