Sunday, October 21, 2007

A letter to a sock.

Dear Opal "Magic" Sock,

Why are you so fugly? I'm putting a lot of tender loving care into knitting you, and you repay me by turning into this horrible thing. You look like a Venus Fly Trap ate a whole mess of bees and then regurgitated them onto my needles.

You look slightly cuter in this listing, but the picture is very small. How was I supposed to know what you look like close up? You're like those people on Yahoo! Personals who post pictures of themselves so tiny that no one can tell what they really look like. Not that I've ever used Yahoo! Personals. But I feel you were a little deceptive. You led me to believe you were cute (or at least presentable) when in reality you are barfed-up bees.

Perhaps I shouldn't be so shallow. Maybe all that matters is that you'll keep my feet warm this winter. Goodness knows I dated a man or two for lesser reasons. I guess I'll give you a second chance. If I still find you unappealing, I can always wear you in the dark.

Yours in mingled anticipation and disappointment,

A knitter.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I had a huge "DUH!" moment today.

I like making my socks with "Star Toes" because you finish it off (cuff down) with running the yarn through the last six to eight stitches and there's no grafting. But I've been lamenting the fact that the toes of both finished socks have visible lines of decreases going in the same direction.

Just as an example (with an imaginary 28-stitch sock), here's how I've been doing my decreases:

Rnd 1: *K5, k2tog, rep from *. 24 sts rem.
Rnd 2: Knit plain
Rnd 3: *K4, k2tog, rep from *. 20 sts rem.
Rnd 4: rep rnd 2.

And so on.

Today it dawned on me that if I reverse the order of knits and decreases, I'd have a line that went the other way. For example:

Rnd 1: *K2tog, K5, rep from *. 24 sts rem.
Rnd 2: Knit plain
Rnd 3: *K2tog, K4 rep from *. 20 sts rem.
Rnd 4: rep rnd 2.

I'm sure every other knitter on the planet already knew this, but for me it was quite an epiphany. I'm so excited that I decided to start working on the tweedy green socks again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


My Crazy Color socks are done!

Unfortunately, Blogspot is refusing to put up the pictures I just took, so that will come later. For now, I'm basking in the afterglow of completing a project.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


After reading a post about ecological recycling on the Knit Witch's blog, I got to thinking about a sweater recycling project I had recently undertaken. Long story short: I had decided to take some thrift-shop human sweaters and turn them into dog sweaters.

Here's what happens when you get a slightly felted L.L. Bean sweater and cut it out then sew it into a more-or-less canine shape:

And here's what happens after you chase a small terrier around the house and make him try on the sweater:

I'm not really a huge proponent of dressing up dogs. They're dignified creatures, after all. It's hard enough to maintain your dignity when you're compelled to sniff other creatures' butts all the time without being made to wear frou-frou garments. But I tend not to run the heater much in the winter and I have cold-natured dogs, so making them elegantly understated and practical sweaters seemed like a good idea.

What seemed like a bad idea was spending a lot of time knitting sweaters from scratch. The thought of spending weeks on a neat fair isle outfit only to have it end up covered in poop and leaves and mud after a brisk chase session in the yard was too much to bear. So I bought a few woolly sweaters for $3 and under and dragged out my grandmother's sewing machine, which heretofore I had only used once in life, the end result of which was to make myself a pair of shorts with mismatched legs.

But the dog sweater turned out quite nicely, I think, and so cheaply, which is a bonus. I didn't even have to spring for a pattern. I just measured the dog and after I cleaned up all my bite wounds, I was good to go.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Give me a break

I had to take a break from the tweedy green socks. I think the stretchless single-ply yarn was hurting my fingers and thus slowing me down considerably. Instead, I'm now working on these:

Yarn: Some Regia 4-ply "Crazy Color" I got from a Knitting Reviewer's destash
Needles: KnitPicks 32" nickel-plated 2.5mm and Hiya Hiya 40" stainless 2.25mm
Pattern: 2X2 ribbed cuff and random garter ridges on leg (A.k.a. "Making it up as I go along")

I didn't set out to use two different needles. I started out with the 2.5mm on the cuff, got about .75" into the thing and realized that despite my earlier gauge swatch, things were going to be too loose. Being lazy as I am, I decided to switch to a 2.25mm needle to work the rest of the cuff and leg rather than frog what I'd already done. I think it's going to work out well, because the top of the cuff is loose enough that I don't have to strain the stitches when pulling the sock over my heel, and the rest of the cuff is tight enough that it won't slouch unintentionally.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Never-Ending Sock


The tweedy green cable socks from my previous posts are just taking forever to knit. I'm a "process knitter" (someone who enjoys the experience, the process of knitting) for about the first day or two of any project and then I become an annoyed wants-to-hurry-up-and-get-it-off-the-needles knitter for the rest of the time. I'd like to think this makes me complex and interesting but I think it just makes me all mixed up.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Afterthought heels

In the previous post, I professed my love for the Twisted German Cast-On. Today I'd like to say how much I enjoy the Afterthought Heel (AKA, the Peasant Heel). It takes me so long to knit a sock that the thought of wearing holes in the heels makes me cry. And me when I cry is not a pretty thing--red nose, puffy eyes and lips. It's like Ronald McDonald with a hormone imbalance.

Luckily I learned how to do a completely re-heelable sock from Dawn Brocco's site. I had tried the brilliant and practical "Moccasin Sock" from EZ's Knitter's Almanac, but I hate both picking up stitches and grafting with equal animosity. But with the Afterthought Heel, I only have to pick up six stitches (I pick up three in each corner rather than the four DB recommends) and since it uses a star pattern decrease, there's no grafting, either. It's the perfect sock for someone as impatient and uncoordinated as I am.

Here's a picture of the instep side (I'm Magic Loop-ing it):

And the temporary heel stitches which will be pulled out and rearrange on the needles:

Friday, September 14, 2007

My love affair with a German

I'm in love! The new love of my life is German, and, well, a little twisted. But in a good way!

I'm talking about the "Twisted German Cast-On". With some help from the internet, I recently taught myself this method of casting on for cuff-down socks and I love it. It's stretchy but not floppy, and it looks fantastic.

Here's a very helpful how-to video:

And here's the cuff of a sock I'm working on, having used this cast-on:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A knitting dream

Well, it wasn't really a knitting dream, per se. But last night I dreamt that I was in some kind of horrible, post-apocalyptic future world, sort of like a cross between The Handmaid's Tale and Bladerunner.

Amid all the horrors and tortures I faced in this unfamiliar wasteland, there was a handsome young man in a beautiful heathered-red sweater. It had a V-neck, raglan sleeves, and was made of cashmere. I remember touching it and thinking it was the softest sweater I'd ever felt. I complimented him on it and told him it was his sweater that attracted me to him.

That's right, even in a post-apocalyptic nightmare I am hitting on cute guys and lusting over knitwear. I may be incorrigible.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I've been wanting to set up a knitting blog for a while but I couldn't think of a name. I'm a writer by profession (most of the time) and it's the same when I'm writing a story: If a character doesn't have a name, I find I can't write about him or her.

So yesterday I was sitting at my computer, waiting for a song to download from iTunes, and to pass the time I knitted a few rounds on a sock. Suddenly I realized how much knitting I get done while waiting for web pages, files, and images to download. It's one reason I've resisted switching to a high speed connection. With my pokey old dial-up, I get a lot done between You Tube and

That's how I finally came up with Dial K for Knitter. And here I am. With my socks and my old modem. Welcome!