Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Over the Cliff We Go! Wheeeeeee!

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Dear Kay,
And a very happy Mother’s Day to you and to everybody who has a mother, is a mother, or knows a mother.
Hey look! Here, in all its imperfect glory, is my new sock puppet:
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I have discovered another use for it when it’s not talking to me:
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Things I Have Learned Along the Way While Knitting Sock the First:
1. Using two circular needles is a very fine way to make a sock. It’s like my friend who had twins and said it seemed perfectly normal to nurse two babies at the same time–who knew there was any other way? I didn’t lose or drop a needle; I didn’t stick myself in the hienie when sitting down. But knitting with those sheenyshiny Addis during a sunny afternoon requires sunglasses. Once again, the case for never, ever going outside.
2. Number of stitches dropped during manufacturing of this sock: Three. Time spent fishing three size 1 stitches back onto the needle: Fourteen thousand bazillion hours. This Trekking XXL yarn is great, but Jehovah help you if you drop a stitch and lack a tiny crochet hook for stitch retrieval. The plies are confounding once they tangle up and you end up putting a stitch and a half back on the needle, or a half a stitch, or jeeeez just don’t ever drop a stitch OK? Or get yourself a decent hook OK?
3. I seem not to be the only person who is knitting socks. Thanks for the welcome to the coven, all you wack sockists out there.
Something Else I’ve Lemminged Onto
Another item in the category Stuff I Am Destined To Try Whether I Mean To Or Not . . .
Don’t get me wrong, I love a happy, colorful blanket. But I’m here to stand up for the happy, gloomy blanket. As a longtime collector of tweedy yarns, I have been waiting and waiting for the project that would best give me the chance to use as many of my little gloomy pets as possible. As I watched you endlessly mitering away, I had the thought, over and over, that once I got home, I’d dive into my warehouse of grays and browns and murkies and explore the quiet (not to say utterly depressed and won’t-get-out-of-bed) side of the mitered square.
Here’s where we stand:
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Rowan Yorkshire Tweed, Rowanspun, Rowan Felted Tweed, Kathmandu DK, Rowan Harris Tweed (now Scottish Tweed). The rule is that it must be a DK yarn, it must have flecks not just heathering, and it can’t be too cheerful.
I’m knitting them according to the Gospel of Fours As Prescribed by Kay, and I stitched a couple of extras on the edges to see how the pattern is shaping up.
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A DK is not always a DK. You’ve got your skinny DKs and fat DKs, and it means you can end up with this situation:
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Failure to Align.
But I’m looking at this whole project as a giant swatch, and it may take a while to find the right matches of shades and values and weights and tweediness and . . . [trails off into stupor; decides to return to Sock Number Two]
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I’m guessing that each miter will have three stripes of varying widths. Kind of a boxy deal. But as this thing progresses, who knows where it’ll end up?
I may make a sock puppet out of it.
Love,
Ann

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Okay, Ann, I must have logged on just as you posted this (to review before the West Wing finale). I love the gloomy, tweedy mitred squares. I think if I ever made one big enough for my own bed instead of a baby blanket I might choose these colours.
    Happy mother’s day to both of you Mom’s.

  2. I love your blanket! Who needs cheery when gloomy tweed looks so good?

  3. I love your blanket! Who needs cheery when gloomy tweed looks so good?

  4. I love your sock and your blankie! Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. Whoa, whoa! Put on the brakes! Join our Trek Along, and finish (or work on) your 2nd sock while doing a hike. Coz, I mean, that sock is just beggin’ for it!

  6. proof of how amazing and amazingly different one idea is in the hands of 2 different creators. i don’t think the blankie is gloomy– i think it’s cozy. (might get sticky to knit it in storm season, though, am i right?) i recently picked up much, much yarn at the Guild after they did a spring cleaning and there’s a whole box dedicated to Ann– tweedy, murky, flecky stuff. all great.

  7. Great Sock!

  8. Congrats on your very first sock! Hurrah!

  9. That is one good looking almost-blanket.
    The sock is pretty too.

  10. Happy Mothers Day to you both.
    Love your sock – (Where I live, sock knitting is caused by a virus which turned my first sock attempt into a leg warmer. I’m frogging it to match the 2nd sock.)
    Love the blanket.

  11. May your second sock be a close approximation of the first! (I have issues.)

  12. Happy Mother’s Day you two.

  13. I think the blanket speaks about as clearly wabi-sabi as anything I’ve seen trying to explain that concept… very zen, very “having lived and showing the scars to see where live has lead us”… How big is each square? I’ve been wondering when I’ve looked at your blankets. How many stiches on what size needle?
    Keep going.. wanna, wanna, wanna see the finished blanket so soon…..
    Monika

  14. Ann,
    I LOVE your blanket! I’m currently working on a mitered square blankie using up my wool leftovers. About every 45 minutes I change my mind about whether I’ll felt it at the end of the proces or not.
    Really, there should be a MUCH LARGER WARNING about how addictive this technique is. I can’t stop!
    Beth

  15. Thinking about your stripes meeting — I might be inclined to make the stripes at — more or less the same place in the different yarns, but clearly not *exactly* the same place (a few rows fatter in one square than the other?). Then you have obviously *meant* that they shouldn’t meet, exactly, and that will help people not obsess when they are using a bunch of different yarns (which adds to the richness and depth of the whole blanket)??
    ps — orange looks nice with tweed……..

