I was taught to knit by my Mom and Grandmothers. They all knit without patterns, or as a child I never noticed them reading the patterns. Especially Grammie Yoston, who cooked the same way a handful of this and a dash of that. Reinventing her recipes really taught be to be a scientist because you had to deduce what she was not telling you. She assumed everyone knew certain things that we did not. Anyway back to knitting, Grammie always said that growing up no one lost mittens because all of the ladies in the area knew which one of them made the mittens that were found. Each had a personal way of doing a cuff or making a thumb.
Sock knitting is a tradition in my family. We have had generations of fishermen and women in the family. They need warm socks for the May / June fishing season in Atlantic Canada as there are still many cold days. I published Grammie’s Old Fashioned Socks as one of my CAWcreations patterns. We always used local 100% wool to make these socks and generally they were a bit big at the start of the season and felted to a perfect pair by the end. I never really bothered with gauge and shrunk them to fit. Which was a problem when I published the pattern. I thank all of my fellow knitters who provided feedback to me on this first pattern.
In the last year, I have started making “fancy socks”. Not really what any modern knitter calls fancy, but they actually use sock yarn and small needles. I have been hopeless. I knit really loose. The legs of my socks are big, but the foot tends to fit because I take in after the heel until it “looks right”. Did you know when you write a pattern, people do not like it when you say complete until it looks right. What is a girl to do except learn what looks right is in counts. I also tried publishing the pattern with just turn the heel and pick up your stitches. Apparently, not everyone was taught to knit by Grammie.
Eventually I discovered that I need to go down at least a full needle size to get correct gauge. For example, if a pattern calls for a 2.75 or 3 mm needle, I use a 2.00 mm. I have finally started to get gauge so I decided to subscribe to The New York Sock Collection by the Knitting Expat. So that I can get a good start on knitting a drawerful of socks for myself.
I planned Mina’s directions exactly. My knitting group was doubtful that I could do it. They have experienced years of my well I did not like this on the pattern so I changed it. It is a running joke that I buy a pattern to change it. Even my sock yarn blanket is in stockinette instead of garter stitch because I preferred it. The first sock went well but I thought the pattern did not pop so I started another one before even getting to the heel of the first one. On the second, I just had to put a twisted rib, who can follow a pattern. Not this gal. Love them both but the pattern really pops with a solid colour.
Finally, I have started knitting socks for my husband. They are vanilla socks in a size 11. (Knitters find a partner with smaller feet!) I tried them on him last night and they fit perfectly. Maybe I will eventually learn to knit “fancy socks” or as the rest of the world calls them socks.
Podcasts are fun for me to watch while I am knitting. I am tossing around the idea for starting one myself. I just have to figure out what I can add to the genre. There are so many wonderful ones out there already.
I am thinking that I might focus on featuring an Atlantic Canadian yarn company each episode. The biggest issue is that I HATE getting my picture taken and I assume that seeing my own videos would be even worse. Working up the courage to try, I designed the opening screen. I wanted to highlight CAWcreations and how beautiful Atlantic Canada can be. Check it out!
I have lung issues. When I was young TB in my lymph nodes that meant two got removed. I can give you the list of problems but most people’s eyes glaze over. Basically, breathing can be a big issue for me. Cold and flu season is a nightmare because I catch everything.
I have been doing well, for me, the last few years I have managed to stay out of the hospital. But I still get sick more than most. The last month I have been sick but trying to make it in to work. I have missed about a day a week. By the end of last week, I took three days off in a row. Most of it I slept or binge watched House. I could not even get much knitting done. Today, I am back at work trying to catch up. Hoping I am on the mend.
I recently received my sock blockers from Schwartzcraft on Etsy. I absolutely love them!
The personalized service was second to none. I contacted Lynne (from Two Tangled Skeins). She was so helpful. Rob even tested putting the logo on the purple plastic. I got to choose the one I liked. I was very impressed with the careful packaging of the product for shipping. Each sock blocker was wrapped carefully and put between two layers of cardboard. The 2 ply plastic is very sturdy. Now I have to finish a pair of socks to test them out.
