my Zauberball disappointment

aka: “It’s not my job to spend half my knitting time untangling yarn which I paid for”
aka: “If a company cannot wind their balls properly, they should just sell yarn in skeins”

Etc. I have many other raging and steaming titles that I came up with during my hour-long fight with a Zauberball last night.

I was sitting on my couch peacefully, knitting along on my vanilla sock. And all of a sudden I found my yarn in a horrible tangle. I untangled (which took a while) and continued. Only to come upon the same situation a few moments later. The way the yarn was wound into the ball meant that as I progressed, every now and then a section of about 20 loops around the ball would simply come off the ball, and then promptly proceed to tangle itself up into a mess that even the most zealously playful kitten couldn’t create. Again. And again. And again. Trying to take matters into my own hands, I decided to rewind the ball using my ball winder. Well, there my troubles only began. The same thing kept happening, and the yarn would get into such a mess that I had no choice  but to cut off the knot and start over with the next section. The biggest surprise came when I reached the centre of the ball. Well, I don’t think that thing really deserves to be called “centre of the ball”. It was just a bunch of yarn (5 grams at least), just kind of shoved in there, following no order or method. You can see it in the lower right corner of the photo above, pretty much as it was when I discovered it. At the end of this nightmare, this is what I ended up with, from what was supposed to be a single 100 gram ball of yarn.

For all their beautiful colours and cool combinations, I have no respect for a yarn company that sells yarn like this. For a yarn that I had been looking forward to trying for years, I am bitterly disappointed. They will certainly not be receiving any of my business anymore.

blocking-in-progress Thursday

On my recent trip home, I finally bought myself a “blocking board”. When I was getting it, the friend who came with me to the shop asked which kid in the family it was for…

Well, I guess I count as a kid… :)

I’m very happy with how it’s working out so far. I might improve it by drawing lines with inches on it, though, it would make blocking to measurements easier. But I’m worried the marker lines might smear on the wet yarn… Do you have any experience with such things? Perhaps there is a type of marker that wouldn’t smudge?

a could-be-better pair of socks

I’ve been loving the Paraphernalia sock design for a very very long time. Just simple enough, with a perfect measure of interest and scrunchiness, it comes as close to sock design perfection as I can imagine. So when my Mum’s beloved first pair started falling apart, I jumped at the opportunity to finally knit this perfect design.

Well, I must report a bit sadly that I soon learned the difference between design perfection and pattern perfection. Now don’t get me wrong, the pattern is not bad. It gets you more or less what you want in the end, but, it could be better. It is written in a somewhat confusing manner, primarily because the author assumes you will be knitting on DPNs. Now, I know this is sometimes the case with sock patterns, and I have knitted from sock patterns written in such a way before, finding it quite easy to adjust them to my preferred sock technique, magic loop (I have no bias towards one or the other technique in general, and often prefer using DPNs on small circumferences, but for socks, after trying both, I just enjoy magic loop much more for some reason).

In this case it was not easy to adjust at all. I kept getting more and more confused, and this led to a very obvious mistake, whereby on one sock the cable is centered and on the other it sits to the side (as it is supposed to be) – look just above the toe section on the photo and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The worst part is, I noticed this mistake already when I was knitting the first sock, but for the life of me couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong or how I could adjust the second sock to fix it. So I was a bit sad, not so much for my own pair, but for the pattern itself. It could have been better. I might knit it again, as I still love love love the design, but I would rewrite the pattern for myself first.

As for the socks themselves, they could have been better too. I could have put in much more time to try to fix the mistake. I could have chosen a less variegated yarn to show off the cabling better. But I won’t cry over it too much. From the point of the knitting perfectionist in me, they could have been better. From the point of the gift-giver, they will be worn and loved, and that’s all that matters.

slipper socks

Happy 2013! Are you enjoying it so far? :) Mine has been off to a rather bumpy start (including literally falling on my ass and getting some pretty bad bruising), but I’m not giving up my optimism! But before we lift off with 2013, I still need to show you some leftover Xmas knits.

For a while now, I’ve been dreaming of finding the perfect pattern for slipper socks. I come from a culture which firmly believes that walking around the house only in your socks leads to all sorts of horrible diseases (and as for completely bare feet, well, it is likely that even thinking of doing that will give you life-threatening pneumonia). Of course, nobody particularly likes searching for their slippers every time they need to get off the couch for a moment or two, especially since slippers’ favourite passtime is sneaking off under the couch and hiding from you, preferably each one separately. (Missing socks? They’ve got nothing on slippers, I tell you! Slippers pull that shit off about 8 times a day.)

Now this is where slipper socks come in. They’re perfect: they stay on your feet just like socks, the whole time, so you can’t lose them, ever, and yet no one can complain that you’re not wearing your slippers, ever. Not to mention how warm and cozy they keep your feet at the same time…

When I was a kid, my whole family used to persistently harass my grandma to knit us slipper socks. When they were delivered, we all wore them with fervour and then proceeded to immediately start harassing her for a new pair (the old one would be worn out by the time she was finished knitting the new one). But grandma stopped knitting a long time ago, and is no longer with us. This makes me the one and only resident family knitter. And I’ve been dreaming of becoming the provider of the same simple joy of slipper socks as my grandma used to be.

The Colour Block Slipper Socks by Jessica Biscoe were a good start in my search for the perfect pattern. (You’ll be seeing some more candidates in the coming months.) Knit in aran weight, these slipper socks are quick, thick and snuggly. And I suspect this might serve as a great blank-canvas pattern as well: simply use a different cable (already on this first version I chose to mirror the cable on the second sock to make them symmetrical), play with colours, alter the length of the sock… The variations are endless! The pattern is simple and well written and might be a good beginner sock.

And my sister was very happy with them! Now the harassing by other family members can start… :)

Do you have any slipper sock patterns that you love? I’d love to give them a try!