Tag Archives: Madeline Tosh

Still winter

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There was a brief moment last week when I thought the end was in sight. The temperatures crept up to the -9 to 0 range (15 to 32 F) and I spent the weekend in my pea coat instead of my parka for the first time in ages. But winter is back. It’s going to snow and snow this week, and although the temperatures aren’t going to drop horribly, it is definitely still winter.

I am such a fan of this colour.

I am such a fan of this colour.

The one up-side to all of this is that it means I didn’t knit these super-warm socks in vain. These are Rye, by tincanknits, one of the great (and free) patterns from their Simple Collection, knit up in Tosh Vintage in the Amber Trinket colourway.

I may not be totally over the thrill of how quickly worsted-weight socks knit up. These took a week. A week in which I worked six of seven days, and worked long days for about half that stretch. These socks took a week from start to finish without even trying. I swear, if you just hunkered down, you could probably knock out a pair of these in a weekend.

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For some reason, when I first saw this pattern, I thought the garter stitch panel looked like it would be bulky, or uncomfortable to wear inside boots or shoes, but I was totally wrong. The texture is a great way to show off a fun colourway, but the garter nestles right in and doesn’t add any extra bulk. Plus, combine a two-row repeat and worsted-weight yarn and, well, I mentioned they were fast, right?

Weirdly, both cuffs/legs of the socks were knit from the same skein, despite looking totally different. The feet (top photo) are different dyelots, though.

Weirdly, both cuffs/legs of the socks were knit from the same skein, despite looking totally different. The feet (top photo) are different dyelots, though. (I should also say that the socks are in the same order in each photo. So, the right sock has a light leg and a dark foot, and the left sock as a dark leg and a light foot. The entire right sock  and the left leg are all knit from the same skein.)

I used just over one skein of yarn (you can definitely see the difference in the dyelots) and I’m already planning another pair, using these leftovers for contrast cuffs/heels/toes. I was predicting a long cold winter back in the fall, so if I find myself casting on another pair of these, I won’t beat myself up about it. It’s still winter, and another pair of warm socks won’t go amiss.

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Details
Pattern: Rye by tincanknits
Yarn: Tosh Vintage in Amber Trinket
Needles: 3.25mm
Notes: I used the small needles for the whole pattern, rather than changing after the ribbing. I also did my normal slip-stitch heel, rather than the stockinette heel in the pattern. I stopped the foot pattern 1/4-inch before indicated so the toe would be smooth, and if I go ahead with my contrast-toe plans I might stop the garter a few rows earlier still. Ravelled here.

I don’t know why I’m surprised

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Every year – Every. Year. – at the end of October the same thing happens: the temperature falls, Rhinebeck happens (and I don’t go), and then what feels like a million gorgeous sweaters show up on Ravelry, making me want to knit sweaters, which is perfect, because it’s cold. This is also the time of year when I realize it’s almost NaKniSweMo (national knit a sweater month), and I get all excited about taking part.

Except. Except by now I’m starting to feel the weight (just a little) of my grand holiday knitting plans, so I can’t actually cast on for any sweaters, but I can probably justify swatching. When I realize this, every year, I vow to start my holiday knitting early next year (like, in-June early) so that I’m far enough ahead that I can take November off to knit myself a sweater. And then I feel a little guilty about wishing I was knitting for myself instead of for my family, who all really appreciate hand-knits and generally make requests months in advance.

You’d think I’d learn, right? But no. So instead of casting on immediately for a new sweater I am dreaming. My dream is that I finish my holiday knitting by the end of November so I can cast on for a sweater in early December. (It’s not a very profound dream, I realize that, but there it is.) I’m having a bit of an Amy Herzog moment, so she (or, her designs) feature rather prominently.

Four skeins of Falkland in Dusty Miller.

Four skeins of Falkland in Dusty Miller.

First, I got home last night to find this gorgeous, gorgeous yarn waiting for me. It’s Falkland (80% British Falkland merino, 20% bamboo) from Kettle Yarn Co. in Dusty Miller (do you read Linda’s blog? It’s great.) I requested a custom order, since she didn’t have enough of what I wanted available in her shop, and she didn’t even blink!

