The knitting obsession continues unabated. I thought it might ease a bit when I finished my sweater, but no, I am still knitting at every free moment. For the last two weeks, my hands have held knitting needles much more often than they have held harp strings. And I realized earlier this week that I like knitting nearly as much as I like playing the harp.
I just finished my first socks knit with needles, instead of knit on the sock loom. I used the same Patons Kroy sock yarn that I used with the loomed socks, yet these are much thicker and bulkier for having been knit traditionally.
This sock pattern creates the heel by knitting a heel flap, which I think is too bulky, plus it disrupts the stripes. I like the short-row, traditional looking heel created on the sock loom much better. I found instructions for creating this short-row heel using knitting needles, which I’ll try on these babies:
In this photo the ribbed cuff is finished, and I’ve just started the leg.
I am trying something new to avoid the “second sock syndrome.” Instead of completing the first sock and then starting the second one, I am knitting them simultaneously, but on two separate circular needles. I will finish the ribbing and the start of the leg on sock #2 before continuing to work on the sock in the photo. Though I know the theory of how it’s done, I am not ready to tackle knitting two socks on one circular needle.
My newest and most challenging project is participating in the “mystery knit-along” being coordinated by my LYS (that’s knit-speak for local yarn shop,) The Fibre Studio. I am knitting a lace shawl with yarn from The Unique Sheep. This yarn company specializes in “gradient dyeing” that creates colors that subtly blend from one shade to another. They then work with designers to create shawl patterns that will showcase their beautiful yarns. My colorway is ”Deep Waters” and moves through aquas to a deep ocean blue:
The shawl pattern is named Watership Down, after the novel, but since this is a “mystery knit-along” I have no idea what it will look like. Every Friday the next set of instructions, or clues, magically appears in my email. Here’s what my shawl looked like half-way through the first clue:
A weaving teacher from long ago told me, “Yarn will teach you how to work with it, if you will let it.” Knitting with yarn that is skinnier than dental floss is a test of my patience and perseverance, but I am slowly learning what this yarn wants from me. I can’t chat, or watch television, or listen to music. I have to slow way down, watch my needles as I loop each stitch, and count the number of stitches in each section before I move on. I have to relax the tension in my hands and fingers with every stitch, and let the yarn slide into place on the right-hand needle. I have to quiet my monkey-mind chatter and focus on the stitch I am making at each moment. For the yarn and I to work together, there can be no past or future, no thoughts or concerns distracting me from the stitch in front of me.
Last night, when I was too wound up to sleep, I didn’t get the sock project out of my knitting bag. Instead, I reached for the shawl. Concentrating on each stitch quieted my mind. This single-pointed attention eliminated all worries. For the first time, my shawl wasn’t a struggle or a challenge. It was knitting meditation.
The Fibre Studio displays a stack of lace shawls knitted by customers. I’d wondered what the draw was to knitting lace, and why someone would start a new shawl before the one they just completed was off the blocking board. After finding peace in creating patterns of lacy stitches, I think I know.