Knitting in the Wild

  
My sock has joined me in the library today, probably to flaunt its existence and attempt to persuade me to stop writing this essay and add some rows to it.

You remember that big essay I mentioned at the end of my last post? Well I’ve got 1220 words out of 5000. Chugging along. I’m trying out the pomodoro method of studying- 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of break (this is normally enough time to get a row or two in). Wish me luck.

Where has your knitting joined you, lately? 

 

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They say hindsight is 20/20

I’m inclined to agree. I did something stupid, which resulted in something that hasn’t happened since I was little and the extent of my knitting expertise was a spool.

I got soap in my eyes.

And it burned. And then it ached. And then my eyeballs felt raw. I was seriously contemplating the name of my future seeing eye dog whilst running cold water on my eyeballs. At the same time, I was making an internal vow to never again use my LUSH handsoap as even a temporary replacement for my makeup removal wipes (no matter how stubborn the leftover mascara). I went to bed a half hour later wondering how possible it would be to turn a heel with no sight?

But I can see properly again, which means I’m both relieved and still in a good position to turn heels, which is probably a good thing because I’m going to need to soon…


The pattern is Earl Grey, invented by the Yarn Harlot. Can’t say who they’re for, just in case the recipient reads this, so that’s top secret classified for now. It’s been an interesting variation on the vanilla sock pattern, that’s for sure. Not 100% convinced the cables turn up properly with this yarn, but I’m waiting it out.

The mittens are coming along nicely, I’m quite tickled with the first:


And the second is well on its way. (Sorry for the bad picture- the lighting was weird, and it’s actually incredibly hard to get a good picture of your own hand). Now, if I could feel as much dedication for my final term paper (40% of the class’s final grade, I feel the need to mention), then all would be tickety-boo.

This education thing really gets in the way of my knitting time.

Happy Belated Everything, Dad!

Here are your Father’s Day-Christmas-Valentine’s Day socks! It only took me…. eight months?

These are them, taken with the camera on my iPhone:

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Some of you may recognize this picture from a couple posts ago:

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Actually, I think this is them in June 2015. And I kind of really love them. It was my first time working with Regia (I don’t know colorway or anything like that. Unfortunately the label band was eaten by the yarn gnomes). And these, like all good hand knits, have a story. I started them last year, as a Father’s Day gift. The first one went really quickly, with very little incident. Because this was my first man’s sock, AKA way bigger than my own women’s size 7 socks, the ease of the first sock gave me hope.

Yeah. Pfffft.

I cast on the second one, and the hope from the first sock made the second cuff swim by. The problem arose when I got home from work one day to find that my parent’s terrier had found the knitting and decided to decorate not only the living room, but also the front foyer and the dining room with decorative Regia garland. The knots were horrendous, and so frustrating I had to put it down for a few days. The problem was that in my annoyance I cast on something new…and, well, the socks were hidden away in knotty-exile. I finished them in October, once I had moved back to University, figuring he’d get them in the winter.

Repeat: Yeah. Pfffft.

I forgot them. Totally, utterly forgot them. I even put them beside my carryon on my dining room table and I still forgot them. I didn’t escape the ribbing and fake tears for a while.

Fast forward to now! My reading week rolled around (University’s version of Spring Break, for those that aren’t aware) and my dad got his socks…finally. I think I’ll start another pair. Has anyone worked with Regia’s ‘Pairfect’ line? Intriguing concept.

Now, before I sign this off, I want to share the extent of my dad’s knitting related jokes:

A cop is out on patrol when he notices a man knitting while driving. A little incredulous, he matches the man’s speed and yells “Pull over!” through his window. The man looks over, and yells back “No! Cardigan!”

I’m a sucker for stupid jokes, but especially knitting related humour, so I found it absolutely hilarious 🙂 I hope it makes you smile too!

Love,

The Girl with Striped Socks

Howdy, Stranger

Hi there! Long time no see. I’d like to pretend it hasn’t been a little over two months, maybe include a witty comment like ‘time only exists on your wrist’, or maybe brush it off with an exciting anecdote of something that has earned my attention for 84 days.

