September Socks

So . . . I’m kind of on a roll with the Rockin’ Sock Club this year. Of the 5 kits so far, I have knit 4 of them (one of them 4 times) and the 5th I gave to one of my SFAMs because it was perfect for her. That means I haven’t added to the stash! The RSC has, in fact, made my stash smaller.

And it’s not just that I’ve been really feeling the sock knitting in 2013. The patterns have just been so great. You were all around for my disturbing attachment to the January pattern, and you saw last week how I feel about the July one. (I still get a little choked up thinking about how much I love those socks, and no, I haven’t worn them yet.)

And September was great, too.

Yeah, they really are that simple. It’s 1×1 Twisted Rib. The original pattern had some twisted stockinette in the gusset, but I decided to just sub in my usual. I love how it looks.

I’m a bit surprised how much I like the socks, actually. I’m usually all snarly when things start flashing and pooling, but I got some great lightning bolts on the leg, as you can see, and I actually kind of love it. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it looks like the yarn is glowing.

I might not have knit this pair, if I’m honest, except for the fact that I saw the yarn and the pattern and knew that it would be perfect for someone on my Christmas list. I love them, and I think the giftee will love them, too.

Saltire Mittens

I have a policy. I feel very strongly about it.

I work a lot. I usually have a pair of purse socks or some other simple project for knitting on a little when I’m crunching numbers or in a waiting room or trying to wind down and turn my brain off, but I don’t typically knit complicated patterns by other people any more. Most of my knitting is complicated enough, because I write patterns while I’m knitting. Feet on coffee table (inside fuzzy slippers), laptop on legs, knitting on keyboard.

This means that I have to pay a fair amount of attention to the computer – I pick back and forth. I write a row; knit a row. Set up a set of repeats; knit a set of repeats.

But I DO NOT DO LAPTOP KNITTING on Tuesday nights. That is my policy. If I have repeats already set up and I can cruise on my own pattern knitting and get work done – great! But if I don’t? I knit something easy, for pleasure.

Tuesday nights are for knitting something without the laptop, and watching Agents of SHEILD, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Mindy Project. Still while wearing fuzzy slippers. I am the height of both class and excitement.

So that’s how these mittens were made – over the course of many weeks worth of Tuesdays.

I first saw the kit on Skein Queen’s website Yea, Many Years Ago, but didn’t get it at the time, and every time I went back to the website to check it was listed as Sold Out. I wanted to make them for my sister, because I am a huge dork and she went to the University of St. Andrews. Finally, this summer, after having been shown repeatedly what a good person my sister is, I emailed the Skein Queen Herself and asked if she maybe didn’t have one lying around somewhere. Maybe under the sofa.

She did.

The pattern was a little aggravating and a lot vague but it was also wonderful because I knocked another knitting technique off my list – something I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time, but hadn’t gotten around to yet. I can now do Seamless Intarsia in the Round. I knew - knew – that there was a way to do it, but couldn’t figure it out on my own so I fired up the Google Machine and it told me that giving Browneyedbabs $3 was really going to work out well for me. It was right. The tutorial is here and it is worth every penny.

In spite of some frustration I am so glad I finally made the mittens. You can see that they have a wrong side too -

and I sort of love that little notch on the thumbs.

I’m so glad I have my Tuesday Nights Policy. I’ve been wanting to make these for years.

30 Days Project . . . and a Sale!

When I lived in Providence for four months a few years ago, one of the top priorities was finding all of the local yarn stores within a . . . within a radius. One of my favorites was In the Loop, a shop not too far away, but up in Massachusetts. It was just such a warm and inviting place – the staff were incredibly friendly but were also perfectly happy to let me do my impersonation of a statue in front of a wall of yarn, and when they heard I was new in the area they invited me to Saturday morning knitting and gave me a lovely bag with their name on it. I am not a morning person, especially on Saturdays, so I never made it back, but I’ve always wished I did.

So I was delighted when In The Loop contacted me and asked if I’d be part of the 30 Days of Indie Project. They rounded up a bunch of independent designers and set up a a special program all throughout the month of November. Each day they feature a new designer and pattern on their blog, and for that day, one of the designer’s most popular patterns is 50% off with the coupon code 30dayproject.

Today I am that designer, and today that pattern is Devil’s Lake.

And if you already have Devil’s Lake? Keep checking the blog. So far they’ve had patterns by Alana Dakos, Bristol Ivy, and Talitha Kuomi, among many other great designers. There are still 8 days left in November, so that’s 8 more great patterns!

I still have that bag. It’s full of hexapuffs.

Arkadiko Alts

I don’t think I even got up a photo of the Rockin’ Sock Club July shipment. Or maybe I did and just don’t remember. It feels like July was a long time ago.

