A rare "finished object" post

knitslug
Used to be that every time I finished knitting something, I would post some pictures of the item, along with a description of the process. And friends, mostly non-knitters, might comment that something was pretty or impressive or whatever. Or not. Then I joined Ravelry, and started using the linked databases there to keep track of projects and yarn and so much more rather than posting descriptions of projects here.

But today, I feel so much like bragging on myself that I'm going to talk about it here. A few years ago I went to what was billed as a knitting retreat. Actually, most of the people there were spinners. They set their wheels up on the dock and spun yarn, while I knitted, secure in the belief that I didn't need another fiber obsession. I went back for another year, and sat and knit while everyone else spun. While I still didn't want another fiber obsession, there was something compelling about the ease with which they were making yarn. Somehow at that fall's NY Sheep and Wool Festival I came home with a spindle and some fiber. A month later, I joined the Nutmeg Spinners Guild, and, at each meeting, it seemed as if there was another spindle I needed.

In the following April, I went to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, and came home with this:

greenramboulet

It's 2.5 lbs of gorgeous fiber, and my intention was to spin myself enough yarn for a sweater. But that's a lot of spinning on a spindle. So, I started browsing the Ravelry spinning forums for information on spinning wheels. Right, I don't need another fiber obsession! But Kromski Sonata wheels, especially in the walnut finish, looked like exactly what I wanted, never mind that I'd never spun on one! A month or so later, somebody in Rhode Island offered a used walnut Sonata on one of the Ravelry equipment forums. A little back-and-forth negotiation, and a day spent driving to Woonsocket, RI and back, and the wheel was mine.

Of course, I had to acquire some proficiency in using it. And, with 2.5 lbs of nice soft green fiber, that wasn't difficult. First, there was

Ramboulletbobbin2

It was plied to become

Skein1

And another skein

Skein2

And several more, not photographed.

Then, I decided the time had come to actually knit something with it. So, I started small, with a swatch:

Green Swatch

And, finally, in August, I started the sweater. It's a plain sweater, following Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system, so I could, essentially, make my own pattern, fitted to my measurements.

There were a few hiccups along the way, but nothing major. And, when it was clear that I was running short of yarn (handspun yarn tends to be denser than millspun yarn), well, I just spun another skein.

I finished the sweater a few weeks ago, and finally wore it last week. This morning, I attempted to take the final photograph. The time delay on my camera forces me into uncomfortable poses, but, so be it.

greensweater

Friends, I spun a sweater!!!!!

And Ravelry has now made it possible for non-members to see project pages, if given a direct link. So, you can see my Ravelry notes for this here.
sock
I learned to knit when I was a child, and have, for most of my adult life, considered myself a knitter. For much of that time, I was a knitter in isolation; I didn't go to knitting groups and, mostly, didn't even know other people who knit. With the growth of the internet, that's changed. There are many on-line communities of knitters, and, through them, I have found more local groups of knitters. And more.

I have learned to spin my own yarn. (Not that that's stopped me from buying more yarn. But I have spindles and I have a spinning wheel. So, in addition to the lifetime supply of yarn that I've purchased, I've been accumulating skeins of hand-spun yarn, as I hone my skills (and accumulate more semi-processed fiber to spin). While acquiring a new skill is worthwhile in its own right, this shouldn't be the only goal. Spinning yarn produces, well, a product—yarn, and this yarn is potentially of use.

So, yesterday, as I realized that I really need a new hat, one that will keep my ears warm, I pulled out some of my handspun, three small skeins of some maroon Romney wool. (Part of being a spinner is that breeds of sheep and the properties of their wool matter; wool is no longer a sufficient designator.)

maroonromney

This yarn has been marinating in my stash since June. Rather than make a generic hat, as I'd made with my very first handspun, I decided on a pattern, Coronet, that I'd had my eye on for a while. This hat consists of a cabled band, out of which the remainder of the hat is built.