I’d like to. I really would. But while the time has been long, my existence has been fairly unexciting. Finals for last semester pulled me away, and then there was Christmas, and New Years, and a new semester to get used to and my undergraduate thesis application…and between those times? Laziness. Procrastination. And a lot of knitting. Speaking of knitting, actually….

I have a nasty case of startitis. I can imagine as I type this that there are people out there who read the word ‘startitis’ and wonder what the heck I’m talking about (hi, mom!), so let me clarify:

Startitis is the general need to cast on new projects, no matter how many projects you already have on the needles (or how many projects you have already cast on for during the onset of startitis). It is crippling, debilitating, and utterly addictive. I currently have five projects in my ‘recent’ basket, and no idea how many WIPs are in my ‘long term’ basket…

Two scarves, two sock pairs (each still on the first sock), and one tiny newborn cardigan (has anyone else seen the pattern Newborn Vertebrae? Absolutely adorable.)

And yes, one of those scarves is is the utterly soft grey and brown alpaca scarf that was meant as a Christmas present for my little brother. I’m allowed to tell you who it’s for now, because he knows he has an IOU for it. It’s beginning to turn into spring where I am, which is a novelty because Canada is normally pretty fond of winter and likes to keep it up as long as it possibly can, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I really dislike the early periods of spring, when everything is slushy and muddy and wet and the skies are grey and it was just too much lack of color everyone. The brown and the grey, while both are lovely colors, flooded my retinas and I needed something bright ASAP.

 

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Bright, almost obnoxious, pink sock on the way

This may be the brightest pair of socks I have ever knit. Definitely the brightest pink I’ve ever knit with. I think they’re going to be dubbed my Easter socks, because they remind me of the bright colors on the little foil wrapped eggs my parents the Easter bunny would hide when I was little. Does anyone else have any yarn that reminds them of good times? Good memories? I love those yarns. It makes the project so much more….. well, more I guess.

…And why yes, that is a picture of Stephanie Purl-McPhee under my obnoxiously pink yarn. It’s my signed copy of Stephanie Purl-McPhee Casts Off, and I absolutely love it. She came to a literary festival in my area earlier this year, and I swear it was the best thing. She’s like my generation’s Elizabeth Zimmerman, she’s that much of a knitting role-model.

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Newborn Vertebrae, knit with West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply, Woodpigeon colorway. 3 1/4 mm needles.

And this is that Newborn Vertebrae pattern, Ashley style. I think this pattern is absolutely darling, and I’d recommend it to just about anyone. Simple pattern to follow, adorable product. Win-win, I’d say! I’m also quite taken with the picture, the backdrop of which is my boyfriend’s faux-marble countertop. It makes it look quite fancy, don’t you think?

I’ll show you the rest of my startitis symptoms tomorrow, because right now I have to attend to my cold symptoms… apparently real illnesses happen to knitters too. Whodathunk?

Best,

The Girl with the Striped Socks

 

You’d think after three and a half years I’d be used to school taking over my life.

According to my dashboard, it’s been 13 days since my last post, but before I get into all the crafty stuff I’ve been playing with over the last couple weeks, I want to say thank you to everyone who has expressed concern over my wrist. I appreciate it! And thankfully, it hasn’t made a reappearance (knock on wood).

Not only is the absence of pain a good thing, but it means that I now have very little preventing me from crafting- aside from my school work, which has been the true reason this blog hasn’t had anything new to say. Fortunately, the last pressing exam was finished on Friday and after taking a few hours to decompress and recoup I’ve mustered up enough brain power to get this typed up and out there.

The last 13 days held a lot of school work, very little crafting, and even less knitting. Instead of knitting my way through to sanity during tests and papers…I thought I’d try something new. Well, not new exactly, but an old craft from my yesteryears (which is, surprisingly, an actual word. Huh.)

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My cross-stitch skills are unbelievably rusty, but the distractions of re-learning everything and the zen action of actually doing the cross stitch? I can’t tell you how good my brain felt having something so repetitive to do after a few hours of delving into the theories of Foucault and Bourdieu, or trying to properly pull apart Terre Satterfield’s treatment of Oregon logging in the early 2000s. My brain is twisting itself rather uncomfortably just at the remembrance of that, so if it’s all the same to you guys I’m not going to unearth that debate again.

