The story of my knitting life is one step forward, one step back. Possibly 2 steps back.
I have a pile of single socks which needs attention. It's pile of completed single socks. There are umpteen other first single socks which are in progress in various project bags.
It's why I decided the other day that I need to get cracking and make the mates to these poor lonely babies.
So I started with the Prism socks. There they are on the bottom -- two of them. Working upwards we have a Papaver in HK Entice in Spanish Wine (2.25 mm needles), Yarn Love something or other in Spring Crocus (2.25 mm needles), Sweet Georgia November sock club Autumn Jewels (2.25 mm needles); HK Artisan in Lavendar Batik (2.50 mm); ZYG Serenity Sock in Flaming Desire, Cherry Tree Hill Northern Lights, Socktoupus Sokkusu Shur'tugal, Jubilee Sock from Cookie A in Socktopus Siffie, Cookie A Orange Pekoe Sock in HK either Artisan or I might have used Piquant Lite; Three Irish Girls BFL something or other in Rimefrost (which has been languishing for 2 years now), and a Flabella in Lorna's Laces Bittersweet.
I have about 8 rows of the second Spanish Wine sock done. The second Lavender Batik (IB Footsie) is on the needles already, as is the second Jubilee.
So I decided that I could start a new project for every one I finished. Since I finished the second Prism, I decided to start a new sock.
I fell in love with Alice Yu's De Stijl when I first saw it. I love how the strands of yarn stand out and seem to prevent any obvious pooling. In the Socktopus book, Alice has used a skein of Sokkusu Extra in the Coraline colourway, but I have to say I did love the Wollmeise version.
And what did/do I have lurking in my stash? That skein of Wollmeise Guide to the Galaxy which Christy gave me. I thought it would be perfect for the De Stijl sock.
The pattern calls for 2.50 mm needles for the hemmed cuff and 2.25 mm needles for the body. I decided to do the large size, which is 72 stitches. The pattern requires a multiple of 9 stitches.
At first I didn't realize that when you're picking up the stranded stitches, each new stitch has to come from behind the already stranded threads. Otherwise, you end up with only strands in one direction and then kind of a twisted rope effect.
In my first stranded repeat, I didn't figure that out until part way through, so you can see from the photo in the top left that there are some twisted bits rather than strands. Here's a close up:
Alice suggested wrapping the yarn around the needle twice when anchoring the strands on the purl stitches. So that's what I did for the first row.
Then I changed from the DPNs to the 9" circular Chiaogoo needle to see if that would make it any easier. I struggled for the next two pattern repeats and then decided that the needles are just too blunt and it's too awkward. So I switched back to the DPNs.
For the second and third repeats, I was following the directions which say to pick up the strand from front to back and then to knit it. I was just getting way too frustrated because the angle made it very difficult to knit the knit stitch. And with 8 plies of the Wollmeiese, I was having difficulty picking up all the plies.
So I finally got smart for repeats 4-7. I picked up the strands from back to front and then knit through the back of the stitch. It was way faster and produced a much tidier result. These are the bottom repeats moving down into the heel.
Not bad looking if you can ignore the ubiquitous animal hair.
So I was cruising along. I love this pattern. I think it's genius. I was going through my stash to figure out which other variegated yarns I can use with this pattern. I think it may even be the solution to the vexatious Sweet Georgia Honey Fig which does not want to be tamed. So I can see making this pattern a bunch of times. It goes quickly once you've figured out how it works.
But I should have known that 72 stitches with something stranded on 2.25 mm needles is nothing but a recipe for disaster for me.
Not only would the sock not go over my heel, it wouldn't even go over Lola's heel, and she's positively anorexic.
So back to the frog pond she goes. I have re-wound the Wollmeise and will pick it up again when I'm not feeling quite so defeated.
I want to try this pattern again but with more stitches and using bigger needles. I really think I need 81 stitches and probably 2.50 or 2.75 mm needles. I have a cake of STR mediumweight in Chapman Springs which I think would be divine for this. I also have a cake of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Lightning (which is yellow and violet and red and orange). Either one of them would do. But I'm a little gun-shy, I have to admit.
