Tag Archives: Monkeys

Cheerful toes

11

It’s a grey, wet, rainy day here in Toronto, so let’s look at some colour.

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I actually finished my Monkeys last week, on a day rather like this one, and it was a perfect pairing. I know the wisdom is that during the winter you should avoid knitting grey and white things so your entire world doesn’t become one monochromatic colour, but frankly I find grey spring days far worse than grey winter ones, and the bright colours of these socks were an excellent antidote to all the rain (and friggin’ cold weather) we’ve been getting.

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Monkey, of course, is a hugely popular pattern, but I wasn’t a knitter when it was published in 2006, so this is sort of catch-up for me. I will undoubtedly knit another pair – there are books I try to read every year and I suspect that, when it comes to knitting, spring will be greeted by a pair of Monkeys.

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Details
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A. (I used the original pattern, published in Knitty’s Winter 2006 issue, but she rereleased the pattern in her book and offers more sizes, etc. there)
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig (I know this yarn has Tough in its name, but honestly, it was wonderful to knit with. It feels strong and like it will last, but it’s still soft on your hands as you knit. I loved it.)
Needles: 2.75 mm
Mods: None. I used a larger needle so the pattern would fit my 9-inch feet, and I used my normal slip-stitch heel instead of the stockinette heel in the pattern, but otherwise, I worked it exactly as written. Details, such as they are, are ravelled here.

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I’m including this so you can see what the yarn did in stockinette. I love the way the swoops of the pattern broke up the flashing.

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Wild Monkeys

7

After knitting nothing but garter stitch for two weeks (and such a lot of garter stitch it was) I needed something entirely different. Naturally, my attention turned to socks. I actually cast on after finishing the fourth repeat of my shawl (so, okay, not two weeks of nothing but garter stitch, but pretty close). I didn’t yet have my copy of Coop Knits Socks, so I couldn’t start Willowherb, but I have had Cookie A.’s Monkey in my queue for almost a year now, so they seemed a suitable choice.

I'm using SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig.

I’m using SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig.

I’ve mentioned before that I wear socks year round. Not every day in the summer, of course, but if I’m wearing my Chucks, I’m wearing socks. Spring, especially, is sock weather, since although it’s warm when I go to work (averaging 20C these days) the temperature is still falling to around 8C by the time I leave, and that is too cold to not have socks and shoes on while waiting for the bus.

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This weather is perfect for lace socks. All that pretty patterning that is impractical when there’s snow on the ground is ideal right now, and will continue to be for the next few months. For all the socks I’ve knit for myself, though, I really only have two pairs of lace patterned socks. Not enough, clearly, so for the next few months I’m going to work on that portion of my sock drawer, which means lots of fun new patterns.

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These Monkeys were a great place to start. They’re pretty much knitting themselves (I knit half the ribbing when I cast on last week, the rest of the knitting has been in the last couple of days) and are a perfect canvast for this yarn. I’m knitting the classic, with-purls version of the pattern (from Knitty), and although I might knit no-purl Monkeys in the future, the texture of knits and purls is doing wonderful things to break up flashing and pooling, which I can see happening on the sole, where it doesn’t matter.

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Summer socks – I guess you have to be a knitter to get excited about such a thing, but man, is it too nerdy to say I can’t wait?

Sixth time’s the charm, and trip knitting!

1

So, it turns out that even when a rule is self-imposed and you’ve decided it’s arbitrary, there are consequence when you break it. To wit: remember how the other day I was all excited about starting the Colour Affection shawl  but really had to because it was Tuesday and Tuesdays are for my sweater? Well, yeah. I finished the decreases for the waist and then decided that maybe that fulfilled my sweater obligation, and then cast on for the shawl.

