Code Breaker – Step 1

I have picked the secret word that will be knit into my CODE BREAKER socks.  I’ve assigned each letter a number according to my code breaking cypher.  This will be how many rows I will knit for each letter.  The next decision to be made will be whether to use only two colors or to choose one color for each letter of my secret word.  Since I want to use up some of my fingering weigh leftovers I have decided to use multiple colors.

My secret word has six letters so I have picked six colors of yarn that I think will work with each other.  I’ve decided to go ahead and make the cuff, heel and toes shades of gray.  I am hoping I have enough of the one gray I have selected but, if I don’t will just find another shade – not sweating this one.  I think any neutral would work for this.  Now keeping track of how many rows to knit for you secret word letter, knitting in the right color and following the knitting design pattern is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time.  It will test your ability to write secret messages in your knitting but keep that pencil and paper by your side and I know you can do it.

CUFF

Using the long-tail cast on, CO 60 sts.

Divide sts as follows on your choice of needle:

4 dpn – 12, 18, 30

5 dpn – 12, 18, 12, 18

2 circular needles or Magic Loop – 30, 30

RIBBING

Join, being careful not to twist stitches.  Work *p1, k4, p1* ribbing for 1-1/2″.

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In case you have forgotten the code breaking cypher, here it is:

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Z

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Plain stockinette would have been too easy of a code to break so I added a pattern that seemed in keeping with the whole business of breaking codes.

LEG

Rnds 1, 3, 5, 7, 9:  *P1, K4, P1, rep from *.

Rnds 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18:  Knit.

Rnds 11, 13, 15, 17, 19:  *K2, P2, K2, rep from *.

Rnd 20: Knit.

Repeat rnds 1-20.

Now I guess I would have enjoyed being a code-breaker because I really enjoy making charts and knitting from charts.  Here is the chart I made for CODE BREAKER.

CodeBreakerChart

It just so happens that I was able to knit the entire “secret” word in the leg of the sock and now am ready to start the heel.  The sock is 7-1/2″ long, cuff included – a nice cozy length.

I have a long way to go in learning color combinations and sometimes I look at my colors is this sock and they please my eye and other times they do not.  I would absolutely be thrilled if others knit their own CODE BREAKER SOCKS so I could see (and learn) from their color choices.

Happy Knitting (and deciphering)!

Code Breaker Socks

1280px-Bletchley_Park_-_Draco2008

Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire, was the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). During the Second World War code breakers regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. It has been stated that the “Ultra” intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The site is now an educational and historical attraction memorialising and celebrating those accomplishments.  If I ever make my way over the Atlantic to England again it will be on my list of ‘must sees’.

The theme this month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry is Science/Math/Computer Technology inspired.  Having just finished a BBC series on Netflix called Bletchley Circle I immediately wanted to incorporate code deciphering into a sock.  Bletchley Circle is about women code breakers in WW2 who continue to use their code breaking abilities to solve murders.  I enjoyed the two seasons I watched.

My creative juices have been all awhirl thinking about breaking codes, using deciphering machines and all the secrecy involved in code-breaking.  I am going to create some Code Breaker Socks with a secret name held within its stitches and I will create them using my top secret cipher.  My sock will be a stripe pattern with the width of each stripe determined by the letter in the name or code word.  The design pattern I will be knitting within the stripes will be my interpretation of breaking a code.

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I’m off to break my code with my top secret cipher and, when I am done cracking the code, I will pass the pattern on to you!

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

When I am done cracking the code, I will pass the pattern on to you!

How it All Started

January 1, 2015.  A new year lies before me, a clean fresh slate full of potential, full of opportunities to create beautiful handmade items with wool, with fabric, with thread.  A new year lies ahead yet a time for reflection and pondering befalls me today.  I’ve been thinking mostly of yarn and the many unfinished projects I need to wrap up but with those calculations I’ve also delved into a bit of analysis.  Out of all things I make, what is it I love most?  What do I wear most often?  Where should I be spending my efforts.

I came to a surprising conclusion and one that took me back to 2005, two years before Revelry made its entrance into the world of knitting.  In 2005, on a road trip, I opened a magazine that spoke of the many benefits of knitting on one’s health.  There was a picture of a hand knit sock with a caption stating that socks were an easy portable knitting project that can be worked on just about anywhere.  My interest was peaked and before we came to the end of our road trip I had made a pitstop to a  craft store for all the necessary equipment.  The directions for the sock were in the magazine and I had basic knowledge of knitting from my childhood.

Needles 1

I soon discovered that I was in over my head but, with great determination (and loud squeals whenever a stitch fell off my slippery needles) I was on my way to becoming an obsessed sock knitter.  Living in the Rocky Mountains at 8,035 ft. elevation, our feet soon learned the amazing warmth of wool.  I was smitten.  I started a blog devoted exclusively to socks and called myself socks-for-mum.  I quickly discovered other bloggers writing about knitting and soon made friends all around the world.

