Beware of Best-Selling Designers

Stand forewarned, best-selling designers can be dangerous because they are simply inspirational, totally.  Ann Budd is a designer who has inspired me in more ways than one.  Not only is she  known for her sock designs but she has also been designated a master knitter by the Knitting Guild Association which speaks very highly in my opinion.  (Many of you know that I’m in that program myself and can tell you first hand that it is pretty rigorous.)  So, I am not surprised that Ms. Budd has a build-on-the-basics approach to pattern writing.

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Well-known are her ‘formula’ type reference books that seemed to be written to bring out the inner designer in her readers.  My favorite is called, The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges‘  and is, in my opinion, one of her most brilliant books.  All you need to know is your gauge and if you know that, you can knit a wide variety of basic patterns using any yarn you want with whatever needles you prefer.  I’ve used the sock and hat patterns in the book to do just that.  Soon, I will use this book to knit hubby a vest by just plugging numbers into the formulas in the book.

I once knit a pair of socks crossing the Atlantic using the basic sock pattern in the Handy Book of Patterns….. a simple project that was pretty mindless and that I was able to take with me everywhere.
Knitting in the Piazza

 

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My second favorite Ann Budd book is called Sock Knitting Master Class In this book she has put together the unparalleled signature elements and techniques of 15 top sock designers into a resource that I think of as a type of ‘master’ class.  I’ve learned a few new techniques from the three designs I have knit thus far: Almondine (Anne Hanson), Asymmetrical Cables (Cookie A.) and Pussy Willows (Cat Bordhi).  I will continue forging through this excellent resource and know I will be all the better for it.

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Two Sock Tuesday ~ Fish Lips Experiment

Nine ladies.  Nine ladies will be coming to my house Friday to learn the infamous FISH LIPS KISS HEEL.  We planned this sock adventure at our last Friday Fiber event when someone asked me, ‘Have you ever tried the Fish Lips Kiss Heel?’  I had not, but it was a heel technique I had planned to learn sometime this year.

Many people have raved about this heel and many people have told me I needed to give it a try even though the Eye of Partridge flap heel is my favorite heel.  I am skeptical the FLK heel will replace my favorite but I am all about learning new things so will enjoy this little sock adventure.  Somehow, it fell into my lap to learn and teach it so today I am getting ready for Friday.
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Having an accurate tracing of your foot is part of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel and knowing exactly where your ankle bone is another component.
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Twin stitch knits and twin stitch purls — interesting…..

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Boomerang ….very interesting…

Two Sock Tuesday ~

I have finished the first sock for this month’s  SOCKS FROM STASH challenge.  We were to find the oldest yarn in our stash and knit some socks with it.  I am finding that I adore this yarn.  Funny how that is because it would have taken me years to consider knitting a pair of socks with it just because… well, it was crumpled up in a bag with the original misshapen sock and was at the back of a well filled drawer.  This is why it is good to join groups that challenge you outside of your comfort zone (remind me of that when we have to pick the ugliest yarn in our stash.)

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Yarn Along and Magical Tidying

Joining Ginny today and her peeps on trail of book reviews and fiber projects we are working on.

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The basic supposition of the book is —

Does it Bring You Joy?

If not, get rid of it.

I know there is a trend amongst the younger generation towards ‘simple living’ and I can see why this book would be a New York Times best seller for that group of people.  However, I have lived through more seasons of life than the author and took issue with several things in this book.  The bottom line is — what brings you JOY in your twenties and thirties is not necessarily what brings you JOY in your forties and fifties, sixties etc.

If you throw away the cards you have received years because they ‘served their purpose when you opened it that first time’ then you will be missing out on something that might bring JOY, encouragement and even healing when you are in your fifties.  I’ve saved every Mother’s Day card that my children have sent me.  Some have very tender and affectionate notes in them that actually helped me get through some rough times when a newly married daughter went ‘silent’ on me.  The tender notes she wrote throughout childhood and the teenage years reminded me that the love between us was deep and I just needed to ride the storm for a while.  I’m so thankful I did not throw those cards out!

The author said the same thing about books and maintained that once you have read it the book it has served its purpose and should be discarded.  I am an avid reader and have painstakingly collected the classics and other ‘great books.’  The author is a reader, too but limits her books to 30 which she still thinks is too many.  I don’t think she realizes that books can be a tool to forge a way to make an immediate connection to a stranger in your home when he/she stands perusing your library and a conversation begins and a bond is formed.  Nor does she realize that some people collect books to decorate a home.  Now I will admit that I have been convicted to take a second look at some of my college textbooks and other instructional books and I probably will discard them.  And, I have also realized that I really must let go of my vast collection of cookbooks because I mostly only use a few of them consistently.  But the rest…no-can-do.

