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IMG_8883I’ve moaned about how I dislike knitting socks…..many times. It’s really too bad that I love wearing hand knitted socks.

In fact, socks may be my favorite hand knit item to wear, period. So much so that I have looked longingly at those sock knitting machines at fiber festivals (it’s kind of not the same, is it??)

It’s a conundrum.

Enter Cookie A.

When I first joined Ravelry and saw that over 10,000 Monkey socks had been knit (now stands at 16,600 — WOW!), I was stunned. I thought — if there was a sock pattern that would transform me into a sock knitter, this has to be it! — Of course I had to join the fray. It took me a few days to knit the first sock…and then another few months to knit the other.

Then, I managed to knit another pair of her socks, BFF,  in a few weeks.

I am in my second year of The Cookie A Sock Club. Last year, I knit 4 patterns out of the club. This year, I think I may try to knit all 12.

I finished the February twosome a few days after the April pattern came out. I think the trick is to have both pairs off the needles before the next installment comes out….so I’ve got the first pair of the April duo on the needles right now.

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I no longer think too much about whether the second sock will get done.

WHOA.

I think she’s done it. Cookie A. has made me into a sock knitter!!!

…Because December is all about socks. As you all know, I’m not much of a sock knitter.

Unless there is a goal. And, I have to finish 3 more pairs of socks by the end of the year to successfully complete my 12/12/12 in 12, also known as the Crazypants Plan.

Irisberry socksMy latest pair is Cookie A’s Cubist Socks. It’s knit out of Iridaceae Colorworks Cypella — 80% BFL/20% nylon yarn with high twist that I really loved knitting. (Loved so much that as soon as I finished these socks, I ordered 3 more skeins in various colors from Ali’s shop). These were destined to be gifts from the get go, hence the colorway that I used is Irisberry, which variegates from periwinkle to purple. Very pretty, for a big purple lover. These socks will be packed up in my friend’s bag so she can take them to her Mom in Shanghai.

I’m sprinkling my knitting all over the globe!

And, I’ve 4 more pairs on the needles:

sock design1. I have resurrected what I’m calling My Innovation Socks. I took a sock design class from Cookie A at Vogue Knitting Live in January. I have 1/4 of a pair done, and I have pulled this out from the depths of my cabinets. It’s a sock full of twisted stitches (because I was way too ambitious in my foray into sock design), but at least it is being knit out of Wollmeise 100% in Himbeere, which is a fuscia!

IMG_85032. For the friend who is going to take the Cubist Socks to its rightful owner, my go-to sock in sport weight, which is Adrienne Ku’s Simple Skyp Socks. These are being knit in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Golden Orb Weaver. They are relatively quick…knit on US/2.0 needles, and simple yet not boring. After my standard of 64-72 stitches cast on for regular sock weight yarn, casting on 56 seems so few! (I should have really researched worsted weight socks!!!)  How can I send a pair of socks off to China without putting some socks on the carrier, right? These should be nice and squishy as the yarn is 80/20/10 merino/cashmere/nylon blend.

IMG_85053. Sarsaparilla Socks by Cookie A (October Sock Club exclusive pattern). These are going to be for Dad — and are actually the first club pattern I’ve cast on with the club yarn. The yarn is an exclusive, Super Duper Sock Club Yarn milled by Green Mountain Spinnery in the color…Sarsparilla. I believe the base is the same as Green Mountain Spinnery’s Forest yarn (70% fine wool and 30% Tencel). I’ve JUST cast this one on, and using US1.5 instead of my usual 1.0. This yarn feels scratchy in the skein and a bit rough as I am knitting it, but the knitted fabric is surprisingly soft. I’m thinking that blocking will further soften the final product.

solfar4. Solfar Socks by Cookie A (June Club pattern) in The Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering in a really pretty blue called Vintage Icebox. Another pair out of the club yarn. I really like this base so the knitting is going relatively quickly here.

