a Guilty Knitter

This is getting ridiculous.

Another Skew appeared on the needles, Flax Skew.

I’ve now casted on four Skews, in as many days. They are at the top of my Ravelry Works in Progress page:

I work on them all. But only until the phase named “Heelmarker”. That’s the moment where I have to think hard about where to put in the heel marker. It’s a tough spot in this pattern if you’re working with your own numbers instead of the pattern numbers. I have not traversed it yet on any of the four socks. It’s easier to cast on a new right sock…

Here’s my spot on the couch today:

And this is my view of the table. That’s another five Skews waiting to be cast on:

The only thing stopping me is the fact that I only have four circular needles in 2 mm width. (I am however contemplating the dpns…)

“Hmmm. That nice green blob of handspun on the table looks familiar…”
It’s one of four projects that’s on the second row of my WIP page:


I’m so ready to work on any of these projects!
I want them finished.
I want to show them.
I want to wear them.

I’m looking forward to figuring out the next step in their processes: get to work on the Spring Brioche in another direction; learn about neat borders for Deco Cardi; work that lace partition in Sprig sweater.
I really don’t understand why I keep on casting on for Skews instead.

After these WIPs are done I very much want to make a cardigan with Wollmeise. I already made a test swatch. The pattern is waiting. This is the cardigan I want to wear asap, as in this Summer.
It’s Pumpkin Ale by Ysolda Teague in Wollmeise Twin Mauseschwanzchen

I’m not casting on for this now because I know if I start another cardigan I’ll likely abandon one of the two I’m already working on. I’m that kind of a knitter: a one project knitter. If I don’t keep at it I’ll probably wander off with another shiny.
That and the Wollmeise swatch told me I’ll be knitting Pumpkin Ale Cardi on 2 mm. Which I have no spare one of at the moment.

Which reminds me that Spring Brioche shawl is knitted on 2 mm too. Right now the small strip is done with dpns but once I pick up all the stitches and work my way up I’ll be needing a circular 2 mm…
I guess the fate of all the Skews just got shaken because no way will I wait two weeks (aka one pair of socks) before I pick up Spring Brioche again. Or will I?

There are Summer tops waiting too. One in silk. One in linnen. One of them will be on 2 mm too. At least.
Besides knitting I want to spin. Felt. Weave.
I want to do a 1000 things and I have planned some of them very sensibly.
But instead I am casting on Skews like … like … I don’t know. Words fail me.
Yes, I’m a knitter lost for words:

  handmade yarnbowl by Heidi

There’s one word I found though. But it’s a word that doesn’t apply here.
That’s the word “guilt”
I’m not feeling guilty about any of this ridiculousness that’s going on with me and the wool at the moment.

Ever since I made enough sweaters, socks, hats and shawls to keep me well covered in wool I’m good guilt wise. My finished knits may not be the right colour for my face or have a dropped stitch or look way too homemade to be worn in public, but they for fill their function. Keeping me warm and healthy. Only when they are worn down it’s time to have a proper replacement ready. Until then: no hurries, no worries.

But all these plans! All this wool!  All the wips I’ve abandoned before  but still expect to return to sometime in the future! All the stash that needs to be knit down. The fleeces I’ve carded. The fact that we now sleep in the little attic because the stash has taken over the master bedroom. All the clutter in this house. All the things that I wish were better cleaned, organized, maintained?!

Well, I’m not feeling guilty about them.
I refuse to. I laid awake one night this week, fretting about wanting to knit Skews but not even having picked up Sprig even though I said I would. Feeling bothered by the ridiculous amount of stash and fleece in the wool room while still planning to buy more because it would fit better with some sock yarn or other.
I was trying to defuse these feelings by thinking up jokes for you:

But I knew I wouldn’t be fooling anyone. I was actually feeling obliged to knit only from the stash, to organize the WIPs and for sheep’s sake, don’t cast on one more Skew!

