Say You Love Me

I had some interesting yarn in my stash that I had purchased from Brynna at Draygone Yarnes some time ago in a color way called Say You Love Me.

Draygone Yarnes Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn, Say You Love Me, 70% superwash Merino, 30% silk

Draygone Yarnes Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn, Say You Love Me, 70% superwash Merino, 30% silk

Interesting is one of those descriptors that one uses when one doesn’t wish to be negative, but really cannot think of anything positive to say. This is not a colorway I would have chosen; I received it as part of a sock club based on Broadway musicals. The yarn sat in my stash for months, and I just didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, it’s hot pink and dusty grape, for cryin’ out loud!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, one of my Ravelry friends said she was working on the Simple Skyp Socks. I’m always looking for new simple sock patterns, so I clicked the link she had provided and found this pattern.

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It’s a free download, as you can see, and a lovely pattern. My first thought when I saw this pattern was, I have to knit these socks! My second thought was, I wonder how these socks would look in that pink and purple yarn I got from Brynna?

The answer to the question is, It looks marvelous, darling!

The answer to the question is, It looks marvelous, darling!

I should have trusted Brynna. She is a brilliant dyer, and I have never, ever gotten a clunker from her.

The pattern is written for sport weight yarn, and the yarn I decided to use is fingering weight yarn, but I figured it wouldn’t be difficult at all to adapt the pattern. I was wrong. I didn’t even need to adapt the pattern. It is written for a range of sizes, one of which uses 72 stitches, the magic number I use when knitting socks in fingering weight yarn on size 2.5mm needles at a gauge of 9 stitches per inch.

So I cast on 72 stitches, knit the called-for 10 rounds of 2 x 2 ribbing, then started the Skyp pattern. The pattern looks complicated, but it is as simple as can be. I worked round and round and in short time came to the end of the leg.

Here I modified the pattern a bit. I arranged the stitches as called for in the pattern, and I knitted the heel flap in heel stitch (row 1: *sl 1, k 1, repeat from *; row 2: sl 1, purl across), but instead of a chain selvedge edge, I use a 3-stitch garter edge. In other words, I started and ended each row with k 3.

I turned the heel in my usual fashion, picked up the gusset stitches, and then I tried something new to me. I did all my gusset decreases on the sole of the foot at the same place each time, on either side of the two center heel stitches. This is an idea I borrowed from Scullers Socks, and I wanted to compare this technique with the gusset decreases I used for the Reversible Ribs Socks.

The V-shaped gusset close upDSC02568_2

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Both are simple to do. Both are aesthetically pleasing. And both create a well-fitting heel that wraps itself gently around the contours of the foot’s anatomy. Both are winners. Both are keepers. But I must admit I have a preference for the looks of the slanted gusset decreases I used on the Reversible Ribs Socks. I like how it forms a diamond, and I think the heel fits just a skosh better than the straight-line decreases.

Say You Love Me Skyp Socks sock #1 is finished, and sock #2 is OTN.

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There is one more pattern modification I have to mention, this one unintentional. When I cast on sock #2 and finished knitting the ribbing, I discovered that I had missed something in the directions. There is supposed to be a round of purl stitches separating the 2 x 2 ribbing from the Skyp pattern. Somehow, I missed that the first time around. But I kind of like the way the ribbing flows into the leg pattern, so I’m not upset at all that I can’t read a pattern. 😀

Don’t forget to visit Tami’s WIP Wednesday site and see what other crafty folks are up to.

Another Week Of Hockey And Knitting

This year, I received the best Valentine’s Day present ever. The DH gave me Center Ice. Hockey seven days a week, games on the East Coast, games on the West Coast, games in the Canadian hinterlands (I’m talking about you, Winnipeg!). Games in the desert. Games in the mountains. Even games in the subtropics. It’s glorious!

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 1.32.06 PMThe other night, the Chicago Blackhawks played in Vancouver, British Columbia. For a couple of years now at Canucks home games, there has been a little boy seated behind the Canucks bench always wearing a Canucks sweater and ear protectors. This is the only picture I could find of the boy, and it doesn’t show him at his best. He is very well behaved and attentive to the game most of the time. But in this picture, I think he is expressing his disappointment after his team lost to the Kings in the playoffs last year. Anyway, whenever I watch a game that is being played in Rogers Center in Vancouver, I always look for this boy. When I spotted him in his usual place behind the Canucks bench during the game with the Blackhawks, I could hardly believe my eyes. Was I seeing things? No, I wasn’t. The little boy was wearing a Blackhawks sweater. His taste in hockey teams appears to be improving as he grows up. 😉

That’s just one of the many joys of watching a lot of hockey. The other is that watching hockey means knitting. And that brings us to the reason for this blog entry. Another week of hockey knitting has brought forth this:

Last week in hockey knitting

Last week in hockey knitting

From right to left, She Loves You Skyp sock # 1 is finished and sock # 2 is well under way. I put the gusset decreases on the sole of the foot on either side of the two center heel stitches. I’ll share the results in another post.

Very little progress has been made on the Sporty Spice Socks, but that’s mostly because I tried two different rib patterns for the instep and didn’t like either. After much knitting, ripping, knitting, and ripping again, I decided to just knit the foot in plain stocking stitch and save the ribbing for the leg. With this sock, it was two steps forward, one step back.