Because this is "beginner yarn"—yarn that is uneven in ways that would be obvious to a knitter or to a spinner, if not to a random "muggle"—, I decide to average some of these out by holding the yarn double for the cable band. I started the band last night, and I'm about half done now. The fabric is, as I'd expected, quite firm, but the cables, if I must say so myself, look very even and nice.

coronetband2

Now, all I have to worry about is having enough yarn. Because this is handspun yarn, it's unique. There is no more. But that's OK. The yarn looks much nicer knit up into a hat than it did sitting in an opaque bin.

Cheer for a drab, cheerless day

Snapdragon

Saturdaysock1
Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
Seriously, this might be the brightest, most cheerful sock I've ever knit. The colors are awesome.

I started it last night, and have knit most of the afternoon. The pattern, Sunday Swing is really easy, but I can tell I'm going to want to make the second sock the mirror image of the first, so I'll have to do some re-charting. The yarn is Trekking HandArt, colorway Brazil; I'm not sure what exactly about these vibrant greens and yellows evokes Brazil, though I can see some kind of Amazon parrot. As always, I'm modifying a pattern written for an overly loose 8 stitches/inch to have a firmer fabric that's far less likely to blow out the first time I wear the socks.

Two pounds of yummy soft fiber

Snapdragon

greenramboulet
Originally uploaded by theoriginalaliceq
Yesterday was the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival. Among my purchases was this 2.5 lb roll of prepared fiber. It's carded Ramboulet from A Touch of Twish. Other than staring at it and fondling it, my intention is to spin it, using one or another of my trusty drop spindles. Then, I will knit myself a sweater out of it. That should take about half of it, so I suppose I could eventually knit two sweaters.

It is every bit as gorgeous in person as it is in the picture..

Quick hits

Snapdragon
I took a vacation day today, as the forecast was for great gardening weather, and there was day baseball on the radio. In three bursts, here's what I accomplished:
  • I cleared a bunch of leaves from a corner in the back yard where they accumulate.
  • I planted petunias in the three boxes on the deck.
  • I spread fertilizer on the veggie patch.
  • I sifted compost and spread some on the veggie patch.
  • I fertilized the lilac.
  • I pulled out some proto-dandelions.

And here's what I learned:
  • Compost doesn't decompose as quickly as they say it does, even if you turn and aerate it. Eggshells and avocado peels are especially recalcitrant.
  • You can't cheat mother nature. If you leave the SKU stickers on your avocado peels, out of sheer laziness, you're just going to have to pick them out of the compost when you sift it.
  • The scallions I planted on the deck a few weeks ago are coming up. And the chives are coming back. I should have a chive omelet for breakfast tomorrow.

And the shawl I'm knitting is coming along. I've finished 10 out of 14 repeats of the main chart, and have more than 300 stitches. That's a fuckton of stitches, and by the time I'm done I'll be well over 400.

adamaswithswatch

The blue/purple/brown blob is the shawl as of a few days ago. It doesn't look like much. But the thing about lace is that it comes into its own when you block it, as shown in the gold swatch. That's made from leftover yarn from a pair of socks I knit last year.

The pattern: Adamas, by Miriam Felton
The yarn: Socks That Rock Mediumweight, in the Jubilation colorway (the swatch is in 24 carat)
The needles: US 7 (4.5mm)

Fiberificness

knitslug
Yesterday, I was out all day. One of the groups/forums I participate in on Ravelry (account required) organized a jaunt to WEBS, an amazing yarn shop in Northhampton, MA. So, about 30 wild and crazy knitters from all over the Northeast (at least the area delimited by a geometric area with apexes of New Haven; Cape Cod; Portland, ME; Rutland, VT; and Albany, NY) converged. And shopped. WEBS had been alerted to this plan, and were prepared with an open classroom for us to leave stuff in, goodie bags, and extra staff to facilitate check-out.

Lunch was a little chaotic, though, as the one Northhampton native was suffering from a sinus infection and went home to sleep it off. The plan we finally arrived at was to go to an Irish pub downtown, which I was assured was not walking distance from WEBS. So, I got in the car, together with another equally confused participant, and headed for downtown. Within two blocks, we passed an Irish pub, but decided that that couldn't be where everyone else was headed for, because it was totally within walking distance. Instead, the two of us lucked into a parking space downtown, with time left on the meter, and had a nice lunch by ourselves, because, as it turned out, almost everyone else was at the Irish pub that was totally within walking distance. No matter. While we missed out on the bawdy bar jokes, we still had fun.

