Hi, Blog

So you’re still here, one year later, and Internet still hasn’t swallowed you up. I’m glad.

During that year where we went our separate ways, I lost the impulse to knit for some time. There were a few months where I thought about knitting a lot, but didn’t at all touch yarn or needles. Then, one fine day, I picked them up and they haven’t left my hands ever since. (This is a way of speech. Even knitters still do need to eat, drink, sleep, keep their houses in order and play the organ.) Some more months were spent merrily knitting before the need to put some thoughts in writing arose again.

Today I thought it would be fun to make a few notes about cardigan shapes for future reference (particularly with the intent of providing me with some good laughs on the day when I’ll have completely changed my mind on this fascinating subject).

In general, I don’t think knitting is difficult. Knit stitch, purl stitch, yarn over — if you master these three very basic operations, then the whole world is yours and endless possibilities open. Some patterns, like complex lace knitting, do require a certain amount of concentration, but it’s more a question of practicing said basic operations in the right order and being able to count. This is why knitting complex lace while watching rugby is not a brilliant idea, because you’ll end up confusing the pattern repeat count with your favorite team’s score, which usually does not have a neat and pleasing result. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

What I do find difficult, however, is the proper fitting of garments (even for myself, as I am the person I knit most garments for, since I always have myself at hand when I need to check measurements). This took me years to learn and I still do stupid mistakes which result in an unflattering fit. One thing I realized lately is that it has much to do with body image and misconceptions.

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Narrow shoulder strips + busty lady… Ugh. I sent the thing to the frog pond.

For example, I have narrow, sloping shoulders and I have long believed I should compensate by wearing (and making) things that have squarish shoulders. This, dear Blog, is not true — not for me, anyway. The thing is that I have a rather ample chest, and if I make, say, a cardigan with classic, sewn shoulders and set-in sleeves, the narrow strips of fabric on the shoulders do nothing but emphasize how generously endowed I am. Also, I have long believed that baggy, boxy shapes would be slimming. They’re not. (I know, I should have figured that one out long ago. Well, better late than never.) I have long heard that “garments constructed with a circular yoke, particularly a patterned circular yoke, don’t look good on busty women”. In my case, this is completely wrong.

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The Epiphany Cardigan. See the difference with the above picture ? And no, I haven’t shed a single pound between the two…

Until a few months ago, I’d always thought that a garment (I’m using that here as an umbrella term for “sweater” or “cardigan” or any piece of knitting designed to be worn on the torso) should be knit to my actual measurements, or just a little larger, to fit. It took me almost 10 years — 10 years ! — to figure out that in order to have something fit “just right”, I have to knit it on the small side, with a little bit of negative ease, and let the fabric bloom to my exact mensurations while blocking (because if your garment is just a tiny little bit too wide, and if you submit it to the process of soaking it and laying it out to dry, you will get something that is noticeably too big). This knitting-altering realization came thanks to my “epiphany cardigan”. Quite unexpectedly, I chose a pattern which was combining quite a few of the “no-no’s” I’d been applying as a filter in my pattern choice. It was meant to be fitted and knit on the small side. It included a circular yoke. It had (gulp !) horizontal stripes. It also was the most flattering cardigan I had ever worn, let alone made.

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The latest yoke cardigan to date. Again, it fits just right and I’m so pleased with this shape. And there isn’t a single seam !

I think that, in my case anyway, the circular yoke has the effect of encompassing the bust area into a larger design which runs not from one armpit to the other but from one shoulder to the other, and thus, actually draws less attention to the chest than a classical squared-shoulder shape like the disastrous attempt pictured above left.

That cardigan had the effect of triggering an obsession with yokes (more precisely yoked cardigans, since I have also come to the conclusion that I don’t really like wearing sweaters) which has not (yet) resulted in a plethora of new yoked cardigans in my life, as I’m a relatively slow knitter, but did produce one more piece and the embryo of a third.