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I wish there was a way for you to squish this yarn through the screen. There is so much spring to it, and it is so, so soft, with just the most subtle shine from the bamboo. The colour is subtle and warm and it’s exactly the sort of thing I would happily wear everyday. Thus, I want it to become the kind of sweater I can wear everyday. I did a lot of searching for a suitable pattern, but in the end, I think I’m going to use this to try out Amy’s new Custom Fit system to configure a pullover. For the first time in my life, I’m excited to swatch because it will allow me to figure out what fabric I like best, rather than try to fuss around and get a certain gauge. I can’t wait!

After that, I’m thinking I could use another warm and cozy cardigan, and Amy’s new Acorn Trail design is so me I can’t believe it isn’t in my closet already. I love the texture and the play between the cables and the lace, and yeah, I love it. My plan is to knit it up in Madelinetosh Vintage (which just arrived in the shop and, despite my efforts, I was unable to resist) in Tart.

Seven skeins of Tosh Vintage in Tart, more than enough for any sweater I want to knit.

Seven skeins of Tosh Vintage in Tart, more than enough for any sweater I want to knit.

 

I find reds tricky to photograph, but this is a sort of deep, smoky red. I worry a little that it’s too variegated for this pattern, but that’s another reason to spend some time swatching (either it’ll knit up more or less as a solid, or it’ll be more striated, we shall see.)

So, consider this a preview of what’s to come over the next few months. In the meantime, back to those socks. I’m hoping to be half-way through the second Saltburn by the end of the weekend – what are your weekend plans?

From the Frolic

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I’ve been on a bit of an inadvertent stash stockpile in the last few months and I think I’ve discovered what’s up (besides and obvious love of yarn): this is stress stashing. I’ve never really been someone who bought into the idea of retail therapy (hah), but yarn and clothes are very different beasts. There have been big changes at the Post in the last few months and work has been crazy and the result has been a lot of yarn coming into this little apartment (and yes, L has noticed).

I, however, am not worried, because I have a plan. Or, many plans. I bought Rachel Coopey’s Coop Knits Socks last week and, although it has not yet arrived (yes, I bought the hardcopy; it comes with a code for a digital download, so it’s win-win), I am planning. At the Frolic last weekend I picked up:

Orange!

Orange!

Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss (explanation behind that colourway name here). This is destined to become Willowherb. (After the Frolic, in a fit of why-didn’t-I-buy-it remorse, I swept over to the Indigodragonfly site and picked up three more skeins of this yarn in various colourways. I am well stocked now.)

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I also snagged a skein of Tosh Sock in Maple Leaf (it takes a Texan to see maple leafs as anything but red, I think, but this is exactly the colour of the maple leaves that are bursting forth right now, and I love it.) I’m going to turn it into Calamint. I’m not sure what the other skein, in Spectrum, will be – maybe another pair of these?

toshDK-cosmos

A skein of Tosh DK, in Cosmos, also snuck home with me, and while I’m not totally sure, I suspect it’ll be a pair of Stepping-Stones for me. Every winter I tell myself to knit some thick socks and every winter I don’t; this winter I’ll have no excuse.

So, that’s the yarn. I also picked up a Sweater Stone for de-pilling and a pair of sock blockers. These are just slightly smaller than my feet, which I think is good since it leaves the sock with a little stretch to ensure a snug fit. I got a pair (set?) of the metal ones and so far I like them just fine – they remind me of my grandparents’ bathroom, because every time we visited my grandmother always had several pairs of my grandpa’s socks hanging to dry over the radiator on giant sock blockers. (This is also why I call all thick and wooly socks “Grandpa Socks.”)

I will have an update on my Happy Street shawl soon (stripes are worthy of in-progress photos since they make for such delightfully visual progress). I am knitting away and have been monogamous since casting on. It’s driving me crazy, so if I can get the third repeat finished tomorrow, I’m taking the sock out with me for a few rounds at least.

New sock day!

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One of the reasons being a knitter is so awesome is because it offers the opportunity for fairly frequent joy. Oh yes, there’s usually an equal measure of frustration, but it’s those little joys that stand out. Today, that joy is putting on the brand new socks I finished yesterday. (Also, that joy is getting to cast on for another pair, which I obviously did, but that’s for another post.)

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These are pretty simple socks, and I will knit them again because they’re just a little bit more interesting to knit than plain stockinette without really requiring much more focus. I knit these in the car, on the subway, and during many episodes of The Wire. Basically, they were just what I wanted them to be, and even though I was starting to dream of other socks by the end there, this pretty flickering green kept my attention from wandering too much. And, speaking of the colour, this is a great one for winter knitting. It has been pretty wintry in Toronto in the past few weeks, and getting to look at this bright colour on a regular basis was very nice indeed.

