Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Christmas gifts for the win!

I have declared this the year of no panic/no drama holidays. I admit that I have the luxury of doing so because a) I work from home, and can flex my time however I want, and b) we plan to stay home for Christmas, which I always find less stressful and way easier, planning-wise. Last year did not go the way I wanted. Too much stress. BUT: this year, I'm not doing the holidays that way. I will be on top of things, I will not overplan or take on too many tasks (ahem handmade and calligraphied Christmas cards), and I will start my gift knitting early.

You may recall that I accidentally made my mother-in-law a pair of socks way back in July. Well, I decided to roll with that and purposely make my father-in-law a pair of socks in October. I started the first sock in September, but I had issues. I'm using yarn I got from someone on Ravelry. She said it was Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, but this skein had no tag. I trusted. I knitted a sock on my faithful, if sort of old and sad, set of size 2 sock needles. I got to the toe and ran out of yarn. I ordered a complimentary colored yarn from Knit Picks to do the toes. I knitted the toe. I finally gave in to the nagging thought in my mind that something was wrong. That sock was practically made of iron. It was rigid. The yarn is clearly much thicker than fingering weight, and I just didn't want to admit it. I'm thinking that it's actually DK? Regardless... I had to rip out an entire finished sock. That's hard. Very soul crushing. I'm glad I did it, though, because when I reknitted the sock with size 3 needles and 8 fewer stitches, they came out perfectly. No toe yarn needed. Luckily for me, not too long ago Knitter's Pride sent me this amazing sock needle set- sizes 0 to 3, all in the same zippered case, so I switched from my old sad size 2 set (which are not that pointy anymore and I definitely sat on one and bent it at some point) to my fancy new size 3 set. These needles are super cool- the tips are metal, but the middle part is coated with a grippy black stuff that helps the stitches not slide off the needle. I admit it took me awhile to get used to knitting with these but once I got a handle on it, I loved it. Totally worth it. (And can we say perfect knitting gift for the knitter in your life?)

Since I knitted the first sock with frogged yarn, it got a little wonky looking. Yes, I could have properly soaked the yarn and hung it to dry to prevent that, but since these are a gift, I knew I'd be blocking them anyway. (I don't generally block my own socks once I finish them; straight off the needles and onto the feet.) See that wonkiness? Tons of uneven stitches. Once again, luckily for me, Knitter's Pride also sent me a set of sock blockers to try out, and all I can say is how have I been a sock knitter without these? I only wish I had about 8 sets, because I tend to wash all of my socks at once, then lay them out to dry.

See how nice the socks look now? Perfectly ready for gift-giving. Speaking of that... is it going too far if I start wrapping things for Christmas now, and putting them away in the closet? Whatever, I'm doing it. Less stress! More time for holiday parties!

Full disclosure: Knitter's Pride sent me the sock needle set and the sock blockers for free in exchange for a review, but my thoughts about them are my own.

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