That’s when I realized I was doing this to myself. This thinking, this fretting. This feeling guilty. I was acting as if knitting is a job and as if I need to justify my actions to someone.
It was me who chose to be bothered by the WIPs and the plans that I laid aside just so I could indulge in more Skews. So that’s when I decided not to. And promptly fell asleep. And when I woke up I casted on for one more Skew and put the yarns I plan to knit on display on the table. Just because I can and just because I really like the view from the couch now.

Have you ever realized how much we are invited to feel guilty about the things we do or do not do?

In many aspects of our lives we are told things ought to be different and much of the time it’s implied that it’s our fault that they aren’t. It’s not only our responsibility but we should actually feel bad about it. Solely because we have the ability to change.

Something as human as being attached to the past or be anxious of the future unknown is apparently wrong. And holding you back. Holding you back from being a better version of yourself.
A better you, with better hair too, I’m sure ;)

The eye of Martha Stewart rests heavy upon us and our homes. Motivational quotes are secretly judging our current state. Or not so secretly and just blatantly commandeering us what to do:

Read the hidden message? “you’ve been doing it wrong, so wrong!”

We are invited to feel guilty about the way we keep our house and about the way we keep our knitting and our stash.

After the initial chuckle we are expected to feel a bit embarrassed. A bit guilty. Not good enough. Because you didn’t finish your projects. You do not love your kid well enough. And your stash room is a disgrace!

Of course there is something to be said for decluttering your living environments. Because clutter does tend to crowd the mind’s eye.

But this is only a problem when you feel like every thing you see is speaking to you. Demanding action from you.
“I’m your Spring Brioche Shawl, you should knit me!”
“If you cannot walk into the craft room you really ought to straighten it!”
“This is Mount Washmore speaking, you should iron me!”

If instead you adopt an artist’ eye and see the things around you in colours and shapes instead of chores and projects oozing disapprovement in your general direction …

 stillife by Giorgio Morandi, 1962

… then your mind’s eye is free to wander and dream about anything and everything.
I refuse to adopt guilt from inanimate objects. It’s all in the head.

That being said, there is a certain pleasure in decluttering. In getting rid of stuff. In travelling light.
There’s a nice article doing the rounds at the moment about culling the knitting stash back to only the things you really love: article in Twist Collective.
But do beware of the guilt-assigning that invariably creeps into articles like this. Whether actively pursued by the writer or willingly self applied by the reader.

Remember, guilt is just another item you can lie down beside you, next to the four Skews, the sleeping cat and all the trinkets you keep at the side table. While you sit on the couch and knit and enjoy the view.

It’s true, there’s a nice feeling of accomplishment once you cast off and get to wear your knitted item.
And almost every project does have a stage where you have to persist and go on even though it’s no fun. Where stubbornness is needed, discipline even, until the fun part begins again.
But these emotions have nothing to do with guilt.

Guilt and feelings of inadequacy should have no place in a knitter’s life. Or in anybody’s life.

With this comic Natalie Dee has got it wrong, all wrong.

This is more like it:

and then laugh, because knitting as a hobby can be utterly ridiculous and so funny.
Now I think I’m going to buy some more 2mm circulars, I haven’t maxed out on yarny ridiculousness yet.

finding some orange socks

I was rooting through the sock yarn stash, matching yarns for new Skew socks.
I found lovely combinations!

I casted on for one more Skew immediately, the third one on the needles right now. It’s the combination from the first picture.

In the sock yarn stash there was also a bunch of tangled up yarns that made me cringe. It was as big as a basketball! (or looked that big anyway). Lots of yarns from years and years ago. Bits and pieces I’ve been saving because they might come in handy one day. And beautiful left over yarn I do not dare to throw away even though it’s alpaca and makes me itchy.
Today I was not playing ball. Instead of spending hours untangling these yarns that do not even bring me pleasure I just took some scissors, cut it loose from the rest of the balls and put it in the bin.
I’m master of the yarns!