The 3 x 2 Rib Socks are coming along nicely. The foot of sock # 1 is done, the heel is turned, and the leg has been started.

Last but not least is the Bayside Pullover from Coastal Knits, which I finally cast on Saturday. It isn’t far enough along to be able to show you any detail yet, but I will be telling you all about it as I knit it. The sweater will probably be the featured project on WIP Wednesday.

That’s it for today. Happy knitting and happy hockey. Unless you are a F^%ers fan. Then I wish you happy knitting, but unhappy hockey. 😉

Hockey Socks

Or, more accurately, hockey knitting socks. I’ve been watching a lot of hockey since last I wrote, and a few movies on my favorite television channel, Turner Classic Movies, where the beautiful and elegant Loretta Young is the featured star of the month. I thought you might like to see my progress.

Clockwise from the left, Reversible Rib Socks sock #2, 3 x 2 Rib Socks sock #1, Say You Love Me Skyp Socks sock #1, Spicy Sport Socks sock #1

Clockwise from the left, Reversible Ribs Socks sock #2, 3 x 2 Ribbed Socks sock #1, Say You Love Me Skyp Socks sock #1, Spicy Sport Socks sock #1

You may be saying to yourself, Why in the name of Elizabeth Zimmermann does Pinko Knitter have four different socks OTN at the same time? Why doesn’t she finish one sock before she begins another?

If you just asked yourself that question, here’s my answer. Each of those socks is hockey knitting. Hockey knitting needs to be mindless knitting because hockey is a fast-paced sport that requires one’s viewing attention. So I need knitting that doesn’t take a lot of concentration or constant visual attention. In other words, I need knitting that I don’t have to think about or constantly look at while I’m doing it.

Each of these socks is in a pattern that occupies a different point on the mindless knitting spectrum.  The Spicy Sport Sock, for example, is as mindless as it gets because it is simply knit every round, and being on two circular needles, I don’t even have to fish around under the chair cushion for the needle I just dropped. If I drop a needle, it just hangs there. 😀

The 3 x 2 Ribbed Socks are just a plain knit 3, purl 2 pattern that requires the knitter only to remember to knit 3 before purling 2. That’s a little more thought than plain knit or knit 2, purl 2, but once you get going, you get a rhythm established and it’s pretty mindless.

The Reversible Ribs socks are just 2 x 2 ribbing that is offset every other round. One round is (k2, p2) across, then the next, you k1, p2,  then (k2, p2) across to the end and finish with k 1. When I am about to start a round, I have to take a peak to see whether I’m on a round that starts with k2 or a round that starts with k1, but otherwise, the pattern is mindless.

The Say You Love Me Skyp Socks pattern takes a little more attention than any of the other patterns I’m knitting, but it is still pretty mindless. I worked on this sock yesterday as I was watching the Penguins beat the Senators in a shoot-out, 2-1. It was an outstanding hockey game. Both teams played well, both goalies were excellent, and the pace of play was extremely fast. The hockey didn’t interfere with the knitting, and the knitting didn’t interfere with the hockey. Every other round of this pattern requires me to peak at my knitting when working the skyp stitch, but the stitch is simple to work and quickly becomes automatic. If it weren’t for having to pass a slipped stitch over, I wouldn’t even have to look at my knitting.

Okay, Pink Knitter, you might be saying to yourself. I get the whole mindless knitting thing. But why do you need 4 different mindless knitting socks. Wouldn’t one sock suffice?

The answer to that question is a resounding, NO! One sock is not enough. And for a very simple reason. Socks have beginnings and ends. They have toes and heels and gusset stitches to pick up. As long as I’m knitting a leg or a foot, everything is hokey spokey. But what happens when I come to the part of the sock where the heel begins, or the toe? Heels and toes need attention. Patterns must be centered, stitches must be counted and shifted, heel flaps and heel turns must be knitted, gusset stitches picked up  or, alternately, a short-row heel must be knitted.  And heels and toes take more attention, both mental and visual, than the leg and foot.

So when I’m knitting along and suddenly it’s time to start the heel, if I’m in the middle of a game, I can just set the sock aside and pick up another one and keep on knitting. Then I can work on the heel (or toe) during intermission or after the game. (I’m not a fan of so-called Afterthought Heels, aka peasant heels, which would allow me to just keep knitting round and round until I reached the toe or the cuff, depending on whether I’m knitting the sock cuff-down or toe-up so that is simply not an option.)

Okay, you caught me. I lied just now, at least a little. Although it is true that heels and toes take more mental and visual attention than legs and feet, I am perfectly capable of doing heels and toes while watching hockey. I knitted at least 6 pairs of socks during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so I have had lots and lots of practice. If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that the real reason I currently have four different socks OTN is that I just like having a lot of projects going at once. I like to be able to choose what I want to work on, and if I have several projects going, I don’t get bored working on the same thing all the time. I’m just not cut out to be a monogamous knitter. I admire knitters who work on only one project at a time, who never start the next project before finishing the previous project. But I could never be like that. The lure of casting on a new project is a Siren song I cannot resist. I don’t even try any more.