Knitting by Judy @ 1:01 PM

Houdini socks
Houdini socks

Lest you think that I did nothing up north but eat and pet alpacas and eat and buy a little yarn and eat and twist my mind around multi-dimensional knitting projects and eat… I also knit socks. How surprising, eh!?

Cat Bordhi presented her new sockitecture – The Houdini Sock. Please hie thee over to the fall 2008 edition of Twist Collective, where you will find the basic pattern.

Cat once again proves her knack for thinking way outside the knitting box and coming up with unusual and inventive ways of approaching something that most of us thought had been all thought out hundreds of years ago. The basic idea behind the Houdini Sock is that you start at the toe, knit a foot, knit a heel and bind off. You then have what Cat calls a footprint – a vaguely foot-shaped, flat tube, closed on both ends. There’s no place to get your foot into it. But it looks cool and you can knit a few or a dozen and pile them in a basket or some such (if you don’t have a fiber-eating feline sharing your living quarters). Then, when you want a sock, you decide which side is the instep side and thread your needles through two rows (one row apart), right about where you want your leg to go. And then you snip the yarn and unravel a hole and knit a leg. Done.

Although Cat argues with me about this, I can’t help but think of it as an afterthought leg. I know it isn’t really, because there’s no waste yarn involved. But, if you’ve ever knit an afterthought heel, it’s kind of the same idea.

For my socks, I knit a star toe, followed by a foot, with a star heel on the end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen socks with a star heel before, but it looks pretty cool.

I know this is a lame shot — off-white socks with tan pants against bleached wood floor. Beige. But work with me here, gentle reader. I wanted to show them on my real feet (as opposed to my fake feet) so you can see that these socks actually fit. They fit quite well. In fact, I admit to being surprised at just how well they do fit.

My socks are not quite like the ones in Twist Collective. Mine are intended as house or bed socks, so I put heel stitch on the underside of the arch – it feels wonderful. There are some modifications to fit the socks to my rather skinny foot, and some experimenting (following Cat’s directions) with doing a higher arch. I knit both footprints at the same time, and also knit both legs at the same time, and I am pleased to report that this method lends itself to two-at-a-time knitting with no problem.

It appears that the Houdini Sock and all its magic will be the subject of Cat’s next book, where she will explain all of the modifications that are possible. But, while we impatiently await publication… if the idea of sort of steeking your socks appeals, give it a go!

(OK. I know it isn’t really steeking because you only snip one stitch. But you’re still making a hole in a perfectly good piece of fabric.)

These are great, by the way, for kicking around the house. I have mine on even as we speak and my tootsies are warm and comfy and feel very pampered.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Chameleon Colorworks Evolution – 100% Merino Optim&#174 stretched wool, 2 oz (57 gr), 122 yd (111 m) – colorway Mourning Dove – 2 skeins
  • Needles: two circulars assembled from my Denise kit (which I’ve supplemented with a few extras), US#5 (3.75mm).
  • Pattern: Houdini socks by Cat Bordhi, basic pattern from Twist Collective with various modifications to make it fit my particular foot.
  • Stockinette foot, 2×2 ribbed leg, crochet bind-off

Election |Knitting by Judy @ 11:46 AM

This morning I received the following email from Cat Bordhi. It was sent to the participants of her two island retreats. Cat has asked that it be passed on to knitters all over the US, and I think it’s a lovely idea. I currently have a moebius on my needles, and I will knit along with Cat tomorrow with healing intentions.

November 3, 2008

Heal the Election Wounds and Embrace Humanity with a Moebius

By Cat Bordhi

I awoke this morning realizing that publicly knitting a beautiful Moebius scarf as I begin to float (I live on an island), drive, and fly toward Stitches East on Tuesday would be a beautiful and profound public expression of my hopes and dreams for the world, as well as a symbol of the healing that our country will need after the election.

