Monday, July 15, 2013

the three year knee socks

This has become the summer of using up my yarn stash and finishing abandoned projects. I've developed an interesting habit of procrastination-cleaning where instead of doing something I was originally planning, I start reorganizing my room for a few hours. As I was getting ready to make my mom a T-shirt quilt (which WILL be my next project. or next next.) I stumbled upon this bag of a knitting project I started a while back. These socks were almost done, and since its a lovely 94 degrees around these parts, it seemed like a good time to knit wool socks. 

My freshmen year of college, I told myself "this is the year I WILL learn to knit!" (By told I really mean "yelled at myself" but somehow telling yourself something is 2% less bananas.) I had once tried to learn when my grandma taught me. She is hands down the goddess of knitting needles. Besides her lifelong career of creating and selling yarn, she could make anything. My mom's favorite way to describe her natural talent is that she could knit a 5 needle cable sweater, watch golf, carry a conversation, and never drop a stitch. The only thing she made my mom do was sew on her own sweater buttons at the end. So thats my end goal. She taught me pretty well and clearly, but when I tried to practice at home, it became a mess. However, I still have that swatch we worked on. I tried once more to learn online a few months after she passed and I still had some trouble understanding the patterns, and I was satisfied by the fact that I was getting to be a pretty great crocheter and so I gave up again. But I kept seeing beautiful knitting projects, stitches, and patterns that I just couldn't duplicate with crochet. The most haunting projects I saw on craft forums came from the book above, Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller. So I bought the book, bought some supplies, sat down and knit a hat. Here's a picture from that year thats maybe one of the 10 out of 300 thats not TOO embarrassing. Luckily I'm wearing the hat.

(if you're interested its the kitty and devil hat)

I started getting better at knitting hats and went on to learn other things, and decided that this time around I'm going to practice things enough to get good at them before moving on to new things so I'd get better at reading patterns. When I was ready for a new challenge I started the Pippi Kneestockings. It was my first time using needles so small (sizes 3 and 5) and also my first time joining elastic with yarn. No matter what kind of craft you're doing, elastic is a little bitch. Yes, helpful, yes, worth it, yes, you figure it out, but never easily.  

The pattern calls for four colors, but I used Patons Kroy Socks yarn in Summer Moss Jacquard, Grey, and Black. I think what took so long was that it is one of those knitting projects that takes bouts of focus, and then long stretches of mindless inches and inches of stockinette stitch. The hardest part was turning the heel, but after Googling parts of the foot, it got a bit easier. I took a break for a few months after the first sock, then randomly picked up the second. I can't remember what happened between then and now, but when I took it out of the bag it only had about 5 inches of the foot to go, the easiest part. (Although, I did have to Google parts of the foot again this time around. Who would guess the instep was the top of the foot?) I finished it in about the length of Disney's Hercules, my preferred knitting background noise. (My personal opinion is that Disney only created that movie to make a ton of puns about Greek mythology, and I APPLAUD them for that.)

It turned out to be an awesome project and I'm so happy I finished them. The only other time I've knit socks is a chunky pair I made for my friend Sam a few Hanukkahs ago, so its nice to have made a pair I can wear when it gets chilly out. 

If you're new to knitting, I would absolutely recommend buying this book too, by the by. Some of the projects are a little dorky but the skills are described and illustrated SO WELL. Its called the knitters handbook because it really serves as a reference for projects within the book and others you find elsewhere. Stitches are shown in adorable illustrations and once you get the hang of it, you can modify the patterns to your taste. PLUS its from 2003, ten years old this year, so its cheap as hell on Amazon. While you're shopping for it, feel free to send me some of the newer books as gifts. But I already have The Happy Hooker, the crochet handbook. Just throwing it out there.

I broke a sweat taking this picture and thats embarrassing. 

Lastly, I'm really jealous of people who are great at creating fun stuff on Vine and this is my attempt to be a part of that club. 


PS if you're wondering how my garden is doing (you are) here are some updates:

Everything is getting bigger! The tomatoes come up to my thighs so they're about two and a half feet tall. The tomatoes and pepper are starting to produce veggies and the zucchini has some flowers. Technically, squash flowers are edible so I'll say those are producing too. According to all of the labels, in the next few weeks I should be able to eat a few things and see veggies all up on this patch. I'm still looking for a good wood seal to waterproof my labels, if anyone can recommend some I'd be eternally grateful!

A lot of Google Reader users switched over to Bloglovin at the start of this month so if you're one of them, or are otherwise interested in getting updates, follow me HERE on Bloglovin!