No spoilers here

I got my April Rockin' Sock Club kit yesterday! Yay! And for now, all I'm going to say is the yarn is absolutely gorgeous. I love it.

(But if you're hankering for a peek, here is a photo of the pattern and yarn, here's a closeup of the skein, and last but certainly not least, here is the ever-adorable emergency skein keychain!)

This post will not, however, be lacking in photos. I had placed an order for a pattern and kit from Knit Witts the other day. In some sort of yarn-planets-all-lined-up thing, I got both that order and my sock kit on the same day. It would have been fun to stretch out the yarn receiving fun, but hey, I'm not complaining. Packages of yarn arriving on my doorstep are still packages of yarn arriving on my doorstep, let's be clear here. My Muggle friend Jeanne (Hi Jeanne!) was over and she got to oooh and aaah over the new yarn with me, which was fun. For a Muggle, she's very interested in yarny and knitting-related things. ;)

I'd had my eyes on a felted purse kit at Knit Witts and when I got their newsletter email saying it was on sale I made my move. I got this adorable bag kit called the Marit Purse...it has a funky striped handle and the bag is knit in stripes to match it...so cute.

Here's what comes in the kit (yarn, handle and a magnetic closure):

And it came in this cute little box:

I might cast on for this soonish since it appears that it'll be a quick knit.

And in keeping with my apparent theme of learning new techniques (since I've already learned a few with the Rockin' Socks) I also got a really cute pattern that involves miters,which I've never tried. I thought these mittens looked really cute and fun to knit:

I have already decided that I will make them with this Koigu KPPPM yarn I have, which I'd gotten on a trip to Toronto last fall to visit a friend:

So...I need to finish my Monsoon socks before I start anything else, but then I'll dive into something new. Can't wait!


I can't believe I did that


Last night as I was excitedly nearing the end of the heel on sock #2, all geared up to get started on the leg, I suddenly realized that I'd been knitting with the size 0's, and not the size 1's with which I'd done both toes and the other heel. UGH! I was so close...

I realized as I berated myself that this is a common thing with me. Anytime I have to change needle sizes mid-pattern, I find that forgetting to switch needles is something I do more often than I'd like to admit. Anyone else have this problem? I need to come up with some fantabulous idea of how to flag myself...oh, flags! Maybe some of those post-it flags would work...hmm.

Anyway, I held up the heel to the one on the other sock, compared it to the toe...but I decided that I'd rather do it right so I just yanked those needles out and frogged the heel. The upshot of all of this is that I got still more practice picking up live stitches (this time I sat at the kitchen counter and turned the lights up bright, much easier that way let me tell you) and suddenly there I was, back at the start of the heel again. At least this round will be more pleasant to knit; I have to say that the size 0's are a little small for my preferences. Now the 1's feel enormous!

And the only other silver lining here is that this is keeping me occupied (albeit a tad grumpily) till my April kit arrives. I was disappointed not to see a box at my door last night but reminded myself I want to finish the Monsoons first anyway. But I am really looking forward to the new kit. I have a feeling the colors will me more my thing.

And rather than bore you with a photo of a partially finished sock, I give you this:


Back on track

I am pleased to say I am back on track with my Inside Out sock. Last night I sat down and just bit the bullet and did the right thing and frogged my sock back to where the knot was. whew. Now there are two longer strings dangling that I still have to deal with, but at least they're long enough and also at the side of the sock instead of right on top of the foot.

I was also nervous about the frogging process because I have never frogged something partway with the intention of picking up the stitches again. But I did it, and it worked. It wasn't so scary after all!

I took a deep breath, pulled the needles out, and pulled it out row by row, counting backwards on my counter so I could keep track of how many rows I pulled out. I went back to just above the offending knot. Then I grabbed some smaller needles, fended off Moose, and got to picking the stitches up again. A couple of the little devils got away from me and jumped down a row or so, but I got them. Then I tinked* back one stitch at a time for another row, putting the knitting onto the normal size needles, and in the process, I also correctly re-oriented all of the stitches, since when picking them up I was only concerned with getting them back on the needles, and not which way they were facing. So the tinking helped get me straightened out.

