Monthly Archives: August 2012

I travel for work. It is definitely not as glamorous as it may seem — slogging around with a wheelie crammed with all my electronics while making sure all your liquids are in small enough containers that can pack into a ziplock can get old. Nalgene must somewhere have in their database that I have purchased a bazillion little bottles.

Traveling is, however, one of the best things that happens to my knitting productivity.

First of all, pockets of time where I am  seated, with no other “Thing I Should Be Doing” are very precious. On a flight? I’m trapped. I cannot be addressing errands that should be getting run, cannot be hiking/training/playing with the dogs, and there are no piles of laundry or dishes that require my attention (that I can do something about, that is). Of course, I could be Go-Go Internetting my way across the country, but I’m not that productive. So — on with the headphones, on with either podcasts or an audio book, and the needles come out.

And for the duration of the trip? (Honestly, you didn’t think I traveled on a multi-day trip with just one project, did you?) On this one, I’ve got 4 with me. 2 shawls that were both more than halfway done, and a sweater that is done in pieces that is nice to have, and a project that is completely mindless (a garter body center for a shawl, done in teeny cobweb/lace).

Four is a bit excessive. But truly, I needed them all. First of all, the 2 “more than halfway done” shawls were definitely candidates to get completed on this trip. I would of course need a mindless project for times when I was sort of sitting around (lots of meetings!), and the sweater because it’s done in pieces (so I feel like it’s a finite thing) and if I can get a piece a done per trip, then I may not notice that I’m knitting sleeves. (This deserves a separate post. It’s an affliction that is similar to second sock syndrome, but The Second Sleeve That Takes Forever is another one of my diseases).

The shawl I have really been trying to work on is Romi Hill’s Rosa Flora shawl. I’m knitting it in (I know, I know) Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace in a silvery grey called Owlets. It’s beaded with clear, silver lined hex beads. It’s a semi circular shawl, and drop dead gorgeous. I want to finish…not because I don’t like knitting it, but I really want to see what this shawl looks like in its full glory.

The second almost-done shawl is a test knit, so I can’t talk about it until the pattern is released. I’m knitting it in French Market Fibers mohair lace in Spanish Moss, and it really looks like spanish moss. I am considering binding it off in a dark grey for some contrast. This shawl calls for beading, but I am probably going to omit it, so I don’t take away from the fluffiness of the shawl.

The sweater is Viften/The Fan by Marianne Isager. This sweater has been in my queue for quite some time, and I thought this was work worthy….and I’m working on the 2nd of 5 pieces for this sweater. I’m using Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Montauk Monster, which is a dark grey. (It’s a Cephalopod Yarns color now…)

The “mindless project”, which usually lives in the drawer in my office, is Quill, by Jared Flood. It really is going to be pretty, but I need to knit 270 rows of garter before the fun (lace) begins. I am ALMOST there (at which point this project will escape “mindless” status). I’m knitting this shawl out of French Market Fibers Uptown Lace, in 2 colors. I will talk about this shawl a lot more when it gets more interesting — and I am knitting this because what I really want to do is knit a fingering version, cut in half into a triangle. I figured that before I start really monkeying with a beautiful design, I should understand the original first. (I know. I have a strange mind). I think I know EXACTLY how I want the construction to go, but I may come up with more ideas as I progress with this shawl. I’ll definitely document the modification process here.

Running back to my knitting, as I really want to free up my Signature #5 needles that are in my Rosa. Because Romi has released another shawl that would be absolutely perfectly cozy for fall in a tweedy, classic yarn!!!

What’s on your needles right now?

I’m usually pretty good with deadlines. Eking things in right before something is due has been my specialty all my life. Yes, I am Queen of Cram.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed that when I set deadlines on my Ultimate Procrastination Activity (a.k.a. knitting), I seem to lose all steam.

Of course, I set ambitious goals for Ravellenics. I am probably not going to finish any project I said I would. And there is a part of me that is rebelling against the project deadline (Sunday).

So….what does one do to pass the time when you’ve set a rule that you must not sit in front of the TV with nothing else going on, when the Olympics are on TV?

“Dog Training”. The other ultimate form of entertainment.