There was one more thing I realized when I picked up knitting again : I don’t enjoy sewing and assembling the pieces of a classical cardigan made of five parts (two sleeves, two fronts, one back — that is, if you’re lucky and there is no collar). I much, much prefer knitting in the round, sleeves and all. I know seams are supposed to give structure to a garment. But what can I say ? I have always suspected I wasn’t a structured kind of woman !

 

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I Spun !

Today, The Husband and I went to a neighbouring village which was celebrating a Salt Festival. The place where we live now used to be on the main salt smuggling road from France, and the memory of these times is kept alive by a festival every year. There are a lot of craftspeople exposing and selling their work, most of them dressed in mediaeval attire. This is where I met Marilynn. IMGP6497

So, of course, I went to speak to her.

Marilynn was demonstrating spinning as it was done in the Middle Ages. Here she is spinning from a Shetland fleece — a very thin, very even single ply which looked as if it could have been used for lace. She had brought various kinds of fleeces : the white one on the left from local Swiss sheep (she didn’t seem to be very impressed with them), the two next piles of fleece rolls were Shetland, as well as the carded locks on the right. In-between were carded rolls of some British sheep (she had forgotten which), and the uncarded grey locks were Jacob fleece, which she made us pat while explaining the basics of spinning.

The Husband too was fascinated by what she was doing and asked her some questions.

Then she asked me if I’d like to try her spindle.

She showed me how to hold it, how to spin it, how to pull just a bit on the carded wool every few centimetres. And then, I tried. I was clumsy and awkward, far from the perfect precision of Marilynn’s beautiful single ply. I produced something weird and uneven, on some twenty centimetres. Then, Marilynn plied it on itself and gave it to me.

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Here it is. It’s nothing much, but it has about 3 centimetres in total which about look like an ordinary 2-ply you could buy in a shop, and I’m ridiculously thrilled with it.

Of course, if I want to spin my own yarn, I should learn more and practice.

But Marilynn has offered to teach me.

I’m thrilled !

 

Lever Knitting : Being a Beginner All Over Again

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days about the way I knit.

As you probably know if you’re a knitter yourself, there is an infinity of ways in which to hold these two needles and yarn. The two commonest methods probably are English knitting and Continental knitting, in which each hand holds a needle and the yarn is wrapped by either by the right hand (English) or by the left (Continental).

I taught myself to knit from a book, and the way demonstrated there was Continental. (I think it was a French translation from a Debbie Bliss book, but I’m not quite sure.) When I showed off my new skills to my mother and grand-mother, both knitters, they at once commented on the “weird” way I was doing it — I discovered later that both were English knitters. (That is, that they knit English. They’re French English knitters.) As an aside, most people I have seen knitting here in Switzerland knit English too, and they assume I’m knitting “French”. An elderly lady who once watched me knit a sock in a café actually exclaimed : “You knit in such a funny way, you must be French !” (As an aside to the aside, if you Google “French knitting”, you will find links to a kind of loom knitting that produces tubes of fabric and that I knew as “tricotin” in my childhood. The one I had, almost exactly the same as the one you can see in the link, could only make long, thin straps of knitting similar to I-cord. The only difference is that I was taught to use a crochet hook instead of a knitting needle to operate it.)

I picked up speed as I knit on and on, and I achieved an average speed with knit stitches, but purling has always been slow and awkward for me. I have never really mastered the way you have to wrap the yarn around the needle when purling a stitch, so I developed my own way of doing it, which involved completely letting go of the left needle and wrapping the yarn, held between index and thumb, around the right needle tip before grabbing the left needle again to slide it off the new stitch. Believe me, this is just as slow as it sounds.