All in all, these socks have really taught me a lot. I've learned a lot of new techniques with them, and there have been a lot of firsts for me. Among them:

  • Toe-up socks (all my others have been top-down construction)
  • Short row toe/heel (very entertaining)
  • Provisional cast-on (not so entertaining, but handy)

and now...frogging back, picking up stitches (successfully!) and resuming my knitting from there. Very satisfying.

Can't wait to get back to it now. Last night I knitted back to where I was when I decided to frog, and am a mere few rows short of starting the heel. Yay!

*Until I get my glossary up and running, "tinking" for those who don't know is un-knitting backwards, stitch by stitch. T-I-N-K is K-N-I-T spelled backwards. See? See? Get it?! :)


Completely Unrelated

My friend Jeanne just sent me this. Go now, and have fun! It's a rather fussy, addictive little game. Ya can't say I didn't warn ya...

Knitting related

This weekend I got a sudden urge to dig out my beading boxes and make some stitch markers with some pretty beads I had. I love the ones on the right, though it's hard to tell here, they have a silvery crackle thing going on, and the little bugle beads I added also have a silvery thing going on, so they are sorta sparkly. The other two are just pretty pink beads.

And then I made these with some beads I had from years ago. I am embarrassed to admit that when I bought them (probably over 10 years ago) I had intended to make them into earrings. In fact, I did...but they remained in my bead box. Well, after all this time, I think they found their true calling:

Bears! Aren't they cute? I love bears. And these guys even have cute little faces (if a little blurry thanks to my picture-taking).

Then I spiffed up two of my row counters by adding some beads:

I discovered that those leverback earrings work great for making clip-on markers! I'll be making more of those, that's for sure. I love using clip-on markers to mark the end of a row, especially when using DPNs and the end of the row is also the end of a needle.

I also made this fun little bracelet. These are some cute glass beads I found at Jo-Ann's which inspired me to make a bracelet. It's kind of hard to tell in the photo, but they're pale, pale pink, and one side of the leaf beads has an iridescence to it, as do the other beads. I threaded them on some clear, stretchy string stuff called Stretch Magic. I like how it turned out.

And it got the Moose Seal of Approval, too.

Inside Out Update

As previously mentioned, I totally got back into the swing of working on my Inside Out sock #2. I found myself carrying that sock and its ball of yarn everywhere, just so I could do a few rows of the ribbing and keep the thing moving through the endless ribbed foot section.

Then I made an error in judgement. I can say that I have learned my lesson, however, I don't yet know how I'll proceed. See, I came across a knot in my yarn. I wasn't happy about it, but I realize that yarn is yarn and the people who make it are human, and these things happen now and then. However, I stupidly decided to just carry on, knit past it, and deal with the possibility that it might show. Well, what I hadn't bargained for was the possibility that it might come undone. Which it did. And which I didn't notice until I was quite a ways beyond it.

So my dilemma is this: I am so psyched to just finish the thing that a part of me wants to just try and make the two little tiny ends stable, and knit onward. But the smarter side of me wants me to tink or frog back and fix it properly. sigh. I know that's what I should do. And I do feel differently about it today than I did yesterday, which is why I put it down yesterday and walked away from it.
Anyway, I think I know what I must do...


A Blue Hat...for Spring?

So, I started a new project, even though it defies all logic. It's a hat. In spring. (Although with this chilly spring we're having around here, it's not far off the mark to want to wear a hat.) I just couldn't help myself. I was taking a little break from my Inside Out socks, which I have since resumed, and was itching for something fun and new.

Here's what I've done so far:

It's the Coronet hat from Knitty.com. I really enjoyed the cable band, which is done first as its own entity (and which I should have taken a picture of...still getting used to this blogging thing). First you start with a provisional cast on, and then graft the two ends together to form a ring. Then you pick up stitches along one edge and begin to knit in the round for the rest of the hat. It's also designed to have the cabled band fold up to form a double layer over your ears. So far it's a really fun knit.