I came home with a large bag of yarn, and plans to photograph it all this morning for my Ravelry stash pages. One problem, though. It's been rainy and overcast all day, and so no photographs, not of the new yarn, not of the various projects I'm working on or have recently completed.

Most of what I bought was sock yarn. Most of it was expensive enough that most non-knitters would freak out ("$20 for a pair of socks! You know you can buy socks, don't you?"). But I was delighted to find a new stock of my absolute favorite summer sock yarn, a Plymouth Yarns wool/bamboo blend, which comes in at $10 for enough yarn for a pair of socks. I had picked up a ball of it last spring at WEBS. After knitting a pair of socks (Ravelry link) with it, I'd tried desperately to find more, and had had no success to speak of. The yarn, Rockin' Sox, didn't even appear on the Plymouth Yarns web site. In the meantime, I'd tried a wool/bamboo blend from another manufacturer, one with a reputation for higher-quality yarns, and been disappointed at the number of rough spots in the plying that I encountered. Well, yesterday at WEBS, I found more of the yarn I wanted. But somehow, this year, it's called Sockin' Sox, but it's definitely the same thing. So that was a total win.

In addition, I bought enough Lopi Lite for a sweater. Mind you, I have enough yarn stashed for three or four winter sweaters (I realize that, in some circles, this would show me to be a rank amateur). But, of all my winter sweaters, the one I like the best is a very simple pullover knit in a heathered dark charcoal Lopi Lite. I made this long enough ago that I have no picture of it anywhere that I can locate, and it's softened up wonderfully (it's very rough yarn when you're working with it). So, I bought enough yarn in a light olive green to make another pullover. (Actually, I bought more than enough, because one always does.)

And I bought something that I once swore I'd never buy, sock blockers. These are forms whose primary function is to make socks look pretty when you photograph them. I'm such a dork that I had a sock along with me so I could make sure I bought the same size. (Actually, it's the finished mate to the sock I'm currently working on for my sister.)

I had to re-login earlier today, and discovered a comment that had been waiting for moderation for three weeks. I'm supposed to get email notification of comments from people not on my friends' list, but somehow this one must have gotten eaten by a spam filter. Sorry, Norma!

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Some actual knitting content

heel
If you read my knitting posts you know I knit socks, a lot of socks. I have a scary number of handknit socks, and have knit additional socks for other people. The thing about knitting socks is that you're left with dribs and drabs of leftover yarn. Sometimes I use the leftovers for swatching something else, and I once made a pair of baby socks as a gift for one of our post-docs. But, that barely makes a dent in the pile of leftovers. So, I read with interest about a year ago about a project making wonderful use of such leftovers, a blanket.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I realized that the time had come. Following Shelly's directions, I grabbed some sock yarn and made a square:

blankiesquare

It's a very small square, about 3.5" from point to point.

blankiesquarescale

Shelly had something like 760 little squares in her blanket, and my estimate of what I'll make is comparable. Fortunately, there's virtually no sewing. Once I have the first 25 squares or so, new squares are added by picking up stitches on the edges of already completed squares:

blankiesquarepanel

At this point, I've joined up 7 panels of 6 squares each and added some additional squares to the next row. And I've used much less than half of my accumulated yarn scraps. Each square evokes a project. The royal blue is my first ever pair of socks, made with Fleece Artist merino purchased in Nova Scotia. The socks have long since worn through, but the leftover yarn will take its place in my blanket. The green and purple striped yarn in the picture above is Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock, purchased in Alexandria, VA, when I was visiting a friend for Passover. I still have the socks I made from it. And so on. Each square tells a story, and reminds me of a time and place: where the yarn was purchased, where I was when I knit it up, and who the project was for. It will take me a long time to finish this blanket. I'm less than 10% done, and it's no longer a portable project. While it sits draped over the arm of my sofa, I have other projects that travel with me: not surprisingly, I'm working on another pair of socks.

experimentalsox1

When I'm done with these socks, I'll have another pair of socks, and some leftovers for my blanket. But I'll have something else, in addition. Instead of a pattern, I'm using a custom template for these. This is something I've been working up to for a while. Most commercial sock patterns make assumptions about the density of stitches that I don't agree with. So, if I follow these patterns, I have three choices: knit a sock that doesn't actually fit me that well, knit a sock with a stitch density I don't like, or modify the pattern. My template will enable me to knit the toe of a sock, make some measurements at that point, and then make a sock that fits me perfectly.