(1) Training Log: Finn – Worked on sit stays and release on command.

Translaton: Made Finn sit still as I made him cross eyed as I place a biscuit on his nose. Made him hold that position until I took a few snapshots. Release him as I hope (for the 9th year) that he will flip the biscuit up rather than sideways and catch it to eat it.

Grade: A on Sit. A on Stay. C on Attitude (look at him, he is PRACTICALLY rolling his eyes). D on catching the biscuit in the air. A+ for effort.

(2) Training Log: Lucy – Worked on recall, sit stay, head turn on call. Handling.

Translation: Have you seen my dog Lucy’s ears? One of the things she loves is if you take her ears in your hands and rub them. If you pull her ears a little to the side….she looks like…YODA!!!!!!! (That’s the handling training). Recall worked on several times as I would have to be fake playful as I called her to me as I was about to do “handling” exercises. Had her sit, and stay as I drape a foreign object on her. She had to hold her stay without moving the foreign object (Yoda robe also known as a towel) on her, and I took photos (worked on head turns to get her to look at me).

Grade: A on Recall (Good girl Lucy). A+ on Handling (only gave me a few dirty looks). B on sit stays. A on stay with distraction (towel draped on her). D on head turns (only looked sideways at me — yes, she was probably uncomfortable and confused as to what i was doing). A+ for effort.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

I am knitting. Just not on what I’m supposed to be knitting for Ravellenics!

I love hand knitted socks. To me, there’s nothing more decadent and wonderful as hand knitted socks. Lucy thinks so too 🙂 (Not really, but if I write that, I can insert a gratuitous Lucy photo. She actually is modeling a pair of baby socks for me.)

So you would think that I would have drawers upon drawers of hand knitted socks. But I don’t. Because I have been secretly (well….I’ve been out of the closet about this for a while, actually) suffering from an affliction that is common among knitters.

Second Sock Syndrome. That second sock is a total anathema to me.

I have been in search of a cure for a while. I’ve tried everything — knitting with fabulous yarns. Knitting patterns that are interesting. Knitting two socks at once. Toe up. Cuff down. Nothing has worked so far.

But here’s the newsflash. I finally have a cure, and it has allowed me to finish three pairs of socks in three months.

I can crank out a shawl in a few days. A sweater in a couple of weeks. But averaging a pair of socks a month? Total victory. I read some threads in Ravelry about how people completed the latest Cookie A. Sock Club installment in a couple of days. I can’t even imagine it! To me, they are superhuman.

Should I divulge my secret? How did I do it, you ask? Do you have sad, mismatched socks lurking in your drawers?

Here’s is the answer!

(1) Plan 3 pairs of socks. (Let’s call them socks A, B and C, with sock #1 and sock #2 of each kind.) I would suggest an easy pair (for me that means sport weight on #2 needles), a medium pair (sock yarn, #1 needles, moderate patterning) and a hard pair (something fiddly but gorgeous, like traveling twisted stitches).

(2) Cast on A1, B1, C1. For me, this means knit enough of the sock so you get a feel for how the knitting will go — so probably the ribbing plus a bit of the leg pattern. Yes, this requires you to have 3 sets of needles….but you probably have them in your needle stash, or were secretly coveting Signature DPNs in #1s anyway.

(3) Finish A1, cast on A2. Try on A1, photograph, put it up on your Ravelry project page and move the progress bar to 50%!!!

(4) Repeat (3) for socks B and C.

At this point, you’ve knit 3 socks, none of them matching, and you’re psyched. And it’s been long enough from when you’ve knit sock A that it takes you a pattern repeat to actually remember the pattern.

(5) Finish A2. This will feel like it is flying, until you are 80% done with this sock. Then, you will have to rely on the sheer power of the last 2 inches of the sock (the toe — decrease-city) to power you to the end.

Flaunt the fact that you have a pair of socks completed.

(6) Repeat (5) for socks B and C.

There you have it. From left to right, Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku (free pattern!) in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga (sport weight!), Turbulence Socks by Cookie A. in Socktopus Sokkusu-O, and Wayward in Hedgehog Fibres Sock.

(It goes without saying that using fantastic yarn helps too!)