Details
Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder (it’s a free one)
Yarn: Tosh Sock in Jade
Needles: 2.25mm
Modifications: Very few (and detailed here). I opted to do my normal slip-stitch heel instead of the garter-stitch edged one in the pattern. I also opted to do twisted ribbing at the top, which looks nice and is very elastic, but also annoyingly time consuming (I swear the ribbing took me almost as long as the entire leg.)

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Now, I know the responsible thing to do would be to go finish the second sock from this pair, and I really was going to do that, but then this other yarn caught my eye and before I knew what was happening I was finished the ribbing and into the leg on new socks. I couldn’t help it. I mean, look at this yarn! Sigh.

Zitron Unisono sport weight in colourway 1220. This yarn is so springy and soft it is not to be believed. Also, it has aloe and jojoba in it. And it's going to stripe. How was I supposed to resist that?

Zitron Unisono sport weight in colourway 1220. This yarn is so springy and soft it is not to be believed. Also, it has aloe and jojoba in it. And it’s going to stripe. How was I supposed to resist that?

Lots of snow means lots of knitting

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I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, which meant that every winter we’d get close to a dozen snow days (one year, we had so many school was almost extended into the summer to make up for it). Snow days were, of course, the best, and usually an excuse to sleep late and be lazy all day (except when we were little and then they were an excuse for a lot of playing). Living in Toronto, we don’t tend to get much snow, and working at a newspaper, my workplace is never closed because of weather.

Last week, though, Toronto got hit. That same big storm that barrelled through the the East Coast hit us first, and although we didn’t get quite as much snow, we got a lot (over a foot!). It mostly came on Friday and, yes, I had to work, but waking up on Saturday to a city that was still digging out meant that everything was quite and beautiful and wintry. If that combination doesn’t fill you with the desire to knit, well, I don’t know what does.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

L was busy marking assignments, so while we did go walking around in the snow and admiring how much prettier the city is in the snow – it was one of those perfect winter weekends, with a bright blue sky and no wind and snow everywhere – I spent the majority of the weekend happily knitting and listening to Tina Fey read Bossypants.

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I was was a little all over the place knitting-wise, but here’s what I occupied my needles most:

I wish I'd taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove cardigan.

I wish I’d taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove Season cardigan.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I'm knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I’m knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

And, last but not least, I'm making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They're good TV knitting, and with the cold, I'm extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

And, last but not least, I’m making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They’re good TV knitting, and with the cold, I’m extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

A little all over the place maybe, but I like variety; it keeps me interested and helps ensure my hands don’t get tired or sore. Those cables are addictive, though, and if it’s still cold out when I finish that hat I will probably cast on right away for the matching cowl!

Not quite a pair

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I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it would seem that the last pair of socks I knit doesn’t match. At all.

mismatched

I am not chalking this up to second sock syndrome, though, because there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this. Let’s start with the sock on the left. I started these, according to Ravelry, on Oct. 30. It was background knitting in November and themn, after finishing the first one, shit got real with my Christmas knitting and the socks were put aside.  (A noble sacrifice, really, and nothing to do with how much I wished they were Jaywalkers like my other ones or how tedious I find ribbing.)

A basic 3x1 ribbed sock in Fleece Artist BFL sock, colourway Seafoam.

A basic 3×1 ribbed sock in Fleece Artist BFL sock, colourway Seafoam.

After my Christmas knitting was done, I was determined to knit myself Christmas socks, and since this pair was half-finished it would have been cheating to pick them back up. So, I packed the yarn for my Biscotti socks and left these in Toronto when I went home for Christmas. I didn’t want the distraction of the easy gratification of just finishing one sock and calling it a pair, and I truly didn’t think the Biscotti socks would only take a week.

Hermione's Everyday Socks, knit in Tosh Sock colourway Jade. It turns out this particular combination is impossible to properly photograph on a cloudy day (the colour is more accurate on Ravelry).

Hermione’s Everyday Socks, knit in Tosh Sock colourway Jade. It turns out this particular combination is impossible to properly photograph on a cloudy day (the colour is more accurate on Ravelry).

