Extra! Extra!

When my e-friend Bridget – a regular commenter here – mentioned on her blog that she had an article in the Winter Issue of Interweave Knits I was gutted. Yes, gutted. Why? because my subscription was up so I’d have to employ devious means to get to read her article.  

Or so I thought…  

When I arrived home yesterday, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise: Winter 09 is my last issue. And they’re none-too-subtle about pointing it out to me! “FINAL NOTICE” !!!!! You’d swear I’d forgotten to pay the gas bill and they were threatening to cut me off!  

Read All About It!!!


After I recovered from my bemusement, I remembered that I had got my issue of IK Winter 07 from a member of the Irish Knitters Board, Gilraen, on Ravelry in exchange for my copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting. So, hurrah for me and for IK’s original delay in starting my subscription – every cloud has a silver lining; it takes two years to realise some of them.  

The first thing I did – after ripping off the plastic wrapping – was to read Bridget’s Article. It was a great story about her trials and tribulations as she slogged her way through a year of knitting ten pairs of socks to give as gifts the following Christmas.  

It made me realise that I still haven’t given you all a full accounting of myself after I embarked on my own Year of Socks: my naive promise – in Christmas 07 – to knit DH a pair of socks each month for the following year.  

I say “naive”. Clearly, I mean “plain-dumb”. When I made the promise I had knit exactly one sock. NOT pair, One! I made the promise as a spur-of-the-moment decision because the present I had *planned* on giving him was this self-same PAIR of socks. Of which I had half. And I had ONLY half a pair because that first sock had taken a twice as long as I’d expected. Not to mention, the foot was an inch longer than it needed to be.  

This should have been a warning sign. Alarm bells should have been ringing in my head. In hindsight, there probably were alarm bells but I’d assumed it was Tinnitus brought on by the stress of knitting this sock.  

To keep me motivated I also joined the Sock-A-Month KAL. So, I may I present my Calender of Socks 2008:  

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January: Sock-A-Month KAL = 1/1


January: Socks for DH = 0/1


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February: Sock-A-Month KAL = 2/2


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February: Socks for DH = 0/2


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April: Socks for DH = 2/4; SAM5KAL = 4/4


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March: Socks for DH = 1/3; SAM5KAL = 3/3


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July: Socks for DH = 4 out of 7


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May: Socks for DH = 3/5; SAM5KAL = 5/5


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September: Socks for DH = 6/9; SAM5KAL = 8/9


August: Socks for DH = 5; SAM5KAL = 7


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November: Socks for DH = 7; SAM5KAL = 10


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October: Socks for DH = 7/10; SAM5KAL = 9/10


January: I started the year by trying to finish the Christmas-Present-Socks. Unfortunately, I decided to knit the second sock on metal circulars; whereas the first was knit on Bamboo DPNs. When I realised the socks were cursed (I was getting a pair of Little’n’Large) I abandoned them and opted instead to knit a pair of kid’s socks so that I’d at least get a credit on the Sock-A-Month 5 KAL. It wouldn’t do to just knit a pair of plain – oh no! I had to design them, based on EZ’s Fishtrap Aran. My Cheer-Me-Up Socks – which were intended for my DD, but which ended up only fitting her younger brother – were finished on the last day of January.
January’s score: DH – 0; SAM5KAL – 1 

February: Started “Hidden Passion Socks“, from Favourite Socks, for DH thinking I’d get them done in time for Valentine’s Day – bleuch! Realised after I’d turned the heel of the first sock (some time in mid-Feb!) that I should have been working in stripes or I’d run out of one colour.  These got frogged while I quickly double-knit two tubes and stuck “after-thought heels” in on the last day of February in order to qualify for a credit in SAM5. Thank Goodness it was a Leap Year that year!
February’s score: DH – 0; SAM5KAL – 2 

March: I started the Hidden Passion Socks again but this time I re-wrote the pattern so that I could make them toe-up and two-at-a-time. What’s more… I finished them! And I started another pair, “Diagonal Cross-Rib” from Favourite Socks, in anticipation of April – I was wisening up. March’s score: DH – 1; SAM5KAL – 3 

April: Abandoned the Diagonal Cross-Rib socks in mid-April when I realised that the stitch-pattern was taking too much time. Cast-on “Back-to-Basics” instead. And finished them within the month! April’s score: DH – 2; SAM5KAL – 4 

May: My version of Undulating Rib from Favourite Socks were toe-up; whereas the pattern is written cuff-down. So I called them “Bir gNitaludnu” – that’s Undulating Rib backwards – geddit? May’s score: DH – 3; SAM5KAL – 5 