And when I'm tired of knitting with skinny yarn, I have just under 4 oz some roughly worsted weight handspun (by me!) that's waiting to turn into a scarf.

homespun3a

Variations on a theme

knitslug
Consider three yarn photographs:

Anne2

The skein shows clearly delineated segments of blue, green, brown/orange, purple, and, perhaps, black. It seems so in the coiled skein as photographed, and is more apparent when the skein is stretched out around my swift. The color progression is regular and even.

annewound

When the yarn is wound into a center-pull cake, the colors are still evident, but it is by no means clear how regular the progression is.

annesip

But, when the yarn is knit into a sock, the sequencing appears much more chaotic. All of the colors are visible, but one would be hard pressed to see in the finished sock the orderly progression that is clearly evident in the skein.

The yarn is Schaeffer Anne, a light fingering weight yarn. The colorway is, tantalizingly, called Knitorious.

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My day

Snapdragon
1) Ate breakfast.
2) Brought dry clothes upstairs. They were washed and hung to dry on Friday.
3) Shoveled walk and driveway. Yesterday, after 45 minutes work got me about 10% of the way done, I paid a neighbor's son-in-law who's starting a landscaping business to snow-blow the rest of the 6-8" deep heavy snow. Overnight, we had another 3-4" of lighter snow, so I could deal with all of that myself, in about 45 minutes.
4) Reheated some turkey-kale soup for lunch; I made the soup on Friday, from a carcass I stuck in the freezer last winter.
5) Photographed some finished knitting projects.
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6) Watched most of the Patriots-Cardinals game. There was snow and it was a blowout.
7) Heard the plow come by again.
8) Spent another hour shoveling the inch or so of new snow since the first time I was out today, including the mass of crud that the plow threw up at the end of the driveway. Pondered the stupidity of the article on the ergonomics of snow-shoveling that I read in this morning's paper. It advocated pushing the snow in front of you rather than flinging it to the side. I already have snowbanks that are, in some places, two feet high. If I pushed the snow to the side instead of flinging it up, I would eventually squeeze my car out of my driveway.
9) Developed a craving for hot chocolate.
10) Came inside and made hot chocolate.
11) Turned on the Jets-Seahawks game. There is far more snow in Seattle than there was in Foxboro.

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Of angst and knitting

knitslug
So, I had dental work done on Friday, which required me to stay home for the rest of the day and feel sorry for myself. And knit. And I knit some more on Saturday, and even a bit today, though I normally knit in the evening only. So, I've gotten some things done.

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The sock of living dangerously

SOS08
I finished the first sock of my second Summer of Socks pair last night. It's knit from Regia Silk, a blend of 55% merino, 20% silk, and 25% nylon. It makes wonderfully soft socks and is a dream to knit with. There's just one problem: the yardage.

silkwave2

This picture shows the finished sock and all of the yarn remaining from the first ball (I have another ball of yarn for the second sock). There's actually a bit more yarn left than I'd anticipated as I was rushing to get to the toe decreases (yes, friends, when faced with the possibility of running out of yarn, I did what every knitter does; I knit faster!). But, still, to the resolution of my kitchen scale, I have 2 grams left, and the finished sock weighs 44 grams. Out of a 50 gram ball of yarn.

Now I understand that the weight of a skein or ball of yarn can vary with ambient humidity. But, this is the second pair of socks I've knit from Regia silk, and all four balls of yarn have weighed 44-46 grams, not the 50 marked on the ballband. I've experienced comparable discrepancies with other brands of yarn. But with other brands, I've had as many 52 gram balls of yarn as 48 gram balls, which is pretty much what you'd expect from natural variation.

I have two more balls of this yarn in my stash. Whatever I decide to do with them, the socks will be knit toe-up. It's so much less stressful that way.