I am making it in leftover yarn from this scarf and mittens. Believe me, I know. The extreme matchyness will have to be evaluated. But I think it'll be a nice hat. And, that yarn is some of the softest wool I've ever found, and it knits up beautifully.

A Beaded Code

I recently purchased a DPN wallet in which to store my smallest sizes of DPNs, from 000 to 3. I love it. It has four pockets, and I have them organized as such: sizes 000, 00 and 0 all in the leftmost pocket, 1's in the next, then 2's and then 3's. Seemed logical enough to me. Except that I couldn't memorize my various color-coded size 0 needles. So this weekend I came up with this:

Beads! I stitched some beads on the little band (which was intended to hold stitch markers) so that I can see which needles are which...so, now I know that the blue ones are my 000's, the red/pink are the 00's and the yellow are 0's.

And I don't think it detracted at all from the prettiness of the needle case. It's just my little "note" to myself that tells me what I need to know. I like it.

Coming Soon...

I have decided to try and create a little "knitting glossary" page of terms for the benefit of my non-knitting/Muggle friend Jeanne, whom I know reads this blog. I know that I babble on about knitting things, which are nothing for other knitters to read, but which can sometimes stump my friend. So I am going to start a list, and see what happens. More on that later.


A hopefully helpful hint

I thought I'd mention a little trick (if you could call it that) I came up with that worked for me to organize my stitches while I was working on the leg/cabled portion of the Inside Out sock. It's nothing fancy, but admittedly it did take me a little while to figure it out. (Or that may have been because Moose was helping me and making me crazy...note to self: don't try and figure out the start of a cable pattern while a kitten is trying to occupy the same space as you.)

I am a big fan of stitch markers to keep things tidy and organized when I am working on a pattern. After having completed my heel and when I was doing my initial set-up for the cables, I tried figuring out how to organize my stitches to better keep track since I'd been using five DPNs (ie, my knitting was distributed on four) thus far to knit the sock. I discovered, however, that it was in fact easier to use just four for the leg, organizationally speaking. I had tried organizing the stitches on four needles but that just wasn't working for me. Since the total stitch count was divisible by 3, it worked better. So I put 24 stitches on each of three needles (keep in mind, I knit the medium size on the pattern, I think it's the same for both?) and a stitch marker in the middle of each 24, so 12 on each side of the marker. This way, each needle with 24 stitches corresponded to one repeat of the chart for the cables. And then, because of the stitch markers, I was able to consider the first 12 stitches were for the first set of cables, and the second group of 12 sts went with the second set of cables.

I know, I'm sure those of you who already knit these are saying, well duh, that's how I did it too. But I thought I'd just share this just in case, since the lightbulb sure didn't go on right away for me! ;o)

Anyway, the above description is very wordy. Here's a not-very-good photo of what I am trying to say...I should have planned this better and taken a better pic, sorry.

I have three needles with stitches, 24 each, with a marker in the middle. There. I've said it, for what it's worth. It worked for me, since I am a visual person.
And, just because I feel obligated for some reason to post a photo of it, here's a photo of my first completed sock. I am rather entertained by how the striping changed from the foot, where I used size 0's, to the leg, where I had switched to size 2's. I guess what stripes you get really is dependent upon gauge!

And now I'll attempt to make it slightly more interesting by including a photo which in turn includes a cat:

It was actually kind of funny...whenever I moved the sock to take photos of it, he kind of got freaked by it. So here he's looking a little concerned about this thing (but then seconds later he was grabbing at it as I took it away).

Further Updated

I drafted this post a couple of days ago and time got away from me. I have since started my second sock. I tried the first one on again and decided it fits fine after all, and so I am back on board and excited to finish the pair. This time, the short-row toe went very smoothly, and I even had an easier time picking up my provisional-cast-on stitches (whew...although I'm not mentioning the "fun" had with trying to turn them around after I apparently picked them up backwards). Anyway, it went much better than last time. I am now at the start of the long stretch of foot...but I'll get there. And I also have another new thing I can knit so I can rest my hands from the tiny sock needles, but more on that later. :o)


Not again...

