The Good, the Bad and the Vodcast

I’ve maxed out our monthly download limit.

How? Well, I took a fancy to watching the knitting vodcast, Lets Knit2gether, on the plane trip to New Zealand. Not wanting to lug a laptop with me, I lashed out on a iTouch (also a reward for finally, after fourteen months, finishing the book – yaaaay!). It’s the smallest iTouch memory-wise, but I figured I’d keep my music on my old nano and use the affectionately named ‘Grope’ for podcasts and vodcasts.

So, at home I discover I’m going to have to download squillions of megs worth of data to update my laptops operating system before I can upgrade iTunes before I can get Grope working. Having done this I decide to transfer already downloaded podcasts and episodes of Lets Knit2gether via USB so I don’t make further dints in the monthly limit.

I find I can transfer podcasts okay, but not vodcasts. So I subscribe and try downloading it. The episode downloads, but doesn’t appear in iTunes. After a few more tries I search for an explanation. The Lets Knit2gether site tells me that I have to do a special ‘advanced’ subscription or iTunes downloads windows versions of the eps. So I tried that … but it was at this point the monthly limit maxed out. We’re back on dial-up until the end of the month. Urk!

Needless to say, Grope will not be coming with me to New Zealand.

Nor will I be able to post pics for a while. This is annoying because I had things to show you:

The Ribbed Wrap Jacket is done. It fits, is comfortable and I hadn’t needed to worry that the two greys were too close for the difference in shade to show. The line where the collar attaches to the body is surprisingly flattering. Surprising because the pattern book doesn’t show this aspect, so it’s a bonus.

I bought some Mary Janes. This is amazing to me, because whenever I’ve tried on that style of shoe they’ve been extremely uncomfortable. But it seems that the trend toward sporty cushiony bits on the heels and such of shoes, which I lovelovelove, is making shoes I otherwise can’t wear accessible and comfortable. I can’t wait to wear them with my handknit socks.

And speaking of socks, I’ve nearly finished my Charades. Then I’m going to start some socks in Dream In Colour Smooshy. Haven’t decided on a pattern yet. I’ll see what inspires me when I start.

I found Vogue Knitting in the Forest Hill newsagent. It’s strange that I looked at it in Borders ages ago and decided I didn’t like anything in it enough to buy it. Now I rather fancy a few things.

The overlocker got a workout. I bought some pjs at Myer yesterday. They were being sold in cute little bundles tied with ribbons. I tried one pair on and assumed the rest were the same style and fit. When I got home I discovered two of the three sets were low riders. WHAT KIND OF CRAZY FREAK WEARS LOW RIDER FLANNELETTE PJS???? When else are you going to wear winter weight pjs but when it’s really cold and you don’t want your waist exposed? And in bed they’re either going to end up around your ankles or you’d get a wedgie rash from hitching them up all night.

So I dashed up to Lindcraft, bought some ribbing and added a 10cm waistband. Yep. 10cm. That’s how low they were. No wonder the darn things were on special.


Scraps of yarn. Scraps of time. It’s amazing what you can do with either of them.

It’s been all about instant gratification here lately. And scrappy socks always deliver. Every time I knit a pair I’m amazed at how fast they are. And how much obsessive pleasure I get from choosing the next colour, and the next, and the next.

I haven’t forgotten the Charade socks.

They, too, are a lot of fun to knit. Now that I have the scrappy socks out of my system, I may make some progress!

Second: the Patterns

Today I counted how many socks I could make out of my sock yarn stash, not counting using leftovers to make scrappy socks. The number was 24 pairs. And you know what my first thought was? Only 24. At my usual sock knitting rate, I’ll have that all knit up in only two years.

Then I started thinking about the Knittery‘s sock yarn. Mmm. But I’d like to get the sock yarn stash fitting into one tub (one of the larger ones, mind you) before buying more.

Anyway, after consulting my Ravelry queue, skimming Knitty and receiving one excellent suggestion in the comments (thankyou caroline!), I had a range of patterns to consider that were either a simple but interesting rib or stitch pattern, or sported a cable or other feature down the side.



Spring Cable


Froot loop

Fools Rush


(All non-Ravelry links.)

After I’d downloaded and/or printed all these, I suddenly realised that this was a new approach for me. I’ve printed sock patterns from Knitty before, but not downloaded independant designer’s free patterns. This is all thanks to Ravelry. It allowed me to find the patterns easily, through both searching the database for sock patterns and selecting ones I liked the look of, and also through seeing what my friends have queued or made. It was also reassuring to check other knitter’s experiences and find they’d had no problems with the patterns.