I am reasonably fast with knit stitches, at least I’m satisfied with how fast I knit. The issue here is of a different kind. In Continental knitting (or maybe the way I do it), when knitting, you insert the tip of the right-hand needle into the next stitch on the left-hand needle, then the tip of the right-hand needle goes and grabs, with a little twist, the yarn held at the back of the work by the left hand, and pulls it through. That little yarn-grabbing twist implies a swift movement from the wrist. In the past few weeks, something in my right wrist has taken to clicking every single time I perform this gesture. It’s not painful, I simply feel the “click” in the joint, but I very much doubt this would be good for my wrist in the long term. It’s probably my wrist’s way of telling me I’m straining it too much, and I do need a right wrist.

Two days ago, after much consideration and researching on the net, I decided to try and switch to lever knitting. There is not much you can find about how to do it, except for fascinating videos of the revered Yarn Harlot doing it at a supernatural speed and explaining it as she goes. (I find her movements so beautiful to watch that it played a big role in my decision. It reminds me of someone playing the harp.) This video from one of her lucky students seems very helpful too, but I haven’t attempted yet to lever-knit on circulars. Lever knitting, as its name aptly suggests, is a way of knitting where one needle, held stationary, acts as a lever, while one hand holds and wraps the yarn and the other, holding the second needle, slips the stitches one by one onto the stationary needle.

I’ve been trying that, both on straights (with the right needle stuck under the armpit) and on dpns (the Yarn Harlot also demonstrates how to do this), for the past two days. I’m not going to lie : right now, I find it hard. (That might be an understatement.) My biggest difficulty is that, having knit Continental all my knitting life, I have no clue about how to efficiently hold and wrap the yarn with the right hand. Seriously. I’m clumsy. I struggle. It takes me two or three tries to get the yarn wrapped around the needle tip. I keep changing positions, trying to tension the yarn differently over my fingers, not finding that “just right” balance between yarn feeding too easily and not feeding at all. Yesterday, I tried it, dpn stuck at the base of my right thumb, on a plain sock I’m knitting while working in the library. It took all the will I could muster not to utter huge strings of obscenities — because, well, a library is supposed to be a silent place — and I’m usually the kind of girl who never swears.

That sock was at the stage of the gusset decreases when I picked it up, and all of a sudden, I realized I had lost my usual visual reference points as well as my muscle memory. What I felt certain would make a k2tog turned out to make a ssk, and what I was sure would result in a ssk produced a k2tog. I thought I would go crazy before the end of the afternoon. I’m back to knitting so tight, as when I first took up the craft, that I more than once ripped four or five stitches off the left needle when trying to pull it away.

So why am I persevering ?

Evenness.

Evenness.

First, although I read people, on Ravelry’s Lever Knitting Group, writing that they had fully caught up with their initial speed after four hours of lever knitting, I didn’t believe that I would adapt quickly, mainly because I (rightly) anticipated that switching from Continental would mean building a whole new muscle memory. I’d expect it to take closer to four weeks than four hours ! Then, because I feel I have to change anyway, to spare my wrist. And, last but not least, because the swatch I’ve been knitting on my straights, from a cheap acrylic yarn, looks really amazing —dense, smooth, and incredibly even.

In the meantime, I feel like a beginner all over again. There are so many questions to which I don’t know the answer yet : can you knit with your needle under your armpit on a seat that hasn’t got a back ? How to you keep the needle from going backwards when there is no back on which you can rest the needle cap ? How do you do colourwork ? Should I buy different needles ? Should I think about investing in a knitting sheath ? Will I ever adapt to this and knit as if I had done it all my life ?

If you have successfully converted to lever knitting, I’d be very interested to hear from you, because this is what it feels like right now :

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(Let’s ignore the fact that this cartoon plays on crochet vs knitting. This is beside my point.)

More scary than reassuring.

Slower Days

I’ve caught a lot of colds lately. As a result, I feel tired, sometimes unwell, and there are days where most of my knitting projects feel too much, too complicated, too demanding. So I’ve taken to knitting simple mitered squares out of yarn scraps.

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Just squares, in garter stitch, with colours going from darker to lighter shades. They feel good.