If you want to follow along, I recently made a Youtube video which will clearly teach you how to knit a Moebius whether you have my books or not. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4

So – here is why the Moebius is a perfect expression of the best of humanity, and the healing of the fractured country and world that I trust is coming:

1. The Moebius appears to have two surfaces and two edges – ie, polarities such as black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, Republican and Democrat – but when you follow the surface around you will run right into your starting point without ever having changed to the other “side.” For there isn’t one. Everything flows into itself. Polarities are an illusion. What lies beneath the apparent polarities is oneness, beauty, and grace. In a Moebius you can see it, hold it, be awed by it. Once the frenzy dies down, hopefully those with opposing views will slowly rediscover their common humanity.

2. Like the surface that flows into itself, so too does the Moebius’s single continuous edge – thus everything is recycled. In fact, I would not be the least bit surprised if the ultimate alternative energy involves a Moebius form or dynamic. By the way, the recycling symbols (2 are in common usage, one with a single twist, the other with 3) you see everywhere are actually Moebii (too hard to say Moebiuses – try it!). I think we are all hoping for significant and effective new discoveries in alternative energy – and the Moebius would be a great symbol for this global effort.

3. Once you complete the first ring (it takes 2 rings to make a round – watch the video) of your Moebius, you are in for smooth and happy sailing. All you have to do is to knit the stitch in front of you, then the next stitch in front of you, with not a care in the world for what came before or what has shifted into the “future”. You’ll look at the mysterious shape on your needles and wonder how “those stitches” can ever come to you . . . well, they will, without your needing to understand how. And they will all come in perfect sequence, resulting in a beautiful and graceful Moebius. The Moebius rewards your faith in its mystery with the easiest knitting you will ever do. And the result is always graceful – for this is the very nature of the Moebius. You can knit along while you watch the election results, while walking, while standing in line at the store, wherever you may find yourself during these days to come. You will be knitting the graceful healing and ease that I believe is flowing toward us, requiring only of us that we stay true to the powerful sense of loving kindness that resides in the center of every person. No one could ever possibly understand enough to make the healing happen, but if we all just knit the stitch before us, as they come, marveling at the innocence and sweetness of it all, with our oh so familiar continuous strand of yarn, the healing will happen. We need not understand either one fully – the Moebius or the world. They both operate with inherent grace.

4. I looked through my stash and chose a luminous yarn in deep watery colors from Blue Moon Fiber Arts – LSS (Luscious Single Silk), and did not realize until I looked at the label that the colorway is absolutely apropos: Lunasea. Tina no doubt named the colorway after the moon and the sea – and after lunacy? So let the lunacy of the election months give way to Lunasea – the grace of the moon, the sea, the Moebius, and the beautiful heart of humanity, of all people, the “us” and “them” who merge into one. I shall be winding the skein on the ferry tomorrow, then knitting all the way to Baltimore. I hope to see many, many of you there.

With love from Cat Bordhi

Note: If you alternate sets of knit and purl rounds, you will have purl ridges all around. Then your Moebius will not curl along the edges when you are done.

by Judy @ 1:55 PM

Salish Sea Socks
Salish Sea Socks

I have finished the Salish Sea Socks. This pattern was part of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club. I don’t know when, or if, it will be made available to the general sock-knitting public.

I had a lot of fun with this pattern and only wish that I hadn’t gotten distracted (oooh… shiny…) and let them languish for so long.

As is her wont, Cat has come up with a brilliant pattern. I really love the way that the gusset increases are hidden inside the wavy pattern on the foot. And the traveling garter-stitch rib on the ankle was a fun knit. I actually behaved myself and followed Cat’s instructions – with one change. I modified the heel turn to use the math from the smallest size given in the pattern. I paired that with the gusset increases that were called for by my actual size. Et voilà – a sock that fits my skinny heel. I still sort of prefer my own heel turn to Cat’s, but this worked pretty well and I’m always glad to learn new techniques to add to my repertoire.