Moose is crazy. There's just no other way to describe him. First off, remember this? Well, he did it again. Twice. I came home the other day and found this, again:

That was Wednesday, I think. Then last night, I found a similar scene upon arriving home. (No photo of that, just imagine an almost identical copy of the above photo.) He's nuts, that cat. Nuts, nuts, nuts. Neither of our other cats were this crazy as kittens, I'll tell ya that.

He also has to "help" with everything, and he follows us all around the house. So we have to be careful we don't close him in cupboards and closets because as soon as you open one, he's in it. Case in point, we have a pantry closet that also holds the microwave and the recycling, which means it gets opened a lot. I had a paper shopping bag with handles (like the kind you'd get at the mall) in which I was putting our paper recycling. Well, the other day Moose got in there and was crinkling around in the bag, and I got fed up with trying to remove him again so I left the door open. He played in there, was having a ball, and then suddenly I heard ripping paper, and this flew out of the closet:

He'd gotten himself stuck through the handle and then ripped it off the bag trying to get away, presumably. tee hee. He was fine. Not much scares him, actually. So far the only thing we've found that makes him get away from something is a well-aimed stream from a squirt bottle of water.

Although he likes water too...last night my husband somehow managed to splash a fair amount of water on the kitchen floor, and Moose stopped what he was doing to go investigate. Of course, what does my goofy husband do? He picks up Moose in order to bring him over to me, but first he dips Moose's paws in the water, so as to make sure I get some very wet paws on me. Goofball.

We decided to let Moose loose (tee hee, Moose loose) last night for sleeping (don't ask me what made us do this). Lately, since Maddie's been a little under the weather, we've been keeping Trouble Moose in the family room so Maddie could have some peace. Since she's been better, we've been letting Trouble Moose out. Last night my husband declared we should let him out overnight. Good idea, hon. Around 4 am I awoke to a purring (yes, purring...he's so much trouble but so darn cute!!) kitten standing on me, licking my chin, chewing on my hands, etc. etc. This has been the same story any of the other nights we've let him out. Around 5 am he had decided he was totally done sleeping, and proceeded to run around the room, knocking things over, scooching stuff off the dresser, climbing the curtains, and chasing Maddie around and making her growl at him.

That's my other concern. Maddie does not like Moose. I know she never really liked our other cat either, but they tolerated each other, probably because he was older and more, um, reserved. I know Moose will eventually calm down, but Maddie sure has been giving him the what-for anytime he gets near her. There have been a few scuffles, and I am somewhat afraid to leave them alone together. If they're not in the same room together, they're okay. So, I am trying not to worry about this and doubt our decisions. When it comes to anything at all, I am really good at those two things...worrying and doubting myself.

Some Trivia

I learned a new word this morning: paraskavedekatriaphobia. Isn't that a fun one?! All 23 letters of it, too. Fear of Friday the 13th, is what it means. Not to be confused with triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13.

A Funny

My friend just sent me a link to this article about a cat in England who rides the bus, and then I clicked on something inadvertently and found this one, about cats who go for a walk. Cute. :)


One down, one to go

Last night I finished my first Inside Out sock. I like it, I think. (One might notice a slight bit less enthusiasm than previously exhibited.) I had gone up a needle size (to size 2's) for the leg portion. One benefit of being a little slow on the knitting uptake and reading all of the other blogs is that I was able to glean all sorts of information from others' trials and errors. So I already knew that I'd have to go up a size in order to be able to fit it over my heel.

Sure enough, it was still pretty tight going over the heel. I tried it on midway along to see how much farther I needed to go, and to weigh the whole thing with the rest of the ball on my little kitchen scale to determine where halfway through the yarn was going to be so I knew when to stop. I determined I could continue and do another repeat of the cable before I cast off. It's a nice length now.

