Friday, October 06, 2006

T is for TMI

Well maybe not too much info but since the "10 knitterly things" meme is making the rounds and Lolly has put out the call for us to share our sock knitting histories I thought I'd use this post to fill in some of the potholes in the FKD information highway!

10 Knitterly Things about Me

1- I’m a 2 project knitter – a sock and a larger project are my WIP’s ONLY, no exceptions. More and I get very anxious and it’s just not worth it.

2- I have been a knitting instructor on a few different occasions so I can throw and knit left handed but my method of choice is continental, right hand dominant knitting.

3- I never purchase yarn “just because”… all the yarn in my stash is earmarked for specific projects although I reserve the right to change my project queue if I so choose by subbing said yarn for a new project.

4- I knit every single day even if it’s just a row or two. I feel like something’s “not right” if I don’t.

5- I have no desire to own a LYS unless I were wealthy enough to hire someone to run it for me and I could just be there, hang out and knit. I think turning my hobby into a job would completely kill it for me.

6- I think have a genetic defect in I that I absolutely DO NOT get the whole spinning thing. The process leaves me cold and quite frankly very little of the handspun yarn I see has any personal appeal for me at all! It’s just too rustic for my taste.

7- The only pattern I ever knit without making one single change was my Pomatomus sock. Mostly I see patterns as my palette to customize as it pleases me but Pomatomus was perfect right out of the gate! (well done Cookie!)

8- I almost never knit for babies. I just think my knitting time is better spent on a garment that can be worn indefinitely and I’ll gladly purchase a store bought baby gift instead.

9- Sometimes I intentionally close my eyes and knit…I have a (irrational) fear of losing my sight and sometimes I’ll knit “blindly” just to make sure I can if I ever had to!

10- When I first came back to knitting after a 15 year hiatus, I was so eager for knitting companionship I purchased only “see thru” knitting bags in the hope someone one would notice and say “is that your knitting, I knit too!” It worked a few times too :)

Now, in honor of Socktoberfest, here's the FKD sock saga :)

I learned to crochet and knit when I was eight but honestly I did more crocheting than knitting. I did the occasional sweater but mostly I was the lime green crochet poncho queen! After all it was the 70's!

When I was about 12 I found a booklet on sock knitting at a yard sale and I thought "wow, I didn't know you could knit socks too!".

The next week my Mom took me to Woolworth's to get the supplies that the sock booklet described. This included a few sizes of Marcia Lynn double pointed needles ...these came in sets of four, were shiny pastel aluminium and the "bargain" line put out by Susan Bates. (I still have them, 30 years later!) Unfortunately there was a very poor selection of fingering weight yarn so I came home with six skeins (2 each) of white, hunter orange and electric pink ACRYLIC yarn.

I came home and followed all the steps in the booklet and taught myself how to use DPN's...I was quite the fearless knitter in my youth! I whipped up three pairs of socks for my Mom that she actually loved and wore forever! She made them her bedsocks and believe me they came in handy for cold New York winter nights!

Surprisingly tho, after I knit those three pair, altho I kept knitting, I didn't knit socks again until 2002. I was about to purchase my first home and the process was stressing me out big time! I hadn't picked up a knitting needle in 15 years because once I moved to Florida there were NO LYS and I wasn't into the Big Box store offerings because if you think it's bad now, you can imagine what was available before knitting became "hip"....yikes!!

Of course in my 15 year knitting absence, the Internet had been born! I was sitting in my living room thinking I HAD to find something to keep my mind occupied while I was coping with home loans, inspections, ect. So I typed "hobby" into my browser and one of the hobbies that popped up was "knitting"!! I got this really warm feeling remembering how much I had loved to knit 15 years earlier and I thought it would be the perfect diversionary activity!! So I typed in "knitting" and my laptop practically exploded!! So many knitting sites, so many choices!!!

I clicked on site after site and I noticed a common thread, they were all promoting SOCK KNITTING!! This was around the time the first self striping sock yarns were being released so sock knitting had come into vogue! And so many gorgeous yarns...a far cry from my electric pink acrylic! Oh I thought, I could get into this in a big way {big foreshadowing moment!} So I placed an order for some lovely autumn colored DK weight wool, dug out my old trusty Marcia Lynn DPNs and the rest is history. My first socks in 30 years are still in play, keeping a friends toes warm in th UK.