I’ve started Charade, and loving both the pattern and the yarn. The troublesome skein isn’t giving me any trouble now. I did have to frog and reknit the cuff, though, because the sock was too large, but that’s pretty normal for me.

For some strange reason I’m feeling an uncharacteristic urge to cast on all or most of these socks at the same time. I think it’s part of the madness of overwork. I haven’t had a weekend in months and I’m working most evenings. I’m behind on podcasts, gardening, tv shows, and visiting my parents. I haven’t seen a movie since Christmas. The most exercise I’ve had is walking downstairs a few times a day to get a cuppa, or up to the post office to pay bills.

I’ve been getting up an hour earlier, which gives me some time to check emails and blogs. It’s why I’m suddenly blogging daily (though I’m sneaking this one in before dinner so I can start working earlier tomorrow).

I should be finished in six or seven or eight days. I’m not just counting down the days, I’m counting the minutes.

Tilty Socks

They’re done…

From the pov of an ant.

From the pov of a spider on the ceiling.

I managed to start the second sock at the same bit of the colour pattern, so I got the white wedge effect again, and then worked the heel and toe so the wedges appeared on the opposite side.

The fabric is rather loosely knit. I thought at first that I was knitting loose because I was out of practise at knitting socks. The yarn didn’t seem extra thin, and the needles (2.5mm bamboos) are my usual ones. Then it clicked. Being all short rows, the socks have as much purling back on the wrong side as knitting on the right side. I must purl much looser than I knit.

I’ve culled four pairs of socks from my sock drawer now for being fitting badly. All but one are socks I made early on out of self-patterning yarn before I worked out how to make short row heels fit, and the other was a cabled and ribbed sock I knit before I worked out that I’d need to add extra stitches to compentate for the pull-innyishness of cables and rib.

I may find another badly fitting sock, but I don’t expect to. So now I have enough socks to recycle into a, er, hmm. Not a blanket, for a start. What was I thinking? That I was such a bad sock knitter that I had an entire sock drawer of badly fitting socks?

But still, I like the idea. Perhaps I’ll make a pillow instead.

A Troublesome Skein

Yesterday I decided to wind the skeins of Lisa Souza sock yarn in my stash into cakes. I only got through two. I have an old metal skein holder that I love, but for the first time it turned out to be too small for a skein.

I struggled through the first skein, then decided I’d have to do the second by hand. Oh boy. I’d forgotten how long and how awkward that could be. The yarn kept sticking to itself and getting tangled. Eventually I stretched the skein between pegs on the artist’s easel I made for myself several years ago.

Then I decided I’d rewind the ball into a cake on the ball winder. Unfortunately it managed to fall off the guide, and I had to rewind it, stopping several times when it got tangled. I swear the whole process took an hour. I don’t have a lot of spare hours at the moment, so the rest of the skeins were returned to the stash.

This wasn’t the only oddness about the yarn. It seemed thin to me. Now, you’d think after working with the thin yarn for the Very Boring Navy Socks that all yarn would seem thick to me. This wasn’t as thin as the navy yarn, but it was definitely thinner than the last batch of Lisa Souza sock yarn I’d bought.

When I was done winding I did a comparison:

On the left is the ‘wild things’ yarn. Lovely squishy thick sock yarn. On the right is the ‘poiple’ from the more recent batch. Definitely thinner. Now, when I bought the second batch I checked the labels from the old batch to ensure I was getting the same yarn.

Yep, exactly the same, right down to the gauge.

It’s been months now since I ordered the yarn, and I don’t think this is worth taking up with the dyer. The yarn isn’t ridiculously thin and the colours are wonderful. It’s been a few years since I ordered the original batches of yarn so maybe the base yarn has changed. The site does have a different gauge under the specs.

Just goes to show, a product can change. It’s a bit annoying to have discovered this after buying five skeins of it! But it is reinforcing my determination to buy locally. Much easier to return things if necessary. Much easier to buy in person or, if mail ordering, there’s not such an incentive to buy a lot of something to make the shipping worthwhile.

First: the Yarn

I don’t get second sock syndrome, but I’ve certainly got a big case of “get it doneitis”. I’ve been so determined to get the Tilty Socks off the needles I’ve been carrying it about, knitting a few more rounds whenever the opportunity comes. I got 4 repeats knit during the hour and a half wait at the doc yesterday.

(Yep. Hour and a half just to get the flu shot. For some inexplicable reason, which the doc couldn’t fathom either, it was Old Man Morning at the clinic yesterday morning. I got through three podcasts, drowning out the classic rock station they always play too loud.)