I had previously exclaimed after having completed the heel that the foot portion of the sock fit perfectly, but now I am changing my tune ever so slightly. I think it's a tad too long. I mean, if fits if I pull up on the leg part, but I'm not sure what it'll do when I walk in it.

So the question of the hour is this: Do I want to rip all the way back to the leg, shorten the foot, and redo the leg in still larger needles? I don't know. I guess I have to decide if I am happy enough with them as they are. I think I can live with both issues, since they're both small ones. It's tight but I can get it over my heel, and the foot is really only slightly too long. It's not as if I will never wear them this way. I am a perfectionist when it comes to many things, knitting included. I end up in a bit of a quandary when I am not 100% happy with something, because a part of me wants it done right, but another part of me is too lazy to redo it!

I think I might take a small break from these socks and pick up something else for a little. I wanted to get them done before the next kit arrived, but I just think these need a little Time-Out for a while!


Handmade goodies

First off, let me start by saying that this is my first official post under my new name...The Knitting Moose! So named because of this guy:

...our little kitten named Moose, aka Trouble, who loves to help with everything around the house, especially my knitting.

My friend Jeanne, (Moose's "Auntie Jeanne") gave him a lovely handmade pottery bowl that she made. Here he is using it for the first time:

Though that look doesn't say it, he most definitely approves of his new dish.

And because it seems that poor Maddie hasn't gotten much face time on the blog, here she is, atop none other than a hand knitted afghan (my mom made this one years ago):

She has actually been feeling a little under the weather lately, with a swollen/blocked salivary gland under her tongue. Poor kitty. She's been a little sore, and is on antibiotics now and seems, dare I say it, to be a little better as of yesterday and today. Hopefully she's on the mend now.

Bags, Bags, Bags!

Over the weekend, I received a much anticipated package of some goodies I ordered. I was so excited to get them, and I was not disappointed! I ordered two items from Piddleloop, an Etsy store. The stuff they make is beautiful, especially in person.

First, I was totally enthralled by a DPN wallet I saw on Nell's Chicken Knits blog, in this post, and I just had to have one of my own. Here's mine:

I completely adore it, and it is perfect for what I needed. There are four pockets for DPNs, and it fits my 7" needles perfectly. I wanted something to keep them organized and this was the ideal solution. I can put all of my "o" sizes in one pocket (000, 00 and 0) and then 1's, 2's and 3's in the other pockets. Love it! :) It's very pretty, inside and out, and the attention to detail is exceptional:

And, it's pink. :)

Then, because I am a bag person, I also fell victim to the charms of this adorable knitting bag:

It's very nicely made, inside and out, and again, there is a great attention to detail, right down to a stitch marker zipper pull, which according to a card that was attached, is from Zero Markers, also on Etsy.

It is the absolute perfect size for a socks-in-progress project, and as you can see, I've already pressed it into service:

And because this post needs more photos in it (hopefully there's no one out there in dial-up trying to read this!) I must share with you the fun little extras that they sent along with my purchase:

In that little baggie were these cute stitch markers:

In addition to the great products, one other thing that Piddleloop has going for them is great customer service. I had never ordered anything using PayPal before and so when I hit a snag (totally on my end, of course) I sent an email asking for assistance, which I received right away. Jen was very friendly and helpful, and it was a pleasure doing business with them.


The Knitting Moose

So. I have decided to rename my blog. Thanks to some help from my good friend Jeanne, we have come up with The Knitting Moose as the new name. How do you like it? Personally, I think it's kinda cute. :) And I'm allowed to say that since I technically didn't come up with it. I'm going to post this entry and let it sit a bit before I officially rename it. I won't be changing my colors/look or my URL (that'll still be carrieknitting.blogspot) so hopefully that will keep things less confusing in case anyone has linked to me or added me to their reader/bloglines thingy (ha! as if...I'm probably dreaming there). Anyway, I'll add the following picture to my sidebar since I can't change the header on this blog:

Hee. Isn't that cute? My friend Jeanne drew it, and then I tweaked it a tad, so it was a friendly collaborative effort.

