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The Wonderful World of Witching October 31, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in free knitting patterns, knitting, Paganism & witchcraft.
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On this Samhain eve, it seems appropriate to ask the question, “do witches really knit?”

I mean, there have to be more of us out there, right? The answer I uncovered was interesting. I found very few images of witches knitting (but a lot of tacky knitting patterns of witches). One drawing by artist Joshua Isaac Howell depicts the less friendly side of witches, but at least this one is industriously knitting!

Some patterns were actually cute, like this knit-yourself-a-witch’s-hat pattern. This hat is unlikely to protect anyone from a house falling on their head, but it sure will keep them warm in winter.

There were plenty of other stitching witches in the blogosphere, some more active than others. I am sure I have missed folks. Holler if you would like to be included in the list below!

Knit Witch http://edenknit.blogspot.com/

Knit Witch http://miracole.blogspot.com/

Knit Witch http://www.purthknitwitch.blogspot.com/

Knitting Goddess #9 http://www.stitch-witch.net/

The Nocturnal Knit Witch http://nocturnalknitwitch.blogspot.com/

Farm-Witch http://farm-witch.blogspot.com/

Knit Witch’s Realm http://knit-witch.blogspot.com/

The Worsted Witch http://www.worstedwitch.com/

Stitch Witch http://www.knitstitchwitch.blogspot.com/

The Stitch Witch http://stitchwitch.typepad.com/

Erssie Knits http://erssieknits.squarespace.com/

Last but not least, for the knitting witch who has everything, the knitting witch poster.

Happy Halloween!

Needles, needles, needles October 31, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in jaywalkers, Knit Alongs, knitting, lace knitting, Socktoberfest, yarn.
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These past few days have been showered in knitting needles. First… a moment of silence for the recently frogged Birch Leaf lace socks. They were super cute! They were growing… but the neon-glare of an intensely turquoise spiral up and through the lace was taking away from the beauty of the pattern. That Lorna’s Laces Baltic Sea colorway will have to be used for something else that highlights its beauty. Has anyone else made gorgeous socks from this colorway?

So… one pair of empty Addis. So sad.

Next I decided it was critical to begin work on the gorgeous Socktoberfest colorway from Scout’s Swag before the end of Socktoberfest. After much careful thought (and almost succumbing to a mosaic plan) I decided that it might be time to give in to the tidal wave of Jaywalkers taking over the net. In truth the pattern does bring out the beauty of the yarn. So here is that first beginning on a set of Inox needles… I am enjoying the sharper points:

One final set of needles? You bet… seven in fact! This first attempt at doily making (don’t ask me what I was thinking) was supposed to be done on three needles, but as it is a hexagon, seven seemed easier for actually checking the pattern. I have never blocked pearl cotton before… should be fun!

A blessed Samhain to all! May your ancestors treat you with kindness this evening.

FO: Socktoberfest Goal Met! October 27, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, Knitting - FOs, sock wars, Socktoberfest.
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I am just so pleased I cannot stand myself. All of my socks from yesteryear have been completed and I even added in another pair of socks of doom for myself. Woo hoo! This from the Empress of a Million WIPs.

The amazing thing is that I am not yet sick of socks! You would think with all the reading, knitting, dying (a la Sock Wars), and frogging that I would have had enough. But no… I am thinking of Jaywalkers with Scout’s Socktoberfest yarn.

Maybe that is a good thing. I travel so much for work that I had better not get sick of knitting socks. Of course, moving from California to a wintery place means that I should invest more time in those two sweaters currently on the needles. It is COLD here. Sheesh.

 Anyway… this is me admiring my warm toesies. May you all have toasty hand-knit socks to protect you from the Wintersmith.

FO: Catching up! October 24, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, Knitting - FOs, Socktoberfest.
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This is definitely my first Socktoberfest miracle… completing this basic stockinette pair of socks that I started two years ago! You see, this became the Yarn of Infamy. Imagine it… you are three quarters of the way through your sock using self-striping sock yarn. Then you come across… a knot. This has happened to me with other yarns (it always pisses me off), but this case was particularly obnoxious. Why you ask? Because the knot was made with complete disregard for the striped patterning of the sock.

TOTALLY INFURIATING!

So I had to frog enough to weave in, cut out tons of yarn until we were back to the right place in the patterning and then finish the sock. So I am of the belief that it is not entirely my fault that working on the second sock took so long. This was no regular second sock syndrome.