As I make them on tired days, I simply tie the scraps together with a knot. It doesn’t’ look great on the wrong side, but I’ve decided I didn’t care.

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The plan is to sew the squares into bigger squares of similar colours, then to sew the bigger squares into a blanket.

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I’ve got seven squares so far. I’m still far, far away from a complete blanket. At this rate, this will probably take me a few years to complete. But at least, I have something to help me feel better on slower days. Garter stitch feels good, squares feel good, sorting through the scraps to pick matching colours feels good.

I like too that each square is like a little memory of what I’ve knitted in the past. As I add yarn scraps, I remember a sweater, a shawl, a cowl, a baby blanket, a hat, a pair of socks, things I loved knitting. It feels good.

In other news, today is the International Memorial Day for “comfort women“. Have a thought or prayer for them. There are a little less survivors with each passing year, and they need us to remember them so that such atrocities never happen again. If you feel so moved, you can also support the UN action against sexual violence in conflicts.

On The Unfortunate Demise Of A Series

I don’t presume that there are such things as Regular Readers on this blog. My stats keep me from that delusion. However, just in case some people one day wonder about the abrupt end of the “Adapting a pattern for a thinner yarn” series, here is a word of explanation.

First, let me proudly say that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my reasoning. I had done my

The swatch did look promising...

The swatch did look promising…

math better than I expected. The yoke worked, the body seemed to be the right side, but the more I knitted on it, the less I liked it. I blame it on the stripes, because as pretty as the two yarns looked side by side on the swatch, on a full-sized sweater it was quite different. The variegated yarn pooled, and I don’t really like pooling unless it’s on purpose. Then I tried it on, and those particular stripes were not at all becoming (and even less slimming) on a real bust. Not at all.

So I frogged the whole thing.

What did I do with the yarn ?

First, I used the variegated sock yarn to play around a bit with planned pooling, trying to get an argyle pattern.

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Pretty argyle…

 And it worked too, and I got all excited about it and began to have big dreams about an argyle stole when I realized there was no way the ball I had would be enough for a place mat, let alone a stole. This was an interesting experiment though, and I fully intend to make it a full-scale project (a stole, or maybe a baby blanket) one day. But when I do, I’ll buy yarn specifically for it, and try to make sure that I have enough.

The argyle experiment met the same fate as its unfortunate predecessor and headed for the frog pond.

The blue angora, wound up into a ball again, was waiting for the right idea to emerge in my brain.

Stripes !!

Stripes !!

A few days later, I accidentally ran into three balls of Rico Superba Poems, in the colourway Granit, sold for a really ridiculous price. I bought them, intending to turn them into socks, went home, and put the balls next to the blue angora. I looked at them, pretty things sitting side by side, and had a revelation. These two yarns were meant for each other. I went on Ravelry and chose a pattern I had been wanting to knit for some time : Mon petit gilet rayé (Ravelry link). This is knitting up like a dream. I’m making it at a slightly wider gauge than I would usually do for this yarn weight, and though I’m a bit concerned about the durability of such a fabric, it does feel wonderful — feather-light, airy, and soft. And there is something about knitting stripes with a gradient yarn and a solid one which is absolutelyIMGP6445 mesmerizing. This cardigan almost seems to knit itself on its own. The body is already finished.

On a side note, I’ve noticed that everything I’ve knit for myself in the past few years was slightly too big (body image, anyone ?). So I decided to try and knit something which would actually be the right size. The pattern says it’s for a size M, which I am. I wanted to be on the safe side, so I casted on the right number of stitches on 4mm needles instead of 3,5mm ones. I’ve tried the thing on, and it does fit, sort of. Except it’s so tight I look as if I had stolen the clothes of a 5-year-old. (Hm. Maybe that’s why the pattern notes state that it is a “very fitted cardi”. It turns out that, as much as I love this pattern and how the cardigan is turning out, “very fitted” is not my idea of “pretty”. I’d be happier with simply “fitted”.) I don’t want to rip it and try once again from the beginning, so I’m just going to play with the width of the buttonband to make it an acceptable fit.

