Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Impulsive Knitting

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.

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2 Comments»

  pelagia5 wrote @

I love the story about the neighbourhood mittens! I know back then it was all due to practical reasons, but it still sounds like a lovely community!

I too am guilty of loosely interpreting patterns and instructions. However, it usually gets me into trouble 😀

  cherylcan wrote @

It generally gets me in trouble too. The worst one I did was a bikini from a crocheted one I saw on the cover of Maxim Magazine one year. I did not think it would work so I used an acrylic. It worked and hubby wanted me to wear it. Looked great until I got it wet. Oops…


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