Happy Valentine's Day! It snowed this morning, for the first time all winter, when it really is heading into spring. I wanted to share the results of my New Year's resolution, and that you really can build a new habit or skill by just spending 20 minutes a day, hee, hee. I managed to get the hang of my antique circular sock knitting machine, crank out seven pair of socks, and learn to kitchener the toes closed, all in January!
Here they all are... the long, stripey pair (Knit Picks Simply Stripes) is the first one I finished, and is way too long to fit anyone I know, so I will be unsewing the one toe and ripping both back, putting back on the machine and making new toes. I successfully mastered ripping and reinstalling with the dark blue (Mega Wool) pair, which I had to shorten to fit DH. It wasn't that easy to get the socks back on the machine, but not that hard either... remember, just 20 minutes a day. Then, I made the short, lighter striped pair for myself (Regia Sockotta). I don't like the yarn, too much cotton to avoid a rather crisp hand that was not stretchy enough on the machine, or to keep from having mock ribbed top that seems too wide. I might wear them this summer.... I made a long, skinny scarf from a very light fingering yarn, then decided to try all the Canadian coned wool I had set aside for the magical day when I could successfully make socks. There are two pair of light blue (toes all nicely closed) and two pair of red (still need kitchenering). The heavier yarn makes a larger sock, maybe better for men, though I have tried on the womens' sized ones and like them. They are thick and warm, and the women's light blue are for Wooly Daisy, as her pay-it-forward gift that is long overdue. She has been a staunch supporter and encourager about the CSM, so I can't think of a better person to receive them. DH gets the other light blue pair. The two red ones are currently unclaimed, hence the low motivation to sew up the toes. The CSM makes socks with short row heels, which are very clean-looking, once you do them correctly. Then, after the foot, you make another short row heel, only this time, it folds over and is sewn closed, looking like those commercial socks you used to wear. Once my kitchener technique improved, I was impressed by how neat the toes were, and how you didn't need to feel that seam!You can see it on the light blue socks, if you look closely.
I couldn't have made such progress without spending 20 minutes a day, but also without terrific directions on the Internet... which is how I finally got the whole kitchener stitch thing. Now, it has become an easy process:) I was so delighted with my progress, that I have already cranked out 2 1/2 pair of socks in February, sending this one (Regia World Ball - very nice yarn) off as a birthday gift.
You can really see the mock rib top on this pair... I do think that the fingering weight yarn works well with that method, but also have to get brave enough to try using my ribber.... 20 minutes a day, right?!
I have been pretty enamored of this process, but have been participating in the Sky Scarf Project since my birthday back in October.... at least, I routinely record my observations daily, then spend an evening about once a week catching up on the knitting.
Several other bloggers I know (Margene, in particular) are doing this project. My version is in Plymouth Dye 4 Me yarn, which is so scrummy-soft. I dyed two shades of blue with indigo, and a dark grey with elderberry mordanted with iron, and then used some lovely angora handspun that Amy sent me a few years back for the lighter grey. I decided to stick with simple garter stitch, helping with a tweedy effect, and have noticed that this year's drought winter has resulted in a lot more blocks of blue than usual... it will be interesting to see what the end result is!
I have also been slowly fitting in a sweater for myself, which I started back before Thanksgiving. It seemed to get set aside many times, for various other projects, with the sleeves made over Thanksgiving holiday, the body over New Years weekend, and, finally, off the needles last week. I still need to pick up and knit a button band on each side of the front.
This sweater, the Rebecca Cardigan, was designed by Heidi Iverson for the Fibershed Year Project, and then Rebecca Burgess used Sally Fox's organic cotton (two color-grown shades and some dyed with Japanese indigo - three strands held together) to put together a kit, one of the early offerings of the Fibershed Marketplace. I can tell already that this will probably be my favorite sweater of the year to wear, much the same way Shalom was last fall! I have some lovely abalone shell buttons waiting for me to get it together and finish up.
I am pretty excited to tell you all that I am heading into my second season as a natural dye plant farmer. I just listed the 2012 Natures Cauldron CSA Subscription season there this past weekend and am already getting orders! You can find out more about my dye work here.