I’ve made a bit of progress on this cross-stitch since the picture was taken, but I ran out of black thread so the second hummingbird still doesn’t have the rest of it sculpted out. Hopefully I can change that later, next time I run to Michaels. I’m not even going to pretend the back looks pretty- I know most people say the back should look as tidy as the front, but considering the number of years since I last attempted this, I figured I could cut myself some slack.

I did do some knitting. More on the alpaca scarf, though not enough to warrant a picture because, lets be honest, there are some projects where you can knit and knit and knit and then you can look at your work and see that nothing has actually happened. It’s as though as you were knitting, all the yarn simply knit itself right into oblivion. But that’s okay. Why, you ask? Because to make up for the universe simply deleting my yarn, I went out and bought some more. I even took my boyfriend with me (which is a task and a half, because he knows how long I can take in a yarn store/department/aisle, and he actively avoids it. If I wasn’t the one driving today, it would have taken more than a few strings pulled and promises made before we would have gotten close to our local yarn shop.

But I digress.

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Ta-da! I’ve got another sock on my needles. Quick projects are always best to have on hand when I’ve got a bigger, slightly-monotonous-sometimes-if-I’m-honest, project going on right now. Yes, alpaca scarf, I am looking at you. These are knit on US 1 DPNs, and the lovely yarn is Signature 4 ply from WYS, in ‘Wood Pigeon’. If the name doesn’t give it away, it is one of the sister colorways of my fall striped socks (those were knit in ‘Pheasant’). I did this unintentionally, but I realized as I was walking out of the store, bag of lovely yarn in hand, that they’re very winter-y colors. I know the pictures kind of distort the colors a bit, but I couldn’t resist taking the picture under my Christmas tree. Something so home-y and warm about knitting and Christmas… I don’t know.

I hope you don’t find my sock knitting horribly boring. I can knit non-striped socks, as well as non-striped other things, I promise! Here’s a bit of photo evidence for you:

See? The blue sock cuff isn’t technically striped. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it (Regia, by the way). Funny story with those socks, too. They were meant to be my dad’s Father’s Day present, but I was halfway through the first of the pair when the dog got the ball and decided to string half of it around the coffee table, front foyer, and the living room. I was so disgusted with the resulting knots that I had to put the project down for a while. Needless to say, these socks are now going to be his Christmas present. Has anyone else had a project mucked up due to a pet? I’ve heard a few horror stories about wayward significant others, too, but thankfully mine hasn’t made that misstep yet…

Love,

The Girl with Striped Socks

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have Fall Socks

Has anyone ever had a pain–a bruise, for instance–and no bloody idea how it got there? This was me a couple days ago. A large, only slightly hideous, lump appeared on my wrist last week accompanied by some sharp shooting pains. I don’t think I can tell you how much it kind of sucked to knit through it, but more on that is a second. It resolved itself, so no worries anymore- a very kind doctor at my local walk-in clinic said it was just a ganglion cyst. Sounds scary, but it isn’t. Fun fact: they used to be called ‘bible bumps’, because doctors used to slam bibles down on them to cause a rupture and start the healing process.

But no worries, we’ve evolved as a society and now only jab pointy hollow things into our lumps to suck the liquid out.

Despite being an unhappy knitter and an unhappy student for a week–have any of you had to write a twelve page paper with a bum wrist?–I’m still beyond pleased. I FINISHED THE SOCKS! The girl with the striped socks now has them on her feet, and with the cold weather rolling in it couldn’t be better timing. They’ve turned out really well, and I’m really fond of the grey toes… they just seem to pull it all together. Project infatuation is a real thing, guys, and these socks are Exhibit A.

Socks knit in 'Pheasant', WYS Signature 4 ply. 2.25 mm needles

Socks knit in ‘Pheasant’, WYS Signature 4 ply. 2.25 mm needles

The cold weather is also ushering in two important days: Remembrance Day, which is a big thing in Canada, and Christmas. I’m sure that after the first passes, the decorations for the second will start springing up and the Santa Clause coca cola commercials will roll through without delay. Also without delay comes the Christmas knitting.

Christmas present scarf- 100% alpaca, worsted weight, 4 mm needles.

Christmas present scarf- 100% alpaca, worsted weight, 4 mm needles.