If I knit #3 and #4, then I am also all caught up on the Cookie A Sock Club patterns for the year. Which enables me to rationalize how I should (and I already have) sign up for this Club again in 2013. Which you should, by the way. The patterns (you get 2 every other month) are worth it all on their own — because honestly, Cookie A has singlehandedly made me like knitting that second sock — but you get 2 cookie recipes every other month as well, and the yarn she has sent with the club has been very nice. (If you think about it, with all the intricate patterning in the socks, you will never get clown barf in this club).

The December shipment is here as well, and depending on how the above socks on the needles go…maybe I can cast those on before the end of the year, as well.

Can I finish?

Ravelry is a pretty amazing place. Not only is it an incredible database of patterns and a personal database of all things knitting for me, it is a place where I have “met” some fantastic people.

It appears that I am in the middle of an inadvertent KAL (knit along) with one such friend.

I cast on Conic, as you know, and my friend Judy (from Ohio, where Finn used to live!) cast on shortly after I did. We have had a nice back and forth online, updating each other on progress and asking each other about opinions on any changes we were contemplating. (That has got to be another blog post — how I think I know better than people who write the pattern and insist on changing it, all the time.) I did not change this pattern at all except to change needle size on the cuff ribbing, but I think Judy must REALLY hate picking up stitches because she was contemplating provisional cast ons on some edges.

It’s really nice to have someone cheer you on as you are knitting away on many stitches (>400) on small-ish (US2) needles. I had the ribbing done in a few days, and I actually wore Conic to work this past Monday!

I think Judy is on her last bit of ribbing as well now, and I think she will be able to wear the shrug to work on Friday. I can’t wait to see the finished object photo of her shrug!!

Conic was a really fun knit, and I expected nothing less of Cookie A. She, after all, singlehandedly turned me on to knitting socks. I knit mine out of Wollmeise 100% Merino sock (of course, a sock yarn. So appropriate.) in a deep, almost-cranberry red called Ruby Thursday. The construction is really interesting — you knit the spine down the back, and then do the big dolman sleeves attached to this spine. From a knitting progression perspective, it’s really satisfying because the sleeves get progressively small in big increments — so once you have gone through about 5 sets of decreases, the knitting feels like it flies off the needles.

From a wearability standpoint, I thought it sat on my body pretty well. I felt like I kept on tugging on it at the back, but I am not quite used to the shape of this garment — it’s not quite a sweater. By the middle of the day, I was done fiddling with it.

I have a really funny suspicion that Conic will not stay in my wardrobe for long. I am pretty sure my little sister will try to weasel it out of me. (Mesmerize me into giving it to her, actually. She’s really good at that.)

I can always knit another!

PS WIP Wednesday admission. I’m too busy casting on new projects. But Waterfall is still out on my coffee table, sneering at me.

I participate in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) on Ravelry, where I am a member of Slytherin House. As we near the end of each month, I put on the jets to finish the projects that I intend to finish for the monthly classes.

My goal this term is to hand in at least one sweater a month, and for the longer term projects (O.W.L. and Order of the Phoenix), I am also doing sweaters. My rationale is that instead of knitting small projects and handing in many classes, I should try to maximize the bonus points (while I don’t know how bonus points are calculated, I know there are bonus points for yardage). I have been told, after all, that I am a fast knitter and I think that in the end, perhaps I will end up amassing more points than I would have had I handed in small projects.

That…and of course, my secret goal this year of knitting 12 sweaters, 12 pairs of socks and 12 shawls this year. I’ll update you on my Secret Project Crazypants some other time. (Mostly because I am not giving up on S.P.C. just yet.)

This term, I have already handed in two items so far. My Levenwick sweater, and the SSSSpiral Cowl.

I’m working on two more things that I hope to complete by Sunday.

