Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Inglenook by Project Pictures
Inglenook, a photo by Project Pictures on Flickr.
I love socks. After my first few inevitable scarf and hat projects, socks were the next thing on my "must learn to knit" list. And a 2009 sock club was an extra-special treat from my husband.

After working my way through that club, I moved on to Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I love this book. After walking through the very basic steps of sock construction through others' patterns, this book lets you leap off into the deep end of your own ideas.

And in comes Inglenook. Cat teaches us that our gusset increases can go just about anywhere they want to go, and I know that lace is made up of paired increases and decreases. So what happens if you leave out the decreases?

What you get is a pattern that grows on its own in a very natural manner. And you get a sock that grows without an obvious gusset.

Inglenook grew from one of my favorite lace patterns. Each motif reminds me of the licking tongue of a flame. These flamelets grow down your leg from a spiky picot edge and then turn under the heel in a cushy slip-stitch reinforced sole. The socks are wonderfully comfortable in open-back clogs.

Toes were something else that came to mind when knitting from other patterns. Knitting is wonderful in that it stretches and conforms. If you give it a shape reasonably close to what you want it to be, it will accommodate small differences. But you can also shape it to be exactly as you want.

Traditional toes decrease equally on the left and right side. But if you look at your foot, the big toe extends straight out from the body of the foot. I really like this sock's shaped toe to fit the line of the foot more naturally, and it's not that much of a stretch from a normal wedge-shaped toe.

And then, we have yarn...

Twist Collective Inglenook socks
Image copyright Jamie Dixon and
Twist Collective, used with permission.
While I tried these out first with yarn I had in my own stash, I had the opportunity to knit with some really lovely yarn, KnitGlobal Pollika sock yarn. This 4-ply yarn is fantastic for socks. It is a wool/nylon blend with a really firm twist. The four plies make the stitches just pop (and I'd imagine it would knit into some really amazing cables and twisted-stitch patterns) and it has a lovely, deep color. It knits up into a smooth fabric that I couldn't wait to put on my own feet (and did quite a few times before giving these babies their final careful wash and block to send them off). It's a real treat to have been able to knit with it.

All in all, Inglenook takes a whole bunch of individual design elements I really like and combines them into a cohesive whole. And in them my toes are just as toasty and warm as they would be if tucked up close to the flames dancing in my fireplace.

The pattern for Inglenook is available from the Twist Collective in the Winter 2011 issue.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Crafting Goals

I ran my crafting life around a "four ounce rule" last year. Each month I tried to spin four ounces of fiber, knit four ounces of handspun, and in some other way work four ounces of commercial yarn. The idea was to work down the stash... which would have been quite effective if I hadn't bought more stuff. On the other hand, I did manage to meet or exceed the overall goal and spun over three pounds of yarn, knit at least that much and wove quite a bit, too. It was a very productive year. And a lot of it left my home as shop samples or family gifts, so that's less for me to store.

This year is going to be similar, but with the added caveat of no new stuff. I have half a mind for some small exemption for weaving materials as my weaving stash is a whopping two and one-half cones of 8/2 cotton (and two kits received for Christmas). At the very least I want to limit purchases to a planned-project basis. No more collecting "just because it's pretty". I have plenty of that. I need to go USE what I already bought "just because it was pretty".

Here is my list of goals for 2012:
  1. Knit four sweaters (one every three months). I have yarn. I have patterns or at least plans for the pattern. I just need to Do. It. These will be: Finish my [Wheatgrass Truffle](/patterns/library/wheatgrass-truffle). [Primrose Path](/patterns/library/primrose-path-2). Something from Knit Swirl to use up Noro Transitions that Mom gave me. Some Other Sweater, possibly the [Honeybee Cardigan](/patterns/library/honeybee-cardigan) since I have Sundara yarn for that. If not the Honeybee, then maybe a personal design with the handspun I originally created for the WiseSweater.
  2. If sweater knitting is finished before the 3 month deadline, then 4-oz projects will be selected to fill in the open months. These can be knitting or weaving. Must be done *from stash materials*.
  3. Spin some stuff. Let's say 4 oz/month again. That was pretty reasonable. Again, spin the stash and not new fiber.
  4. Finish spinning, weave and sew a jacket. Some of this will be the 4oz/month. I already have at least half the yarn spun that I believe I will use for the warp. I need to figure out weft. And I have a seamstress on hand that says she'll help since my sewing skills are not as well developed as my spinning or even weaving. A purchase for appropriate weft materials is permissible. This is a big project and I want it to be Just Right.
  5. Keep up with classwork. I'm going to be taking one class per term. This is going to cut into crafting time. So it's important to make a goal of keeping up with it and not putting it on the back burner for more fun stuff.