May and June Socks

I am really trying to keep up on my New Year’s resolutions this year. If you’re not keeping track of them (what, you have a life?), one of the big resolutions this year was to knit a pair of socks each month using a pattern from one of my (many, many) sock books and stash yarn. Sadly the end of May came and I only had one sock done for the month and the start of another. It’s not my fault. There are so many cute patterns and yarns out there that I keep getting distracted by a shawl or knitted hat. I guess I could stay off Ravelry and out of the yarn stores, but that is so not going to happen. Let’s be realistic here!

So I have a few projects lined up. I seem to be spending time in the craft room playing with yarn, beads, fabric, and organizing different projects. Lots of ideas; not enough time to get them done.  Yesterday I ignored the craft room, settled down by the television and binge knitted on the May socks for most of the afternoon. I was approaching the toe when I ran out of steam, so this morning it was pretty easy to get them done before lunch. Here they are!

This sock is Milfoil by Rachel Coopey from hr book CoopKnits Socks. The yarn is Madelinetosh Sock in the colorway Grenadine.
Here is the sock the day that I started it. The pattern is Milfoil by Rachel Coopey from her book CoopKnits Socks. The yarn is Madelinetosh Sock in the colorway Grenadine.
Finished socks
Ta-daa! The finished socks.. The lace pattern on the ankle and foot are switched between the two socks, and it is also different on the ankle portion of the sock (the front is one lace, the back the other). I used two 16″ cable needles to keep the patterns separate while knitting. The color changed a little as I knitted the second sock, but they are still cute!

So, I went into overtime a little on this one, but I am ready to dive into the June socks. I thought the Rachel Coopey sock was so cute that I selected another pattern by her (from a different book!) and matched it with a blue-ish yarn. Here it is.

June sock
It’s the end of spring. Obviously “Petal Socks” (found in the book knitting wizardry by Amy Clarke Moore) are appropriate to knit this month. The yarn that I am using is Becoming Art Yarns Cielo fingering in the colorway “Thunder”. Perfect color: there is a thunderstorm almost every afternoon this time of the year. 🙂

I have several little (excessively cute) projects to get done before I start on these socks. More knitting!! Must knit faster!!

Canning Jar Dye Job

I’m trying to stick to my New Year’s resolution: knit a sock each month using a pattern from one of my (many, many, what was I thinking of when I bought them…) sock knitting books and yarn already in my stash. I will not buy any more sock yarn! (but if I do, I won’t use it for the resolution socks… Hello! Need to be a little realistic here…)

So, I have a pattern picked out for the February sock (which is a secret since it isn’t February yet!), but there wasn’t really suitable yarn in the stash. I did find a kilo of Irish wool that my daughter-in-law gave me almost 20 years ago. Guess it would be OK to use that, but it is all white. Dye day!!

Skein of white yarn.
Look at this 200g skein of yarn! Wow! I think that I will try to rainbow dye it all in one pot!

 

Smaller Skeins
Seriously?! The skein is sub-divided into four 50 gram smaller skeins. Forget the rainbow dyeing. 

 

New idea. I can get those little skeins into wide-mouth canning jars. I just happen to have some of those in the garage.
New idea. I can get those little skeins into wide-mouth canning jars. I just happen to have some of those in the garage. 

Little skeins. Well, that is different. Each skein will need to be tied several times to keep them from tangling. I decided to dye the four smaller skeins of yarn at the same time in my canning pot with each skein in it’s own jar. I used Gaywool Dyes in Indigo and Raspberry and added one tsp of dye to each jar and filled it halfway with warm water while the yarn was soaking. I decided to make two of the skeins raspberry colored, and the other two indigo colored.

Dye jars in the water bath.
Once the water bath was  hot I added the jars of dye, crammed the wool into the jars, and then added more hot water to get the maximum volume of liquid in the jars. I used wooden skewers to stir my wool around. It was a tight fit, but do-able.

 

Dyed yarn in jars.
Ta-daa! Dyed yarn. You can kind of see in the picture that the exhaust water is almost clear around the now dyed yarn.

Once the water bath was up to the simmer I removed those skewers, covered the pot and let things simmer for about 30 minutes. I just love dyeing!  It feels like magic when the dye bites and enters the wool; the raspberry happened first, and then by the end of the 30 minutes the indigo had also made its move. I let the bath cool for an hour and then pulled the jars out.

Dyed yarn.
Here’s the dried (mostly) yarn. Yeah! February sock, you are so happening!!

By the way, I feel that I should mention that I don’t use this canning apparatus any longer for food; it is only for dyeing yarn and making candles. I have a whole crate of dye-only stuff and I even have a wool-only microwave. Best to be safe. 🙂

 

 

 

UFO Rescue: Week 3. Hell hath no fury like an unloved sock…

OK, this was hell week. I took these cute, cute, cute lace socks out of their storage bag and decided that I would finish them up this week. The needles in the sock are a set of my new square double-pointed ones, and I really kind of wanted them back. I had the first sock worked all the way through the heel, and it seemed like it wouldn’t take that long to get them done.

Twisted Flower UFO
Here is the UFO as I took it out of the bag. Once I had figured out where I was in the pattern I was ready to start knitting.

These socks are the Twisted Flower pattern in Cookie A’s book knit.sock.love. I loved the socks as soon as I saw them in the book. The pattern is really interesting, and the design is cleverly laid out to make the pattern flow onto the heel and down the foot. The chart and directions are extremely clear. Fun! I couldn’t wait to get started on these socks again.

Oh, boy. It wasn’t long before I remembered why these socks went UFO in the first place. The problem was the yarn. I had bought this hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester yarn at a local shop as I thought that the color was really nice.  Once I got into the pattern, however, it displayed some truly unsavory yarn qualities. It was a 4-ply fingering weight yarn, and should have been round enough to show off the pattern well. Well, the yarn was round, but something ugly had occurred in the dyeing process (I think) and it had the sullen personality of garden twine.  There was absolutely no bounce in this yarn at all! It was stiff and slippery; at every opportunity a stitch slipped off a needle and unraveled down three rows in the blink of an eye. The individual  plies of the yarn kept springing apart from one another and I kept splitting the yarn with my needle.

This sock pattern has tons of personality and detail.
This sock pattern has tons of personality and detail.

Then there was the beautiful pattern designed by Cookie A.  This pattern involves lace on every knitted row, cables, twisted stitches and a partridge in a pear tree. You need to read the chart forwards and backwards while manipulating the (slippery) little stitches. There was no way I could watch television while knitting; every bit of my attention needed to be focused on the chart and the sock. Normally this isn’t an issue as this type of knitting has a zen-Iike meditative quality, but things weren’t working out for me with the demon yarn. I had to use five double-pointed needles and a cable needle while working;  I tried four different cable needles trying to find one that wouldn’t slip out. Yeah, right. The cable needle that I needed doesn’t exist.   I began to pull on my hair and refer to socks as THE HELL SOCKS.  More than once they came very close to entering orbit and becoming true UFOs!

Knitted Sock
Too cool for shoes. These babies will be my reading buddies next winter.

Beautiful socks. Wrong yarn. I’m thinking now that I should have washed this yarn before using it to help it recover some of its life before I started knitting.  Oh well, lesson learned.

Tomorrow I am washing these socks to see what will happen. They are beautiful, but I am never putting these babies into shoes. They will grace my feet with their beautiful lace on cold nights while I am reading and remind me that art never shows how long it took, only how good a job you did.