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Knitting etc.

SOS08
There are 1500+ people signed up for Summer of Socks 2008. That means that there are 1500+ people competing to knit socks between June 21 and some time around September 1. There are prizes galore. Last summer, somebody knit 42 pairs of socks over the summer. I can't imagine. Even during the Stanley Cup playoffs, when I watched a lot of TV over the course of two months, I only managed 6.3 pairs of socks. That's a little less than a pair of socks per week. And there's less knitting time over the summer. So, we shall see.

Of course, I've been getting work done on the house. Aside from the air conditioner, I've been getting one of the bathrooms totally redone. The original bathroom, that I've been living with for 7 years was awful. It seemed that every few months I had to replace toilet innards, the medicine chest smelled, the floor rolled, there was no storage space to speak of, the vanity light was gross, and the electrician who put in the overhead heat/fan/light unit did a piss-poor job on the switches. And there were very few towel bars. All that is gone. I have nice tile floor, a new vanity, a new toilet, a linen cabinet next to the vanity, and the switch situation has been fixed. Still to come is a new vanity light, a nice mirror over the sink, a cabinet over the toilet, and towel bars.

There's been a bit of adventure getting the work done, and it's taking longer than I'd anticipated. Between the contractor's girlfriend taking ill and the contractor being attacked by a vicious dog on another job, there have been setbacks. So, I've had to take more vacation days than I anticipated to "supervise". In this context, supervising involves giving workmen permission to use the downstairs bathroom, providing plastic bags and glasses of water, and changing the vacuum cleaner bag. But it's also given me unanticipated knitting time. As a result, there's an actual change that I'll finish my first pair of socks within a week. Right now, I'm about 1/3 done with the second sock.

Of course, I started off with a pair of worsted weight hiking socks. On the other hand, the yarn, a soy-polypropelene blend, is sticky in a way that wool-blend yarns aren't. But the sock, as knit, has a sproingy feel to it. I have enough of this yarn for two pairs of socks. But I want to finish the first pair and actually go for a hike in them before I start the second pair, as I might want to knit the other pair with a looser gauge. We shall see.

wick1b

Final accounting

knitslug
Well, the Stanley Cup was awarded almost a week ago. The parade is done; some stars have retired; and the Cup is making the rounds. Tomorrow night is the big awards show, which I'll miss because of knitting group.

So, in the past few months, I've watched a lot of hockey and done a lot of knitting. When I started planning this post, I thought I'd done 5 1/2 pairs of socks. But, when I went to photograph them, I discovered that I had 6 1/2 pairs! And here they are:

SC08b

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This 'n' That

Bellflowers
(1) The new hand-knit swiffer cover did a good job cleaning my kitchen floor. I rinsed it after using it, and it's now drying in the bathroom. I knit another cover, but have to sew it up.

(2) My freezer compartment does a very quick job making ice cubes. I've filled the bin (it takes about 5 trays of cubes), and, even though the tray cubes are a slightly different shape from the cubes made by the broken automatic icemaker, they still feed through the dispenser reasonably well. This means that I can have crushed ice, which I have come to prefer, in drinks. (And, when I was in Shaws this evening, they had ice cube trays which, I swear, weren't there on Sunday.)

(3) I stayed home from work today, as I was having work done on the house. I now have a much better patio door than I had before. Not only does it latch shut, but it locks. And the guys who installed it were very careful, so it's well insulated around the edges, which the old one wasn't. This should prevent heat leakage next winter. In addition, I now have a wall air conditioner in the living room. The guys made a hole in the wall and put in the A/C. They'll have to come back Friday or Sunday to do trim. In addition, the air conditioner needs a dedicated circuit. We turned it on, briefly, to make sure it worked, but the TV and DVR weren't on.

(4) I finally got the beans planted in the vegetable garden. It's been over a month since I planted lettuce, radishes, arugula, and scallions, and I've been picking the arugula and lettuce thinnings for salad for about a week. Norma of Now Norma Knits posted today about radish greens, and the comments to her post are full of serving suggestions. So, next time I thin radishes, I'll take the greens, wash them, and do something with them. I'm leaning toward starting slowly and putting them in chicken soup; I have a carcass in the fridge that has to become soup sometime in the next few days.

