More Socks, And a Mystery Knit-Along

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.

First Needle-knit Socks
First Needle-knit Socks

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:

The Latest Socks
The Latest Socks

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:

Deep Waters
Deep Waters

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:

Watership Down Shawl
Watership Down Shawl

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.

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12 thoughts on “More Socks, And a Mystery Knit-Along

  1. I love lace patterns. At first, I thought they were too hard, but after trying one I fell in love with the technique. What beautiful things we can make with a simple yarn over!

    I am loving those socks!! 🙂 I’m almost done with a new pair and I can’t wait to post them.

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  2. Knitting can indeed be a meditation. It appears the knitting bug bit you but good…just like the harp bug. There may be a connection to being interested in both. You are really advancing and I envy your LYS connection. Cant wait to see our finished shawl. My friend recently became widowed and I am picking up the yarn tomorrow to crochet, rather than knit, her a prayer shawl. The yarn does an automatic striping and the one I chose for her is called Joshua Tree and has the colors of a sunset which her husband was so fond of. I found a neat handmade celtic inspired shawl pin on Etsy to go with it.
    Love hearing of your knitting adventures.

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    1. I’ve quite succumbed to the knitting bug! Your shawl project sounds beautiful. I know your friend will be able to wrap herself up and feel all the love you stitched into it. I hope you will email me a photo when it is finished.
      Also, glad to hear that you managed to get that pesky string replaced. The only way I knew that/how the bottom came off the Merlin was from talking to Margaret Snedden, who represents Rick’s harps on the east coast, at the Harp Weekend.

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  3. I absolutely love those socks! I have a “thing” for bright and colorful socks and those are so nice. You have a talent there, my friend and a useful one. It must feel good to wear something wonderful you have made with your own hands. Please keep us all posted on the shawl…fantastic so far, I really like the color.

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    1. I am now thoroughly spoiled. I only want to wear my hand knit wool socks. So knitting away I go. The shawl is teaching me a lot. I am not always thrilled with the lesson, however….

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  4. I too have found knitting to be meditative. Sadly, when I took up blogging I no longer had the time to knit. You have inspired me and this winter I’ll be opening my boxes of wool and taking up my knitting again.

    The Watership Down knitting project sounds like such an interesting challenge. The lacy shawl pattern is lovely and it’s such a gorgeous color.

    re: knitting socks I have never used a sock loom and I’m off to look for examples of one on the internet.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that you are inspired to take up your knitting again. i understand how blogging took up your knitting time. I’m finding that knitting is taking up what was my blogging time. I am dreadfully behind on reading blogs and responding to comments. On my links page (Interesting Destinations) is a link to the Authentic Knitting board sock loom site. I think they are the way to go for looming socks. I know there are other looms out there, but this one is well made, and the instructions turn out great socks.

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      1. I love the idea of a mystery knit-along and your graduated yarn. I hope you share your project when it’s finished. It’s niceto know that a fellow harpist also shares in a passion for knitting. They are two of my favorite activities

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      2. Thanks, Kathryn! And thanks for commenting. I always like having other harpers read my blog. I will definitely be posting photos of this shawl, assuming that we both make it to the end. There are a lot of parallels to learning to play harp and knitting lace, one being that it takes as long as it takes, and trying to rush to knit faster does no good at all.

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