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Adventures in Sock Knitting

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on June 8, 2009 ,
© Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

© Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

So as I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts, my husband Lucas has not only learned how to knit recently, but we’ve both been working together, knitting a pair of socks for each of our dads for Father’s Day. As Father’s Day is coming up very soon, I thought I’d share where we are in the process and how it’s been going.

May 9, 2009: Cast On
Lucas just learned how to knit yesterday. Let me repeat that just in case you missed the significance – he learned how to knit  yesterday (May 8) and he is starting his first sock today, May 9. He learned the basic knit and purl stitches and practiced them by making a few swatches. He and I cast on our first sock for this project today — Lucas’ first project ever! I’m very impressed (and proud) that his very first project was something that most don’t attempt for at least a couple dishcloths. I’ve been knitting off and on (definitely, obsessively on recently) for nearly 3 years and I’m just attempting my first real sock that I will see through to completion. (Not counting the practice sock I posted about a few weeks ago.) We are using the free Lion Brand Men’s Grey Socks pattern.

Yes, they are inside out.

Yes, they are inside out.

May 22, 2009: Turning the Heel and Picking Up Gusset Stitches
Here’s a picture after we turned our first heel of our first sock together and picked up the gusset stitches and worked them. This was approximately May 22. My sock is on the left, and Lucas’ sock is on the right. Don’t worry that his sock looks a little bigger; Lucas is using a size 5 needle while I use a size 4 needle, so it’s to be expected. We only have one interchangeable set to share, so we’re making due however we can. Although I think using a size smaller needle than the pattern suggests may come back to bite me later. (Ack! See below)

May 31, 2009: I completed my first sock
I was so excited when I got down to the end that I just had to try it on, even before I grafted/Kitchener stitched the toe closed. My concern above about how the size 4 needle (when I should be using a 5) may come back to bite me later? Let’s just say the sock fits ME perfectly. Nice and snug. The problem? The sock is supposed to fit MY DAD, who has bigger feet than I. Oops. Maybe when we block them we can stretch them a tiny bit. *crosses fingers* Lucas is currently working the foot and is nearly closing in on finishing the toe. We had another (Our friend Michelle’s birthday) project that we were  trying to get done, so after doing that I went ahead and started my second sock and Lucas finished up the birthday gift project before getting back to socks. In fact, you can see the finished products (Batman soap and dishcloths) in the previous post! :) Happy Birthday, Michelle!

© Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

© Lesley Karpiuk / pinktoque

June 3, 2009: My pair is complete!
I have completed my second sock and am so excited that I have finished my first pair of socks! I know it seems like I did the second one very quickly in comparison, but to be fair, I had started the second one down to the heel turn already so it finished fast. The problem? I’m still concerned that they won’t fit my dad. Also, I’m a big loser — I did the toe wrong! You can’t tell in this photo, but I did the grafting the wrong direction. So you know how the seam should go lengthwise across your toes, from pinky to big toe? Mine goes perpindicular to that. I guess I didn’t think far enough ahead — I should’ve re-oriented the final 16 stitches on the needles differently before I started grafting in order to get the seam to lay right. This might’ve been due to the fact that the pattern we followed was meant for DPNs and it probably wasn’t mentioned because it would’ve ended up properly if we were doing it on DPNs instead of magic loop, but oh well. Chalk it up to a learning experience I guess! I feel a little silly, but it’s how we learn.

My handsome sock knitter

My handsome sock knitter

June 7, 2009: Lucas finished his first sock!
It looks fantastic and because of my mistake with the orientation of the toe seam, he is going to ensure he doesn’t follow suit. I don’t have pics of his yet, but we’ll get them up soon :) The great thing is that we’re pretty sure that Lucas’ socks will fit his dad – they almost fit Lucas, and his dad’s feet are smaller than his. Here’s hoping! I am so proud :)