Zipper playing

The third thing I found in the sock yarn stash were…. socks. Socks on needles. WIPs.
Three pair of orange socks that only needed some cuffs. All knitted in 2009, when I was a new knitter and wanted all my socks to be orange.
Because orange is fun to knit and orange socks are fun to wear. Back then I needed serious “lift me up” from my socks as I was severely bed bound and the only thing I saw all day was the ceiling and, if I managed to sit up a bit, my socks.
Happy orange socks for the win!

This is the very first pair I ever knitted. December 2008.
This is the pair where the magic of “turning the heel” happened for me. That’s as important as your first handspun. Or realizing one can think in a sequence of spaces instead of masses (if you’re an architect). Or deciphering squiggly lines into separate letters and learning to read.

I still have these socks and I still wear them. Even though I don’t need many orange socks these days. These days my socks need to fit my dress. So muted colours and misty greens are more my thing.
Still, finding socks that only need a cuff? Finish them!

This is one pair in the sock yarn stash. It’s knitted a bit loosely because back then I didn’t know I needed smaller needles. “Everybody knits at 2,5 mm.”
I’m giving them a cuff right now. In garter stitch because I still don’t care much for ribbing.

The other pair is made with leftover of the yarn from my very first sock, the Phildar Hobby:

They were started in 2009 and I noted:
“Stashbusting and not bothering to make matching socks. freedom :)
using a ball of yarn from a frogged sock which was double knitting. So now I have to make two socks on one circular at the same time. Trust me to insert stripes and different coloured heels and toes and causing the socks not to progress at the same rate while the ball gives its two strands simultaneously. great fun.”

I have no idea what I’m writing here. But I seem to feel the duty to knit two matching socks. That was all the rage back then. I felt a bit rebellious not conforming.
17 July 2009 I started this project. Today I finished them:

Yarn is Phildar Hobby, on the colour Piment. Discontinued by now. I’ll weave in the ends now.

I found another project from way back then. Another one where I didn’t want to knit the ribbed cuff:

I so loved this yarn. It’s one of the first “expensive” yarns that I bought. And by that I mean: decent yarn. Just a decent sock yarn that will result in good socks with good wearability. I remember buying it. On sale, because I was stupid. It’s a Trekking that I overdyed to be more orange and warm. So happy with it, back in 2009:

This is what I wrote back then:
“Such lovely colors to work with! First toe-up sock for me. Still figuring out size.

summer ‘09: these have been finished for months, apart from the cuffs…. and I do not like knitting ribbing. Don’t scream now, but I will frog these.
Good yarn to get back :)

Whatever possessed me to get rid of socks that run so high up the calf?? I must have thought them not worthy of this expensive yarn.
It explains that in 2015 this is what I found:

A sock and a half.

It’ll do.
These won’t even need a cuff. A rolled hem is the most sturdy edge there is. Just bind them off and start expressing my inner Pippi:

Spun up the white “fauxlags”

133 m laceweight out of 20 grams of faux rolags containing various white fibres, both natural and non-natural. I saw silk, wool, glitter, milk fibre, tencel, bamboo.
Fun to do for once. But I won’t be doing it again, I don’t like to spin the non-wool and non-silk fibres. And I don’t particular enjoy “fauxlags”.
But a nice skein to have. I’m going to combine it with other “mini skeins” I spun.

pictures of Skew socks

Here are some pictures of the Comfort Skew socks this morning:

They’ve been worn one day, both in shoes and without shoes on the couch. The yarn already looks a bit ratty. Not too wild about the quality of this H&W Comfort Sock yarn, I fear. I’m used to sock brands like Regia and Opal and Drops Fabel and this yarn might be just a bit different. Not less..
We’ll see how they hold up. This may be just some initial shedding of fibres that were not caught too tightly in the plying.
I’ll cut away the fuzz before they become serious pilling and see how the yarn behaves with future use. Because I’m going to wear this socks often, I love the colour.

I’ve realized that I like my socks to be in muted colours, overall. Although bright colours are fun to knit with, I have little use for bright coloured socks. I’m glad to announce that I have some relaxed colours sockyarn in my stash.
And an appetite for more Skews.