IMGP6392And what happened to the variegated sock yarn ? Well, it is finally becoming — guess what — a pair of socks. Using sock yarn to actually knit socks — shocking, I know.

The pattern is Aquaphobia, a slipped stitch pattern which avoids pooling, and it is turning into a very nice sock indeed. I’m already anxious to have that pair finished and on my feet !

Obsessed

Sunday morning at church, during the introducing praise, the pastor said something like “Loué sois-tu, Seigneur, pour le doux clapotis de l’eau” (“We praise you, Lord, for the sweet lapping sound of the water”) and all I could think of was a shawl. (If you don’t see what I’m talking about, search google for pictures of “clapotis”).

Then yesterday I was in the library, reading a serious article for my doctoral research, which mentioned several times a “sheetlike object”. I kept misreading it as “sheeplike object.”

I might be a little bit obsessed with wool.

More Socks

Happy 1st of August to everyone ! Today is the Swiss national day, commemorating the Rütlischwur that marks the birth of the Swiss nation.

To join in the fun, I have new socks.

IMGP6364These colours are admittedly nothing like the Swiss national flag. They are Flutter-by Socks (Ravelry link) and the yarn is Rico Superba Poems, in the colourway Candy. The pair took about two thirds of one ball. The pattern is fun and easy, but was maybe not the best match with this yarn — the butterflies are a bit lost in that riot of wild colours.

To avoid disturbing the colour transition on the instep, I simply knit the heel from the other end of the ball, and broke it (the other end, not the heel) when it was time to pick up gusset stitches.
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Anyway, I’m quite smitten with them. As the temperature was rather chilly, I wore them yesterday evening, hot off the needles, to the traditional 1st of August (or rather July 31st) fireworks, whose bright colours they matched perfectly. On that occasion, I became one of those eccentric ladies who wear woolen sock with sandals because they can’t stop admiring their own feet. (I had forgotten to take into account the fact that at 10:30 pm, it would be dark outside anyway. But that didn’t stop me from trying to show them off to the friends we met on the way).

These socks drew some comments when I knit on them in the train to and from the IMGP6367university. The general feeling seemed to be that these vibrant shades made people feeling better in spite of the terrible weather we had these past few days weeks. I agree. Fireworks socks. I really feel as if I could rocket to the roof when I wear them ! Simply looking at them makes me giggle. I must really be getting weird. Nobody had warned me that socks had such an effect on your brain !

Shopping For Yarn In South Korea (Or Trying To)

Eleven years ago, I met a young Korean at my university. Three years later, I married him.

IMGP6170Since then, we’ve been going to South Korea every summer, to visit his family and discover the country (well, for me anyways). In all that time (that’s nine trips to South Korea, including one where I went on my own for work), I can’t believe I had never shopped for yarn in Seoul, even though I had just learned how to knit on my very first stay on the peninsula.

So when our plane landed in Seoul earlier this month, yarn shopping was one of the first items on my to-do list. As it turned out, it was both a success and a failure, and all in all an interesting experience.

So one day, after a fun morning spent exploring the streets of the medicinal herbs market (that’s its entrance gate you see above) and a nice meal of bindaetteok — a kind of rice and green onion pancake…

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That’s bindaetteoks you can see piling here in the background

… The Husband and I headed for Dongdaemun, one of Seoul’s districts known for its textile industry, and specifically for its underground shopping centre, because I vaguely recalled having read on Ravelry that there were yarn shops here. That’s when my well thought-out plan — take my time, explore, take lots of picture, pick up fun things I could not find in Europe — started to go out of control.

We descended the stairs leading to the shopping centre, and I drew in a deep breath and began to feel dizzy and a little unsteady on my legs, because all I could see was yarn. Yarn everywhere, from floor to ceiling. So I staggered into the first shop, The Husband (probably worrying vaguely) in my tow. (Actually I’m not even sure how many yarn shops there were. Maybe it was just that one. I was so mesmerized that my memories are very unclear.) There was so much yarn I felt completely overwhelmed.