Another area I contend with were photographs.  I guess that is because I am a photographer.  She wanted us to ‘touch’ each picture and see if it brings us JOY and if it doesn’t throw it away.  She does not yet know that something happens to you when you are in the ’empty nest’ stage of life.  You want to reconnect to your roots and get back in touch with friends you had in your younger years.  Social media has made this a possibility and the picture in your album that might not mean much to you may bring incredible JOY to someone in your past.

Nor does she realize that the sharing of these photos through social media may bring about an opportunity to seek forgiveness of someone you once hurt or who once hurt you and that through that process a regret of thirty years is released.  I am so thankful I have not thrown the pictures away that did not give me JOY.  And I am even more thankful my mother has kept pictures (no matter how horrible they are) because I have had wonderful moments reminiscing.  MEMORIES ARE IMPORTANT and will become even more important with each decade of your life.

Leaving on a positive note – I was able to successfully throw all my clothes into the middle of the room as she suggested and get rid of the ones that don’t give me JOY.  I’m not attached to clothes so that was an easy task.  I also thought the way she took shirts and rolled them up in the drawer was a good idea – that really decluttered my closet.

Lastly, the book was helpful in some ways however, I will still caution anyone who reads this to be very careful in using the mantra, “If it doesn’t bring you JOY then throw it out.”  Instead, I would as you to consider the fact that you will go through ‘seasons of life’ and your JOY will mature in different ways.  If you follow completely the advise of this author  you just might find yourself sitting in a stark room in your senior years with no JOY and only regret.

On the knitting front –

I am trying very hard to knit down my stash this year.  There is a group on Ravelry that I am participating in called SOCKS FROM STASH and February’s challenge is to knit socks from the oldest yarn in your stash.  I believe the yarn I found was from my second pair of socks that I immediately ripped out because they didn’t fit and I really didn’t know at the time how to make them fit.  I don’t even know what brand it is but I do know it is a faux fair isle that will be lovely knit in a plain stockinette….. I will call them my OLD JANES.
Old Jane
Happy Knitting!

 

Fibonacci on a Snowy Monday

After listening to The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up on Audible I looked at the huge mason jars on a bookcase in my girl-cave filled with yarn leftover from who-knows-how-many socks and decided it was time to declutter. Perfect timing! The February challenge in the Socknitters Anonymous Group on Ravelry is to design your own socks.  (edited:was told they don’t qualify because they are striped…oh well….still doing it….just won’t qualify).

I have a plan.  I’ll use the **fibonacci** formula to knit the stripes and use a jogless join so the stripes don’t ‘stagger’ in the back. I’ll have fun remembering past creations with each stripe and enjoy the process!
Fibonacci Plan

Each fibonacci segment will be a 2+4+8+16+8+4+2 color sequence.  The wide middle segment (16 rows) will be a variegated yarn and the other stripes in the sequence will use colors within that varigation.
Stash for Cortata

I choose a thigh high because, well …..I have A LOT of tiny yarn balls in jars and even more stashed in drawers and closets. The name ‘Cortata’  was chosen because it the Italian (fibonacci is Italian) word for colorful.   As you know, I live in the beautiful Colorado Rockies and ‘Colorado’ also means colorful. See the connection?

That is the plan! Let’s see where this takes me……..

                          over the knee cuff in a neutral color
4 " Cuff - Over the Knee

first Fibonacci sequence ….

First Fibonacci Sequence

second Fibonacci sequence…….
Second Fibonacci

These sequences are pretty addicting.  I started Saturday morning and couldn’t put this sock down.

P.S.  I’ll post the pattern when I am done just in case any of you want to bust your fingering yarn stash.

 

Toasty Toes

It has been a while since I’ve knit a pair of socks for myself.  On a recent trip I wanted to pack light and limited myself to only one small knitting project, a FIRST for me.  I usually take several knitting projects and end up in my travel location lacking proper clothing.  Right?

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I wanted something fairly mindless since I would be visiting with family I hadn’t seen in a long time.  The Vanilla Latte Socks answered that prerequisite and the Kaffe Fassett colors kept me knitting away just to see the next color change.

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The pattern had an option for my favorite heel, Eye of Partridge, but the instructions were a little unclear to me so I opted for the standard slip stitch heel.  This is probably not an oversight on the designer’s side but, more likely, my own rote memory of knitting the EOP heel with garter stitches on either side as in my Chili Pepper Sock pattern.

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It was nice to try another designer’s plain vanilla sock pattern but I think next time I will go back to my tried-and-true Chili Pepper pattern that fits my foot perfectly.  I feel like the toe of this sock does not fit my foot anatomically.