 That said I am amazed and delighted to report that I have caught up with my sock knitting! The oldest socks I have in progress went on the needles about two weeks ago. Huzzah. So… the polite socks of doom are just missing one cuff, they should be done soon. And the Birch Leaf socks are progressing slowly. Surely I have been sooooooo good that I can finally cast on with Scout’s Socktoberfest yarn, or maybe that luscious new Lorna’s Laces in their flame colorway.

 Decisions, decisions….

A Socktoberfest Book Review October 18, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, Socktoberfest.
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I have been doing tons of reading this Socktoberfest. I have now gone through every book on sock knitting in my local library, and I thought it might be worth sharing some of that information with the rest of you. No one really needs every sock book in print on their shelves, so I am hoping that these reviews might save you from taking too much money away from The Yarn Stash. If you have other books that you want to review, please leave a link in the comments so the rest of us can benefit. There are indeed other sock books out there. Unfortunately I returned several before thinking of doing this, so there are some great texts that have gone unfairly unnoticed. Please help me to correct that. 

 

 

Vogue Knitting Socks

Color, color, color! This little book (just bigger than an outstretched hand) is full of color work and interesting little details. With only three lace patterns and a scattering of textures, these patterns mainly focus on using color in creative and traditional ways.

 

The Vogue sock book has what I would call a medium-low level of basic sock knitting instructional detail. It includes some advice on sock construction, yarn types and substitutions, very general descriptions of color work methods, and a few diagrams of casting on methods and the
Kitchener stitch. Also the familiar U-shaped pompom template for those making golf socks. There is some also some advice on gauge, blocking methods, and useful crochet stitches. But nothing is covered in great detail.

 

To be honest, this book is pretty low on my list of possible purchases, but it would travel quite well if you are looking for a pocketbook sized sock book.

Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles 

 

This book by Cat Bordhi is a well known classic that many have used on the journey away from dpns (I know, I know, many of you love them). If you have longed to work your socks on two circulars, this is the book for you. The Magic Loop method is not covered in this book.

This is not a very full volume. It contains mainly an overview of the technique (with very useful photos), some tips and tricks of the trade, and also some sock patterns formulated specifically for use with two circular needles. I found the section on translation a traditional pattern the most useful. The patterns in this book did not wow me, but the technique itself is one that I prefer, so if you have not yet ventured into this method of sock knitting, give Cat’s book a whirl.

 

Knitting Vintage Socks

 

 

This is just one of Nancy Bush’s well known knitting books. She is our resident historian, celebrating the methods and traditions that are still inspiring us unto this day. What I appreciated most about this book was its focus on the history of sock knitting. There is a great deal of information on the many and varied ways that socks are put together. Dutch, German, Welsh, or French? All of these heels types have diagrams, instructions, and advice. There is equal diversity among the demonstrated toes. This book definitely helped me to better understand why we do the things we do when we knit socks. Well… not everything, but you understand.

 

There are also many beautiful patterns in here with a classic feel. There is a great deal of texture and lace, with less color work than some other books I have seen. In these patterns you will find the foundation of many that are published in places like Knitty or MagKnits.

 

Knee-high lovers will find some great stocking patterns in this collection. If you are looking for timeless, traditional looks and a better understanding of the essence of sock knitting, this is the book for you.

 

Sensational Knitted Socks

 

 

This book has been much touted in the socktoberfest flickr group as a favorite in our community. I have to agree with everyone else. If you can only purchase one sock book, this is the one I would recommend.

What I love about Charlene Schurch’s work is that it contains more practical information than any other I have read. Everything from shoe sizes to knitting techniques to troubleshooting can be found within these pages with clear, helpful diagrams.

 

What makes this book so versatile is that every single pattern is given with instructions for 4dpns, 5dpns, and 2 circulars. There is something to learn from each sock project, and the range is wonderful. You will find lace, color work, and texture in these pages. And every project has a variety of possible patterned stitches within it.

 

This is a treasure trove! As the back of the book says, “This is the only book on sock knitting you’ll EVER need! Choose virtually any yarn, gauge, stitch pattern, and size you like – with nearly 1000 variations, the possibility for knitting fashionable to funky socks will last a lifetime.”

 

Socks Socks Socks

 

 

This book is a close close close second to Sensational Knitted Socks. What I love most about this text is the surprising collection of patterns; most of them bringing a new spin on a timeless article of clothing.

Here you will find 70 winning patterns from the Knitter’s Magazine Contest, edited by Elaine Rowley. There are things I had never dreamed of in here – from knitting socks with licorice laces, to embedded poetry, to piggy toes, and back again. I love the dragons whose tails wrap all the way around the sock leg. This book is a must have for lovers of knee-highs and those who like a little adventure in their knitting.

 

Who knew that socks could be constructed of colorful blocks, or that pattern’s for kids could be so wonderful (I am going to have to covert some of these for larger feet).