Today the sun is shining, but I have the feeling that the cold has not completely loosened its grasp on the Northwest. I will probably get to wear these a time or two before it’s time to close up the sock drawer for the summer.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium (100% superwash merino / 5.5oz, 380yds per skein); one skein of Bella Coola with a goodly bit left over
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2
  • Pattern: Salish Sea Socks by Cat Bordhi – one of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club offerings
  • Modifications: I followed the pattern pretty much as written. The only change was to use the heel width from the smallest size with the heel height from the size I was knitting otherwise. I tweaked the number of wing stitches accordingly.

Knitting |Rockin' Sock Club by Judy @ 1:53 PM

Salish Sea Socks
Salish Sea Socks

I have finished the Salish Sea Socks. This pattern was part of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club. I don’t know when, or if, it will be made available to the general sock-knitting public.

I had a lot of fun with this pattern and only wish that I hadn’t gotten distracted (oooh… shiny…) and let them languish for so long.

As is her wont, Cat has come up with a brilliant pattern. I really love the way that the gusset increases are hidden inside the wavy pattern on the foot. And the traveling garter-stitch rib on the ankle was a fun knit. I actually behaved myself and followed Cat’s instructions – with one change. I modified the heel turn to use the math from the smallest size given in the pattern. I paired that with the gusset increases that were called for by my actual size. Et voilà – a sock that fits my skinny heel. I still sort of prefer my own heel turn to Cat’s, but this worked pretty well and I’m always glad to learn new techniques to add to my repertoire.

Today the sun is shining, but I have the feeling that the cold has not completely loosened its grasp on the Northwest. I will probably get to wear these a time or two before it’s time to close up the sock drawer for the summer.

By the way, if you haven’t there recently, go over to the Blue Moon welcome page. I don’t know how long it will be up there, but right now the picture shows the PDX Knit Bloggers at the Yarn Harlot event. And there’s Flat Judy right in front. 😀

The Knitters Without Borders colorway is now available on the Blue Moon site. $3 from each skein purchased goes directly to Doctors Without Borders.

The pictures of this colorway in the skein do not do it justice. I’ve already cast on toes, and I’ll have a pic soon. Until then, go over to FiberQat’s blog to see how wonderful it looks on her needles. Then go buy some. You know you want to.

The Particulars:

  • Yarn: Blue Moon Socks That Rock Medium (100% superwash merino / 5.5oz, 380yds per skein); one skein of Bella Coola with a goodly bit left over
  • Needles: a pair of Addi Lace 24″ circulars, US#2
  • Pattern: Salish Sea Socks by Cat Bordhi – one of the 2007 Rockin’ Sock Club offerings
  • Modifications: I followed the pattern pretty much as written. The only change was to use the heel width from the smallest size with the heel height from the size I was knitting otherwise. I tweaked the number of wing stitches accordingly.

Knitting by Judy @ 8:56 AM

Salish Sea Socks
Salish Sea Socks

I did managed to get a bit of knitting in this weekend, in and amongst other things that vied for my limited attention span.

I have made the Salish Sea Socks (Cat Bordhi’s brilliant pattern) longer in the feet and re-knit the heels. I used the instructions for the narrowest heel (more or less), and they fit my foot reasonably well. I am pleased. There is the requisite pooling of colors over the instep. But somehow I don’t mind it at all in this yarn. It sort of fits in with the watery theme.

I have about an inch or so completed on the legs. There’s nothing tricksy about this stitch pattern and it’s easy to memorize, so I think I should have these completed within the next couple of days, provided I can get some decent knitting time in.

And then… what will be next, she pondered? There are the two skeins I wound before going out of town last week — Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Pioneer and Blue Moon Socks That Rock lightweight in Pirates Booty — and they are calling my name.

But this weekend, I also picked up from Bobbie what you see in the second picture.