Ladies and Gents: My Arkadiko Alts.

I knit all my socks two at a time (because I have terrible Second Sock Syndrome) and I was blithely following the pattern just as written all the way down past the gussets. And after I was able to stop myself from sighing over how great the foot pattern was, and telling random people who didn’t care that this heel flap was amazing, I had a little chat with myself.

“Self,” I said. “Self, how do you feel about frogging these socks and going back so that there is more of the awesome?”

“Self,” I replied, “I like how you think.”

So I frogged all the way back to the beginning and made a cuff that has the same pattern as the heel flap, and used the foot pattern all over everything. I so love how they turned out.

I don’t know why I love this colorway so much, but when I try to describe how I feel about it I just end up all emotional and weird. It’s iridescent somehow – oil on top of water, and you can describe the individual colors in it, but it always comes out sounding boring and normal and not as it is – which is pretty fantastic.

I have knit about a metric ton of socks so far in 2013 (these are the 13th pair of 2013) and they have all gone in the Long Term Planning Box. (Although I may liberate the Bugga socks I did a while back.) These didn’t even touch the bookshelf where the Long Term Planning Box lives.

The Arkadiko Alts live on the kitchen table so I can admire them and tell them how beautiful they are. One day I shall wear them and they will be my favorite socks.

Is it crazy that I want to knit another pair in exactly the same color?

Ditch the Tech

Sometimes things are great and everything is awesome. Sometimes the world ends.

Sometimes the world ends and it’s kind of fun and surprisingly fashionable.

It will not have escaped your notice that I am a huge dork. Also, I love fantasy and science fiction and basically any kind of apocalypse story. The world is ending, you say? Bring it on.

Last year, Alex Tinsley of Dull Roar (have you seen her hats?) put out a call for the most important book of our tragically, prematurely shortened lifetimes. Doomsday Knits is all about knitting for the Apocalypse, and after, for the unfortunate few who survive.

I did some mental flipping through my catalogue of possible Apocalypses – did I want a Vampire Apocalypse, a la, the end of Angel? Or was this more of a Walking Dead type scenario? Nuclear Winter or Waterworld? While I didn’t go with Angel, I did go with Joss Whedon. Ditch the Tech is the Technology Apocalypse, from the end of Dollhouse.

As you know, the Rossum Corporation is working on a way to take your personality out of your head and replace it with a completely new one. For a while everything is fine and Capitalism Wins, but then, the technology is weaponized. That tends to happen. No one dares answer the phone or hang on to radios or walkie talkies for fear that the broad signal static will erase their brains and turn them into mindless killing machines.

The final episode sees our heroes holed up at their refuge in the desert. Adele is basically running a survivors camp, complete with problems with the well and a victory garden. Topher is in tiny little mental pieces, Tony has left to do what he thinks is the right thing, Echo and Paul are kicking asses and barely talking to each other, and Priya is raising her son, being kind, and listening to people. Ditch the Tech was loosely inspired by Priya’s dress from those scenes at their hideout.

Basically, I wanted something that didn’t look old-fashioned, but did look technologically-avoidant. I loved the shaping happening through the waist, loved the colors they have her in, and love, love, love, the extra long sleeves. And Priya is so lovely, so I wanted something feminine and beautiful, too. Long sleeves for those cold desert nights, but you can still move in it and strap your gun belt over your hips.

I’m pretty hyped up about the construction on this one as well. The collar is knit first, like knitting a very short scarf, and then stitches are picked up along one edge. The raglan shaping grows out of that, with those lovely lacey textured bits to divide sleeves and front. The yoke is mostly worked flat, until the bottom of the scoop neck meets, and then after that, everything is worked in the round.

The sleeves and hemline are extra long and have a bit of a flare before they end. I always want things to be practical, but if you can’t turn up the drama for the doomsday book, when can you, amirite? Also, the Cephalopod Yarns Bugga! may not be the height of practicality, but it is the height of perfect-freaking-awesome. So there’s that.

I hope you’ll take a look at the other patterns in the book- there are many Apocalypses represented therein that I didn’t even mention in this post. The book is coming out in a couple of weeks – Preorder Here! – and then you’ll be able to see everything in its amazing glory.

For reading more about the individual patterns, I strongly recommend checking out the 31 Days of Doomvember Schedule. All of the designers in the book have been writing posts about our individual projects and they’re really funny and fun to read. Also, GREAT photos (all by the lovely and talented Vivian Aubrey.)

Remember, after the Apocalypse, all this yarn and all these patterns are going to look like foresight, not obsession. That’s what I keep telling myself.