Greetings to my readers, from faithful to first-timers. One of the things I love to do when I’ve uploaded a new post is to check the stats in the days following. Sure, I like to see the numbers, even though they seem to indicate I am a well-kept secret. But my favorite thing to do is to see what countries my readers represent. Since I am in the US, as expected, a good portion of my readers are also from here. But it really makes my day to see readers from far away. I have some fairly frequent readers from the UK and the EU. Today, I saw that I had had a reader from South Africa. There are occasional readers from Australia and New Zealand. So much happy!
Once upon a time, I lived abroad. My family and I spent 8 years living in Asia. There are so many things I love about that time, but one of my favorites was being part of a large expat community. Because of that community, for the first time in my life, I knew and had good friends from almost every corner of the world. That was something I deeply enjoyed and miss now that I am back in my country of origin. In my mid-sized midwestern city, there is just not as much chance of making those kinds of connections. So when I see readers from other parts of the world, places I have not yet had the opportunity to visit, it gives me a shot of joy to feel some connection to the larger world again.
Hearkening back to a previous post Learning to Cook I’ve been applying the principles I learned in cooking to my knitting. When I decided to take my knitting up a level, I acknowledged to myself and others that I needed a good deal of “hand-holding” to learn the new-to-me techniques and patterns. Thankfully, with time, experience and practice, I have gained both skill and confidence and I need rescuing far less often.
As a result, I have found myself knitting socks recently without a pattern. I never thought I’d see the day. Just as I thought I’d always be dependant on cooking recipes, I felt I’d always need a pattern close to hand while knitting.
I am almost done with my first pair of Two-at-a-time socks. I am now a pretty big fan of toe-up socks. I began with the Turkish cast-on on a set of US size 1 ChiaGoo circular needles. I followed this tutorial to make sure I cast on both socks correctly. Once I had completed the toes I decided to go with the very simple Two Stitch Check stitch (K2P2 for two rounds, then P2K2 for two rounds) to make it easier for myself as I focused on the two-at-a-time approach.
I decided to do a K2P2 ribbing for the arch of the foot while continuing to stitch in pattern for the instep. I felt the ribbing would give the sock a snugger fit. I knit in this way until I had reached the length of 5 inches. At this point, I began my preferred Fleegle Heel. I find this creates a very nice turn without the need of picking up stitches or knitting a heel flap. After the heel is turned I always have to modify whatever pattern I am working with since, apparently, my ankle really narrows at this point. On my recently completed pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks, I had solved this by decreasing an additional 4 stitches so the fit wouldn’t be quite so loose.
For the unnamed socks (Winging It socks? Cooking Up Socks?) I am currently working on, I decided to take a different approach. Since the textured pattern was a very simple one I was able to do a section of K2P2 ribbing at the ankle and then return to the regular pattern repeat. This enabled me to have the desired snug fit without having to decrease any stitches. I only have to complete the leg and I will have another pair of socks in my sock drawer and be closer to my goal of achieving a “handmade wardrobe”. I’m years away from being able to do that completely, but I am one sock-footed step closer to it.
And because I can never complete one project without casting on another I have started another pair of socks. I decided to give myself something slightly more challenging than the vanilla socks I’ve been doing recently. This is a pair of lace patterned socks. I checked out Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book from my local library and perused the different stitch patterns. I settled on the lace rib stitch and have just begun working on it. Since it is a lace pattern I won’t be able to reduce stitches or add ribbing at the ankle without disrupting the pattern so I simply cast on a smaller number of stitches. When I’ve added a couple of inches I’ll try them on and see how the fit is going. If they turn out to be loose at the ankles they might become slouchy socks or comfy binge-watching socks.
I received a box of new undyed yarn this week and can’t wait to get the dye pots fired up and do a bit of magic. It feels like magic anyway. I love seeing the colors and varieties that come out of the steaming kettles when I am done. Once this is done I am planning a Pop-Up sale at my favorite Coffee shop Wired which not only serves up amazing coffee but has a venue for small events. I’m really looking forward to this.
I don’t have a lot to update on my homesteading ventures. I did manage to get the garden tilled up between rainy days, so that was one step forward. Since I now hope to have an opportunity to put some seeds in the ground in the next few days I am going to make some Seed Tape. Last year my “evenly spaced” seeding left something to be desired.
Finally, let me leave you with a picture of a completed pair of socks. The good thing about this pair is that a) I am keeping them and b) they fit the feet of both my daughters so I know if I make a pair of socks that fit me, they will also fit them! Happy day.
Until next time, cheers!