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Posts Tagged ‘Monkey Socks’

Things have been pretty hectic the last month or so . . . plenty of not-so-good stuff, but there have been bright spots.

Since my last knitting project update, there has been some (albeit limited) progress:

Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan:

I have to knit about 6 rows on the button band and embroider in the black hooves and noses on the sheep.  However, I haven’t touched this sweater in about a month and the baby will be here in just a few weeks.  Finishing is a goal for this weekend.

Druid Mittens:

When last I wrote, I thought I’d figured out a workable gauge (cuff on 2.5 mm, body of mitten on 2.25) but . . . since then I’ve knit almost to the tip of one mitten, only to realize that it is still way too short (like 2 inches too short).  The pattern doesn’t let me repeat it without some funky fiddling, which I don’t really care to do, so the mittens are “resting” at the moment.  Since I have so much yarn, I’m considering ripping and re-knitting with the yarn doubled.  I WILL CONQUOR THESE MITTENS!!!

– Baby Booties:

So the whole idea of making up my own pattern has sort of fallen by the wayside in favor of all the projects I keep accumulating.  I did manage to do an eyelet variation on Saartje’s Booties: instead of the straps, I worked a row of yo, k2tog and yo, ssk, then just threaded a ribbon through the booties.  Fast and dirty (took me under two hours to do both) but they sure did turn out well I think:

Ice Queen:

Somehow I managed to finish, block and gift, all without getting a photo.  I loved the project though — a quick, easy smoke ring with a single ball of yarn.  The beading was really fun too, and came out beautifully.  I would absolutely knit this pattern again.

There is other big news too . . . I know, I know, way to bury the lead . . . but finally, after so much trouble, I’ve managed to climb aboard the Monkey Sock bandwagon.  Using Knit Picks Essential (soon to be Stroll) I was able to knit a decent pair of socks.  Since I started the socks without a foot in mind (long story, I needed an portable, emergency knitting project) I found a foot to fit the socks after they were half-knit:

This particular foot belongs to Miss V, one corner of my four-person knitting circle.  I think the socks ended up fitting pretty well:

Now that I’ve knitted socks for one member of the group, I’m going to knit up a pair for the other two ladies.  Fun 🙂

Of course, as soon as the first pair of Monkeys were done, I immediately cast on another pair, this one in the Essential Kettle Dyed colorway Eggplant.  The socks are a gift for Adorable, whose birthday is today.  Here is my progress as of this moment:

I have just one more repeat and the toes to finish — lucky for me, she has tiny little feet.

A truer picture of the beautiful deep purple of the socks:

As you can see, there is a slight color change at the top of the gusset where I changed skeins.  I don’t love it, especially since the yarns were both from the same dye lot, but hey, they are handmade socks made from kettle dyed yarn.  I am also hoping that the difference will be more subtle when the socks are worn, and that a good washing will help blend the colors a bit.

And what’s next up?

I would like to make some birthing socks to go with the Sheep Baby Sweater — if I start a pair of Monkeys now, can I get them to the mom-to-be before her due date in late July?  I think so . . . I hope so . . . I would also like to make a small stuffed animal for the baby, to go with the sweater and socks.  It’s a lot of knitting and not a lot of time!

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What goes with a quiet evening at home, watching a silent, peaceful tank of fish, better thank knitting?  Nothing.  I’ve gotten increasingly excited about the knitting in the past week . . . between friends and co-workers picking up needles for the first time and yarn shopping (including a KnitPicks order that showed up today!) I’m in knitting bliss.  The only problem: there are not enough hours in the day for all the knitting I want to do.

Up to now, I’ve thought of myself as a single-project knitter.  Sure, dragging the Frost Flowers & Leaves shawl all over creation was hardly practical, so I worked my Simple Socks over the summer too, bringing the socks along when an easy, portable, mindless project was called for.  The last time my dad visited we talked about the joy of completion — how satisfying it was to finish a project, and how that joy is something we have in common. 

If finishing a project is the best, starting a knitting project is the worst part.  There’s the picking out and purchasing of the yarn and pattern (fun), the researching for pattern errata and advice from other knitters (a good time-killer on slow days at work), the swatching (not so fun, duh) and the eventual cast-on and set-up (which can be a huge pain, though not always).  It just feels very labor-intensive, kind of a drag, and I can usually motivate myself to get started only by thinking about how cool the end-product will feel, all neat and folded up, ends woven in and ready to be gifted.