(5) I have a work-related cocktail party to go to tomorrow evening. The linen pants I want to wear were way too long (despite their classic cut, they're apparently designed to be worn with fuck-me shoes), so I had to hem them. I bought matching thread a year-and-a-half ago, and, while doing laundry over the weekend, I ironed them and marked where I want the hem to lie. It's probably been 30 years since I've actually sewed a hem, so I had to fake it a little, but at least the stitches aren't visible on the right side. Small blessings.

Subversive knitting

knitslug
OK, I admit it. I can be a hypocrite. I talk a good game about "living green". I compost, in suburbia, no less. I try to eat local, as much as I can (avocados don't count; so sue me!). I recycle. Oh, lordy, I recycle. The actual volume of trash I put out for weekly pickup is probably 1/3 the volume of the recycling (we won't talk about weight, because those newspapers are heavy!). But I have my blind spots, oh yes I do.

And one of them is my Swiffer. It's just so much easier to give the kitchen and bathroom floors a quick once-over when I don't have to deal with buckets. But mops are reusable and Swiffer pads aren't. And the pads aren't all that cheap. (Of course, like printer ink, that's kind of the point.) So a few months ago, when I saw that someone on Ravelry had posted a pattern for a knit Swiffer pad, I added it to my queue.

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, I've been doing a lot of knitting. A lot of knitting. I've finished four pairs of socks for myself, and am more than half done with a pair for my sister. Last night, when game 2 of the finals rolled around, I was sick of socks (horrors!). And on Saturday I'd picked up the yarn for some swiffer pads. After knitting socks on 2mm needles, the 5mm needles I needed for the Swiffer pad seemed huge. And, indeed, this was a quick knit. It took me all of one evening to finish one washable, reusable Swiffer pad.

swiffer1action

And a close-up of the stitch pattern:

swiffer1detail

Project details:

Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth Reusable Swiffer Cover, from Skull Charms
Yarn: Lily Sugar and Cream Violet Veil Ombre and Hot Purple
Needles: US 8 (5mm)
Modifications: None (well, aside from using size 8 rather than size 7 needles)

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One sock at a time

heel
Today was a day off work. I'd cleverly double-booked on medical appointments, a visit to Griffin Hospital in Derby for the study I'm in and a routine visit to my rheumatologist. By the time I'd moved the latter appointment to the afternoon, it didn't make sense to go to work, so I didn't. At 8:45 AM, I grabbed my knitting and headed for Derby. Waiting in doctors' offices is so much less stressful when you have something to do. And I take perverse pleasure in finishing my row when I'm finally called in.

When I got to the lab at the hospital, on my way out the door, there was one person ahead of me. So I settled down with my sock-in-progress, the mate to this one:

p4heel2

The sock itself is as plain as plain can be. There are no fancy stitches at all. The entire beauty of the sock is the marled yarn. Like most sock yarns, it's 4 ply. Each ply of this one is a different reddish color: there is orange, magenta, crimson, and burgundy. The yarn in the skein looks like a ruddy barber pole. But, when knit, it produces a lovely marled fabric. So, yes, the sock looks awfully nice.But, honestly, the yarn does all the work.

After I'd been knitting a few minutes, one of the technicians called me into the lab. As I finished my row and stuffed the knitting into my bag, she asked what I was knitting. "A sock", I replied, girding myself for the inevitable "you can buy those at Walmart, you know". However, she asked whether it was a full sock, or just a bootie. I assured her that it was a sock, for me, and pulled the finished mate from the bag. She asked if she could look at it, so I handed it to her and she gushed. There's no other word for it, friends. She gushed. She brought it over to the desk clerk for her to admire as well. Then she asked if she could bring it to show her supervisor. And I could hear more gushing from the other room.

When she returned the sock and we went into the room where she was going to draw my blood, she commented on how patient I must be. I quickly set her straight. I knit because I'm impatient. Only the knitting lets me survive impatiently waiting for an appointment that I was on time for to finally get started. And, because I had two sets of appointments today, I'm almost done with this pair of socks. I'll finish during the hockey game tonight (after I eat dinner and fold some laundry; well maybe I'll skip the laundry).