But, they did. And that quick knit combined with potential travel delays forced me to ball up a skein of Tosh Sock I bought at a Boxing Day sale. Nevermind that I didn’t actually need to cast on for new socks in this yarn until after I got home, where the Seafoam socks were waiting. That’s irrelevant. In my mind, I’d already planned new socks in this yarn and so, to scratch that itch, I cast on. They were background knitting in January and now, here I am almost in February, with an entirely mismatched pair.

To solve this problem, I’ve decided to keep trucking away on the green socks and get them finished, and then finish the Seafoam ones, which are in a very spring-ish colourway and thus won’t hurt for the wait. In the meantime, though, I’m half considering wearing them as a pair (even though they would look ridiculous and feel very different on my feet) just because I could really have used another pair of socks right about now.

Looking ahead to 2013

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It never really feels like a new year has begun until I have a new day planner. It probably sounds really quaint that I still use paper, but I have tried iCal and Google Calendar and the calendar on my phone and, frankly, I hate them all. I like writing things down and being able to map things out and add Post-It lists, and I really like having them as a record of my year. I don’t keep a diary anymore, so instead I use my day planner to keep track of things and while most of it is boring work stuff, it’s also a record of plans with friends, holidays, and all the fun stuff in my life.

Anyway, now that the organizational side of my brain has the whole year laid out in paper-form, I thought maybe my creative side should try to do a little goal-setting too. I’m not big on resolutions (it seems the point is more to make them than to work toward them), but I like goals (they’re more active and less lofty, it seems to me), so here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

1. Complete a sweater. I came so close with Buckwheat, but the endless stockinette killed me. This year, I want to get past that. I wear a lot of sweaters (pullovers and cardigans) in the winter, fall, and spring, so besides being a milestone in knitting, they’re a super practical addition to my wardrobe.

2. Learn to knit toe-up socks. I knit a lot of socks and generally don’t feel limited by my top-down style. Still, I learned a bunch of skills last year, and I don’t want to stagnate (as if that’s even possible with knitting.)

3. Consider the stash first. Deciding to go on a yarn diet would be pointless, because as soon as I said it I’d itch to buy something. Instead, when starting something new or eyeing a new pattern, I will look to my stash first. I have a lot of awesome yarn there, and it’s easy to forget that when the lure of a new project is dangling in front of me; however, I am running out of space, and want to use the yarn I bought, so it gets first priority. If, though, I don’t have what I need, or there’s a good reason to buy more yarn (I’m on a trip, it’s crazy on sale, whatever) I give myself permission to do so.

4. Be a more creative cook. Our New Year’s Eve dinner party went really well, and I want to have more of them (although maybe with fewer people – cooking for 11 is a lot of work). I don’t cook as much as I used to, and when I do I often make the same things. This year I want to try and branch out, both in terms of what I cook and who I cook for.

5. Publish a couple of patterns. I have a few designs kicking around that I’ve been too lazy to publish, and that’s dumb. This isn’t so much a pride thing as it is about creativity and being part of the larger community, and I want to dive in there.

Alright, that out of the way, here’s what’s on my needles to start 2012:

First up, my Woodstove Season cardigan. This may well be what accomplishes Goal 1, and I really hope it is because I love the design and the wool, and I really want to wear it.

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I'm knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I’m knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

I picked up some Tosh Sock at Gaspereau Valley Fibres when I was at home over the holidays (I did a bit of yarn shopping, actually, but we can talk about that later) and after I finished my Cranberry Biscotti Socks, I cast on for new ones. I hemmed and hawed about the pattern, but after casting on for three different ones, I settled on Hermione’s Everyday Socks since they were simple and pretty. I like them a lot.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Lastly, this clearly isn’t quite on my needles yet, but this yarn will become the Moose Gloves you see in the photo (no one on Ravelry has made this pattern, so there’s no link).

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose.

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose and patterning. (The red is only slightly less vibrant in person.)

L has wanted these gloves since before he bought me Norwegian Mittens and Gloves (they are why he bought it) and his birthday is coming up, so I’m going to buckle down and knit them up. The pattern calls for sport-weight, but since they all run a little small, I’m going to hold this fingering weight Shetland double. In my head, this is a perfect solution – what do you think?

So, that’s three projects on the go, plus five goals – not a bad start to the year. How’s your 2013 outlook?