It is pretty amazing how much knitting can get done when you don’t leave the house for three and a half months. Working from home for a few months gave me a lot of time back (2.5 hours per day for the most part) that I used for knitting mostly. Not all, but most. So … in 2020 I managed to knit (and to count is is started and finished in 2020):
28 pairs of socks (love knitting socks and will probably forever have a pair on the needles)
1 shawl (do not mind knitting shawls, but I don’t wear them so this is not a repeat knit for me)
1 cardigan (very useful in Florida since everything is air-conditioned)
1 pull over sweater (limited use case in Florida)
1 tank top
2 short sleeve tops (very large use case in Florida, expect more of these to be done up this year)
1 hat (do not like knitting these)
1 baby blanket
For this year I’d like to complete 4 long-sleeved sweaters (cardigan or pull over, both will count) and 12 pairs of socks. I know I will knit a few short sleeve tops also, but the main goal will be the 4 long sleeve sweaters and 12 pairs of socks.
This year also gave me the opportunity to try a bunch of different independent dyers. I have a full time job and wanted to support small businesses as much as possible, so trying different yarns gave me both really interesting yarn to work with, and the benefit of supporting small businesses (most of whom are women owned and operated). My top three (the three that I have bought from more than once) are:
Cat Nappin Indie Yarn: Darlene has great yarn in (of course) some really cool cat themed colors. The Calico Kitty is currently my favorite, but there are several that are just as pretty. The yarn knits up well and blends with other yarns I have hanging around.
The Catt Lady: Andrea is a new dyer and she does amazing yarns. Her sense of color is amazing and I find myself going back to her yarns again and again. Smaller selection, but really amazing.
Lolodidit: Lauren is the dyer behind this yarn and she has a large selection and tons of interesting bases. I love the Downton Abbey yarn club and the soft squishy goodness I get every month. If I need a specific color or color combination for a project, this is the dyer I know will have it.
As for the pets – they are all still here. Tigger had a few issues this year, but I just kept saying 202 could not have him. He’s on meds and has some really good days, and some really not good days, but on the whole he is good. Arthas is wonderful and happy and is trying to play with the cats a bit. This does not always go over well, but at least he isn’t afraid of them. The girls are still playful kittens at 3.5 years old. They literally play every single day and use the house and furniture as their playground. Almost nothing is safe from them.
Sometimes you pick up yarn and you know immediately what you are going to knit with it. Pattern, size, etc – it is all there in your head as soon as you touch the yarn. The yarn I got from my knit-a-long was just that – as soon as I saw it I knew exactly which socks I was going to knit, and I decided I was knitting them just for me!
These are called Coffee Talk and it is apparently a pretty popular pattern. There is a texture front, a ribbed side, contrasting heel, toe and cuff that also has a fade at the toe. I do love how these look, but it will be a while before I knit another pair. the toe is all in purl stitches and between the two color yarns, the purl to decrease and the just general pain (literally in my wrist) of knitting that many purl stitches in a row, it was just too much for me. I love them and will wear them proudly, but maybe next time, I just do a regular toe.
Val is one of my favorite people to knit socks for because she is always so excited by the socks. After Easter I ordered some yarn from a few different places (I now have an actual stash of sock yarn!) and from one I picked a mystery skein. This could be something that was a mistake when dying, a discontinued line, something new or just a random skein, but you don’t get to pick color or fiber etc when ordering. I like surprises with my yarn, so I went for it and I am SO glad I did.
As soon as I pulled this one out, I knew it was socks for Val. Blues and greens, some neon green even, and a really soft feel. I worked my way through the socks that were on my needles quickly and then cast these on. I went with a step above a plain sock and I think the pattern ended up working really well with the yarn.
Thankfully Val liked them as much as I hoped she would. The heel, a different construction for me, didn’t work as well as my regular heel, so that is good feedback for the next pair I make her (which is already planned and may involve sparkly yarn). But I am really happy with these.
2020 is the year of the sock for me. I knit my first pair over Winter Break in December and have become, I’ll fully admit, addicted to knitting socks. There is just something about the length of the project (about 2-3 weeks usually) that is long enough to feel like a project but short enough that I don’t get bored. There are enough milestones in each sock to give the sense of accomplishment along the way, and each pair only uses one skein of yarn so I can create lots of different socks.
But … there is more to knitting than socks (although maybe not so much this year). One of the groups I follow on line did a knit along for a shawl this year, and I decided, why not. I don’t really wear shawls, but figured it would be something different to knit and give me a chance to use some yarn from my stash. So . . . I knit a shawl. I’m still not sure where I’m going to wear it – possibly in the office – but it’s pretty and super soft.