Here are the pictures of the Snake Skews that I finished and have also worn already:

Hjertegarn is a new sock yarn to me. It seems to hold well, comparable to Regia etc.
I did have some issues getting command of the pattern. The left sock is too long in the foot. The right sock lost the plot where the bands split at my inner ankle.
They are good socks nevertheless and I love the colour.
I didn’t get the 6 st wide bands to line up properly at the back. Still beautiful.

All this talk about muted colours and I now have to confess that I started a new Skew which will feature some bright orange stripes. It’s the Lammy sock yarn from Sokike Sock, which seems to hold up just as well as any Regia, combined with a solid grey sockyarn by Scheepjes. I’m looking forward how the Scheepjes will wear, it’s my first time knitting with it. It’s a well known brand in the Netherlands, people generally like it. But on Ravelry some Americans have complained about its sturdyness.
So I’ll find out.

Lammy Skew: 2 rows of Lammy, 2 rows of Scheepjes.
As much as I detest stripes in pullovers and shawls, I love them on socks, especially when the pattern plays with them. And this pattern does!
So that’s one not-so-muted Skew on the needles.

Luckily I have two balls of more laid back colours to knit a muted Skew with.
One is another new brand to me, BBB filati Super Trekking. In light greys with greyed green. It’s a lofty, squishy yarn.

My awful picture of colourway 583:

Rakuten has a better one:

This ball fell into my purse when I purchased the ball of solid grey earlier this week.
(it did pass the till when it fell, I did pay for it. But not as much as Rakuten charges!)
As I love socks with contrasting toes, heels and cuffs or in this case: stripes to emphesize the pattern, I only need one nice 50 grams ball of sock yarn and then a little bit of solid yarn to compliment it with. It works for my regular socks:

It works for Skews. I tried a muted solid blue with the BBB yarn. But I could soon see the blue was pushing the muted colours to the background instead of lifting them up.


This is now frogged. A light grey may be better.
Contemplating colours is fun though. Because adding a solid makes a yarn and a sock so differently. You’ve got to think about contrast and value and overall effect.

The other ball of more muted coloured sockyarn is the Meilenweit SPicy I showed earlier. It’s a 100 gram ball… that is so much yarn! Two pairs of socks.

Which is why: Spicy Skews!

Two rows of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Spicy yarn, colour 8202, with every third row a semisolid darkish greenblue sockyarn of unknown heritage, handdyed by a friend of mine and used in the Karma Knus Deken blanket.

This yarn is rather loosely plied. It will be interesting to see how it holds up in socks. I’m making the mental note that I better wash these by hand. Not in the machine like regular Opal or Regia or Drops Fabel.
The Lana Grossa feels like the Regia quality.

I wanted to make the pattern more visible with stripes. I’m not sure it’s working yet. The Meilenweit can knit up in various way, as shown by my internet picture sleuthing.
More of a gradient than stripes.
That’s me sorted then. Still knitting Skews. Still proofreading the pattern I made for it. Of course it’s not as finished as I thought it was. So it may well be another week (or two) before I can share it.

In the mean time I’m also spinning. And today I’m picking up Sprig pullover again.
But first I’ll play around with sock colours some more, looking to pick another match for another pair of Skews. For a future project. I swear.

Finished: fourth pair of Skews!

Some evening pictures:

I’ll retake these tomorrow.
Later this week I hope to write out the pattern in a blogpost because I’ve modified it now to perfection, even if I do say so myself. And I get a say since I am wearing perfectly fitting Skews at the moment!

They’re modified for my high instep, my slender ankles and my weirdly broad foot/toe.

I knitted the band that runs around the back as long as it needed for me to fit, this was 12 rows more than the pattern stated. I kitchenered over 8 stitched instead of the 12 the pattern proposes.
But then I added another 2 x 6 stitches because I prefer a broader band to hug the backside of the heel.
It was a bit fiddly to get them to meet properly. But I managed and am proud of this:

The dark blue grey line is the piece of yarn that kitchenered the two pieces together.

