Midweek @ Musings: I Can’t Stop Knitting Socks!

There’s no doubt about it:  this has been my slowest reading year since I started blogging in 2007.  Each year I’ve read more than 70 books, with a high water mark of 81 in 2008.  My “year in review” post will be up in a few days, but — spoiler alert — I’ll  have read less than 65 books.  I’m only a teensy bit bothered by that, because it’s easy to explain.  Yes, there have been some stressful life events that made reading a challenge, but on the plus side I took up a new hobby: knitting.  And I love it.

It all started about a year ago, when my daughter came home from university having learned to knit in her spare time.  She took a few lessons at our local yarn shop over her Christmas break, and I was so impressed that I took the same course in January.  Little did I realize, when I finished my first pair of socks, that sock knitting would become an obsession.  I couldn’t help combining my sock obsession with my reading obsession, acquiring three excellent books on knitting socks.  And the good news is, I have something to show for it: five pairs of socks!  My first three pairs were all from Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks. I made two pairs for me, and then one for my husband.  The fourth pair, in blue, is from Favorite Socks, and the fifth pair (also for my husband) is a pattern I found on Ravelry.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge:

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I love the geometric logic behind socks; each successful heel is like a little miracle.  I enjoy knitting designs with patterned stitches more than the basic stockinette stitch.  And I’m beginning to learn how to pair yarn with a design.  In my fifth pair, the yarn competed with the pattern, and the stitch design kind of got lost.  I’d use a “quieter” yarn the next time.  I started my my first pair of socks with a lacey pattern, and I’m very happy with the way this subtle yarn knits up (click for a larger view):
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The only problem is, after knitting an entire leg I discovered I made a huge mistake reading the knitting chart, and the resulting design was completely wrong.  I couldn’t live with it, so I “frogged” it and will start over after a short break to make a different pair as a gift.

Socks are a nice short-term project.  It usually takes a few weeks to knit a complete pair, and I like being able to take my knitting with me when I travel.  When I have free time I’m always faced with the “do I read, or do I knit?” dilemma.  But as with reading, it seems I always need to have a knitting project on the go.  I’m still intimidated by more complicated garments, but yesterday Santa brought me three books on knitting sweaters.  I guess it’s time to broaden my horizons.  And buy more needles and yarn!

So all in all, I don’t feel too badly about reading fewer books this year. 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: I Can’t Stop Knitting Socks!

  1. Wow, Laura – good for you. I think socks would be a hard place to start knitting. Maybe you could listen to audio books while your hands and eyes are busy? (Just throwing it out there – it might be difficult you’re counting stitches and such.)

    • Debbie, I knitted a scarf to learn the basics, and then moved on to socks. It was a fun challenge! Interesting suggestion about audiobooks. I often knit in front of the TV but perhaps at other times, an audiobook would work. Something to think about, thanks.

  2. I totally started knitting too!!! I taught myself via YouTube videos and have knitted only scarves so far. I like to do it while my husband is making me watch an action movie or something.

    I also don’t think you should be hard on yourself with the AMOUNT of books being read this year. Take a look at those books and think: Were they challenging? Did you learn things from them? Did you enjoy reading those books? Did you read when you could or was there more time you could have dedicated to reading?

    It’s about quality, not quantity. I could read 300 zombie/romance YA books, one per day almost, but that wouldn’t fulfill my requirements of reading actual books.

    • Rebecca, I’m impressed you taught yourself to knit. I needed the kick-start of lessons at my yarn shop, although I rely heavily on YouTube to help me solve problems, and Pinterest is a great source for tips and tricks. And then there’s Ravelry, which is a great way to find patterns and connect with other knitters. Do you have a profile there? You can find mine via the links section of my sidebar.

      • I think it’s easy to forget about quality vs quantity, especially as a book blogger checking out other people’s blogs! But I think to myself: Yes, she can read one book a day, but she’s reading all YA books, which are super quick reads usually. Now I’ll read some YA, but I won’t always count it in my book list as a “real” book being read.

        And with the knitting, I’ll have to check out Ravelry this week. I’m still just doing the basics for sure, but I made a cute scarf that I saw in a boutique for $40 (ha! only cost me the price of the yarn and some time while watching TV anyway!). It’s knit 1, purl 1, but super thin, like only 8 across. Then I take 3 of them and braided them and added some fringe. It’s super cute and actually really easy since it’s just a simple knit stitch.

  3. I’m *so* impressed – I can do basic knitting (i.e. a scarf) very slowly so I admire all those who can do all the complex stuff. But even scarves are very addictive – so much so, that if I start another it will be a battle between books and yarn!

    • Kaggsy, I completely understand the battle of books vs yarn! For me, the secret to sock knitting success was the book “Getting Started Knitting Socks”. And once I did two basic socks I felt ready to take on just about anything!

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