First, Romi Hill’s Carson. Carson is the first in this year’s Small Shawls Collection. I got this shawl on the needles as soon as I cast off Rosa Flora. When I saw the pattern, I knew I wanted to knit mine in something tweedy. Being totally virtuous on this project, I decided to use Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply that I have had in my stash since either 2004 or 2005 (since the yarn has been discontinued since then, I’m pretty sure it’s that old!). I have oodles of this stuff, but the trick was to find the colors that I have enough of and would work in a multi-color shawl. As you can see from the photo, I’m just a few rows away from binding off. I am probably going to have to introduce another color for the last few rows so that will be a bit tricky. I think I will be able to finish knitting this shawl, block it, and photograph it by the end of the weekend.

Second, I am also in pretty good shape on Cookie A’s Conic. I’m knitting this out of Wollmeise 100% in Ruby Thursday. This sweater is such a fun knit. At first, I wasn’t sure about knitting this. I fell in love, though, when I read Cookie A’s blog post about this shrug. I think it is genius how versatile this shrug is, and how great it looks on so many body types. I think I can throw this on over a shift and be completely work-worthy!!! I’m on sleeve #2, but after I finish that (the total beauty of the construction….you decrease 20 stitches every 9 rows. It gets smaller and faster!!!), I have to pick up >450 stitches and knit 2×2 rib for 3 inches so I will likely be cutting it relatively close on finishing this by Sunday.

Of course, if I finish with time to spare, I will be working on my O.W.L. sweater, or Waterfall.

I know. I’ve not told you what my O.W.L. sweater is. I will. Soon.

Any deadline knitting on your needles?

When it comes to yarn, I’m pretty fickle.

My love for Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace has been pretty well documented. I still love it, and happily bring this yarn out of my stash for deserving patterns. In fact, I recently finished the Romi Hill shawl that I wrote about, in Gaia Lace in Owlets, which is a beautiful silver grey. I was a good girl — only modified the pattern slightly by beading the bind off. I have yet to wear this shawl, since the yarn and the beading combination makes this shawl pretty dressy.

My first foray into blogging about knitting was about Wollmeise so my partiality to Claudia’s beautiful colors is also no secret. I am about to cast on a project in Lacegarn, which I will talk about at some point…and I have Cookie A’s Conic on my needles right now in 100% Merino in Ruby Thursday, which is a really pretty red.

I think I may have a new favorite indie dyer. French Market Fibers. Of course, it appears that I have fallen in love with another dyer whose yarn is tough to get. I have two finished objects out of Margaret’s lovely yarn that I wanted to talk about…

First, the secret test knit I wrote about last time. You can see the shawl all crumpled up in the group photo. It’s BooKnits Almost Autumn. It’s a wonderful pattern, slightly different from Bev’s usual designs and it is lace all over. I made mine out of French Market Fibers Mohair Lace in Spanish Moss.  I was a bit of a rogue test knitter (!) and omitted the beads. I wanted this shawl to be ethereal and…well.. look like Spanish Moss. The photo doesn’t quite do justice to the beautiful and subtle colors in the yarn (look really closely — there are hints of pink, green, grey…) The shawl is about to board a transatlantic flight, to be worn by a friend at a wedding, in which she is a guest. I hope I get the shawl back!

The second project is a sweater that I just finished knitting and is currently being blocked. It’s Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston. It was part of Brooklyntweed’s Wool People I, and has been in my queue since it first came out. I made mine out of French Market Fibers Merino Worsted in Wrought Iron. I cannot wait to get this sweater off the blocking boards. I had originally ordered this yarn from Margaret with thoughts of making something else, but as soon as I opened my package, I knew that it would be perfect for this sweater. The body of the sweater is knit in reverse stockinette — which makes the fabric look woven. It’s really perfect for a subtly variegated yarn, I think. The color is sort of purply and grey and black and lovely. I ran out of yarn so I couldn’t make the pocket for this, but I think it keeps the lines simple and very work worthy. I plan on wearing this with a shawl pin to close at the neck until I see Jennie at Rhinebeck so she can make me the perfect buttons for the sweater.

What’s new on your needles, now that the weather is turning a bit more sweater-worthy?