So, according to various Knitting Luminaries out there, there are two main paths on the Knitting Road, and they are Process and Project. Let me give you some definitions, in case you're not a knitting addict and you've never heard these terms. Knitters, go get yourselves a cup of tea; this won't take long. Better be a fast kettle, actually.Process Knitters
enjoy the journey more than the destination. That is, they love the stitch, the technique, the way a colour looks next to another colour. They're more concerned with learning a new technique than finishing something in time for Auntie Schmoop's birthday. They often have tons of projects on the go, often for the purpose of teaching themselves a new technique or exploring some stitch dictionary they found in the library.Product Knitters
want to finish. While they love knitting as much as their fellow travellers, it's the end product they crave. They'll put other projects aside to finish a special cardigan in time for autumn. They often have only a few projects going at one time, and there are priorities. While they may enjoy knitting that sock on the train, Auntie Schmoop's got to have her lap throw in time, and so that silk/wool blend stays in the handbag when they've got the room to knit the project that's higher up on the priority list.
I am a process knitter. I've cast on a pair of socks just to figure out how a unique rolled cuff was created. I've designed a completely tubular vest for a teddy bear just so I can be assured I know how to cut both armhole and neck steeks. So when I learned how to attach beads to lace using the crochet hook method at Knit Nation, I decided I should make something relatively simple employing beads just to get the knowledge cemented in my head. I did a Ravelry search for socks with beads and found what I was looking for on the Yahoo Groups page for a group I've been a lurker on for years. Below, you'll see photos of the recently-finished (and given away!) Fagoting Rib Socks. "Fagoting" is an embroidery term, also applied to lace knitting. It's a decorative lace achieved by pulling threads away from one another to give a lattice effect.
|Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Front|
Here are the completed Fagoting Rib Socks. Yes, that's fagoting running down the centre front. :)
|Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Sides|
I really do love the subtle bead detail. I first started these in a limited edition Cherry Tree Hill colour that I fell in love with, but the CTH, even though it's classed as a 4-ply/fingering/sock weight wool, was just slightly too big for the beads. So I dug around in my stash and found 100g of Opal Solid I'd had lying around since an order from Get Knitted ages ago, and the Opal is considerably smoother and less fluffy than the CTH. Now the CTH is becoming something else, which I'll post about eventually, I'm sure.
|Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Back|
And the fagoting up the backs is nice, too. Note the modified Eye of Partridge stitch on the heel flap. Lots of you know that I flit around among several different projects at the same time, because sometimes I just don't want to knit the same old thing again. That's one reason why I almost never do the second sock right after the first: I just have several socks on the go at once, and when I finish one I work on another. Eventually I come around to the mate of an already finished sock, and then I can rejoice because I have a new pair of socks. I don't think it's a bad system. But these socks didn't bore me, not one bit, not even though they're knit from the cuff down, which I usually hate. The ruffled cuff was interesting to make, beading is a new skill for me so I cherished it, even though there aren't many beads on this sock, and the fagoting rib was fast, easy, and wonderful to watch. The modified heel stitch made even the heel flap fun, and the narrowing of the lace pattern on the sock's instep was fun to do as the foot of the sock acquired its shape. We've all got projects we'd like to throw across the room—I couldn't put this one down. It was like a great book. Designer Claudia Tietze did a great job with this.
|Fagoting Rib Socks, Finished, Where They Belong|
On V's feet! I'm so glad she was pleased with her birthday present. :) My lovely friend V is younger than me by only a few months, and her birthday was last Friday. These socks were finished in time for me to give them to her the first time I saw her after her birthday, and that was lovely. As many of you know, I am a selfish knitter and I don't give a lot of knitted items away, except once a year to my favourite filk charity, so you might have some idea of what an important friend V is and how much I love her.
|Process Knitter? You Bet! Spiral Cable Socks!|
Sometimes you look at something, and you can't help thinking, "How did she *do* that?" That's what I thought when I saw these socks. And you know what happened next! I cast these on last night and knitted up the toes before class at I Knit London. I was planning to figure out the technique in the dying embers of the knitting group after my students had left, but instead I found myself in no fit state until I got home last night, whereupon it was much simpler. By this morning when I headed to the Royal Festival Hall to have a much-looked-forward-to meeting with my beloved Uppity Ladies, I felt confident. Of course, the marking thread I'd decided to use turned out to be much too dark in the RFH's poor lighting, so I borrowed, first from J and then from Aunty M, brighter marking wool —that's Aunty M's turquoise DK teasing from behind the sock-in-progress here.
So how is it done? Come talk to me in person sometime, and I'll show you. Or run-don't-walk out and get yourself a copy of THINK OUTSIDE THE SOX.
|Spiral Cable Socks, from Think Outside the Sox|
Here's the photograph of the completed socks from the book. A little more about the book? It's the result of a Knitter's magazine contest, and I've been reading teasers for it for months. I was so interested in this book I actually signed up on the Knitter's web site to find out more about it. They didn't get back to me, but one night a few weeks ago at I Knit London, the delightful but rarely seen these days B comes up to me and says, "Have you seen this book? I really like it, and I think I'm going to buy it, but not tonight, because I don't have the money." I snatched it out of her hands (I recognised the cover) and said, "That's good, because I'm going to buy it!" Whereupon money was exchanged, and we figured out that only one copy of the book had been ordered into IKL. Muahaha! Victory was mine! And the book doesn't disappoint: there's a huge variety of fascinating sock patterns, from the sublime to the ridiculous, in this book. Sometimes a book comes along that really changes the way you think about something, and this one does that. It's not as earth-shattering as Cat Bordhi's New Pathays for Sock Knitters, but it's amazing for its sheer diversity. If you love knitting socks and you can find a copy, run out and get it. I think it was £18.
|Dover Castle Shawl, Getting Dressed|
This is a project I haven't blogged about, because again it's a gift for a friend. It's actually been finished for weeks now, but I only got around to blocking it tonight. Blocking takes up space, and there's not always very much space in my house; at the moment, the blocking boards are taking up about 1/3 of our huge kitchen table. Assuming no rain tomorrow (and that's a big assumption!) I'll hang it out on the line in the morning for faster drying.
No, the iPad isn't included for scale. It just happened to be sitting there while I was pinning down the shawl.
|Dover Castle Shawl, Lace Detail|
This is Handmaiden Casbah Sock, in the prettiest blue-purple I've ever seen. I could only afford one ball of it, and I started out making something else out of it. But this came out much nicer. The lace pattern is very simple, but particularly in the soft wool/cashmere blend, it feels and looks amazing. And you can't beat Handmaiden's rich colours. I can never get knitting photos perfect: the colour here is actually a lot darker and richer than what you see in the photograph.