I can’t give you the personal details, just in case the important someone reads this, but I have a deliciously soft scarf on my needles right this second. And just let me tell you about this yarn, you guys. Both the grey and the brown are from the same seller, A to Z Alpacas. As you can probably guess, it’s 100% alpaca and it feels kind of like a cloud in string form. I’ve been a fan of A to Z Alpacas for a while now, and have quite a bit of their product- again, my friends have me down as ‘Alpaca Queen’ in their phones so what does that say, really? They’re centred in southern Alberta, Canada, so I feel the extra glow of supporting a local small business when I see my package in the mail. According to their website, they raise over 300 alpacas, meaning they see their yarn (as well as roving and pre-knit socks) from animal to mailbox. She even hand dyes it. Definitely worth the investment, if anyone out there is looking to pad their stash. They sell through their Etsy site, which you can find here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/AtoZAlpacas

And no, while I may be a fan of their work, these opinions are my own and I was in no way compensated for including them in this post.

This scarf is a sort of modified linen stitch (and by modified I mean I tried the linen stitch, messed up a bit, decided I liked the fabric my muck-up made and continued on with it!), and will eventually be 78 inches or so. I’m not following a pattern, but I have this vision of it going grey square-striped square-brown square-striped square, rinse and repeat until it’s done. The 78 inches is a tall order, but I’m really looking forward to seeing that someone’s face when they open it in… 49 days?

Good lord. Did I blink?

Testing…Testing…1-2-3

Welcome to The Girl with the Striped Socks!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Ashley, and I am the girl with the striped socks… on my needles, that is. Confused? Hopefully not for long! I’m 21 years old, I’m the proud owner of one very lazy leopard gecko, and I am a Knitter (capitalization here is essential, I promise). As a university student, there are two questions that are always asked, and always get a little annoying:

“What is that going to get you?” (Normally in regards to your degree/major/minor etc.)

“Tell us about yourself!” (Normally asked by a prof or new roommates upon congregating for the first time.)

Funnily enough, these questions also apply to the noble art of knitting. The first is normally uttered by the naysayers, those who haven’t yet been converted to the warm world of hand-knit woolies (beware fellow Knitters: Some of these people may never be converted. Best to steer clear of those people- you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life). Once I clarify what is on my needles, this question is normally followed up by countless variations of the suggestion that I can buy the same thing for less in a Walmart. And in–gasp–multiples!

The second question has more to do with identity. If you ask me this question, my answer will always include ‘Knitter’ (whether or not I include this in my vocal answer or not depends on where we are, although you can rest assured that it’s not in my mouth it’s in my brain). And this really why I wanted to start a blog about knitting. Connecting with Knitters can be hard. We tend to hide, only coming out of the woodwork when something big happens that draws us out… Like a yarn sale, or a live appearance by the Yarn Harlot. I think a lot of my loved ones get a little…. well, what’s the word? Wary?… when I start talking about my current (and sometimes future) projects. Extra kudos to those of you who have changed my name in your phone to ‘Alpaca Queen’, you will all have prestigious positions in my kingdom.

So there it is. If you’re a knitter, or an aspiring knitter, drop in a line below and chat. Hell, if you’re the exasperated loved one of a knitter seeking answers or maybe a bit confused by your Knitter, welcome. You may find help here.

My striped socks are knit with ‘Pheasant’ by West Yorkshire Spinners, as part of their Signature 4 ply line. If you’re a Ravelry member, you can find out more about it here. Really lovely yarn, especially for socks. The 75% of it that is wool contributes to that delicious squish factor (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, dude.), and the last 25% is nylon makes it ideal for socks. I have a deep love for self-patterning sock yarns, and this is one the best I’ve worked with. 10/10, would knit again 😉 With one done, and the second well on its way, I can’t decide whether to cast on a second pair or toy with the idea of investing in its sibling…’Blue Tit’. They’ve got quite the bird thing going on. Seriously, a Blue Tit is an actual bird (a beautiful bird), not a medical fascination. And the yarn has some pretty stunning yellow and blue combinations. Where did I put my Christmas list, again?

What do you think of self-patterning/striping yarn? Yay or nay?

With Love,

The Girl with the Striped Socks