After I got a few good pairs of socks down, Bob and I started talking about what kind of socks I should knit for him. He wanted something warm – really warm – and thick. Yes, we live in Florida, but as he put it, if he is going to wear socks, he wants warm socks. Okay, worsted weight or DK weight yarn it is, now for color and pattern. This took a little more time. We kept trying to go through yarn in my (every growing) stash of yarn, but nothing was coming up just right. So, after Easter when I was ordering some yarn for a specific pair of socks for me, I added a pretty grey/black/white DK weight yarn for Bob’s socks. the color is called Grey Tabby, so I liked it immediately.
I was really surprised at how fast these knit up. The patter was super simple and with the heavier weight yarn I managed to finish the pair in just under a week. It took the entire skein of yarn (larger feet = more yarn) but they came out really well and fit pretty much perfectly. Bob was happy with his new socks and has started planning for the next pair. I did mention I have a queue of about 7 pairs before his next pair, but we will get to another pair for him soon-ish.
A while back I picked up a sock guide from Modern Daily Knitting. In it was multiple patterns for different sock legs and options for cuffs etc. When I picked up the book I also got some really pretty yarn with the intention of making a pair of socks for Erin. Originally I wanted to make these for her birthday, but things got busy and I didn’t do it. So, with the stay at home orders and the lack of commute, I found some additional time to make socks and finally used the yarn as intended – for a pair of socks for Erin.
The pattern I used called for a toe up sock – which I have really wanted to get better at making, so I went for it. However, the sock felt large and the heel really didn’t work for me, so I ripped the whole thing out and started over with a cuff down version. I changed the number of stitches in the pattern slightly and got, what I hoped would be, a better fit. The sock felt right and I used my usual heel flap and gusset heel method with much better results. One of these days I will master a short row heel, but a gift pair of socks is not the time.
In the end, I was really happy with how these turned out. And I have enough yard left over to make a pair with contrasting heel, toe and cuff for myself. Now I just need the yarn for that project.
In my quest to help Val keep her feet warm since she is no longer in Florida, I made her another pair of warm socks with the Shetland wool I had left over. I was very worried that I would not have enough yarn to make a matching pair, but I had *just* enough. I have a little bit of the cream yarn left, but that is it.
Bob calls these Dr. Suess-ish socks and I suppose it does fit. They are super warm, 100% wool socks in a thick yarn. One of the best things about using thick yarn – the socks knit up very quickly – I managed to finish this pair in under a week (and yes, I was working, although I did have a day off in there).
I have one more pair of super warm socks for Val on the needles and then I’m going to some thinner yarn for her next few pairs. I’ll intersperse a few pairs for myself, and I still need to knit Bob a pair of socks, but I haven’t found the right yarn just yet. So … cute, warm, wooly socks.
A few sock posts ago I mentioned the yarn I got from CatNappinIndie Yarn and this is the second pair that I knit up from that yarn. The color is Campfire, hence the name of the yarn.
For these, I did a toe-up sock (still learning) and used a Sweet Tomato heel. I love this heel because I don’t have to pick up tiny stitches for the gussets and I still have trouble with the double wraps on regular short row heels. I’ll learn, but for now, I like this heel. I chose an alternating slip stitch patten and I think it works really well with the yarn color and pattern. They were fun to knit up and Alinea definitely approves, although she would like to keep the socks for herself.
I love sparkles. I love yarn. Sparkles in my yarn? Yes, please.
Since I decided in December that 2020 would be the year of the sock for me, I signed up for a yarn box subscription for sock yarn. Once a month I’ll get a skein of yarn, which I’m hoping will give me lots of variety in my yarn and thus in my socks. I get the feeling if I picked out all the yarn myself, it would end up looking very similar and lack some variety. So …
This was my March Knit Crate sock yarn and it sparkles! I was really hoping for the black yarn from this box, but the blue ended up being really, really beautiful. I actually followed the pattern they sent and made the pretty leaf design on the front and the back.
The patter was a pain to knit, but it does look really pretty. These are definitely happy socks and I’m almost looking forward to cooler weather when I can wear all my cute socks. Almost. Let’s not get carried away – cold and I still do not get along.
This sock knitting thing is addictive. It is so much fun to see how different yarns knit up, the pattern they create and what a variety of stitch patterns can do for the yarn.
Val really liked her first pair of socks so I knit her up a second pair, this time with regular sock yarn so they are more sock, less slipper. I found the yarn on Etsy in a shop called CatNappinIndie Yarn out of California. I loved her colors and patterns, several of which were inspired by cats and picked up a few skeins back in January or February.
I have to say I really liked how these turned out – so much so I told Val if she didn’t like them I would make her another pair and take these back. She likes them, and apparently wears them all the time, so I’m now knitting her more socks. Apparently southern California is significantly cooler than southern Florida. 🙂