I looked at the De Stijls on Ravelry. They all seem to fit. There are plenty of knitters who have actual feet inside theirs. And they aren't even necessarily anorexic feet. So I think I just need to realize that as a tight knitter, knitting with 2.25 mm needles is a non-starter.
There was a tiny bit of other stashquisition this week.
I have been watching video podcasts. And I'm the kind of person who has to start at episode 1 and go all the way to the current episodes. I did that with the Lime & Violet podcast a couple of years ago, and I'm part way through David Reidy's Sticks and String.
So I occasionally watched Alcariel's Round the Twist with Carin, and recently I caught up and watched every single episode. Carin is a rehab nurse who works night shifts. She's apparently 6'2 or something equally ginormous, and she is a classical beauty. She knits very quickly and is very accomplished. She also spins. So her podcast is about whe she's currently knitting, her finished objects, her spinning, and various and sundry. It's a really excellent podcast and I highly recommend it. When she started, the episodes were on YouTube, and were either about 10 minutes long or broken into two parts of about 10minutes each. Since she switched to Blip, she's been able to record a continuous podcast of longer than 10 minutes. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's fascinating and well done.
Carin has referred to The Knit Girllls podcast on her podcast a bunch of times, and she even became friends with the Knit Girllls. The Knit Girllls are from Mississippi. Laura (Lala) is 6' and Lesley (udontcallmeles) is 5'3" and currently has braces. They're both about 30 and they knit more and faster than anyone I've ever seen. I'm constantly in awe of how much output they get. Anyway, their podcast is also fabulous. I think I'm up to episode 42 out of about 100. Some of their episodes are upwards of an hour long. It's like a combination of your favourite tv show and an evening with friends.
They've had some cameo appearances on their podcasts, including an entire episode shot at Wendy Johnson's condo in the Washington DC area (Alexandrea Virginia, maybe?), and an episode with Megan who is CraftyPancakes on Ravelry.
Lesley and Laura are pretty much complete polar opposites when it comes to knitting. Lesley is project monogamous, and Laura is proknitscuous (I *love* that word and have appropriated it). Laura has about as many projects on the go as I do. Lesley is a little OCD about her knitting, including requiring that she start her socks at the exact same space in the yarn so as to ensure uniformity.
They also both spin. They're hilarious and have the most delightful southern US accents. But I think Laura said she's only been down in the south (which is a 2-syllable word say-owth) for 6 years and she was from Pittsburgh before that. So I'm not sure about the accent.
Anyway, they're hilarious and informative and very entertaining. They're also great enablers.
Between the KnitGirllls and Alcariel, I have decided that I have to start knitting some self-striping socks. Most of the indie dyers who dye the yarns run out of their product because of high demand.
But through a little etsy surfing, I managed to acquire two skeins of self-striping 80/10/10 MCN from Dye Hard. She's in Markham, Ontario, so there's no wretched customs and duty to worry about. I ordered "You Had Me At Hello" (pink, purple and black) and another one whose name is not on the tag (fuchsia, teal, red-orange and purple). I think I may have found my new obsession.
It's now a toss-up between attempting De Stijl in the Chapman Springs and starting a vanilla self-striping. I'm going to do an afterthought heel, and coincidentally, there's a free pattern on Ravelry written by Laura of the Knit Girllls.
There are other self-striping yarns out there such as Twisted Limone and Vesper and String Theory Colorworks, but they're difficult to come by.
I blame that ALL on the Knit Girllls.
So what's my plan of attack? Do I attempt De Stijl v. 2.0? Or do I wind a skein of Dye Hard and start knitting something nice and mindless and stockinette?
And on the dog front, the beasts got into the cupboard this morning while I was at the gym and dragged out a brand-new almost completely full bottle of canola oil.
It was everywhere. They apparently decided to eat / drink it. But that might have been after they dragged it up onto the red couch (which of course is not the leather couch which could be wiped down) and glugged half the bottle onto the couch. The couch is an oily saturated mess. I can't even thnk about it.
Then their precious digestive systems decided that the oil doesn't really agree with them, so they vomited it up all over the floor in a big foamy mess.
I came home to about 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottle lying on the floor. Princess couldn't deal with the dog vomit (or the oil, apparently), so she had to go out, leaving me to clean it up.
What made me think I needed more pets ?????
I am going to nap and then decide what to knit next.