June: I got busy with knitting gifts and abandoned sock knitting this month! June’s score: Socks for DH – 3; SAM5KAL – 5 

July: Cat Bordhi’s book “New Pathways for Sock Knitters” must have arrived into my life around this time. Suddenly all my socks became a collation between patterns in Favourite Socks and one of her Sockitectures. July combined “Cable Rib” socks with her Upstream Sockitecture. Started in June, finished in July. DH – 4; SAM5KAL – 6 

August: I picked up my “April” Socks again and entered them into the Ravelympics under the event “WIPs-wrestling” And I finished them too!
August’s score: DH – 5; SAM5KAL – 7 

September: Another collation this month between Mock Cable Wave from Favourite Socks and Cat Bordhi’s Riverbed Sockitecture. Technically, my “Babbling Brook” socks were done in August but I fear I may have held off posting them on SAM5 KAL until September to make sure I got a credit that month. September’s score: DH – 6; SAM5KAL – 8 

October: I called these “Tornado Toes” because they started with a Whirlpool cast-on from Cat Bordhi’s book and the pattern is her “Spiraling Coriolis” which affected the colour-changes in the yarn to produce this gorgeous Whirlwind effect. I was thrilled with these socks – they fit DH beautifully too. October’s score: DH – 7; SAM5KAL – 9 

November: On my return from The Irish Knitter’s Weekend Away I discovered that, not only had DH been minding our three kids, he’d decided to do the laundry and had inadvertently tumble-dryed and felted his March socks. I quickly released myself from my commitment to knit him any more socks. My next pair of socks were for me – my long-awaited “Monkey” by Cookie A. I decided to make these toe-up, however, and Cat-Bordhi-ize them. I called them “Simian” because they’re not quite Monkeys – they’re … similar! November’s score: DH – 7; SAM5KAL – 10 

December: I’ve no recollection of knitting any socks in December and certainly I became disillusioned with the Sock-A-Month KAL. December’s score was zero all round.
Overall score for the year: DH got seven pairs of socks; I got one; I frogged 3 and re-knit 1. Overall: Socks completed =10. Socks started? Who knows, I lost count.
Edited to add a poll (really coz I want to figure-out how)
Vote for your Favourite pair all those I knit for DH

With one Felting I was free!

I arrived back this evening from a fabulous, indulgent weekend with fellow knitters at the inaugral Irish Knitters Retreat (more about this later, it’s deserving of a separate post) and I discovered that DH has been doing laundry. Experience has proven this is rarely a good thing.

Sure enough, in the middle of the pile of recently tumble-dried clothes was… yup, you know what’s coming next… a pair of his socks. Nicely felted and shrunk until they almost, but don’t quite, fit me.

You know, accidents happen. I understand that. It happens to the best of us. So, I cheerily presented him with the felted socks with “Oooh, you made me a pair of socks!”. All I got was “Oh, sorry”. Not “OMG, I can’t believe this has happened to my gorgeous socks, that you spent so long knitting, frogging, redesigning, and knitting again for me. This is such a tragedy… I’m just devastaed… Is there anything that can be done to save them?”

No, just


“sorry” (with a small s)

I was under the impression that the socks I was knitting were cherished. I thought he’d be devasted at the demise of a pair. I’m obviously operating, and knitting, under a delusion.

The upside is, I release myself from my committment to knit him a pair of socks a month this year. I informed him of this. He said sorry with a small “s” again. I will finish the current pair of Coriolis and give them to him. After all, he did look after my three children for the entire weekend so I could frolic with fibre. He deserves that much.

But after that, I’m officially free – the next socks I knit are for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Fibre keeps you Regular!

Remember my regular features? No? Yeah, me neither – that’s why they haven’t been happening all that often lately. That, and the fact that I’m back at work full-time so regular blogging is way down on my priority list in the evenings.

Anyway, ancient annals record that Tuesday’s are “choose-day”: I review my queue and choose what next to do. Usually outside forces are at work and my choice is often dictated for me, rather than being entirely of my own volition. The approaching pressure-front this time is the Irish Knitters Weekend Retreat and the mini-KALS we’ve set up for the attendees.

Some Background: There are fifteen of us travelling to the beautiful Craig Country House in Craughwell, Co. Galway for a weekend of knitting and fun in  mid-October. We’ll also be given an introduction to Spinning by Diane (a.k.a Chic with Stix), a member of the Irish Guild of Spinners, Dyers and Weavers, while we’re there. I’m one of the organisers of this event. As a way of helping members to gel and get to know each other in advance of the event we set up a group on Ravelry and set up two mini-KALs.