Those were great days before Revelry came along.  We were faithful blog readers and many of the current designers of today were blogging about what they were knitting and I could see their popularity growing.  I learned a lot reading their posts.  There were many ‘swaps’ going on, one being the first one I started called the Monkey Sock Swap which featured Cookie A.’s infamous Monkey Sock.  I assigned partners for whom we knit a pair of Monkey Socks and sent little ‘monkey’ gifts to.

It is a bit embarassing now, but I really was obsessed with these swaps and meeting new knitters.  I started a Harry Potter Sock Swap that ran through four swap seasons.   Knitters participated from all over the world and a newspaper in Minneapolis interviewed me.  I had participants take a ‘Sorting Hat’ test to see what ‘house’ they would be placed in, assigned a partner and then we knit ‘house’ socks for each other, the only requirement being that they were in the colors of the house their partner was in.  It was wonderful fun.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I have realized in recent weeks that the one item that I continues to loved and wear over and over again are my socks.  I love them.  This is the only thing my husband pesters me about.  He always wants socks, nothing else.  I knit other things but they often are worn only occasionally.

I have diversified my knitting since those early years but I think it is about time I return to my knitting roots.  My goal for 2015 is to finish up UFOs, concentrate on finishing Level Two of the TKGA Master Knitting course and KNIT SOCKS, lots of them.

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I want to finish the Master Sock Knitting Class book I started a couple years ago and hopefully learn a few new tricks.  First up are the Terpender socks by Melissa Morgan-Oates.  These are knit two-at-a-time but I will most likely take them one at a time.  I get exceedingly frustrated by the yarns tangling when you knit two at a time.

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Terpander is knit from the toe up using Judy’s Magic Cast-on. There are many beautiful cables in the design and it is knit with one of my favorite yarns – Wollmeise Twin in a brilliant color called ‘Poison.’

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Terpander qualify for the Sock Knitters Anonymous group’s January sock because Melissa Morgan-Oates is one of the featured designers.  They also qualify in a second category, Music and Lyrics, because she named the socks for and ancient Greek poet and musician who used a lyre in composition and performance.  His name was Terpander and the cables in the sock bring to mind his favored musical instrument – the lyre.

Clues, Cruising and Cinnamon Rolls

The final clue was released yesterday for the SockKnitters Anonymous July Mystery Sock, Zirkel.  I stayed up late last night working zealously on the last clue but my poor old eyelids just could not stay open.   Nor could they stay closed when the pooch decided she needed to go outside at six a.m. No doubt my enthusiasm to finish that last clue was enough to keep me from climbing back into bed.

What a fun pattern this was, and challenging.  It is a Zirkel I tell you, a Zirkel!  No doubt the finished pair of  Zirkels will be keeping this Mum’s feet toasty next winter.  Stranded socks are thicker than the average handknit sock because of the yarn that is ‘floated’ across the back as you change colors.

From ‘clues’ to ‘cruising’, I dropped my bike off at the bike shop earlier this week for a much needed tune-up and picked it up yesterday.  I plan to ride it down to the mailbox every day instead of walking.  It took me 27 minutes today — cruising downhill with brakes overheating to the mailbox (wipe-out-on-gravel-fear-syndrom) and pedaling back home with thighs screaming with intense muscle burn.  This will eventually be fun, right?  To be perfectly honest, riding downhill hitting all those washpan bumps did bring audible squeals of glee that I’m sure brought comic relief to any watching eye.

I would really, really like to get a Nantucket wicker bicycle basket to carry the mail home in.  Do you think a basket would look out of character for a mountain bike?  I guess I would prefer to bike in some quaint New England coastal town instead of my mountain neighborhood .  I’m quite certain I would look just like Angela Langsbury in Murder She Wrote.  I can’t say that I’ve seen Nantucket baskets on any mountain bikes in Colorado.  I think these highlanders are more interested in extreme mountain biking, not mail collecting.

From ‘cruising’ to ‘cooking’, my husband has pleading with me for months to make him some cinnamon rolls.  He rises much earlier than I so it is not the easiest feat cooking these tasty buns for him —  that is, unless I get up at some unearthly hour.  However, this morning I just so happened to get up much earlier than normal and he just so happened to sleep much longer than normal, so it worked.

This is an easy recipe if you own a bread machine with a ‘dough’ cycle  and, it is one of America’s most wanted recipes — I know because I bought it off of EBay for one dollar ten years ago.  The recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser but, more importantly, a husband pleaser.  If you are in much need of some praise, go ahead and pull out your bread machine and throw in the following ingredients…go ahead, I dare you!

Mum’s Easy Peasy Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup water

2 T melted butter or oil

2 eggs

1-1/2 tsp salt

2 T sugar

3 cups bread flour

1 pkg active dry yeast (quick kind)

Put the above ingredients in your bread machine pan and follow manufacture instructions for ‘dough’ cycle.  When finished, let rise another 30 minutes.  Remove from bread machine and roll 1/4″ thick into a rectangle.  Let rest about 5 minutes.  While it is resting, prepare filling.