It started out like this: a big slap of fabric. This is the sole of the sock with the left marker marking the 6 st wide band and the right marker where the heel decreases should be. On the left is also the “mini gusset” which later becomes the other half of the leg stitches and ought to be 36 stitches by then.
On the left, where the round starts, is the 2 st band that travels up the leg. The needle points to where the original beginning of the round was, where you to follow the original pattern.

It’s supposed to fold back on itself at the heelmarker which is at the outer most left side of this picture:

It’s hard to explain when you’re not knitting the pattern. If you are knitting it it all makes sense once you stop trying to wrap your brain around things and just follow the pattern. I still don’t understand the pattern fully. I understand about half of it and played around with the numbers to get to my own version. Which I’ll post later on or, if you read a bit of Dutch too, you can already have a look at my raw notes for the Right Sock on my project page.

I very much like nice details so I paid attention to what kind of increases/decreases went where when the bands split. Just so the bands would be well defined: a 2 stitch band travelling up the leg and the 6 st band travelling along the back of my heel:

At the left some heel decreases are visible. This is the point where the gap was just closed. I’m about to start kitchenering. There are 96 stitches at this moment. But before there were 104!
A normal sock has 64 stitches or perhaps 84 when you’re knitting very tight or have a big foot. The Skewed fabric demands more stitches because it stretches so differently.

Yes, I’m very happy with them. The fit is great!

I wonder if with this last pair my Skew itch is now taken care of. This is the third pair finished in the past two weeks! I’ve got enough socks to wear this Summer, surely?
I’ve figured out my own pattern, that’s an accomplishment.
And I’m back at the cabin and in this environment and this great weather spinning and Spring Brioche Shawl and Sprig and Deco Cardi are very inviting.

But I may have to knit one more pair…. just to be sure my pattern really works. To really establish this new habit. And I did buy one more green striping sock yarn that I’d like to enhance with a solid so I get really hard defined stripes… they would show of the pattern so well!

Lana Grossa Meilenweit Spicy yarn, colour 8202.

And I also have a wonderful handdyed skein that’s been singing to me for a long time now. I think it would be a delight to knit with and yield small stripes that look extremely good in a Skew sock:

Wol met Verve, a great indy yarn dyer.

Well, I’ll sleep on it. And dream of my wonderful Skews. All six of them.

Skew 3.14159265359

Lente Skews are finished! Project page is here.

One old, one new, one striped, one blue (couch):

I’m wearing them today. They fit so well! (I wove in the ends. Also from the right sock, 4 years after it was finished).

The first Comfort Skew went ZOOM! on the train last Wednesyday. The day after, while resting, I magiced the heel together. Nice fit too! Although it ended up with a weirdly low placed band across the back of the ankle… this pattern is surprising every time.

Ravelry project page is here

This yarn is “printed” or sprayed with dye. Not dipped into a vat of dye. That means that the yarn has a front and a back, the back didn’t get much colour. It causes all the lighter and white accents in the fabric.

It causes a lot of colour nuances in each cm of yarn, which makes it a visual joy to knit with. The yarn is a bit thicker than the Virgo from Lente Skew socks. As I’m using the same numbers this sock ends up being a bit stiffer, more sturdy, than Lente Skew.

All that’s left now is to knit the leg. Round and round.

Snake Skew is also still in the round and round phase which is just as well because tomorrow I’m on the train again. Both Skews are coming with.

Ravelry project page to be found here

I like this colour. It reminds me of one of my favourite stones at the moment: Labradorite. Brown, blue, grey, green. Misty and sparkly.

This one is parked on two bamboo needles because I only have two 2mm circular needles at the moment. One has Comfort Skew on it and has a badly mangled cable, I think the couch stomped on it at one time. Pushing the needles over it is not easy. The other needle had Lente Skew on it and is free now. I could transfer this Snake Skew to it.

But I also kind of want to start the other toe of the second Comfort Skew because then I have plenty of round and round knitting to do for my second day of travelling tomorrow.

Ack, the logistics of too many sock wishes and not enough needles!