I've also already changed the teeny picture that goes with my "about" profile.

So...if you've become a regular reader, thanks!! And please come back! And I hope you won't lose track of me if I change the name. :)


Rockin' Heel

Wheee, what fun! I completed my first short row heel, and I love it. I tried it on...and it fits!! yay. :)

More thoughts on the short row heel:

The Upsides ~ I think it's a pretty quick-knit heel, at least for me. No stitches to pick up along the gusset (yay!) and it is a satisfying knit. I'll have to see how the whole sock fits but so far, it seemed pretty good. I was a little afraid there might be some extra bulk at the midway part of the heel but it seems fine, so maybe that's just the way heels are shaped! ;)

The Downsides ~ I'm not sure I can put it down partway through. I mean, I can set it down for a little while (always in the middle of a row, though, which isn't my usual school of thought) but I am not sure I'd want to stop for a long period of time partway through the heel process. So right now anyway, it seems that it would be best if I set aside a chunk of time to do the whole heel (or toe) at once, so I don't lose track of where I am. I think this might change with experience, but for now I think that's the way I'll plan for it.

Here's my sock's current status:

Plain Sock Knitting

As many do, I find socks to be one of the greatest portable projects. To that end, I've made myself basic "sock pattern cards" which are index cards with an entire sock pattern on them that I can carry along easily with my sock knitting. I have made some for some basic ribbed socks, and I'm working on some for some plain jane socks too, in a couple of needle sizes/stitch counts to accommodate different yarns.

On each page of these cards (which I have "bound" with one single ring through hole punches) is one step of the sock...starting with a description and notions list, and then the cuff and/or leg, the heel flap, turning the heel, the instep, the gussets/decreases, the foot, the toe, and the grafting. I have each individual row or step numbered, and then I keep a counter pinned to my sock so I can keep exact track of where I am. No need for pencils and paper, and no need to memorize anything. (I like this because I am a freak about sock #1 matching sock #2. Must. have. exact. same. number. of. rows.) I just flip the page of the cards for each section of the sock, and that way I know exactly where I am at any time making it the ideal stop/start project pattern for me. I know a lot of people have a "sock recipe" they've memorized, but I'm not sure I'm quite there (see above reference to matching socks).

Now I'm off to do some actual knitting. :)

April Fool's Day

Happy April Fool's Day! Nope, no tricks here. But here's an article I found that tells of some real-life pranks that have been played through the ages.

Funny side note: I just went to get that first link from Wikipedia and there's this banner across the top:

And now back to some knitting. So, I'm in the process of turning my first short row heel on my first Inside Out sock. So far so good! I think this is going smoother than the toe did.

I just tried it on and I think it's going to fit me! Yay. That was one of my fears with this, since I had no idea where to stop knitting the foot and start the heel. But I think I may have gauged this one correctly. (And ya gotta love how you can try on a toe-up sock as you go. Definite merit there.)

Some observations: Now that I've done a toe and part of a heel of the short row/wrap & turn variety, I can say that this technique is growing on me. Not that I'm likely to give up my traditional heel flap heel, but it's got me thinking that I really need to try more new techniques, because really, they aren't going to hurt me. ;) Others I want to try are the afterthought heel (although I am fearing that it will resemble the "fun" I had when unzipping my provisional cast on for this sock, although I have gotten some great tips to try like using smaller needles to pick up the stitches). Anyway, so far I think the short rows are pretty nifty, and if I'm allowed to say so, I think I've done fairly well with my short rows considering I've never done them (on a sock) before, and my wraps are nice and tight, and as I've said it does make a nice looking edge. I do have a little trouble seeing where my wraps are on my return (that whole "knit to before last wrapped stitch" part), but I've heard that's a feature of the garter stitch as opposed to stockinette. I hear that with stockinette it's easier to see your wraps. That said, I think the garter neatly hides the wraps though. Granted, I have no point of comparison, but someday I will.

So on my list of things to try are a stockinette short row toe/heel, and the afterthought heel.

Now back to my sock!