  16. Cool sock! Great blanket, and another inspiration. Think I might have to get going with one.
    Isn’t it great that “you ar (sic) the best mom” and I am too :)? I’m sure millions of other moms out there were told that today too. What a blessing.
    Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

  17. I don’t think the blanket is gloomy. It has that Brit look, misty seaward stuff. But the sock is just glorious. Hand knit socks are wonderful.
    Now some people get their knickers in a twist if the strips on their socks don’t match up perfectly. They might even frog a whole sock. Do not let such madness over take you. Trekking is like a wild child. The best you can hope for is fraternal twins. Unless you have the odd ball of Trekking that does match up. You might have to gut most of the ball to find the matching bits. The road to madness goes that way :D
    It is hard to believe this is a first sock. If the shine on the Addis is annoying you can try INOX, which actually comes in 2.25mm, something Addi has yet to produce. I have a sock on the needle that is only 2 inches from completion, it has been derailed by someones ball band warshcloth. Now I wonder who THAT could have been.
    My mother who was an ace fabric quilter, was a demon about matching corners and edges. She would have loved your knitted quilts

  18. The blanket is going to be stunning! The colors are perfect and I love the varying widths of the stripes.

  19. Happy Mother’s Day and YAY FOR THE SOCK! I’ve never tried the two circ’s, I’m afraid I’ll like it too much and I really really really like my bamboo dpn’s (twisted I know!). The tweeds are beautiful, I have an entire bucket full that I am planning on using the log cabin pattern with – it was the first thing I thought of when I read your book! I hope you enjoyed your day :)

  20. Your sock looks terrific! Are you already planning a second pair?
    That orangey-red stripe in your blanket looks suspiciously cheerful…..

  21. hi all :)
    love the colors of the dk wgt yarns your using in your afghan.
    it seems its HAND wash, how easy is it to hand wash a big item like this?
    peace&blessings

  22. My lord, Ann, I love love love love this blanket. The texture of it! The 3 stripes per square! Simple. Gorgeous. This is it. This is what I want to make for myself. The stripes, anyway. I’m more of a Hi, Let Me Clobber You With Color type.
    PS: I love the counterpoint of the thin stripes of bold colors.

  23. I never knew pink could be gloomy but you’ve proved here that it can. That is precisely the color that really makes this blanket, so far. With my hand on my computer monitor, I covered that part of the pictures up and it just doesn’t have nearly the same effect.
    Let me know if you’d like some more/different gloomies. I’ve got a skein or so of a greyish Rowanspun DK (Mouse, I believe?) and some of the same in a decidedly gloomy orange. You’re welcome to it if you’d like.

  24. Wowee! Socks are fun, and that one is sure lovely. That’ll be one cozy blankie! I agree with Vicki in Michigan that you might want to make the stripes not totally line up, on purpose, since they’re not going to, no matter how much you fret about it. I do love the tweedy flecky goodness of it!

  25. Assimilated to the mitres! Love it. x x

  26. A sock! how exciting! I may now get up the nerve to buy some Euroflax and make a handtowel. All the comments on how hard it is to work with make me a wee bit nervous…

  27. Yay…the sock lives! It looks fabulous…far too nice for a first sock. It’ll be fun to see how the second one looks (very unlikely to match but so much fun that way). The blanket is coming along nicely…the tweeds are very sophisticated (not gloomy)!

  28. Being a novice, and absolutely hating size one toothpicks, I still absolutely had to knit socks. Obviously, my choices were very limited. I did the obvious, and searched the net for a sock pattern using bulky or worsted yarn and size 6 dpn. I found 3, and have finished my first pair of socks, using 6 dpn and Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton. Now I am hooked, and am starting a 2nd pair. They went so quickly and look stunning with my Birks. This is the way to go!!!

  29. i dunno – that tangerine/shrimp line in amidst the heathery gray and blue smacks suspiciously of cheerfulness……
    the overall effect is smashing!

  30. I too love tweedy yarn, but the only thing keeping me from using it in a blanket is that it will have to be handwashed. Since the blankets in our house end up wadded on the floor after a night of t.v. viewing, then the dog figures out it would be a nice place for a nap, I’m back to using cotton for the blanket. But don’t let that stop you, just don’t let the kids anywhere near it. It’s a beautiful blanket and one terrific sock.

