Marsha Knits

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Name: Marsha Brofka-Berends
Location: US

Marsha knits . . . and reads and cooks and edits and gardens and hikes and thinks and eats and photographs and sings and writes and travels and plans and hopes and . . .

28 May 2007

Sock update

I did it! Earlier this month, I finished my first pair of socks! I used Simple Stripes from KnitPicks--a yarn that they've discontinued, which is unfortunate because I think it has a beautiful pattern. These were done in the toe-up pattern that my friend Pat taught me. (She is blogless but really ought to get blogging, because she knows a lot about knitting and is a a great photographer. She's knitting a pair of socks each month this year--among other projects--and you can see her progress here.) Aside from a little wonkiness on one heel flap (I somehow picked up ten extra stitches on the first sock, but everything came out perfectly on the second), I think these turned out nicely. Well, except for one thing. Look closely. See the complete and utter lack of ribbing on the top of the sock? Yup. Once I got past the heel, I was so relieved that I just kept knitting merrily along. I should, in my defense, point out that most of this ribless knitting took place among fellow knitters who didn't say a word to me about it. Not that I'm trying to blame them. I just think it's funny that about ten of us failed to notice or realize what I was doing until I had bound off both socks. The socks are a little "slouchier" than ideal. And, as it turns out, they are also a little big for my feet. So, as much as I'd like to keep them for myself (I love this colorway...and they are my first socks), I'll be giving them to someone else. In the meantime, I've started my second pair of socks. And you'll see that no only did I remember the ribbing, but I started it (on the instep only) right after the toe increases. Gotta make up for all that ribbing I left out of the last socks...

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06 April 2007

A week of knitting

Last night my local knitting ground met at a coffee shop for our first-Tuesday-of-the-month not-at-the-community-center get-together. (On the third Thursday of the month, we are at the community center.) I had finished the heel flaps on both of my toe-up socks, so I was all ready for Pat to help me through the next step: picked up stitches on the sides of the heel flap and making the ninety-degree turn that makes sock knitting so freaky and mysterious. It went quite well...or so I thought. When I came home, I finished up one sock and discovered that I'd picked up about ten more stitches than I should have. Oops. I sent Pat a "oh crap, what do I do now?" e-mail about it this morning, and fortunately she was able to tell me how to fix it by decreasing before I start knitting the round top part. I'll have to be extra-careful when I do the heel on my second sock, now that I know that my subconscious wants to pick up way more stitches than are good for me. These socks aren't going to be a perfectly matched pair...but hey, they are my first real socks, and besides, all of these "idiosyncracies" are what make handknits so charming, right? Right? Yesterday I also finished up the front of the pullover vest I'm knitting for a baby that's due in mid-June. The top part looks kind of weird to me...like a halter top gone bad or something. I'm supposed to block it before seaming, and I'm wondering if blocking will smooth out the profile a bit. But I'm also wondering if I should rip it down to the base of the v and try again, this time modifying the pattern a bit to get wider "straps" up the sides. (I followed the pattern exactly as written this time.) What do you think? Any suggestions?

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24 March 2007

SP10 just launched...

...and look what's already happened! A few days ago, my SP10 sent me an e-mail warning me to watch my mail. When yesterday's mail arrived, I could see why: she sent me a package! Yes, that's right--sock yarn! Her accompanying note reads "I love making socks, so I thought I'd encourage your new foray into knitting them as well!" Along with two skeins of Cascade yarns Sassy Stripes superwash (in an oh-so-fun blue-green colorway) she included a great toe-up sock pattern. (Question to my Secret Pal: did you send this pattern because I'm learning toe-up socks now or because it's one you like a lot? Just wondering...) Thank you, SP10!

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21 January 2007

Sock-a-rama

Last Thursday my local knitting group had its monthly non-coffee-shop meeting, and one member taught the rest of us how to knit toe-up socks. I have been looking forward to learning this technique for quite some time. I knit my first one-and-a-half socks last winter using the top-down technique in The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville. Melville's instructions (and accompanying photographs) are usually quite clear and easy to understand, but for some reason the sock section didn't quite "click" with me. For me, at least, it seems that this was something I needed to learn in person, so I could ask questions and work out my trouble spots before they become bad habits. So here's what I've done so far! I'm using some Simple Stripes yarn from KnitPicks that I bought on clearance last year. I'm really loving the colorway here: brown, mauve, tan...it's right up my alley. As you can see, I'm knitting both socks at the same time. Pat, the person who taught this technique and a walking encyclopedia of knitting knowledge, very strongly suggested that everyone do this--partly to ensure that you don't run out of yarn, partly so you don't forget the little tweaks you do en route but never write down (what I learned in graduate school to call "headnotes"), and partly so you maintain momentum finish a whole pair of socks and don't end up with One Sock Syndrome (or, in my case, One-and-a-Half Socks Syndrome). As it turns out, another one of the group's walking enclopedias of knitting (we are blessed with several!), Elizabeth, gave out sock yarn to everyone during the meeting. She has one of those yarn stashes that's the stuff of legend and decided to take this opportunity to reduce it a bit (presumably to pave the way for future yarn purchases--heh!). I came home with this lovely ball of predominantly blue-gray-green Opal yarn, which I am looking forward to turning into a pair of socks...as soon as I finish this pair!

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