Well. I read the pattern (a point in my favour, I think) and then decided that a 4mm needle for fingering weight yarn seemed awfully big. I like a tight gauge, so I thought I’d knit this on a 3mm needle instead. So, I cast on, using a cable cast on. As soon as I saw it, though, I thought that’s too tight and pulled it off and re-cast on with a long-tail cast on. Nice and stretchy. Well, yes, but then you have to M1L and M1R in the first row, and that’s super awkward with a long-tail cast on, so I ripped it off again and then tried to cast on more loosely using my preferred cable method. Well, tiny needles and tiny wool and tiny stitches does not make picking up stitches very easy and somehow in the process of picking up the second one, I managed to drop all of them. That’s quite a talent, right?

At that point, I decided that maybe Veera was on to something with the 4mm needle. So I went and dug one up and cast on again, once again using the long-tail cast on. Of course, then I tried to pick up stitches and realized that it wasn’t going to work well, so I ripped it off again and switched back to the cable cast on (are you keeping up? That’s five times I’ve cast on for this so far – thank goodness it’s only 5 stitches to start with). Anyway, that seemed to work, so I started the pattern. I was about 9 rows in when I thought I had a problem.

It looks more like a pouch than a shawl, right?

See that? I’m a big believer in the magic of blocking, but I just wasn’t convinced blocking was going to save me. My edges just seemed too tight. It was puckering. I was convinced that when I was finished and took it off the needles the edge wouldn’t block straight, but would instead give me a hump. That is not what I want. So, I ripped it off my needles. Of course, though, as soon as it was off, this happened.

Oh wait, the pouch fanned out just the way the pattern indicates it should. Rats.

Apparently, it was fine. But, because of the picked up stitches and whatnot, I decided to rip it all the way back to the beginning and start over. (Aside: I just want to say that the Madelinetosh held up like a pro during all this ripping and reknitting and I didn’t have to cut off any of the old yarn, which is excellent since I’m already slightly worried about yardage.)

Anywa, when I started to notice what I thought was a hump forming, I took to Ravelry to read other people’s notes. It seemed that everyone add a YO between the first and second stitches of the row, and then dropped it on the way back, so make for a looser edge. I figured I’d try that, just to be sure. I added the YOs for the first six rows and then stopped doing them because I didn’t like the way the edge looked. I have decided that, since the edge was actually fine even when I thought it was too tight, that if I just pay attention and knit the first two stitched loosely, everything will be fine. So far so good. (Yes, I went with option A. I feel good about it.)

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I like how this is looking.

This puts me in a good place for my trip knitting. Did I mention I was going away? Well, I am. For two weeks! I am beyond excited. My trip involves three countries and two very long travel days, so knitting and books are required. I’m still working on my trip reading, but my trip knitting is all arranged.

Obviously, Patio Affection is coming. It’s garter stitch, and not pattern intensive, which is perfect for the plane and any driving we do. It’s big, though (or it will be), so I decided I needed a smaller project too. Also, on the off chance I get a little tired of garter stitch (it’s been know to happen), I decided project 2 needed to be sort of fiddly. So, I decided that this lovely ball of Indigodragonfly Sock would become the famous and ubiquitous Monkeys, which I have not yet knit.

Indigodragonfly 100% merino sock, in colourway “Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer” (their colourways have the best names).

Pretty good, right? I’m going to pack the Monkey project away in my checked luggage, just in case, and keep the shawl in my carry on, at least for the initial travel day.

The thing is, though, I needed to sort out my project bag situation. I have my standard (and very pretty, if I do say so myself) bag for the socks, but Colour Affection requires three balls of yarn and is going to grow. I poked around and didn’t come up with anything besides something ugly (like a grocery bag) or silly (a cloth bag in Christmas fabric) when it hit me: stuff sack.Thus, this 5L stuff sack from MEC is now my shawl bag, which will expand as amy knitting does (it’s also pretty much water proof and made of 30-denier rip-stop nylon, so my Addis shouldn’t poke through).

Sock bag (by ZigZag stitches) and stuff sack (by MEC), all rolled up.

5L is pretty big, as it turns out.

Really, I’m only going away for two weeks, so this will for sure be enough wool. Yes?

Sock wool on the left, shawl wool on the right. It’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?