I’ve had a lot of things happening at my house this week and a fairly long list of things to do for the next several days both in knitting and homesteading.
On The Knitting Front
In the last post, Learning to Cook, I talked about reaching a place in my knitting where I am feeling a bit more confident in adjusting a pattern to suit me, and my current project is bearing that out. I decided to try my first ever pair of toe-up socks. Thus far, I have only knit cuff down socks and I wanted to stretch myself a bit and see which method I like more. In any case, I think it would be good to be able to do both so I don’t have to discount knitting a specific pair of socks I really want to knit just because it’s a toe-up pattern.
I selected a pattern from Toe Up Socks for Every Body called Victory Socks. They have a very nice lace pattern to them and I managed a couple of inches and really liked the look of them. But it was at that point that I decided to change my plan of attack. Since my main focus was to learn the basic construction of a toe-up sock, a lace pattern that took extra concentration was more of a distraction and was slowing my progress considerably. So I switched to a more basic pattern that would work up quickly and I could focus on the new technique when I reached the crucial points. I promise I am not taking the name of this pattern as some sort of challenge or command, but I decided to do another pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I like this pattern because it’s a step up from a vanilla sock, but only just. It adds a nice texture without much concentration.
I began with a Turkish Cast-On for the toes. First of all, let me say I really LOVE this method. I did do it a few times to make sure I had a good grasp of it, but it is really fairly easy and produces a very nice, seamless toe. I never had that much trouble with the dreaded Kitchener Stitch, but this is just so much nicer. That alone could potentially turn me into a toe-up convert. In the YouTube tutorial I have linked to, she also gave another nice tweak. When it came time to begin adding the increase stitches instead of Make 1 right or left or Knit Front and Back (KFB) she did a simple yarn over, but to eliminate the gap that would normally occur when doing that, she simply knit through the back loop of the yarn over on the next round. So simple!! And it worked perfectly. I don’t mind the other methods at all, but this was a wonder to me.
Here is an early stage:
It’s been pretty gray and dreary the last several days so the color appears more washed out than it is. I am using my own colorway When In Doubt, Go to the Library for this pair and the colors are quite vivid with some lovely jewel tones to it.
I’ve reached the point of turning the heel now and I’m planning to do a Fleegle Heel. Fortunately, I’ve done this before in a sock knitting class I attended and, although I had to refresh my memory, I am comfortable with this technique. All in all, I feel this has been a very positive experience.
For the toe-up method, I did go back to using Magic Loop. I can knit with Magic Loop, or using 9-inch circulars or double point needles, my preferred method is usually the double points. But I am getting a bit more comfortable with Magic Loop and don’t dislike it quite as much as I did before. One thing I do like about Magic Loop is being able to divide patterned stitches onto one needle and stockinette stitches on the other, which makes it far easier for me to keep things straight. Next time I plan to try two-at-a-time socks and see how that feels. I hope I do like it so I can complete a pair more quickly.
Homestead, Sweet Homestead
This week is Spring Break here in the US, so my daughter and her family have taken a well-deserved vacation. This means I am off childcare duty this week (but I am on dogsitting duty ) and I am hoping to get some extra projects done. But the weather here, as I have mentioned, is not being very cooperative. The forecast for the next several days is rain, rain, and more rain. This is killing me. I have received the seeds for my garden and I am dying to get things started.
I have made three lists (because I am a list maker, I just can’t help it) One titled Rain, one titled Shine and one titled Rain or Shine. The Rain list will focus on projects I can tackle in the house or hen house or garage when the weather is being inclement. Shine will be the outside things I hope to get accomplished, weather permitting. Rain or Shine simply means these things MUST get done this week even if it means dashing out the moment there is a window of no rain or wrapping myself in a garbage bag. I’ll let you know how it goes.
And speaking of seeds I HAVE to give a shout-out to my dear friend, Keri, faithful reader of this blog and wonderful soul. This week, I received a package in the mail from her containing a variety of flower seeds that she saved from her own garden. I cannot tell you the delight I felt when I opened my mailbox that day. It was excellent timing too. I had been feeling a bit disgruntled that day (as my husband can verify) and suddenly! Bad mood over! I love a pretty garden at any time, but those flowers, when they bloom, will bring extra joy to my heart.
I attended a Bee Keeping workshop this past Saturday and I’m trying to find a way to manage the basic set up for my hives so that I can finally get my first swarm. I have wanted to do this for years. I hope this is the year I can start.
I went to my local farm store to get some new chicks to increase the size of my flock, but they were out of the breed I want to add. I got everything else that will be needed, chick feed and equipment and I’m ready to go. I will go back in a couple of days when, I was told, more chicks will be coming, and bring them home to the nice set up I have ready and waiting.
One of my Rain or Shine projects is going to be improving the set up for our newly added Mama Rabbit. She is in a reasonably comfortable arrangement but I feel we can do better for her. We also need to add a brooding box for her. Having had to move her from one pen to another a couple of times I can tell you that she is NOT a fan of transfers, so I want to find a good permanent solution for her so we can avoid that stress.
That is what is going on at our house this week. I would love to hear from any of you about the things going on at your house. Please leave a comment below. What are you knitting? Growing? Making? Reading?