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A tiny corner in the yarn shop. That’s my husband in the middle. You can’t tell from that picture, but he’s a very handsome man.

When I bursted through the door on my wobbly legs, my entrance was greeted by a surprised “oh !” from the two shop ladies, very likely because I don’t look quite Korean. One of them said : “Hello, what are you looking for ?” and I managed to gather my wits enough to mumble : “Er… yarn.” (I can speak Korean. Not fluently, but I can manage most situations of daily life.) Note that this was the only answer which came to my mind, in a place literally filled with yarn and very little else.

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A tube of a very green, very ordinary-time-of-the-Church-calendar green yarn.

The rest is a blur in my mind. There were so many things to see, and the two ladies were so excited to have a foreigner-who-speaks-Korean-and-who-knits as their customer that they took me from one corner of the shop to the other, and at some point they asked me what colour I’d like and I bursted out “green” (I did have dreams about a green cardigan) and they got out all kinds of green yarn in about every possible green hue between yellow and dark blue and in all sorts of weights and had me pet them and wanted to know what exact shade I had in mind and… When I gathered my senses, I stood in the middle of the shop with two tubes of very green yarn (that’s 10 balls. Ten.).

Then the lovely shop ladies explained that since I was a foreigner, and not only that, but a foreigner who could knit and speak Korean, they were going to give my some knitting needles. Just a few. Like five circulars (five !) in 3 and 4mm. Admittedly they were rather cheap-looking needles, two bamboo points linked by a plastic tube, but still. Then they decided this was not enough and threw a scouring pad they had crocheted out of metallic yarn into the mix. I could barely believe it.IMGP6359

At least the yarn I had picked was something rather unusual for me : a cotton/wool mix with apparently some cashmere in it. The feel is quite surprising, a bit like a soft, bouncy cotton. Or like a very crisp wool. The stitch definition is quite nice. As soon as we were home in the evening, I picked a pattern (that’s Akebia.  I couldn’t decide between lace and cables, but why decide when you can have both at the same time ?), I took out one of my bamboo-plastic needles and happily broke knitting’s number one rule. I didn’t swatch. Or rather, I made a vague thing resembling a swatch, pretended to measure it with the ruler app on my smartphone screen, frogged it and cast on. The needles do work. I like the feel of bamboo, but that’s a personal thing ; the plastic tube is a bit of a pain on cast-on rows (because my cast-on stitches are rather tight and making them slide on the tube is difficult), but once that first row is over they’re quite alright.

IMGP6361My green cardigan is growing nicely. The back is complete and I’ve begun the right front. The size seems to be just right, which is a good thing since I didn’t really swatch. I wish I had though, because my needles are now dyed in green and it could have been a good thing to know in advance what will happen when I wet-block it.

On the whole, I’m happy with that yarn. Had I not been so overwhelmed, I’d probably have chosen something a bit different, not in terms of fibre content but in terms of colour (I’d have preferred a tonal or semi-variegated yarn, I think). But then I’ve no idea how to say that in Korean, and I don’t think The Husband knows either.

When we left Korea, I thought I’d make a little test with those needles. I borrowed some thread and a needle from my mother-in-law, ran a lifeline through my knitting just in case, and on the next morning I showed up at the airport security check with my knitting in my bag (I’m putting that in italics because I’m French and French airports state explicitly that knitting needles are prohibited from cabin luggage, so I had always believed I would never be able to knit on a plane). I was prepared to have to open my bag and answer a few questions. I was even prepared to have my needles taken out of my knitting and thrown away (hence the lifeline). Nobody said anything. We went through security again before catching our second plane. Nobody said anything. I knit on both flights. Nobody said anything. These bamboo and plastic tube needles are officially my new plane needles.