It’s all going really well. I’m a little concerned that we may not finish 100% in time, but we’ll be close and I’m sure our dads will understand. (It’s our faults – though it seems like we’re going really slow on these socks, we’ve not been working on them daily like we should.) I’m a little worried that my socks may be a little small to fit my dad comfortably, too, if he can even get them on his feet. We’ll see. For our first socks, I think we’ve done great and there’s something really amazing about seeing all of the parts — cuff, leg, heel, gussets, foot and toe — all come together to form something so simple and normal that we wear every day. I don’t think I’ll ever look at another sock the same way again. I also know I didn’t want to take the sock off when I tried it on. There really is something magical about handmade socks. I think a pair for myself is in order soon, don’t you think? (With proper toe seams, LOL)


Lucas the Knitter

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on May 9, 2009 ,
My handsome husband's first swatch. Note the garter AND stockinette stitches!

My handsome husband's first knitted swatch. Notice it contains garter AND stockinette stitching!

With Mother’s Day gifts finished up and shipped off earlier this week, I’m already thinking ahead to Father’s Day.  I’d been thinking that I’d love to knit up some socks for our dads this year, but I’m not the fastest knitter in the world so I’m not sure I can manage it in time.  I mentioned this time concern to Lucas on Thursday afternoon, who then suggested I teach him to knit so that he can help by knitting his dad’s socks while I knit my dad’s socks, and together we’d create knitted socks for our dads for Father’s Day.

My jaw dropped.

He then said, “If your new needles are there when we get home tonight, maybe we can spend the evening with them and you can teach me how to cast on, knit and purl.” (My KnitPicks interchangeable needles did arrive that night, woohoo!)

My jaw dropped again.

Not only does he want to spend the evening snuggled with me and my KP needles, he knew all of the basic terminology for the techniques he needs to know and wants to learn them!

swoon

Dare I say my husband may turn into a knitter?

My mind fast forwards to him having his own Ravelry account and uploading FO pictures and asking me what kind of yarn he should use for his next project. And shopping the LYS together. And how many more things we can knit for our future kiddos if there’s two of us knitting for them!

I think I just died and went to heaven.

Lucas knitting

Lucas knitting

When I came out of my daydreaming haze and picked up my jaw from the floor, I realized he was serious. Thursday evening I taught him the basics of knit and purl and he’s been doing really well!  We practiced again last night and I really think we’ll be able to attempt Father’s Day socks for our dads Magic Loop style. It’ll be a learning experience for both of us since I’ve only done socks with DPNs and only played with ML for the ribbed cuff of a sock before, but it can’t be that hard once I get to the heel, right?

Wish us luck! I don’t know about you, but I’m still in shock.


Cthulhu Crochet Toque PATTERN for Sale!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 19, 2009 ,

So my original Cthulhu crochet toque design I made up at the end of last month is now for sale! It’s up in my shop AND Ravelry for purchase and download. How exciting is that? My first pattern for sale. If you purchase at The Pink Toque Shop, I’ll be emailing out the PDF pattern within 24 hours of receipt of purchase. If you purchase on Ravelry, you’ll be able to purchase and instantly download.

Buy An Original Cthulhu Crochet Toque Pattern in MY SHOP
Buy/See An Original Cthulhu Crochet Toque Pattern on RAVELRY

Not sure what the heck I’m talking about? Read the post about my Cthulhu toque here. :)

I’m a little sad to admit that my KnitPicks order of sock-sized DPNs and a suitable 40″ circ for magic loop sock knitting still hasn’t arrived, though it’s not any fault of KnitPicks… it’s just sitting with the Canadian Postal System! UGH! To keep me from stalking the Canada Post website to see some change or update on where my order is now that it’s crossed the border, I pulled out two great sock knitting books my mom

look at me go! my first sock

look at me go! my first sock

bought me for Christmas last year — Getting Started Knitting Socks and I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks. Together the books are amazing, as the Getting Started book goes into lots of details about the “how” and “why” in construction of socks, and then I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks shows the basics using every kind of sock knitting method out there: knitting on DPNs, magic loop with one circular, knitting with 2 circs, etc. They were really handy visuals. Friday evening (After I freecycled a large box of yarn in the basement that I wasn’t using to a kind woman who will be using it with senior citizens), Lucas and I sat down to watch a movie and I followed the books line by line and came up with my first official sock!  I just used my size US8 DPNs and sport-weight yarn and didn’t worry about gauge since I just wanted to practice constructing the various parts of a sock’s anatomy.  It worked! I did it! It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I REALLY can’t wait for my KnitPicks order to arrive now!