The postman delivered a box full of to-be-knit-in-the-future Christmas gifts.  Craftsy was having an excellent sale on their kits so I jumped on it.  I’ve spent the morning planning out the knitting and I have concluded that I should have started in July!  My knitting schedule is going to be pretty tight these next months – 1 pair of fingerless mitts, 2 pairs of mittens, 2 infinity cowls and 3 pairs of socks!  (And, one absolutely beautiful shawl for my beautiful mother that will be a joy to knit with some luscious yarn.)

Yarn Along in August

My daughter recommended All the Light We Cannot See and, enjoying WW2 novels as I do, I downloaded it to listen to while I play with needles and yarn.  The novel is set in two places – Paris and a mining town in Germany.  The story is about a blind girl in Paris whose father is a master locksmith in a museum of natural history  and, an orphan boy skilled in building and fixing radios.  The girl and her father flee Paris when the Germans invade.  The orphan boy wins a place in the brutal academy for Hitler Youth.  Their stories are told in tandem and give glimpses of war time living from a very unique perspective.  I have a sneaking suspicion the author is deftly interweaving these two lives.  I’ll find out soon!

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Fresh off the needles is one Vanilla Latte Sock.  One down, one more to go.  On a recent trip I wanted to pack as light as possible and restricted myself to a little knitting bag with some Kaffe Fassett yarn in it to knit a pair of mindless socks.  Amazingly enough, I finished the sock and cast on for its mate.  I guess that is what happens when you limit yourself to one project at a time. 😉

Yarn Along on a sunny day in August with Ginny and others……….

Knittin Along Singing a Song


I woke up today to three inches of snow on the ground! Imagine that! The weather man said it was supposed to be a nice sunny day, too. It was very pretty. Later that afternoon I walked down to the mailbox to get the mail. It takes twenty-five minutes to walk down and about 30 minutes to walk back. It was fun walking through the snow. It is so white and pure and glistens in the sun.

I have two different socks on the needles. The picture posted is Conwy and is from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road. The knitalong ends at the end of the month so I need to get moving on them! This poppy color is a popular color this year.

Knitalong Obsession

I guess this is the season of Nancy Bush Knitalongs!

I am knitting the Conwy sock in Lorna Lace’s Shepherd Sock Poppy for the Knitting on the Road Knitalong. Although it seems like the sock is progressing slowly on 2 circular needles, I think I will be thrilled when I have two socks finished at the same time!

The Latvian socks for the Folk Sock Knitalong are moving along very slowly. The picot edge is quite pretty but knitting on size 0 needles is not a whole lot of fun. I will be lucky if I finish these by the end of November (the deadline).

My Mom gave me the middle book, Knitting Vintage Socks, for my birthday. I’m very excited about it. It has several socks for “Gentlemen” in it that dear hubby will eventially get. Of course I went and started a new Yahoo Knitalong site for it. I have had 19 ladies join in the past couple days and we are in the process of “voting” for the November/December sock.

Yes, yes, yes…..I know that I have a foot obsession right now. But, if YOU lived up in the mountains and your feet stayed cold all the time you might be tempted to knit socks, too. It is snowing right now as I right this post.

Take care everyone and stay warm.

It’s Been a While!


Wow! I didn’t realize time could slip away so quickly before I posted again!

I’ve been very busy with teaching two Bible studies and driving back and forth to the Springs.

I have also been busy with knitalongs. I finished Allison’s Birthday Socks and posted a picture of them. I think they turned out adorable and I hope she will love them. I cannot believe my baby girl is turning 19! It happened in the blink of an eye. It has truly been a joy being the mother of such a wonderful young lady. She is in nursing school and busy with clinicals and classes yet she finds time to be active in RUF, Reformed University Fellowship. Her desire is to someday go to Africa on a nursing missions trip. Go girl! Love you bunches and then forever.

Frogged Cable & Rib Socks

Two more weeks before the Knitting on the Road knitalong starts a new sock. Two more weeks before the Six Socks knitalong starts a new sock. So what am I doing? Frogging a pair of socks I just finished while traveling and learning how to knit, not one, but TWO socks on TWO circulars.

My Cable and Rib Socks (from latest Interweave magazine) did not come out as I had hoped. I think I may have knit the second pair on a different size dpn and, I discovered that I cannot do toe decreases while talking to my sister-in-law in the airport! I decided to bite the bullet and FROG. I’n tired of my socks coming out different lengths, different sizes etc. and want to learn this 2socks2cir method. It’s working well…..I will probably never knit on dpns again. I’ll post a picture soon.