Suddenly, though, it feels like I’ve got Works-In-Progress everywhere, with no hope of finishing anything anytime soon.  Here’s how it started . . .

The Monkeys: Once the simple socks were done, I was all jazzed about getting another set of two-at-once toe-up socks started, so inspired by the internets and especially January One, I cast on for the Monkey socks (yeah, yeah, I’m a follower, what of it . . .) and got as far as the first repeat before things went south.  Yeah.  The socks are now hibernating, as Ravelry so delicately puts it . . .

Peacock Feathers: Wanting a break from lace, I got a whole bunch of cool sweaters and things together in my mind as “next” projects.  But sadly my fingers were faster than my knit-prep, and I soon realized that the only project that I a) wanted to knit and b) had pattern, needles and yarn for, close at hand, was Peacock Feathers.  So I cast on.  And then, proud of my progress and too lazy to put in a lifeline . . . disaster struck.

Charity squares & dishtowels: Since the whole Monkey thing didn’t pan out, I needed some quick, easy portable knitting.  Enter charity squares for work and dishtowels for The Baron’s sister in law, visiting shortly.  The charity squares are done, the dishtowels are coming along quickly . . . maybe too quickly . . .

Baby gifts: I am horrifyingly overdue on baby gifts . . . one child is now six months old and still has not gotten any hand-made love.  Shocking.  Another little girl was born last week, and a boy is expected in February.  To say nothing of The Baron’s little nephew, the tasty dumpling who will be visiting with his mom in the next few weeks . . . (ok, he got a blanket, but no booties!  The horror!)  To rectify this situation, I got a huge shipment of Knitpicks Swish DK (it arrived today – joy!) as well as the Blue Sky Alpacas cotton I picked up over the weekend.  Not actual, cast-on WIPs, but still . . . the prep has already begun.

Hourglass Sweater: I got a ton of Mission Falls 1824 Superwash to start this sweater for myself . . . and although I’ve been carrying a ball with me for two weeks now, I have yet to cast on for a swatch.

Tangled Yoke Sweater: What I’ve been itching to do, and the initial impulse behind the Peacock Feathers shawl, is a handknit for my stepmom.  Even though we’re both super-verbal people, I feel compelled, driven almost, to express my affection for her in the form of a hand-knit.  She signed off on the yarn (Jaggerspun Maine Line in French Blue), she likes the pattern (a simple but elegant cardigan by Eunny Jang from the latest Interweave Knits) , swatches are done, and I’m now just waiting for a final set of measurements so I can (hopefully) cast on for the correct size.

And finally, my very first non-bloggable 🙂

So looking over that list, I guess things aren’t that out of hand.  I just have so much I’m aching to knit!  Guess I should head home and get started . . .

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So the secret (and now not-so-secret) project I’ve been toting around with me is the Monkey Socks. The actual knitting is going well – no problem at all – but the yarn is pooling and I think the gauge is off, because although the socks are the right size so far, the stitches themselves seem too loose.

To review:

I am working with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the colorway Motherlode. While the yarn itself is quite lovely to work with (aside from a minor problem learning to use my ball winder) I’m not happy with the way the colors are falling. On both socks, instead of being all jumbled up, the colorway is pooling so that one side is yellowish:

And the other side is reddish-purple:

Even worse, although I am working at the specified gauge, the fabric just seems too loose. Here, I hold up the sock to the light and take a photo. Should socks have this much light flowing through them? Is that going to be warm and/or comfy on the feet? The only quibble I have with my own recently-completed socks is that at times they seem a bit too holey . . . I can occasionally see a flash of toenail polish through the mesh of the knitted fabric. Thoughts?

For these socks I’m on US size 2 needles and I think I need to go down to at least a zero and perhaps add one more lace repeat so that each row consists of five instead of four repeats. I have to admit, I am getting a little frustrated with the amount of prep-time that I’ve been doing lately. I have tons of projects I want to be working on but I never seem to have the right stuff at the right time, all ready to go. I just want to knit, you know?

Last night, in knitting despair, I snuck into the guest room for inspiration.  I dug around in the bin, pulled out the KnitPicks CotLin from my stash and cast on for the Moss Grid Hand Towel from Mason Dixon Knitting. I think I’d imagined this yarn becoming a gift for The Baron’s sister-in-law – hand-towels are as good a gift as any – and I’ve been thinking of using CotLin for baby gifts but didn’t want to start any infant projects until I’d had a chance to test out the yarn. So far, so good. At least this will keep my fingers busy for the next little while . . .

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