Things I Learned From Knitting
Things I Learned From Knitting

There was a signed copy of Stephanie’s new book, Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not)

And there was a skein of a special Blue Moon STR colorway called Knitters Without Borders. Proceeds from the sales of the books and the yarn went to Tricoteuses Sans Frontières (Knitters Without Borders).

Now, I realized it’s a leap of faith to ask someone to buy yarn for you, sight unseen. I mean… it could have been, well… pink or something. I figured that best case I’d like it, and worst case it all went to a worthy cause and I could have a contest or something because someone out there amongst my gentle readers would like it.

Gentle reader… you can’t have it. Or at least you can’t have this skein. I’m not usually taken with multi-colored yarn that has a lot of white in it. But I am making a big, big exception for this yarn. I love it. And the more I look at it, the more I love it. And I’m already plotting what it will turn into. Stay tuned.

You can’t have my skein, but I understand that it will be available directly from Blue Moon in the not too distant future. So keep checking back with them. And you can have your own skein. 😉

Knitting |On The Road by Judy @ 9:04 AM

Seriously, that’s what it felt like to leave Alexandria, VA, and come home. Not that I didn’t enjoy my stay! And this is in no way a comment on Alexandria, which I know from previous visits is a lovely place. But all I saw of the fair city was the inside of a hotel – and it was a hotel that didn’t seem to be around anywhere else, although there was a nice park for walks. But I didn’t take any pictures. And I can’t believe that you will be disappointed by that, gentle reader. Are you really interested in seeing a several hundred glassy-eyed people sitting in a conference room? It’s not nearly as much fun as, say, seeing several hundred knitters waiting for The Yarn Harlot.

I missed Stephanie’s visit to Portland. Sort of. If you look at the pictures taken by the famous MonicaPDX, Duffy, Cindy, Bobbie, Heidi, and Sharon, it appears that I not only managed to attend, but had a pretty good view as well. There is even evidence of my picture being taken with Stephanie (amongst the crowd of PDX Knit Bloggers). And I hear through the blogo-rumor-mill that my backside was signed by the Harlot. How many knitters can say that? I hope to show proof if it is ever forthcoming.

Do go over and check out this video of Duffy’s serenade (It’s My Traveling Sock), courtesy of Akimbo.

Going over to Virginia on Monday, I was wedged between two men, neither of whom spoke English, but both of whom snored loudly. The trip home Thursday was much nicer. My seating companions were a young mother and her delightful son. Like all 5-year-old boys, he possessed boundless exuberance and curiosity paired with the attention span of a gnat. Being an experienced traveler, he told me tales of the ginormous plane he had been on before that had TV screens right in the backs of the seats, (not like our smaller version that had the drop-down variety). He was very interested in my knitting and asked lots of questions about why I’d want to knit socks, and generally kept me entertained through the whole long, long flight.

Oh yeah…. socks. I don’t have any pictures of those, either. I didn’t have the entire pattern with me – just copies of parts of it – and so was faking my way through one of Cat Bordhi’s ingenious sockitectures. On the plane I turned the heels. When I got home, I realized they were too short. Which is in no way the fault of the pattern – it’s just that I didn’t have the pattern and so of course I decided I knew what I was doing. Yeah. I should know better than to try and second-guess Cat. I have frogged the heels out and will be making the feet a bit longer – I only needed 3/4 inch or so, but it was enough for them to be uncomfortable. The good news was that I used the small version of the pattern for the heels, rather than the medium I’ve been using for the rest of the foot, and the result is that the heels actually fit my feet. Yea! I don’t think I’ll entirely give up my usual heel for this one, as nice as it is, but I’m glad to know how to modify it so that I can use it if I want to. It’s good to have a repertoire of sock parts available to put together willy-nilly depending on vagaries of color and stitch pattern and whatnot. I will have pictures soon.

To my WP friends: I am aware of WP 2.5.1. I’m looking into it. Stay tuned.



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