Definition of Insanity

The commonly accepted definition for insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time. That, umm, may be me right now.

See, I have some really amazing friends who have really stepped up to help me recently. They helped me pack and move, they gave me a place to stay, they helped with my child. Really stellar folks who asked for nothing in return. I have one friend in particular who has been amazing this past year – watching Ellette every week, sending me texts to check in, giving me what for when I was being an idiot, creating laughter, perspective and warmth. She’s really made of awesome, and I always ask her how I can show my gratitude. And she always asks for:


Yup, handmade, warm, knee high or higher socks. I made her one pair and she loved them so much she wore through the heels in less than a month. So, the terrible friend that I am, keep sending her images of scarves and sweaters and hats and purses. “What about this??” I ask, because I want to make her anything except for socks.

But the guilt wouldn’t leave. She’s been a much needed rock, even when we were getting frustrated with each other at times, and I couldn’t make her the only thing she wanted. I felt like a horrible person. There is absolutely no way I could refuse the big blue puppy eyes as she handed two balls of worsted weight yarn and asks “Can you make them stripe?”


Sigh. Yes. Yes, I can make them stripe. Yes, I will make them knee high or higher. Yes, for you. So, Caitlin, the start of your socks. And if you find me under a bench, busily squirreling away yarn for a nest, chattering to myself, and possibly chewing on the ends of my needles, you will know why. It is the result of love and appreciation of you, combined with my complete irritation for making socks.

Are you really sure I couldn’t make a sweater instead?

A Bit of Lace

I found a gorgeous crochet lace shrug pattern on Ravelry last week.  I mean, this thing was jaw dropping.  And everyone I’ve showed it to since agrees that it is fairly stunning.  Of these people, Caitlin agreed, and even asked for one.  This makes me happy, because Caitlin has been watching Ellette for some of my training days, and asked for no payment other than hand knits.  The hand knits she wanted – socks.

Now, we’ve already established that I’m not really a sock knitter.  I’ve made socks, for sure.  I want to try everything, but I don’t really like making socks.  I’d much rather shave my fingertips off or inflict silk burn on my spine than spend tedious hours churning out a pair of the knee high socks she covets.  And it made me feel like a terrible friend.  I should just suck it up and make her a pair of socks or two.  Instead, I’ve been hinting at other possible projects – scarves, arm warmers, etc.  So, when she asked for this, out of yarn she had previously purchased (for socks), I was ecstatic, and started as soon as I could.


The pattern is not particularly difficult, it’s just not well written.  Following the charts is making more sense than the written instructions, which is saying something because me and crochet charts have a long and bitter history.  But, once I got over the fact that the designer and mathematics must have had an equally long and bitter history because the numbers just weren’t adding up, I was flying through the pattern. (And I ask here humbly that you forgo the “I-Told-You-So’s” if it turns out that I’m just an idiot who cannot add)


I’m finished with the back and one armhole, which leaves one more arm and the neck edging, and it’s done!  Super easy, maybe 5 hours of work so far.  I’m going to wind another ball of fingering weight and take it on the plane on Thursday so I can work on one for myself in Austin.

This is Why I Don’t Make Socks

1) There are two of them

2) If you are working on something particularly difficult, it’s liable to leave you frazzled, in the corner, and chewing on the edge of the cuff

3) They like to play tricks on you, by changing gauge, or eating up rows and ending up an inch shorter than its partner. (Case in Point; see Figure 1)


4) Of all of the hand knits, they are worn through the quickest.

5) You cannot wear socks in the summer, and it is difficult to find a cute pair of heels that works well with the socks in the winter.

6) Otherwise, the handmade socks just end up inside of boots and the world never sees them.  And they get worn through faster.

7) They are on tiny needles, with tiny yarn, and take so much longer than other projects.  Consider this, combined with points 4 and 6.

8) While not always the case, sock yarn tends to run between $20 and $30, which makes it a very expensive pair of socks.  I feel less guilty if I turn the skein into a fancy scarf or wrist warmers.

I’m not sure if I want to rip out the sock to just before the heel, add an inch, and continue, or just rip out both and make something else (like this or this).  The first sock, I knit on the way to and from Burning Man last year, but the second one is rife with frustration and discontentment.  I love the yarn, so I would like to put it to use in a way that makes me happy.

Do you like socks?  What are your cases in support of sock-knitting?


Two Week Timey Wimey Socks

They are done! I finished weaving in ends last night, hopped up on the coffee table, and proceeded to do a happy dance.  I have finished knee high plain vanilla socks in one day more than two weeks.  It kind of blows my mind at the speed with which they were executed, and I suspect the Doctor may have played a hand in this warping of the time vortex.


I love them.  They are so incredibly soft and they fit perfectly.  The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Time Traveler (a specially produced, small quantity colorway – sorry folks!)


I’m kind of amazed at how symmetrical they turned out – this isn’t something I generally care about.  And, truth me told, I kind of wanted them to be crazy almost-matching stripes instead of spot on.  (Yes, that is my dirty laundry in the background – I gave up clean in exchange for knitting.  You are all guilty, too, so hush.)


I utilized a small amount of calf shaping and topped them off with some springy 2×2 rib to keep them up where they need to be.




The ease of making the socks has inspired me to dive into my stash and find all that funky yarn I had stashed for cool, colorful, vanilla traveling socks.  I realize that not all socks will be completed in two weeks time.  I am trying to be ok with this knowledge and recognize its truth.  Famous last words.

On the Fly

Last night, with an evening gloriously free of youngling and outside commitment, I settled into my perch on the couch, with balls of yarn spilling around my feet and a set of comfy headphones in place, listening to music and watching videos as I churned out butterfly after butterfly on the bosc scarf.