I love the Yarn Harlot, she is so great. I took knitting for speed and efficiency from her at Knit East a couple of years ago and I follow her blog. In my mind she is a friend, but to be fair she has no clue who I am. Every time I meet her she is so friendly and makes me feel like I can tackle any project.
This fall I managed to convince five friends from PEI to join me on a road trip to Rhinebeck. We had a wonderful time. These women are lovely every time we got to the Duchess County Fairgrounds. we split up to explore. We each had a plan and way too much too see in the the time we had. Alone in the crowd milling around the Miss Babes booth, I got overwhelmed. You should know that I am not good in crowds but I love knitting and yarn, so I relinquished my personal space to feel the yarn. If you are a knitter you know that feeling, looking at the yarn online is just not the same. I have to squish it and pet it to know the yarn before I buy it. The crowd was kind of pushy but I needed to feel the Miss Babes yarn. I crept towards it,but was pushed back, and I started to feel my anxiety building.
Suddenly, a few feet away I saw Stephanie wading through the crowd like it was nothing. Well lets be honest at first I saw a space in the crowd that was going in a direct line, but then a couple of people moved and I saw her. She had such a confidence and I felt better just seeing her. The crowd was parting for her not pushing her around. Her sweater was done. The one I had watched her make and stress about packing. It looked amazing (see picture taken her blog post). I wanted to say something great to her, to let her know how seeing I familiar face helped me here were I was feeling out of my depth and overwhelmed with choice. I had spent the time leading up to the Festival wondering if I was a fraud even going. I know how to knit. I love to knit but this is RHINEBECK. Just then she was there right beside me, she’d be gone in a moment she had purpose, a direction. I blurted “I like your sweater.”
Not a friendly breezy comment, but a total fandom nerdy as only I can be nerdy plop of a comment out there like a ketchup bottle fart. She smiled said thanks and was gone. That smile brightened my day. I got to feel the yarn and kept going. When I got home, I told my knitting group this story and we all roared about how nerdy I can be. The plan is to get “I like your sweater” pins for Knit East next year. I love knitters. Even embarrassment is fun.
I did so may projects over Christmas but my big one was for a New Year’s Eve (NYE) bride. She chose the Patons Shoulder Shrug pattern and the recommended yarn, Patons North American Shetland Chunky. I do not usually like the feel of acrylic yarns but this one was
fine for me. It might have helped that it was 25% wool. I made the XL size. It actually came out bang on the stated measurements. The only issue I found was working three different cable patterns meant that I had to track each row for each of the three different sized cables. Also, I am getting older and knitting the navy on dark evenings meant I spent lots of time using my Ott Light. It was not a portable project for me so took a bit longer to finish than I expected. The result was beautiful. She loved it so it was worth it.
The other knitting project that I finished between Christmas and NYE was Peggy’s scarf. It is another pattern from the Take Heart book by Fiona Alice. Fiona Alice’s patterns are so well written that I really enjoy making them. I already posted this picture but I am waiting to get a picture of Peggy wearing the scarf. I used Heidi’s by Hand wool from London-Wul. It is a wool/silk mix and some of the softest yarn I have used. I love it. The scarf was really long. When Peggy put it on it almost reached the floor (when she did not wrap it). I hope she uses it for many years to come.
Last week I was sick so I finished up some other projects that have been hanging over my head. I really loved the socks I made with Knit Picks Felici in the mixed berry colours. Also, I caved and started my own sock yarn blanket. I am really pleased with it.
My knitting plans for 2017 are:
- Finish up those WIPs or frog what I will not finish.
- Clean up my “hidden stash” so that I know what I have.
- Make myself a sweater for Knit East.
I finally finished my Take Heart hat by Fiona Alice. Her patterns are so easy to follow!
I used some handspun wool by Sand and Sky Creations, because all the colours mean that my hat will match all of my winter coats. I was not sure about the alpaca pom pom but it is growing on me the more I wear the hat.
I am now working on the second pattern in Fiona’s book Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey. It is a beautiful scarf for a Christmas present I hope. I used a merino/silk blend from Heidi’s By Hand.