 

You will find very little sock knitting technique taught in this book, so if you are looking for help with basic sock construction I would look elsewhere. But if you are ready for new patterns to inspire your knitting… look no further.

Socks to Dye For October 16, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, knitting, Socktoberfest, yarn.
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Oh I am just so excited! In honor of Socktoberfest (and my increasing jealousy at the sight of everyone’s gorgeous colorways) I have just registered for a class at the Fine Line.

My obsession with articles on Kool-Aid dying might actually become useful now! Oh waily waily waily… how much larger will the stash grow once I start dying my own yarns? Mwa ha ha ha ha!

SOCKS TO DYE FOR

Instructor: Dagmar Klos

This is for the knitter who wants customdyed, multi-colored sock yarn, but is unfamiliar with the dyeing process. Come and see how fun and easy this can be. We will be “painting” the colors onto skeins of yarn. Each knitter will bring her/his own wool(or wool blend) yarn for one or two projects to be dyed with acid dyes. Dye two colors or more. By the end of the workshop, yarn will be dyed and ready for knitting that special project that will be the envy of other knitters. Class is open to all levels.

Lace in Socktober October 15, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, lace knitting, Socktoberfest.
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So Lolly is not the only one who is also knitting something other than socks during Socktoberfest. Frankly my pinkies can’t take the constant pressure. Yes… my knitting is too tight. With socks anyway. It’s those ridiculously small needles that do me in every time.

Anyway… my mentor’s Kimono shawl groweth (and maketh all things new).

shawl in progress 

I cannot decide if these colors are just perfect for her (she really seems like a jewel tone person) or just waaaaay over the top. I get it that there is absolutely no way to appreciate the lace on this thing when it is up against my green couch. So be it. For detailed close up of the pattern, see below.

 I am just glad that the switching skeins every other row is, in fact, preventing major pooling. Otherwise I might have to hurt someone. Why can’t we just make the anti-pooling colorway? I know I would invest!

The trouble with polite knitting… October 14, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, sock wars, Socktoberfest.
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Is that eventually you have to finish that project… long after the meeting is over. I am one foot into my polite socks of doom (easily identified by their short row heels).

 

Fear not, the Birch Leaf socks grow ever longer, their insistent chart instructions are calling me.

OK… and now to not succumb to second sock syndrome. Maybe I will save the next one for the plane ride to Orlando next week.

You think Mickey Mouse knows how to knit?

Friday the 13th Yarn October 13, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, Socktoberfest, yarn.
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What is the absolutely most perfect thing that can happen on Friday, October 13th? The arrival of gloriously delicious, Socktoberfest yarn!

This is my first ever purchase from Scout’s Swag and I will definitely be going back for more! I was one of the lucky ones that managed to get this limited colorway designed specifically for Socktoberfest and I am thrilled. Here was my delighted yarn celebration from today:

Gorgeous yarn arrival!

On the swift…

Neatly balled yarn.

 

Wow… Scout’s colorway is so perfect that the ball damn near has an argyle pattern. I can’t wait to see how this knits up. Stay tuned! 

Also be sure to check out this fabulous sock yarn review.

Polite Knitting: Socktoberfest on the Road October 13, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, sock wars, Socktoberfest.
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Just back from a four day gathering (well, actually called a “retreat” but when it is work it does not feel so restful). What a conundrum! My Socktoberfest socks are lacy, and involve a chart. It is one thing to knit in the back of a room full of people when one’s knitting is discrete and small. Sounds perfect for socks, right?

But once we have the addition of a chart, and a stand, and the marking of rows, etc. we have a whole new problem.

There are several ways to ensure that your knitting is polite and nonobtrusive (and thus allowed… which is the most important part).

 1. Pick a project that is relatively small and can be knit from memory. I decided to start another set of the oh-so-polite socks of doom.

2. Always inquire if your knitting will upset anyone. I find a good question sounds something like this: “I find that keeping my hands busy allows me to listen better. Would anyone be offended if I was knitting quietly during our session?” Be sincere. If someone seems like they will be upset, put the knitting away.

3. Make sure you really are listening! Contribute to the conversation, if there is one.

4. Set down your knitting every once in a while. Always do this if you are supposed to be looking at a handout, sharing with a neighbor, or writing something important down.

5. Engage with the speaker. Periodically look up and catch the speaker’s eye. Indicate that you are paying attention either by nodding sagely, or by allowing a questioning look to cross your face.

All of these things and more will ensure that your polite knitting is welcome at these meetings. In all likelihood someone else will bring a ball and two sticks to the next one!