By George, I think I've got it!

heel
I'm planning some small home remodeling projects, so yesterday I took a day off work to make the rounds with my contractor selecting stuff (bathroom fixtures, tile, an air conditioner, a patio door). Since I anticipated a certain amount of waiting around, I spent a little time Tuesday night starting yet another sock. I'm still working on making Cat Bordhi's master numbers (from New Pathways for Sock Knitters) work for me. Since previous pairs of socks made from her templates had been a little loose in the heel, I decided that the principled thing to do was simply to incorporate negative length-wise ease; in other words, while my foot is 9.75" long, my calculations were based on a foot length of 9.25". (Previous socks using a target length of 9.5" were a little loose.)

Between waiting around for the contractor, waiting for lunch (at a highly-reviewed new restaurant near the Sound in West Haven, the Savin Rock Roasting Company; the roast beef is, indeed, to die for), and some quality television time, I got a fair amount of knitting done yesterday. Today during the hockey game, I finished the heel and was finally able to try on the sock-in-progress:

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I do believe I've got it. The fit is exactly the way I like it.

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Unventing in the Dark

heel
Part of my birthday present to myself was to go hear The Yarn Harlot read from her new book in Northhampton last Sunday. Well, that and I had been good about buying yarn all year. Last weekend was a yarn diet moratorium.

Part of what happens when you get somewhere over 500 knitters in the same room for a lecture is that you get somewhere over 500 knitters knitting. I'm currently working on a rather fancy sock that I designed for a sock-pattern contest. But that's rather fiddly knitting. So I did a bit of stash-diving to grab some yarn I could knit a rather vanilla sock from. I ended up with a skein of Mega Boots Stretch which, it turns out, seems to have been discontinued. A few days before the lecture, I cast on.

Once I finally got the cast on worked out, it was smooth sailing. Until I got to Northhampton. The lecture took place in a theater, and, even with the house lights on their brightest, it was rather difficult to see. The dominant color of the yarn is dark green. In the low light in the theater, the yarn might just as well have been black. So, I was continuing in my k3p1 ribbing, by feel. Knit stitches and purl stitches feel different, and I really did have to rely on that different feel.

My intention had been to do a totally conventional heel, since that's something I can do, well, not in my sleep, but certainly without consulting a written pattern. But something about being in lecture hall with over 500 other knitters…well, let's call it a contact high. I started thinking about heels.
And here's what happens when I think too muchCollapse )

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Inside Outside

heel
So, I'm knitting and watching Stanley Cup playoff games. I've finished one pair of socks, the Becoming Socks, and started another that I'm thinking of entering in the Lorna's Laces sock contest. But that one is fairly fiddly, and I'm going to need some more mindless knitting for the Yarn Harlot event on Sunday. So I grabbed a ball of Mega Boots Stretch from the stash and started knitting Wednesday night.

megaboot507

Well, actually, I tried to start knitting Wednesday night, but I kept messing up on the tubular caston. Granted, it's a very fiddly caston, but I've done it successfully a number of times. But I suppose that's what I get for starting a project after midnight.

Yesterday evening, I went back at it, during the Detroit-Colorado game, with much greater success. Since I wasn't sure how the yarn would pattern, I decided to stick with a decidedly non-fiddly k3p1 rib for the cuff and instep of the sock:

p3outside

It's certainly easy enough to do, which will be good when listening to a hysterically funny lecture in the company of many other knitters. But, as I was winding up for the evening, I took a look at the inside of the sock, and realized that I like that much better.

p3inside

It's visually interesting without distracting from the yarn. So, I'm going to have to do a bit of fancy footwork, so to speak, when I turn the heel, to make sure that I flip the sock and then work the instep in p3k1 rib. It's a fun challenge. So, we shall see how it works out. It's all good.

They have become...socks

heel
I finally got around to taking a picture of my Becoming Socks, which have, indeed, fully become something wonderful. In the past 10 days, since I wrote about them, I have finished them and am almost finished with the first sock in another pair.

And here they are:Collapse )

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