Now, 4 years, many needles of all types and many many skeins of gorgeous sock yarn later, here I am celebrating another Socktoberfest and the companionship of sock knitters from every corner of the world and every walk of life :)

Now more of Lolly's Socktoberfest survey ....

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

There are so many stunning sock yarns available that I love. The short list would include Lorna's Laces, both Shepherd Sock and Sport because the colors are rich and glorious and the yarn is soooo soft as well as Trekking, Fleece Artist and Cherry Tree Hill! In fact it would be easier to document the ONLY (to date) sock yarn I hate and will NEVER use again.....Brown Sheep WILDFOOTE! It's splitty, twisty and just nasty in general and life's too short to knit with miserable yarn! Now the Wildfoote handpaint isn't so bad and I would use it altho I wish whatever is done to the handpaint to make it worth knitting with would carry over to the "luxury {ha!!} sock yarn" line! And "inexpensive" doesnt mean crap yarn to me because Paton's Kroy is super cheap and one of my favorites as is Plymouth Sockotta! And let me just say right here, to me, there is no such thing as bad pooling!! I love love love handpainted sock yarns and love it when the colors flash and pool! Isn't it great that there's something for every knitter!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I've never crocheted socks, in fact I thought they would look horrible and feel all bumpy BUT to my surprise, done well, they are quite beautiful! My knitting group coordinator, Kim, is an expert crocheter and she crochets socks that will knock your...well, socks off! I might even try it myself someday under Kim's expert guidance!

I tried 2 circs briefly and LOATHED it! I use magic loop when it suits the yarn I'm using (the 2.5 mm vs a true US #1 that is 2.25mm) but honestly I hate the dragging of the cables around and feel like I spend more time dragging than knitting so gimme my DPN's every time! I love the flow of using them and they just feel so good in my hands. I personally own the following brands of DPN is sock knitting sizes .....Brittany Birch, Pony Pearl, Bryspun, Comfort Needles (hate these, too bendy) Skacel bamboo, Plymouth bamboo, Skacel metal, Regia metal, Clover bamboo and my two favorites...Cryrstal Palace bamboo and Aero teflon coated metal!

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I was a diehard heel flap girl cause I hated the fit of short rows....too short in the heel cup and kept slipping into the shoes even tho I love the look and the less bulky heel. Flap heels are usually 2 -3 inches "tall" where short rows are usually less than 2! So I thought, "how do I make a short row heel tall enough to cup my heel like a flap heel?" and the mini-flap with gusset heel was born! It's the best of both types of heels and provides a perfect fit every time! There is a tutorial on this on my side bar and the Lizzie's Lacy Ribs pattern utilizes this method as well for those that are interested. Now the mini flap and gusset combined with the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts yarn over short row heel is now my default heel for all socks!

How many pairs have you made?

In the last 4 years I've knit about 100 pairs for friends, family and charity, I've also knit 2 pair for myself. Wanna see my favorite?

I knit these for Mom a few years ago and she loves em! Yes La, they are entreLACK but they were so fun to do and I think this is the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern (Lorna's Laces shepherd sock in daffodil and A Step Above Socks from Knitter's magazine)

So thanks for listening to the Fluffy Knitter Tales! The P-Man says have a good weekend, see ya next week!


Terri said...

Great meme. I always suspicioned you were born a fearless knitter.

Anonymous said...

How strange I do number 9 as well :-) My family find it odd that I am happy to knit in the dark when they watch a film, they would think me even more odd if they knew why...

Lolly said...

Oh, I enjoyed reading every bit of it! You shared such great details - thanks so much, Deb! Great little bits in the 10 Things meme too - I have similar feelings about knitting for babies... there are some very nice store-bought gifts.

Take care, and have a fabulous weekend ;)

Pensguys said...

I SO identify with #1 and #3...I thought I was the only one who felt this way! LOL

Monika said...

That's funny, I've seen those entrelac socks for the second time in just a short time. I've ordered a back issue of the magazine just to get to this pattern. Hope it arrives soon. I agree, it's the perfect yarn for this pattern!

Alison said...

I liked reading your 10 things. I do spin and I understand the "rustic" look of yarn. Which is okay if that is what you're going for. But you should see some of my spinning:) I spin laceweight, very fine and very "unrustic" looking. My silk looks like silk thread (which will probably make you ask why even bother?).

