Holy moly I have been horrible at blogging this year. I told myself after finishing school, I would get back to blogging more regularly, but we can all see how that has gone so far. My silence here has not been for a lack of activity in the realm of “real life.” The biggest news of late is that Andy and I have finally settled into a new place (for the time being). Andy was offered a postdoc research position at the University of Southern California, so now we are Angelinos. It was a quick move with just over a week’s notice for us to find a place and figure out how to get all our belongings from Dallas to LA. But we’ve finally settled into the new place, and (most exciting, for me at least) I have my own dedicated office/craft space for the yarn-a-palooza that has become life lately.
Most of my time has been gobbled up by the yarn biz, which has grown in leaps since the start of this year. Originally, I didn’t want my knitting and design blog to be overrun with the yarn side of my life, but it’s grown so much and become such a daily part of my life, that I can’t avoid it’s inevitable take over. Ironically, as I spend more of my days completely surrounded, practically swimming in yarn, I find I have less and less time to actually make wonderful things out of it. I’m still trying to find that balance between the dyeing and design aspects of running a fiber-based business, but I try to get a few rows in every night before bed. Lately, those few rows have been dedicated to knitting, then reknitting, and reknitting yet again this little beast of a sock.
New sock design is knit in the LDY sock set Cassata + Quick Fling.
The teeny bit of colorwork on the hem has been giving me fits – always just a wee bit too tight to get around my heel. I finally gave up and looked up some tips for doing color work in a sock, when that stretchiness of knitted fabric is essential if you want to have a functional item at as a result of your precious spare knitting time. I tried the trick of turning the work inside out as you knit the colorwork to ensure your floats were long and beautifully And – egads! – it worked. It worked out perfectly! The knitting still looks neat and even, but it stretches over the heel easily just like it should. Sometimes it’s the little victories that make all the difference.
Confession time: I still haven’t finished that second sock that I blogged about last time. Even though I put the pattern out for testing; even though I tell myself daily it needs to get done for the final photoshoot; even though I’ve set a date on the calendar to release that pattern – I actually haven’t touched it in over a week. There are just too many distractions running around my brain and I blame pretty yarn. When you have a seemingly endless supply of colorful yarn just sitting there, the imagination tends to go a wee bit wild and I tend to get a wee bit distracted. Case in point, this knitting bag full of half-finished socks.
My distraction this week has been a knitting up a new sock design. Because I like to give myself extra work, I thought it would be fun to release a design that included the standard mid-calf length version of sock along with the option for an anklet sock. Because anklet socks are so darn cute. Fortunately, they also tend to work up rather quickly, so that feeling of (almost) instant gratification will hopefully keep the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome at bay. So far I’ve got myself one whole anklet and half a mid-calf sock, and I’m really excited to get this pattern released because I’m having a lot of fun knitting up the samples, and I’ve found that my enjoyment of knitting the sample tends to be a pretty good sign for how a pattern does once it’s released.
Even Rufus is enjoying these distractions I’m working on. I swear he’s admiring the socks, not trying to push them out of the fleeting sunspot on the fireplace so that he can bask in its warmth.
Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along.
I’m very excited to release the pattern for my newest design, the Pearls on a String socks. These socks feature a simple repeating cable pattern over the leg and foot that is easy to memorize and even easier work without a cable needle, making these socks a fun pair to whip up on the go. Usually naming a pattern is the hardest part of the design process for me. The pattern detail reminded me of beads on a string, and as I was working with Long Dog Yarn in the Freshwater Pearl colorway, the name for this design really just worked itself out for me.
I always find myself preferring sock patterns that are easy to customize to my preferences, and these would definitely fit the bill. The pattern is written from the top-down and worked using the magic loop method, but it would be very easy to convert the pattern to toe up and working with DPNS or two-at-a-time, if those are your preferred methods for sock knitting.
You can now find the pattern on Ravelry, and to celebrate the release, I’m offering a 20% discount on the pattern until midnight, Sunday, Nov. 13.
To put it lightly, the past couple of months have been bonkers. It’s been a roller coaster ride of anxiety, accomplishment, uncertainty, opportunity, growth, self-doubt, and success. It is very much the beginning of a big period of transition for Andy and I as we both work fiendishly to finish our Ph.D. theses (thesi?) this summer / early autumn and move on to the next things life has in store for us.
After a lot of hard work and a little frustration, I finally had my thesis approval meeting last week and was approved to move on to the big final oral examination. All of this means that for now, my thesis is complete and will be sent off to be assessed and critiqued by experts within my field. I still have a few more steps in front of me before being awarded my degree, but it really feels like the major hurdle is past me – my supervisory committee is confident that I am prepared to defend my research and prove my expertise within the field. So while I feel great about what I’ve managed to accomplish thus far, I’m already feeling the next wave of anxiety about my final defense at the end of August.
While all that was happening, I felt like I was suffering a bit of a crisis of confidence creatively. I consistently felt like every idea I had for a new design just fell flat. Everything I had on my needles failed to satisfy that primal part of my creative being. Nothing clicked. Nothing provided that little magic glow that drives my passion for design. And each time I ripped out a design, I just felt the weight of the pressure I had placed on myself to succeed grow and grow. It just wasn’t working on the design side of things, so I channeled a lot of that creative frustration into Long Dog Yarns hoping that the color and yarn would spark that inspiration within me again and move me past this design block.
I’m not sure I’m entirely there yet, but I’ve been knitting and dyeing and just being kinder to myself. With a bit more spare time on my horizon, I’m hoping things will click back into place a bit more and I’ll get my knitting mojo back. I am trying to take that self-imposed pressure off of my shoulders and remind myself that if it’s not fun, then it’s not worth my time. And I’m starting to feel the simple pleasure in turning my ideas into a design coming back. I’ve been working on a new design using my line of yarn, Sock (colorway pictured is Freshwater Pearl), that also utilizes the speckled yarns that I love to both dye and knit. One sock down and one to go…
I’m so excited to announce that the pattern for my Mont Royal socks is now available! You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry or here on the blog.
I had a great time designing these socks. They are inspired by my trip to Montreal and a wonderful, Quebec-based dyer I discovered while I was there, Riverside Studio. (Seriously check out Kathryn’s yarns. I can’t say enough good things about them and have loved working with her merino sock yarn for this design.)
These socks are perfect for people who enjoy working lace on smaller projects. They feature an addicting leaf motif running along the top of the foot and front of the leg with an accenting lace motif along the back of the leg. Really, I will jump at any almost any chance to incorporate leafy lace motifs into a project. They are one of my favorite types of lace to work because they are so beautiful, but are actually quite a simple lace motif to work.
I want to send a big giant “thank you” to my two lovely test knitters: Steph and Emily. They both made the test knitting process so easy and fun. I love watching a project grow off someone else’s needles! (Check out their blogs for some “in-progress” posts.) And for some even more exciting news, Emily will be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the pattern next week, so be sure to head over there and enter!