Just two repeats and a toe and I’m done. In anticipation, I dug out the Very Boring Navy Socks and knit a few rows. And immediately remembered why they earned that name. I’m so not feeling the love with these. The yarn is too dark for evening knitting (when I get most of my knitting time) and it’s rather thin, which makes it even harder to see what I’m doing.

Like I said, I don’t suffer from second sock syndrome. If I don’t like a sock yarn or pattern enough to knit it twice, the chances are I won’t even get through it once. These are going the way of the frog. And will become warp yarn for the loom.

But I still have the itch to knit socks. Curiously, I don’t have the itch to buy sock yarn. Probably because I already have nice yarn to choose from…

What’s inside? Well, there’s lots of Patonyle thanks to yearly visits to the Australian Country Spinners mill shop.

Some other solid yarns. Cocoon, Regia and St Ives. (No! Not more navy!)

Lots of semi-solids. Five skeins of Lisa Souza, plus Smooshy, Jitterbug and Sea Wool.

And some ‘varigated’ yarn. Lang Jawoll, Regia, Yarnivorous and Trekking.

But what pattern to knit? I bought all the semi-solid so I could knit socks with complicated stitch patterns without the texture being overwhelmed by colour varigation. But right now I don’t want anything too complicated. I’m thinking plain socks with a cable or other feature running down the side. Or an interesting rib. Or a cuff detail.

Any suggestions?

It’s the Jolly Green Slug!

Last night I finished the first Tilty Sock.

It’s… wierd. For a start, I have long feet but only needed to knit four repeats. Though this looks slightly stunted compared to my foot, it fits. This is the first time I’ve felt newly knit socks needed a wash and block, too. The short rows make them a bit twisty and bumpy. But the weirdest thing?

One side you get creamy white areas…

… and on the other there’s almost none. Just the way the stripes fell. Which led me to conclude sock yarn with smaller stripes would be better for this pattern.

But I think the pattern’s best side is the front:

Even if it does look a bit like a jolly green slug.

I was intrigued and entertained by the pattern, but not so enchanted with the final sock. I like it enough to get through the second, but I do feel the itch to knit more socks now. Which is good, because I’m planning to take only sock projects with me to New Zealand. I want to pack light, so I have plenty of room for yarn purchases.

However, I haven’t managed to magically create more sock space in my wardrobe in the last five months either. I’m going to have to resort to drastic action.

I’m going to wear each of my hand knit socks in turn, accessing them for fit and comfort. If they’re too tight, or fit badly, they’re out.

But I can’t bring myself to throw them away, and I hesitate to give second hand socks to the op shop. Looking at the first of the culled socks the other day, I noted how they were slightly felted. If they were cut they probably wouldn’t unravel, though a line of stitching would certainly help as well.

Could I cut them into squares and sew them into a blanket?


Hail! Thunder! Socks!

My pc is sick and probably heading for whatever pc afterlife old pcs end up in. I’m hoping I can keep it going a little longer, preferrably until June. While I can write blog posts on my laptop I can’t edit pics, so if my posts become pic-less the pc has probably bitten the dust.

Work is still crazy. It’s gone from working weekends crazy to working weekends and weeknights crazy. This is more socially limiting than anything else, however. I take good long breaks to stretch and rest the back. And I’ve recently bought a groovy ergonomic split keyboard, which actually seems to make a difference.

It’s my lunch break now and I should be making chilli fudge for the beau to take to the thing I’ll be missing tonight, but had to sent the beau out to get a few essential ingredients. So I’m blogging instead. I have swatchy goodness:

The Naturally Sensation was almost exactly on gauge until I washed it, then suddenly there are less stitches in a row, but just as many rows as before. Ah, the odd things that yarns do.

Looking up the Rainbow Socks pattern on Ravelry revealed no errata, and notes made by other knitters who’d made the socks didn’t reveal the source of the problem. But thanks to 2paw, who left a comment saying there was a discussion on the pattern there, I eventually hunted down a explanation in the forums that gave me one of those “Ah!” moments where it suddenly all makes sense.

(Added later, after the storm passed: Now I’m fudging a solution to the short row heel. You see, normally I increase the sock width by ten stitches around before doing a short row heel, because I have very high insteps. But that means increasing within the short row pattern. How could I do it neatly? Eventually I worked out that instead of knitting together the two short row loops, I can just work both stitches and effectively be increasing stitches.)

In the meantime… I’m planning a trip to New Zealand soon. Anybody have any suggestions for yarn stores I shouldn’t miss? I have Touch Yarns down, but will skip Ashford (or I’ll end up carting a 4 shaft loom around).

Oh my. A thunderstorm has just blown in. With hail. I had better get offline and switch off the pc!