The Shanti Willow

I’m beginning this with an apology.  I realised after I posted my last blog that I never explained why I was going on about Monkey’s and Houses and all of that.  So this week, if you haven’t gathered, is the Knitting and Crochet Blog week.  The aim is to blog everyday and Eskimimi has set out challenges for those participating.  The first challenge was to choose a house (and if you want to read about the other houses then check out the Eskimimi blog) and I chose the House of Monkey.  I obviously haven’t been blogging everyday, but thankfully Eskimimi is pretty flexible about that, and I hope you will be too.

Day 2’s challenge is to find a project that embodies the house that I’ve chosen.  Well, I most certainly won’t be knitting any Monkeys any time soon so that’s out of the question (although I have knitted Cookie A’s Monkeys and you can see them here).  Rather I’m going to talk about 2 projects that I’m really keen to cast on and why that fits into my house of choice.  In fact I would have cast on one of these projects already but I don’t have the right sized needle.

The first project is the Om Shanti Bed Socks (these are the ones I want to cast on right NOW) which I first saw when I bought Socktopus by Alice Yu just before Christmas last year.  It was one of the socks that I thought looked pretty but I also thought that it looked a little complicated and too short, besides who only uses knitted socks for bed?  Not me!  But as I continued to flick through the book (I do that with my pattern books, I sit and flick through them from time to time, either for something pretty to look at, for inspiration, or just for the heck of it) this sock started to speak to me.  I realised (and at this point I will completely blame baby brain and the distractions of being away for Christmas) that I could alter the sock.  It didn’t have to be ankle length, it didn’t have to be done in a luxury yarn (hey, all sock yarn is a luxury, not just because of the cost but because it’s just so darn pretty!), and it most certainly deserves to be shown off!  As I started knitting the V Junkie socks I began to realise that the Socktopus book was not just a book with pretty sock patterns within it’s covers, it’s a book with a wealth of new techniques that I had never ever thought of.

Om Shanti

The more I flicked through the book the more the Om Shanti sock began to speak to me, to woo me with it’s short row toe construction, the Kihnu Vits braid, and it’s interesting cuff construction.  Between the Socktopus book and the Sock Knitting Master Class book I think I’m just about ready to throw myself into the deep end with Estonian knitting, that stuff is amazing!  Anyway, up until now I’ve never come across a short row toe, actually I’d never come across a short row heel until I knitted the first V Junkie sock and I love that!  For me the Om Shanti sock is full of mysterious new techniques that are dying to throw themselves on my needles.  Ok ok, I’m dying to throw them on to my needles 😉 .  New sock constructions are completely enchanting to me and I seriously can’t knit fast enough to get to them (I’m really feeling that pain right now, just discovered a mistake in my Jaywalker and I’m going to have to rip back several rows 😦 ).

The second project is Cat Bordhi’s Pussy Willow Stockings from the Sock Knitting Master Class book.  These socks just look intriguing.  There is no other word for it.  From the Moccasin Toe, to the instep expansion camouflaged in the patterning across the top of the foot and beyond, these socks are…. are…… are…… leaving me speechless.  I know that they’re going to be a challenge, I’ve only knitted a total of 2 complete pairs of socks (almost 3) and 4 individuals.  It’s not like I have a huge amount of experience in sock knitting under my belt (hey, I’ve only just learned that I should be using a stretchy cast on for my top downs……. didn’t know that for the first 5 or 6 individual socks) and I have only knit 1 toe up sock – yes just 1, not a pair, just 1 individual sock.  BUT they’re Cat Bordhi socks, and if you’ve ever watched her videos on youtube then you know that she’s an amazing and entertaining teacher.  I’m really looking forward to knitting those and the wealth of information that I’m going to learn from the experience……  I might knit another pair of toe ups first just to be on the safe side of toe up experience though.

Between Socktopus and the Sock Knitting Master Class, I have a lot of new things to learn and try for a while to come.  Hmmmm…… value for money  for this little sock knitting Monkee 😉

It’s funny, as with almost all knitting, just when I think there can’t be any other trick to it – because in all naive honesty, I thought the most exotic you could get with socks was an afterthought heel – I’m proved wrong yet again and honestly I don’t claim to know it all.  I don’t know why I think knitting is so limited, maybe because my ability to think outside the square is limited.  Which is a shame really.  I know that I’m getting better at it, thinking outside the box that is.  I guess for me everything has always been pretty black and white, creativity wasn’t something that was necessarily encouraged in my childhood.  Following the law right down to the very last comma was enforced and that’s the way that I’ve been with everything, from cooking right through to my knitting, never deviating from the recipe or the pattern (in my mind there’s always been an underlying disclaimer that if I change what is I’m going to make a massive mistake!).  Although my creativity is getting better in the kitchen and I’m becoming more comfortable with cooking things without a recipe, or using a base recipe as a diving board into something else entirely different.  Happily, my knitting is slowly moving in the same direction.  It just takes a bit of effort to trust in my own judgement, to believe in myself and my own ability, to not cling so tightly to the ideas of others.

I think as time goes by I’m becoming more and more of a process knitter and it’s slowly breaking down those creativity stifling barriers I’ve had up for my entire life.

Are you a stickler for rules and patterns, or are you happy making it up as you go along?