FILLING:

1/2 cup sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

2 T melted butter

Spread filling on dough.  Roll up and cut into 15 rolls using dental floss.  Place cut side down into baking pan (9×13) or slightly smaller.  Cover and let rise another hour.  Bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes.

Cool slightly and then top with either 1) Glazed Icing -0r- 2) Cream Cheese Icing -0r- 3) Canned Cake Icing

Glazed Icing

3 T melted butter

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 T milk

Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

1 (16 oz) bag powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Zirkel.Clue 2

The second mystery clue has been finished on my pair of Zirkels.  Steffi is an amazing designer and I always enjoy her sock patterns. Her patterns are never your run-of-the-mill-predictable pattern and there is always something new to learn.  This heel flap was done differently than the 3-stitch garter edge flap that I usually choose.  I hope someday that I can think ‘outside of the box’ when it comes to designing!

Progress

Two knitting deadlines lurk in the shadows but my progress is steady and is just that, progress.  I’m knitting Steffi van der Linden’s Mystery Sock in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry that I sometimes participate in.  The Mystery Socks are knit throughout the month as the clues are released.  The second deadline is only nine days away, the Camp Loopy Cladonia Shawl.  I need to have a finished picture posted on the Loopy site by July 15th.

Steffi’s Mystery Sock named Zirkel and is a stranded pattern using two contrasting colors that work well together.  I’ve always liked turquoise and red together.  There is something about that color combination that takes me think about the time around World War Two.

I used to have a sewing business making custom liners for Longaberger baskets.  One of my customers sent me her mother’s curtains from the 1940’s and asked me to make several basket liners with it.  She then gifted the baskets people who had been close to her mother and who would have remembered her kitchen.  Quite nostalgic.  The fabric was similar to the pattern on this coffee cup.  It gave me great joy to make those liners for that customer and I’ve often thought about the sentimentality she had towards her deceased mother.

I am learning that the amount of JOY that I feel is proportionate to the amount of THANKFULNESS I have in my life. Thankfulness for everything, no matter how small it may seem.   I’ve started a journal that lists all these small joys and I try to look for them every day.

CLUE ONE finished and waiting for the second clue.

A Heel Grows from a Wallflower

I am really enjoying knitting WALLFLOWER (Ravelry details) this month but coloring this flower is slow work because I am working on 2.0 mm needles.  I’m calling these socks my Bronco Wallflowers because they are in Denver Bronco colors and I have ever intention of wearing them as I watch those Broncos this coming football season.  I have always loved the orange and blue color combination.

Over the years I have knit many socks but I have yet to come across a heel construction like the one on WALLFLOWER.  I’ve never seen it in any sock book either so I’m wondering if it is the designer’s own invention.

As you see, the heel is gradually ‘growing’ from the sock cuff as I continue to knit the round across all needles.  I’m increasing stitches within the growing heel pattern keeping a design that is growing just for the heel.  I have no idea how all this is going to pull together and join to the foot.  I’m taking it ‘one step at a time’ or more descriptively, ‘one FOOT at a time.’

I’m very curious to see if any of you have knit a heel like this.  Anyone?

Also, thanks for the ‘pearls of wisdom’ left in the comments of my last post about the old woman.  I enjoyed reading them!

Sock Knitters Anonymous ~ June Challenge

Harika is finished!  What can I say about the experience?  Stranded socks take a LONG time to knit!

But they are sooooooooooo worth the effort!

Yarn Used:

Regia Kaffe Fasset Landscape Fire

Regia Uni Petrol

I love that the sole pattern was different than the instep pattern.

I really don’t enjoy knitting corrugated heels or ribbing of any kind but the effect is pretty.

A nice little knitting accessory helped me keep the two strands from tangling, my fair isle knitting bowl.  It had two adjacent grooves to feed the separate yarn strands.  This was a Christmas present from my mother and was made by Stitch Witch.

All in all this was a fun pair of socks to knit and the designer, Stephanie van der Linden has flown to the top of my favorite sock designer list!  This pattern can be found in the Twist Collection.  She has another pattern that I just purchased called Wallflower and I’m knitting it in Denver Bronco colors:

First Harika Sock

The first Harika sock is soaking in a nice warm Eucalen bath and will be on the blocking sock soon.  Have I told you how much I LOVE this sock?  It is true.  I have fallen in love and I’m having way too much fun knitting these.  I foresee more stranded socks in my future.

Now I’m off to cast on the second Harika and will show you a finished pair on the Fourth of July….hopefully.  More details?  Click here.

Harika Cast On

Harika (ha-ree-ka) is the Turkish word for wonderful, marvellous, extraordinary and those are perfect adjectives to describe Stephanie van der Linden’s sock pattern called Harika.  These socks will be extra-ordinary when they are finished!

The Latvian Twist cuff  with corrugated ribbing looks awfully complicated but it isn’t nearly as difficult as it looks.

Stranded knitting always draws me in and captivates me with the changing colors.  The background is knit with a solid color while the various other colors are in a multi-color striped yarn.  Faux Fair Isle.

Harika.  I love saying that word.  I love this pattern.