At the Creativ Festival this past weekend I was knitting in our booth. Quite a few people commented on my ability to use double pointed needles and asked me how I managed to learn. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, or read older posts, you will know this was not always the case.
I used to loath double pointed needles and I would use any tip or trick to get out of using them. I even, accidentally, discovered how to do something of a modified magic loop method to avoid using them for projects like colour work mittens and sleeves.
I did not watch any kind of YouTube videos to figure it out. No no no, I was determined to learn the hard way. I buckled down and started knitting socks with dpn’s. I will admit it was hard in the beginning; I definitely made mistakes, but that is the beauty of learning, you’re allowed to make as many mistakes as you like!
After a pair of socks or two, something clicked and I got into a rhythm and from there it was magic. I always find it’s easier if you make sure your left needle is under it’s connecting needle and your right needle (or working needle) goes over the next needle. Your needles build something of a log cabin around as you knit.
The beginning is always the most difficult, but don’t give up! At least 90% of being an amazing knitter is sheer unbridled fearlessness… and maybe a touch of stubbornness, but who’s counting?
This week I’ve been insanely busy with all manner of things. The Creativ Festival is coming up and it feels like there are not enough hours in the day to get ready. I’ve been trying to build up a stock for that event and supply the Etsy and wholesale orders. Keeping busy is a good thing, but it just means I have less knitting to write about on Wednesday’s.
I actually have something of a Monday Mishap for you today. As you might have noticed, the Lemon Waffle Socks are not in my normal K3P1 pattern. I decided to branch out and try something new. I am doing the same basic pattern, but with a different stitch. Normally I cast on 64 stitches, 16 on the first needle, 32 on the second needle and 16 on the last needle; then I knit down the leg. I always do the heel flap on the needle that has 32 stitches on it; no I don’t know why, yes I realize it is in the middle of a row. It’s just something I do.
This time, it got the better of me. I went along and did the heel flap, picked up stitches along the side and was knitting across the top of the foot when I realized that I was going to be doing 16 stitches that were the last of the row and 16 stitches that were the beginning of the next row. If you can’t imagine it, this looked terrible and I ended up ripping out the heel flap, picking those stitches, then re-knitting the heel flap on the other side to cover the mismatched rows.
Aside from that minor problem, the socks are looking great! I really love knitting them because it makes me feel like there is going to be an end to this awful winter at some point. I am a person who likes winter and even I am sick of cold toes, static, dry air and not being able to go outside without your nostrils freezing together.
I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I ordered some Lolo moisturizer from the Barmaids. It hasn’t come in yet, but I am EAGERLY checking the mail every day. My skin has been absolutely atrocious and in need of some decent, and good smelling, products. I was faked out the other day by a delivery of something in the mail. I thought it was my Lolo order and it turned out to be some pH test rolls that I ordered. Much more practical and much less fun, but what are you going to do?
Today we are going to talk about the magic loop method for knitting socks. Essentially you are knitting a sock with one circular instead of four or five double pointed needles. This is something a lot of people use instead of double pointed needles. I always did this for sleeves when I was avoiding double pointed needles.
As you can see there are a lot of resources about this technique so go wild with magic loop socks!
Instead of trying to kill you guys with another book review, I am going to review a little something I picked up at the Knitters Frolic!
There were a lot of really great vendors there with amazing yarn, but I chose to take home a Sock and Go from Zig Zag Stitches. This is a small knitting needle case special for sock needles. I do have a couple needle cases, and those ones are very nice. I really like them but they are quite big. The Sock and Go has two pockets for different needle sizes and one larger one for a pair of scissors or anything else you might need while knitting a sock.
This is perfect for all the sock knitting I’ve been doing lately! Hopefully it will prevent me from losing needles or pulling them out of my socks. I keep a size 3.25mm (US 3) and a size 2.5mm (US 1.5). This way I can choose a skein of yarn, grab this case and go. As I was typing this article I realized how perfect the name of the case is. I actually had to re-word my sentence from ‘I can choose a skein of yarn, grab the Sock and go, and go’.
