Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another pair of practice socks

I changed my mind about the second pair of socks for my granddaughter and knit them in 2x2 ribbing instead of reverse stockinette. Despite my efforts to knit looser, they are still too small for her. Lever knitting has changed the gauge I usually knit at, so I must make adjustments, either cast on more stitches or use larger needles.

Pattern: Sock Recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, with a short row heel and rounded toe
Yarn: S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes 4-ply with aloe vera, in colorway 3824
Needles: US1 DPNs (round)

Granddaughter still likes them.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Frustrated but resolute

I started a second pair of socks for my granddaughter, with the intent of knitting them in reverse stockinette so I could get some practice with lever knitting (a.k.a Irish cottage knitting) while purling. The first pair of practice socks, while perfectly OK, did not lead to any kind of proficiency, so I thought maybe I should take another look at the videos.

One of my problems is I am still "picking" stitches with the right needle instead of holding it stationary. So I decided to change to a worsted weight project on US7 straights, to learn to hold that right needle still. A "mistake rib" scarf seemed like just the ticket.

I spent most of yesterday knitting a few rows, then watching the video, identifying something *else* I was doing wrong, knitting a few more rows, then laying it all aside. Making mistakes in the mistake rib stitch did not help, nor does the difficulty I have keeping the right needle from sliding through my armpit, but by the end of the day, I had a few inches satisfactorily completed.

Despite all the frustration, I persevere because:
  1. lever knitting is easier on my hands, as I don't have a death grip on the needles;
  2. lever knitting is easier on my shoulders because I am not making micro movements with them as I knit; and
  3. the result is so much better than my usual knitting.
Ever since I returned to knitting and, in the process, switched from throwing to picking, I have been less than satisfied with the outcome of all that knitting. Even though I hit gauge, there is something wrong, like each stitch has too much space embedded in it. Purl stitches are particularly bothersome. With lever knitting, just looking at the sample above, I can see vast improvement. The stitches are more even, more nestled together without being tight, more in touch with the concepts of horizontal and vertical. So, while I'll never be as fast as the Yarn Harlot, I'll keep at it.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Instead of "My Unexpected Life in Knitting," the subtitle of yarn reviewer Clara Parkes' book The Yarn Whisperer should be "101 Knitting Metaphors". I think I read somewhere that Clara does not write reviews of yarns she doesn't like - the if-you-can't-say-something-nice-don't-say-anything-at-all philosophy. She takes a similar approach in this "memoir".

The writing is excellent, and, initially, the metaphors are charming, but I kept hoping for more. Each time I thought she was going to finally, finally delve deeper into a personal topic, she would veer into yet another knitting or yarn metaphor. Halfway through, I almost gave up, but the chapter on her time in France renewed my interest enough to keep me going. It is a short book, after all, 160 pages printed on thick stock.

I hope while Clara wrote this, she kept notes on the rest of her story. Maybe in her dotage, she will be brave enough to write it down. Now that is something I would like to read.