Archive for February, 2013
When it comes to knitting, I’m sort of an island in some ways. Back when I used to crochet during and after my college years, I had one good friend who also crocheted and a couple of others who dabbled in it as well – and it was great fun to be able to ‘talk shop’ and compare and share patterns, yarns, etc.
But I don’t have any friends around here who knit.
Up until this year, I’d gone to a weekly knitting group at church and always loved seeing what they were working on and hearing stories, asking questions and such. This year the timing just hasn’t worked out and I’ve really missed the camaraderie. It’s hard to find a new group – not only finding one that meets at a convenient time, but I’m on the shy side and the idea of going to an already established group where the members know each other and have friendships and such already intimidates me greatly. I’d looked forward to trying a group at a local LYS this school year – now that my girls are all in school full-days, I would be able to make it to their Wednesday morning group. Which I did – exactly once, before necessity kicked in and I lost my free weekdays to a part-time job. Evening groups aren’t a great option since the kids always seem to have something going on in the evenings these days.
So that means that my best options are online. I’ve started to use Ravelry a lot more these days – I’ve always tracked my projects there but it’s got a huge social element to it as well, with groups that you can join and discussion forums to follow and participate in. As with any new group, it’s hard to break in to something already established, but I’m braver online than I am in real life, so I’m trying a little at a time.
Which brings me to the concept of the online knit-along (KAL). It seems like a good way to participate in something that has a bit of a social aspect and gives you a common topic to talk about since everybody’s working on the same project. I found my first KAL this year through the Dream in Color blog – they’re a yarn company and I’ve been buying their Dream Club yarns each month since last fall. They posted in December about a designer who was starting a KAL for a new shawl she’d designed, using Dream in Color Calm yarn. I hopped over to her Ravelry group and looked at the pattern – the Enfolded Shawlette. It’s gorgeous – and since it’s knit in a worsted weight, it looked like a great option for a first-time shawl knitter like me. Plus, I already had a skein of Dream in Color Calm that I’d bought from the November Dream Club. It was pink – not my first choice, but I thought it would make a pretty shawl.
As it did. It was a surprisingly quick knit and I finished it in a total of 9 days. I really enjoyed sharing my progress pictures in the group and seeing what others were doing as well. I already have another of Linda’s shawls in my queue and look forward to knitting it as well.
Shawls are fun to knit, I’m finding! I’ve already completed a second one (as part of another KAL), but I’ll share more about that next time. I don’t know if the online KALs and Ravelry groups are totally filling my need for having people to talk knitting with, but it’s a start.
Just as with any knitting project, it’s all about small steps building to a greater whole.
It’s the beginning of a new month, and I’m actually on track for my sock knitting goal for 2013 – so far anyway. My goal is to knit one pair of socks (minimum) each month this year, and I completed the first pair just a day late, on February 1st.
This pair of socks wasn’t very complicated but it marks a few firsts for me.
1) This is my first pair of socks knit with self-striping yarn.
2) My first try at an afterthought heel.
3) My first pair of socks knit without a specific pattern, instead using what I’ve learned about socks so far coupled with the Yarn Harlot’s basic sock recipe from her Knitting Rules book (which I recently read as well).
I used a couple of skeins of Patons Kroy Socks Ragg Shades that I’ve had for a while and knit them magic loop, 2-at-a-time on size US 1-1/2 needles and 80 stitches, starting with about 20 rows of 2×2 ribbing then just plain stockinette for the rest.
Since I’d never done an afterthought heel before, I simply added the waste yarn when I had the cuffs at a length that I liked and continued on for several inches. At that point, I picked up the heel stitches on one sock, pulled out the waste yarn and knit the heel so that I could try on the sock to figure out how far to knit the foot before starting the toe decreases. Then I finished the foot and toes for both socks at the same time and once they were of the needles, I went back and added the heel to the second sock. Now I know how long to make the foot in general, so I’ll just be able to measure next time and do both heels after the socks are otherwise completed.
They turned out really well and fit great! It was good to have a very simple and easy project to tote around with me or use when I didn’t want to concentrate on anything difficult or confusing.
It’s already February 3rd and I have yet to start this month’s socks – I want to knit a pair for my youngest daughter since she’s currently the only one of the girls without a pair of hand-knit socks that fit (she outgrew her only pair a while ago but I was working on socks for her sisters at that point). I need to get out to the store to find some yarn and then I’ll be ready to cast on a pair for her.
One nice thing about 7-year-old feet – they’re smaller, so the socks will be a faster knit.