I am about halfway done – maybe a little more.  The pattern calls for 20 repeats of the butterfly motif, but I think I will have enough yarn to make it to 25.  This is something I will have to gauge as I work – the risk being that I may gauge incorrectly and not have enough left over to do the edging.

When I needed a break from the counting, I pulled out the time lord socks for a bit of mindless stockinette.  I got sucked in while turning the heel.  It came out a smidge too long, but I’m thinking I can fix that once I finish the sock if I don’t like it.  The toe is a little pointy, so I can pull out the cast on and rip out a few rows, making the toe less point and the foot that teensy bit shorter.  I still have a good deal of yarn leftover, and I am excited to see how high the socks end up going.  Will they end mid-calf?  At the knees?  Or could they even go over the knee?  I realize that I have only hit the heel and already worked through about one-third of the ball, which means that they will probably come up to the knee – but here’s to hoping I have found the fiber vortex on purpose.  It would be very apropos.


There is currently some discussion going over at the Yarn Harlot’s blog about the extent to which designers should be expected to explain patterns and techniques versus what the knitter should know or be expected to find out on their own.  It is all really fascinating, and good points are being made for both sides of the argument (one side assuming the designer should spell everything out in big bold font and the other assuming that the knitter should have basic skills, such as problem solving and the ability to look up references, before tackling a pattern).  There I was last night knitting a sock – I had only worked toe-up socks once, following a pattern that said only “Use Turkish Cast On and cast on 16 stitches” or some such, and I looked in the back of the book for instructions on what the frack a Turkish cast-on was.  Well, it stuck in my head, and even though I know a couple of methods to achieve the same effect, it is still my favorite.  Then I knit the sock, and came to the heel, which I turned using the short-row method (or rather, “a” short row method since there are several in regards to turning a sock heel).

The point is – I like to knit, and I like to discover new things, and I really would rather not be held back from completing something because I don’t know how.  Yes, a designer could spell this out for me, but I think that creates a laziness in the knitter.  I don’t want to follow someone else’s pattern for everything I make.  These socks, for instance, are entirely on the fly.  And really, that’s kind of my MO.  I knit on the fly.  I have an idea, and I mull over how to achieve that idea, and then I go.  Most of what I know was learned from references books (and a bit of trial and error) rather than actual patterns.  This has benefited me greatly when I come to errors in the patterns I do follow (and errors will always exist – not in every pattern mind you, but in a lot more than you want to admit).  I come to an error, and I look at why the error is there, what the designer was trying to achieve, and figure out how to work ahead.  I don’t get stalled because there is a miscalculation or chart issue, and I have the freedom and confidence to alter patterns any way I choose because I have the skills behind me to help.

Where do you stand on the debate?


Startitis.  Yep.  I realized this morning I am hopelessly afflicted.  The desire to cast on new and exciting projects is just too strong to ignore.

Don’t get me wrong though!  Sunday morning I whacked out a chunk of the Bosc scarf before my eyes, hands, and needles started to wander.  My reasoning was sound.  I was about to embark on an adventure and needed something that didn’t require so much thinking.  The only thing that really came to mind were your standard vanilla socks.  So, I dug through the stash and cast-on.


This is ‘Time Traveler” sock yarn from Knit Picks, which my old nanny gifted to me at some point, knowing that I’m kind of a raging Dr Who fan.  She gave me two balls of it, and I plan on using every last yard.  So, the socks are worked from the toe up, and I imagine there will be some clever calf shaping happening at some point.  For now, I am entirely enchanted by the colors and changes.  And it is kind of flying by since it is stockinette in the round.

I am doing my best to stay on track, but right now, with everything else going on, I just want to have fun with it.  And if that means a delicately knit chess board or a heavy butterfly scarf don’t fulfill that desire – bring on the whacky colors and summery tops!

But don’t worry – I don’t think startitis is contagious.


The winter solstice has always been a good day for me.  In my mind, it officially represents the end of the year, when the world is consumed by a long dark, and then the sun rises and we all start over.  The solstice is my soul’s reset button. It reminds me that whatever has been going that is bad will be taken care of, and I will be ok tomorrow.

I apologize for the silence here over the past couple of weeks.  It was by no means intentional, and I feel a little guilty because there should have been a lot to talk about – projects flying off the needles, travel preparations being made, and generally, a warm fuzzy holiday buzz.  Instead, it has been kind of cold, dark, and lonely as I cope with recent heartbreak.  I won’t get into the messy of it, but suffice it to say, I am trying to do better.  I have exercised a lot of self-reflection lately, and leaned a lot on my friends and family who have not waivered since it all happened.

But, through all that mess, I wasn’t knitting.  I just didn’t have the motivation in me.  My travel plans were tossed out the window, and now I am searching for a roommate while scrambling to make this holiday a good one for Ellette.


One set of fingerless mitts – almost done.  They need straps and buttons, but those are purely aesthetic, so if I don’t get around to it, no one’s the wiser (except you, of course).


Today, I finished one sock.  One. A second one needs to join it.  But when I finished this one, I held it up and wondered if maybe it was too short.  I don’t know what to do about it.  I think I may dig through my bin of knits-for-sale and find a nice scarf or something.  I don’t know yet.


I apologize for the dark photos, I was trying to keep this one a secret from Ellette.  This is her cape, blocking.  The fair isle came out really nice, and now I have to cut the steeks and make the button band.  I’m terrified that with my recent luck, I will screw something up and have to start over, at which point all hope for me is going out the window.


I don’t think this will take too long though.  One hour?  Maybe two?

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