  31. rich and handsome blanket! (hey…isn’t that how we want our men?)

  32. So I’m rolling through the internet, just wandering along, and I scroll down and there is a sharp intake of breath at the sight of your blanket.
    Stunning.
    And will say, I dig the tweedy and I dig your claim that it is “gloomy,” though it is clear from your preview/beginnings that you actually have a rainbow of tweed colors. Everyone mentions the pink/orange, but I’m so into that YELLOW/GREEN. Wow. Bang. Tweedy is a brilliant way to deal with a dilemma I often face: solid colors can be flat, variegated is too splotchy/extreme. Bang. Tweeds.
    Also, after cruising through the MDKal blog this morning, I wonder to myself: How many new, beautiful knitted blankets will be in the world because of you and Kay?

  33. Ann the blanket looks fantastic – I find myself recognizing old friends in the pics, I have that burnt yellow, that blue/green, wow, look at the orange on the light blue! It’s hot here today, but I want to get out my tweeds!

  34. Gloomy? I don’t know how many rainy/stormy/cloudy days you get in Nashville, but who wants to curl up and knit or read or watch tv in a blindingly cheerful blanket on a day like that?!?!

  35. That blankie looks very Denyse Schmidt-y! I like.

  36. I haven’t yet entered the world of sock knitting, but you give me hope. I’ll definitely have to try the two circular needles method. And the blanket is gorgeous, aligned or not!

  37. It not gloomy! It’s purdy. so…anyother stops on the road trip besides the Indy One?

  38. what’s i’ve gleened from the above ann post:
    vampirism is your friend if you like to knit socks.
    hire a mouse that enjoys crochet.
    there are way too many sockists out there.
    get over the non-alignment thing now. you’ll never be able to tell once hubbo throws it in the washer and dryer “trying to help.”
    as for “happy” colors, if you want happy, hire a clown. they wouldn’t have named an entire era of the 30s if it’werent so cool.
    rock on.

  39. Ann, it’s gorgeous. I LOVE your take on the mitered square blanket, just like I LOVE the way Kay took off on her second version of the mighty square. You two will do for squares what Kaffe Fasset did for circles.

  40. I asked and received your book for Mother’s Day. What a great gift!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Great blanket–great socks–you may not be the only person knitting socks, but I’m probably the last person to have never made a pair… someday…

  42. I love those colors!

  43. Ann, you don’t actually own all that sock yarn in the sidebar, do you? You’ve knit one sock and you have seventy-leven balls of sock yarn already!? You need help!

  44. the blanket looks great! i am also knitting my first sock, coincidentally out of the same beautiful trekking XXL, and i have to agree with you re NEVER drop a stitch. i have already dropped more than 3 stitches and i’m not even 1″ into the thing (i am a young knitter)..
    i had a funny (“funny”) moment last night — i am knitting on DPNs — where i finished a needle, and then went to grab the empty DPN to knit the next needle, but instead of grabbing the empty needle, i managed to pull a needle that had 20 stitches on it — right out of all the stitches. oh! the horror! my heart almost stopped. then i swore.
    it’s ok now. i think. good luck with sock 2.

  45. I have the same question as Mary de B – did you buy all that lovely sock yarn before knitting your first sock? (and btw, it’s a good first sock, it could only be improved by there being a second sock right next to it). Sock yarn takes up next to no space compared to sweater yarn. I take mine out and organise it if I’m feeling low (“organise” sounds much more meaningful that “pet”) whereas big piles of sweater yarn just don’t give me the same lift.
    Wait until you get to having enough leftovers to start making scrappy socks – these look good with self patterning/stripey/hand dyed leftovers.
    http://hipknitism.com/classes/stashbuster_spirals/

  46. I broke down and bought your fabulous book owing to the power of those bright log cabin afghans, and now you’re pushing dull tweed on me? (joke) But I have been designing handknits since the late seventies and it was you fabulous ladies who gave me the nerve to go out and knit a really loud bedspread. Your book is great and a good read as well.

  47. One book is not enough! Write Volume 2 !!!

  48. Ann, I bought about a zillion copies of your book for everyone. Its just incredible. I’ve already knit a log cabin blankee for Richard, whose video is being aired on BET, but that’s another story. I’m looking for an idiot proof sock pattern…can you help? xoxosss

  49. Love the colours of the blanket. Warm, cosy, and very appealing indeed.
    Do tell, though, how you manage to get mitred squares to be square when working in stocking stitch?

  50. I heart tweedy yarn…! It looks great.. In fact I could use it right now in London during this Springtime rain / gloom / wind / cold… tres seasonal!

  51. OMGosh! Something to do with all those handspun skeins of black, brown, and grey! Who knew that there could be so many shades of grey? I have 40 shades of grey, brown, and black. Ok. Not 40. Maybe 15. Mitered squares? This mean I have to dig out that book again?