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Old and New

I said I would finish things, didn’t I? Here we go: a pair of cashmere footlets. This is part of my 2008-Let’s-Make-More-Socks campaign (I’m looking for a catchier title). Also, I know I used this pic before, but taking pictures of my feet is a bit too difficult for tonight. Maybe later, darling.

And let me tell you, bub, these were extreme knitting to the end! The first sock ended without incident, but the second one was so short of yarn that I had to find my Little Blue Box, in which I kept scraps from the Kitchener bind off (from when I made the Desert Monkeys). I used some sneaky yarn attachment techniques and didn’t cock up the colour pattern, and only just had enough to finish. See how much I’ve got left? See that?

That’s hardc0re knitting: I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end, I thought I was going to crash and burn and have to frog both socks to reduce the length and make them match — but dudes, I totally did it.

Yarn: The last of my Jojoland Quartette, in desert colours with a hint of sky blue. I’m sure the colourway has a less lengthy title, but that’s good enough for me.
Pattern: A simple toe-up sock, on DPNs; I used Judy’s Magic Cast On, which is just so fantastic I can hardly stand it. Worked the length of my foot, worked a short row heel, then some simple stockinette, ribbing and a Kitchener bind off. It’s really worth doing the Kitchener bind off on toe-up socks; I haven’t seen its equal for springiness and smooth prettiness.
Verdict: Delicious. I’m wearing them now, and they’re infinitely better than any other sock in the world.

One thing off the needles means one thing on:

While tooling around trying to find a pattern that would do justice to my newly-dyed, now-ruby-and-amethyst Angora Supreme, I remembered that I had a few balls of white Angora Supreme in the stash. The idea of a contrasting pattern entered my tiny brain, and, a quick Ravelry search later, I decided that Exchequered was for me. I loved this scarf when it first came out, but put it in the ‘too hard’ basket — so strange to think I used to have one of those.

It’s double knitting, which is so clever and cool that it makes me feel like a genius while I’m doing it (the feeling fades as soon as I put my coffee cup down on the edge of the coaster and it falls over and spills everywhere, but never mind). Put simply, you’re working two layers of fabric, back to back — a tube, essentially — on straight needles, by working the stitches with alternate balls of wool. This is a really good pattern to learn on, for two reasons: one, you’re working with contrasting colours anyway, which makes it really easy to keep track of which stitch belongs to which side; and two, because it’s a scarf, it’s not the end of the world if your two layers of fabric end up stuck together. (Apparently, it is possible to work two socks at the same time using this technique, but if you make a mistake, or twist the two balls of yarn, they’re stuck together and you have to rip out both of them.)

Good old Ravelry: I love that pattern search facility, and I nearly always find something that delights me, excites me, or generally has me in a knitter’s foam. I did a little bit of extra research after I decided to cast on Exchequered, because I wanted to learn a bit more about double knitting, make sure there’s no pitfalls I hadn’t thought of. There’s a Ravelry group on double knitting (natch), which was of tremendous interest and use.

And good old Knitty, too. I love Knitty. It really got me hooked on knitting, back in the day, by offering fantastic patterns — not just the ones I wanted to make, but patterns that inspired me and got me thinking — and all for free. I still get excited when I know Knitty is due to come out, checking every couple of hours. I have resisted signing up for their mailing list for ages, because I prefer to stalk it in the wild, but they had such a fantastic competition earlier this year (oh my GOD the prizes were unbelievable) that I caved in. Sometimes an issue contains more patterns that aren’t to my taste than patterns that are, and that’s always a shame — but lately, I’ve found that I rediscover those patterns on Ravelry and think “wait a second, that would be perfect for so-and-so” or something like that. It rocks.

It never ceases to amaze me that people, when given an vast resource like the Internet, will create such fantastic things to share with people, out of passion and intellectual drive.

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