Socks

My back is getting much better, so I should soon be able to put together a blog post about the knitting side of my holidays.

Meanwhile, the weather here at home seems to have forgotten it is supposed to be summer. It is raining cats and dogs, there is wind and chilly temperatures, and so I have new socks. (Actually I had finished them just before we left for the airport one month ago, to spend a two weeks and half summer vacation at my parents-in-laws’, and I wove in the ends today.)

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The pattern is Pine Tree Toe Up Socks (Ravelry link), but I’m calling them my mexican socks, because the colours remind me of mexican food — corn ears, chili, red beans. I’ve forgotten what the yarn is. They’re bright and cheery, they’re only my second pair of toe-ups, with a short-row heel that could have been managed better (the first was made for The Husband, who doesn’t feel the irrepressible call to become a sock model), they don’t match and I don’t care, and they bring to me a little bit of the summer I’m yearning for.

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And they’re especially welcome since I forgot my favorite pair of hand knit socks at my parents-in-laws’, who live some 9’000 kilometers away (so it’s not really as if I could just drop by and pick them up next week). It was just a plain pair of socks, but in a lovely Kaffe Fasset colourway. I had bought the yarn in Jersey, during my first “on our own” holiday trip with The Husband, because it had lovely blue, green and purple hues which reminded me of the island — sea, grass and heather. They fitted me perfectly, were hard-wearing and associated with wonderful memories of a great time in a stunningly beautiful place. I miss them and I hope Mother (that’s what I call my mother-in-law) will safely put them away until next year.

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In case you wonder why on earth anyone would bring woolen socks on a summer vacation, I have only one word in answer : planes. Planes are cold places. Feet get cold on planes, therefore it is most unwise to board one without a pair of good woolen socks. I nearly panicked on the journey home when I sat in the plane, opened my bag to fish out my socks and realized they were not here. Thankfully The Husband, who, by some mystery of nature, does not get cold feet as easily as I do, even on planes, handed me his own pair, and I was safe.

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I’m really glad to have this fun new pair as a compensation. The pattern was great, straightforward and easy to follow. I made only a few changes : I didn’t want to have open eyelets on each side of the “spine” featured in the chevron pattern on the leg (because these were meant to be “warm” socks, and holes in your socks kind of defeat that purpose), and I purled every yarn over through the back loop on the following wrong side row so as to twist the stitch and thus close the hole. This meant that the pattern would be loosing some of its stretch in terms of width, and that I would have to add an increase row after turning the heel, so that the sock would be neither too loose on the foot nor too tight on the leg. It took me two unsuccessful tries to settle on the right numbers, but I got there eventually.

Socks are good. I have another pair on my needles, in the most psychedelic rainbow colourway. Very satisfying to knit and the ultimate antidote to bad weather.

Bad Blogger

I’ve been a very bad blogger these last weeks (or months, actually). To try and make myself forgiven, I can only say that I’ve been sick with a cold, then tired because I had been sick, then sick again, then away on vacation (more on that in a few days) where I caught my third cold in a row. Returning home has been rather epic, with The Husband sick as well, and The Cat who had also caught a cold while in cat pension. We have all been rather unwell last week, but The Cat, poor thing, was the most unwell of us. She seems to be getting better, between antibiotic shots and daily medication, and since yesterday has recovered enough to manifest interest in Things instead of dragging herself to the couch, where I sat blowing my nose through boxes of kleenexes (is that a word ?), and collapsing heavily on my lap, breathing laboriously through the mouth.

Just when I was beginning to cough a little less yesterday, I began to feel an acute pain in my back which is not getting better. I’m grateful to be still able to knit, provided my back is straight and propped up on a complex combination of pillows. So, instead of speaking of my holidays, the yarn I bought while away, and how I got to actually knit on an international flight, I’ll just knit on, because the mere thought of taking photographs to show you makes my back hurt. Hopefully I’ll be up to it in two or three days !