Adventures Knitting in the (Urban) Wild

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on April 10, 2009 ,
Knitting in the (Urban) Wild.

Knitting in the (Urban) Wild.

It’s finally spring in Calgary! Though I may be jinxing its existence by the mere suggestion that spring has officially arrived, I can’t help but proclaim my happiness that the seemingly neverending snow seems to be behind us.

Yesterday I had to go downtown in the middle of the day for an appointment. Lucas also works downtown, and by the time I was done with my appointment and had snagged some lunch, I had a good hour and a half to spend before Lucas got off of work. I decided to hang out downtown until then so we could train home together and that way I could enjoy the sunshine. It was such a gorgeous day I decided to take some knitting with me. That’s right, I said knitting! As I mentiond in my previous post, I’ve been itching to knit instead of crochet lately, even though my crocheted hobo bag isn’t quite finished. More on that later. Anyway, to get back into the knitting groove, I took my US size 8 16″ Takumi bamboo circulars and some pretty Petal Pink wool in my knitting bag on my trip downtown. I decided to start a toque for myself using the perfect knitted hat formula.  I really enjoyed finding a sunny spot in the middle of downtown to knit while I waited for Lucas to get out of work. It was SO refreshing and peaceful, even with the sounds of the city buzzing around me. I LOVED it and the weather was perfect. And Tim Horton’s was just diagonally across the street from me. Heaven!

Have A Nice Day!

Have A Nice Day!

I snapped a few pictures of my adventures knitting in the (urban) wild (which I’m sure looked very odd to random passers-by, but hey… I’ve seen stranger things downtown before.) and was pleased that THIS picture (to the right) in particular harbored a little secret message. See if you can find it. (hint, check the bus message.)  It just made my day!  And what a wonderful day it was, truly. THANK YOU SPRING, for finally arriving.

So back to my knitting itch. I’ve been determined to figure out DPNs without tears, and I’ve also been wanting to learn Magic Loop, so socks it is. I ordered some KnitPicks needles this past week — my first KnitPicks order ever!! — and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. Like, soexcitedIcanbarelystandit eager. After reading some threads on Ravelry, I’ve decided to go with the nickel plated needles, and while I’m lusting desperately over the KnitPicks Options Interchangeables set, for now (and to be sure the nickel plated is the best for me) I just ordered one set of sock-sized DPNs and a fixed 40″ same sock-sized circular to match. Today we went to Michaels to use some of the coupons I’ve been hoarding, and I picked up some simple sock yarn for use when my order arrives. Did I mention I cannot wait?

DPN Practice Success

DPN Practice Success

In preparation, I’ve been browsing tutorials and YouTube videos to see if I can get the hang of DPNs with the US size 8 Takumi bamboo DPNs I have collecting dust in my needle bag. Two hours and many videos later, I finally found a video that made it all click: How to Knit Socks Part 1: Working with DPNs by Dorret. While its quality may not be as clear as the KnittingHelp.com video or some of the other YouTube videos out there, one key part that made the lightbulb come on was how Dorret showed to move the yarn down to the end of the needles and flip it around after casting on. In the other videos I wasn’t understanding how to start the join and get going once I had the stitches divided evenly on the needles. I’d get my stitches divided up and then be at a complete loss as to how the demonstrator was getting started. Something about Dorret’s video made me suddenly get it. It was a Hallelujah moment for me, to be sure. I think I’m finally ready once my KnitPicks sock DPNs arrive. And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got the option to go Magic Loop. Socks WILL be looming on the horizon, one way or the other!

Happy Easter weekend :) And OH! Happy Bobmas Eve as well!*

*wth is Bobmas? The anniversary of when Ravelry was conceived.