But remember, some think that about knitting; not everyone understands. Some think handknit sweaters look rustic. Some don't even realize that some stuff is actually handknit because it looks so professional.

It comes down to what you enjoy doing. I enjoy spinning as part of knitting. The repetitive action is relaxing to me just like knitting. I enjoy making my own thread. Not everyone does (just like not everyone enjoys lace or socks) and there's nothing wrong with that. That's a great thing about knitters; we are a very diverse lot:)

Nana Sadie said...

Oh, 5 & 6 for into "work?" Nope! Ok...I did it with Nana Sadie Rose, but that's just part-time! And the spinning thing is really beyond me.
I completely loved reading all about FKD! But tell me, did you really tucker poor P-Man out that badly???

Jes said...

a 100 pairs of socks? I knew you knit a lot, but WOW! That's awesome.

If not being interested in spinning is a genentic defect that I have it too, and I know several other people with it. You're not alone ;)

Pumpkin looks sooo cute. Other peoples cats are so adorable. Our cat makes me insane. Want an extra cat??

Carol said...

That was nice read Debi! 100 Pairs? Man...I used to carry a clear plastic bag in the 70s too. Weren't they the "in" thing then? Mine had big "peacy" looking flowers all over it. {P-Man}

Angie said...

Great Post Debi
I enjoyed reading your story. I am knitting a pair of socks currently with Opal Rodeo and I think they are going to kill me, they feel so scratchy and the yarn is so THIN, I am knitting a pair of Worsted weight socks when I finally finish these and I am going to deeply contemplate ever using Opal again. Perhaps they will bloom when they are washed, but I don't know if it will outweigh the torture of knitting them in the first place... Have avoided Wildfoot for some reason, didn't like the colors, now I know I've made a good choice.

Carole Knits said...

100 pairs?!?!? Holy Crap.

Suzanne said...

Well, my favorite socks that you knitted belong to ME! They are lovely--and I learned a lot about fit and construction from wearing them. Thanks for being such a SockKnitting Guru and sharing the knowledge and the love!

(my eye is better. and PT is going well--my neck and back pain is more intermittent now!)

Dorothy said...

Deb - I loved learning all those things about you! I say "Amen" to #4 - if I don't do at least a few rows of knitting a day, I feel a little lost, like I really haven't accomplished anything. And I LOVE the hot pink acrylic!! I think we all have stories of the incredible yarn we used in our early days that was part of our learning process and still holds a fond place in our heart. Mine was the kelly green acrylic for my first sweater (which was never finished), but started me off knitting continental.

margene said...

It's always great to read TMI about someone. You're a sock knitter extroidinaire!

Anonymous said...

So nice to read so much more about you!

Anonymous said...


I loved reading about your early knitting experiences and your intro to sock knitting. These sorts of reads are what keep me coming back to blogs.


Beatriz said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your knitting experiences. This is the beauty of knit blog surfing. Love, love, love the Woolworth story. I feel lucky to have Marcia Lynn dpns US 2s...they are old, old and still in great condition. Can't agree with you more on the Wildfoote sock yarn...never again. All I could do from crying was just accept it and finish the pair. You are amazing: 100 pairs of socks.

Confessions of a Knitting Diva said...

WOW!! 100 pairs of socks is fabulous!! You are amazing. I like to buy yarn for specific projects too. P-Man is so cute, I just want to squish him!!

Anonymous said...

I totally love your #9. I thought I was the only person who did things like that.

gail said...

Lots of great knitting and personal information. I also favor heel flaps, and I am eager to see your adaptation of the technique! YOu were an intrepid young knitter! Wow!! I never knew people could knit socks when I was 12 or 15. I thought sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats and slippers were the total knitting universe!

Mary in VA said...

Yeah, someone else that prefers the double points! I've always thought those other ways just too fiddly, but when I say it people tend to look at me as if I just sprouted 9 extra eyes. I've always said its because I've knit socks so long I got good with them before knitting socks became popular and people who didn't like dp's had to find a way to join in!

Beth said...

I think it's safe to say I'll never knit an entrelac sock. I'm just not precise enough to make entrelac look nice. Felted entralac on the other hand, okey-dokey. ;)