There were a lot of really bright and cheery patterns but I chose the chevron outside and polka dot inside. I’m not usually a huge chevron person, but the dazzling colours combined with the cute little orange button talked me into it. I didn’t even make my complete round of all the vendors before I bought this case. I saw it and immediately had to have it. It was the essential thing I’ve been missing without even realizing it.
I definitely saw a lot of things around the Zig Zag Stitches booth that I would have loved to take home with me. Essentially everything with a cat or music note pattern on it. However I pulled a WWPD [What Would Paul Do?] and practiced a bit of restraint. I supposed if I actually want to marry him in October I should save a bit of the funds to make it happen, but I digress.
Zig Zag Stitches has an Etsy shop! When I was first checking out the rest of the stock I noticed it is based in Sarnia, Ontario. That is very close to where I grew up and where my parent’s live to this day! It struck a special cord with me to support a shop that has grown so close to home, and without even realizing!
There are a variety of project and spindle bags; I doubt anyone could ever have enough, especially with such attractive patterns! My favourite one is the boxy bag with the sheep on it. I think I will order a flat zippered pouch though; I am always losing small objects in my knitting bag and purse. Hopefully I will be able to organize myself a little better and add some colour to my bag.
Sara actually got a flat zippered pouch from the knitters frolic and we were both commenting on the amazing quality. The corners are all tucked in and neatly stitched; you can tell each item was made with care and love. Sara’s mother and mine create a mirage of different things with their sewing machines and sergers; the caliber of skill involved in the production of these items struck us, it wasn’t something we were actively searching for. I am a firm believer that you can feel when something is well made, I feel it here.
I would highly suggest you check out the Etsy shop! It is late for mother’s day, but the unexpected gift is always appreciated. These are especially great for the crafter in your life who has everything; one can never have too many project bags!
You will remember the post about knitting in the dark. I mentioned that I liked knitting in the movie theater. There was a really good opportunity for me to knit in-movie a couple weeks ago. We were going to see the movie 300: Rise of the Empire, as much scintillating dialogue and intrigue as there would be, I thought I would be fine to knit during this show. My biggest mishap didn’t even happen in the movie, it happened in the ticket line!
I should start at the very beginning, I was knitting socks on double pointed needles. Usually I carry them around in the bag pictured below. It is perfect for small projects but there is one drawback. Sometimes the double pointed needles poke through the bag. It isn’t a particularly lose weave material or anything; the needles just happen to be at the right angle every now and again. In the line, I noticed there was a needle poking out. I was scared that it would fall out and I would lose one of my set, so I pulled it through the bag and put it back inside.
Everyone proceeded to get their popcorn and drinks and we got into the theater. The previews had started, because we didn’t show up terribly early, and I took my knitting out of the bag. It was at this point I noticed that I was missing a needle… from my sock. The dpn that had been poking through my bag was one of the needles with live stitches on it. Facepalm.
The yarn I was using happened to be quite dark so it really blended in with the lighting conditions. I seriously considered going into the hallway to pick up the stitches, but my companions thought it was funny enough that I was actually bringing knitting to a movie. I would never live it down if I left the movie for five minutes to pick up some stitches. I laboriously hunted and gathered my fallen stitches back onto the needle and started knitting again.
Around the first round there were some stitches that were on the wrong way and others that felt… a little funny. It was too dark to tell what was really wrong with them so I just knit right over top of them. I figured that I would make progress and if something was really seriously wrong, I would just rip it back. This was all bonus knitting time.
Another problem with this particular pattern is, if you mess up your count, you really need to know what you are feeling for. I was doing a sock in a K3P1 rib, it is my favourite for socks! The problem is, the very last stitch in every row is a purl, which feels very similar to an accidental yarn over. It is very tricky to tell when you have accidentally picked up a stitch or if you just miscounted. In the end I ended up making the wrong call and dropping a live stitch, so I just put the knitting back in the bag and focused totally on the movie.
The moral of today’s story is: if a needle is sticking through your knitting bag, pull it from the inside.