KAL 1. Each of us is to knit a square that we’re going to sew together into a blanket. The only rules are that the final size has to be 150 x 150mm (6″ x 6″); using Kilcarra Aran Tweed; and you can use any stitch pattern or method you like but the finished square has to say something about you.

Not a lot of knitting. I have my yarn already – you’ve read about me “liberating” it here! But how to express my essence in knitting? Answers on a postcard please – or below in the comments, if you like! (What Pandora’s Box am I opening here?)

KAL 2. One of the other members of the organizing committee, SusyMcQ, suggested we should commemmorate the inaugral Irish Knitting Retreat by getting into the Knitty calander. The rules for this are that you have to use a Knitty pattern. Ergo we have an KAL for knitting an Urchin. This KAL is optional. Those who are up for it will assemble to be photographed, Urchin-clad, in an appropriate setting by the seashore. That’s the plan.

I knit one before using Debbie Bliss SoHo. Of course I didn’t swatch and the hat was way too small. It looked like a beanie rather than a beret! I wore it anyway. I planned to use my remaining balls of the same yarn to try again in the bigger size. Then I saw Susy’s one on our Rav group and decided instead to free-cycle some yarn from this sad affair:

How to kill a lace pattern

How to kill a lace pattern

Nice yarn, shame about the use
Nice yarn, shame about the use

I loved the yarn and I loved the pattern. Sadly, they did not love each other. The yarn is by Craftspun and is efficiently titled “Multi”. The pattern is from “Natural Knits for Babies and Mums”. It’s a nursing cover but I always found it too wide and bulky to wear as a scarf. I never wore it out, so I never had when I might need a nursing cover. It used four skeins of yarn. I think I’ll only need less than one for a very nice Urchin. The rest – a matching scarf, perhaps.

Lest we forget, there’s still the Sock-a-month KAL  and my self-inflicted Sock-a-thon-thing. I’m all ball-wound and ready to go on a pair of Master Coriolis Socks by Cat Bordhi. I’ve chosen these because I want need my October socks to be quick-knits. It’s also a really cool pattern. So, even though mid-October looms and the mini-KALs deadline is closer I’m opting for the Socks – quelle suprise!

The Vortex of Bureaucracy – a.k.a. The Passport Saga Part II

So, last time we checked in on our intrepid crusader as she valiantly did battle with Irish Bureaucracy, she’d got as far as the Social Welfare Office in Balbriggan to find it had closed twenty minutes earlier. The following day, armed now with the knowledge of opening hours (always a handy bit of info) she returned and neatly avoided getting ensnared in the queue for signing-on. She was still congratulating herself on her deft manoeuvring when she was called to the window. She described her business and was promptly handed an A4 sheet of printed paper. Quite suddenly our heroine realised she’d lost the ability to read (and almost the will to live) and requested that the information on the sheet be relayed to her verbally. It took awhile for the news to sink in: to obtain a PPS number for her 16week old she must go to an office located in the centre of Dublin City.

Quick recap: in the Registry Office (located on Pearse St, in the centre of Dublin City) DH was told to go to the Post Office to get the form for the PPS number (because we were late registering The Earl); in the Post Office I was told to go to the Citizens Information Office; in the Citizens Information Office I was told to go to the Social Welfare Office in Balbriggan; in the Social Welfare Office in Balbriggan I was told to go to the Social Welfare Office located on Pearse St, in the centre of Dublin City. Oh. Yeah. Talk about going around in circles – literally.

 When I got home I rang the phone number on the sheet of paper I had been given. I was trying to wise up now and get all the information I needed before I went anywhere. I had a garbled conversation with someone who wanted to talk about how late I had been in registering my son rather than tell me what documentation I needed to bring with me to get a PPS. I finally got her to agree that I needed i.d. for me and that the birth certificate would be proof of address. It was just as well I did this. When I went to this office in the centre of town, the clerk at the desk wanted to turn me away because I didn’t have a utility bill as proof of address. He only capitulated when I said that I’d already rung the office and was told that the birth certificate was accepted documentation. Come on: it’s only an official document issued by a Government Department, after all!

In the meantime, I did manage to finish my Cheer-me-up socks in time to get them logged onto the Sock-A-Month Kal. Here they are as modelled by DS because (wouldn’t you know) they don’t fit DD, for whom they were intended – naturally! What’s the opposite of the Midas touch, where everything you touch turns to crud? I’ve definitely got the knitting version of that.