Weird Wool Wednesday: round and round

Today I’m travelling on a train. While en route, it’s important to have a project that’s easy knitting. Yesterday morning I finished my one Snake Skew, so I cast on for the second one but only made a small start. Now I can do the easy part on the train and just go round and round and round.

I forced myself to stop knitting on it and put it in a WIP bag for travel. Which meant I found myself with idle hands yesterday afternoon. I did hear some faint calling from Spring Brioche Shawl and Deco Cardi but I was high on my finished Skew. It’s a real accomplishment when you manage to wrap that awkward piece of knitting around your ankle and have a sock emerge!
I felt a genius (even though my Snake Skew doesn’t fit too well because I was trying to be smart. But I know what I did wrong now and I think I’ll do better on a next one.)

Feeling confident, I dug up my favourite Lente Skew and put its sleepy stitches on a needle to see where it’s at:

This is the second Spring Skew that has been living in my house, unfinished, for four years now. That’s right. I checked the project page. It was put into hibernation in Spring 2011.
Here it is with its mate that was finished that same Spring of 2011:

Can you see the difference in vibrancy? The left one is surely been used. Its colours have faded somewhat.
The one in progress was just at the point where the Skew pattern magic begins. You have to separate one band into two, one band travelling up your leg, the other one going around the back of your ankle. There are all kinds of magical increases and lots of stitch markers dangling and you don’t know what’s what when suddenly you have to start heel decreases 10 stitches from the end of the round. You really have to follow the pattern without questions and hope your gauge and your foot match the pattern.

Or, if you’re like me and think you can improve on each and every pattern, you try to understand what’s going on and can’t figure it out and then you loose confidence. For a few years.
Until one day you find yourself on the couch, it’s a lovely sunny Spring day and you’ve got time to spare and a brain that works and you’ve just finished one Skew and have some idea how this pattern folds into a sock.

That’s when you take the time to knit your little heart out and find a way to indeed alter the pattern to match your foot specifics. At the end of the day you might get this:

Two Skew socks! One fresh, one a bit weathered. Great stripes. Beautiful fit, especially on the new one! All magic worked on that one! It has a heel, I did the “origami moment’ and it fits my high instep and my skinny ankle. Succes!

All that remains to be done now is to knit the leg and add a cuff. It’s the kind of mindless knitting in the round and round and round that would go well with a train ride.

That’s why I put it aside at this point. It’s coming with me and the itty bitty Snake Skew toe on the train. Because you never know how fast I might get to work that second Snake Skew and if I come to that point where the bands split and the numbers start dancing, I might not want to tackle it right then and there. Rather change it for another simple project that goes round and round and round.

Well, that’s my knitting sorted for the train ride then. Two Skews at convenient train knitting points of progress.
I put them in the WIP bag and looked around for something else to knit.
There was still one hour left on my Tuesday evening. What to do, what to do.
hmmm… I do have one other ball of scrumptious sock yarn in this house…

That little dark triangle is the toe of my new project, Comfort Skew.

I parked the Lente Skew on the two bamboo dpns that have been holding this WIP for four years now. Just so I could get my hands on the 2 mm circular needle and knit a toe on a new Skew.

The yarn is H&W Comfort-Wolle Sockenwolle Comfort Color that I bought as a souvenir when visiting my own city. It will knit up beautifully, in broad stripes in earthy colours with a happy streak of green and blue.

It too is now at a convenient round-and-round-and-round point.
I better bring it on the train too…
You never know when you’re in need of a back up knitting project for your back up knitting project.

Progress on Spring Brioche Shawl

I’ve poured hours and hours into this but it’s very slow progress. Due to the short rows, working to and fro.

It turns out nice though, just like I expected it to.
It’s more stretchy than I had foreseen though. I’m hoping it’ll block out. And my iPad tried to enhance the photo and failed. There are no white specks in this shawl.

I’m doing Double Dutch Technique and consequently consume more of the light green Wollmeise Zarte Knopse than of the dark green Spinaci. I may have to buy more. Woe is mine :D