FO: Mince Pie Mayhem (Finally)

I have an FO!  And it's Friday!  I am more than thrilled that I finally finished a project this month, and it was one of my most challenging in a while.  It took long enough, right?

These are Mince Pie Mayhem from Socktopus.  It's a gorgeous pattern that is so deceptively complicated this is actually my second attempt.  The first is still stuck in a bag up in my stash cabinet, hiding from the shame of defeat.  But not any more!

The tricky thing about these socks is that every four rows you are doing a cable crossing of knits and purls and there's no way to knit them without taking all the stitches off the needles and rearranging them (at least no way that I could find).  And because the stitch pattern pulls in, it is way more than my normal 64 stitch circumference.  But even trickier than the cabling was the heel turn.  Actually, I could not make it work, so after three tries I finally gave up and switched it out for a garter stitch short row and then rapidly decreased down the foot.

But the best thing about these socks is the yarn.  I got this skein of Space Cadet as a Christmas present and I absolutely love it.  The colors mix with the sparkle perfectly to create a beautifully melded pallet that was a real joy to work with.

I just wish the sock had gone a little more smoothly.


Snowy Greetings

Greetings from the frozen South, where all 100 counties in North Carolina have been impacted by snowy weather that started yesterday.  We got at least three inches here so work was cancelled and I spent the day home with the puppy, a book, and a big pot of tea.

One of the reasons I've been so sporadic in my updates lately is because I have had so little progress on my socks that I feel almost ashamed to share them with you.  Which I admit, is silly, but I finally made enough headway to confidently cast on a new project that I've had hanging out ready to go for a while now.  What you see there is the start of one sleeve of Ginny's Cardigan out of some lovely Unwind Yarn Company Touring DK.  Since snapping that photo this morning I have finished the ribbing on sleeve one and started sleeve two.  My plan is to knit them both two at a time once I have the ribbing done.  So far so good.

And what post could be complete without some looks at the puppy enjoying the snow?

He thinks snow is just the coolest thing ever, but every flake is still suspect until it has been properly sniffed.


Very Slow Progress

The thing about focusing on my health above other pursuits is that it has decreased the amount of time I spend knitting.  I'm working out in some capacity six days a week. I'm going to bed at reasonable hours and letting myself sleep in if I don't have to be anywhere.  And I've read four books (The Indigo Spell, Infected, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, and The Shambling Guide to New York City) towards my goal of 25.  All of this has in turns distracted me from the most complicated socks ever.

It is a little frustrating to feel like I am making no measured process.  Here we are, 23 days into the year, and I have not finished a thing.  I have one completed sock and I am almost to the heel turn of the second, but I am beginning to worry that I will not have them finished before the end of the month to turn in for this month's class assignment.  I stayed up far too late last night to get to the last pattern repeat pre-heel.

The trouble comes from the fact that the cable crosses are insanely tedious.  Every few rows every stitch crosses with another stitch, but I have to take them off the needle and rearrange them.  No easy knit behind or in front of a stitch.  No no.  These are all knit stitches crossing over purl stitches.

Well, I said I wanted more cabling in my life.  I really should watch what I put out there in the universe.


Of Most Maddening Socks

Happy Monday!  Another week has come and gone and man what a week it was.  I try to keep discussion of my journey with headaches (to put it nicely) to a minimum, but this week was a doozy.  I did a lot of lying flat on my back with a pillow over my head, which was not conducive to good knitting.  It does not help that I picked what is turning into the hardest sock ever to knit as my first January turn in for Knit and Crochet House Cup.

Honestly I should probably go start something super fast and simple just to be sure I get something turned in this month.  The sock is gorgeous, but that patterning is harder than it looks.  Every other row is a cable crossing and half of those cross knits with purls.  I am not using a cable needle, but they are still a challenge.  And then there was the heel.  I'm not sure if you are familiar with Mince Pie Mayhem, but it has a gorgeously constructed heel that brings the patterning down while building a gusset so that you don't have to pick up stitches.  Brilliant!  Gorgeous!  So not working for me.

Yesterday after my third attempt to make the instructions make sense (Seriously, according to Ravelry I am the only one incapable of this) I ended up subbing in the short row heel from the V Junkie pattern.  The result has been very gratifying and I worked it over the same number of stitches the heel was supposed to take.  But now I won't have the lovely sweeping panels of stockinette enclosing the patterned instep to a sweetly rounded toe.  Instead I'm decreasing all of my extra stitches and trying on the sock every other row to make sure it does not stretch awkwardly across the top of my foot.  It'd be quite maddening if I did not love the yarn so (Space Cadet Creations Lucina in After a Flame).

Maybe I should just go swatch for a sweater.


Resolved Reading

Happy New Year!  I can't believe we are already a week in.  Where has the time gone?  Well, I know where a lot of mine has.

I've said before that I am not one for New Year's resolutions, but I did make one this year.  I finally seem to be coming out the other side from these concentration problems as the medication I was on works its way out of my system, and one of the things I realize I miss a lot is reading.  It is one of several things I did not realize I was really doing without when I was in the middle of it, and I have a lot of time to make up for.  I need time away from screens, be they computer, phone, or television to reteach myself concentration. So in addition to all of the things I started late last year to recoup my health, I've decided to read 25 books this year.

If you knew me before all of this happened, 25 books seems like a low number.  And I have already finished the first in just a week (The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead, book 3 of the Bloodlines Series).  But I wanted to make a goal that is achievable.  I made a crazy used book order and have seven books winging their way to me right now (hopefully they beat all of this weather), so that I can get a start on reading two books a month. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to increase that number as my brain remembers how to concentrate more.

And in the meantime I am working away on my first sock of the year -- Mince Pie Mayhem in Space Cadet Creations Lucina.