Saturday, April 24, 2010

Be-gyled Again

I'm feeling so much better about these socks. Because the first one is finished -- mostly.

I was in a funk about these all week. I decided that, to determine whether these would really fit, I should seam it up to the point I'd knit so far and try them on. Because I knew I'd need all the circumference I could get and didn't want a thick seam, I tried seaming along the middle of the selvage edge. Tricky, under the best circumstances -- darn near impossible on such tiny (and sometimes quite dark) stitches. So there was that. Then, I had to get the triangles and cross hatches to match up along the seam. So there was also that. And then I tried it on.

A bit snug! This morning, with the encouragement and support of my fellow knitters, I went ahead and did the side seams and decided that, while snug (about as snug as the patent stitch socks I made recently), they would still work -- especially after a little hard-core blocking. When doing the side seams, I didn't pay attention to making them end on the same row along the sole. I'd overshot the sole a bit thinking I could rip back, but because I had room, I ended up with one seam taking up more of the sole than the other. So I ripped that one back. I still may have been a few rows off, but I finally got it back in the round and finished off the toes this afternoon.

Ye of weak stomach might not want to look at the second photo in this post. Yes -- those are just some of the ends that must be woven in. Some have already been done and some are hidden on the other side of the sock. This could take some time.

I'm back in the swing of things with these, though, and hope that all I've learned on this sock will make the second one fly by. I do know that I need to count the sole rows ahead of time, and then I need to divide the gray better this time around. I also know exactly how long to cut the yarn for the bobbins for the color parts, too.

I've really had a mood swing on this project. I was down in the dumps about it just a few days ago, but now I believe diamonds are a boy's best friend.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Puke of Argyll

Wikipedia, which never lies, tells me that the argyle pattern is derived from the tartan of Clan Campbell of the Argyll region of Scotland. Now, one of my 5th great grandparents was a certain Mary Campbell, who lived from 1783 to 1873. So one would think I would have at least a trace of a genetic affinity for this pattern, it being a remote part of my heritage and all. But we all have 128 5th great-grandparents, so it appears the strain has been watered own a bit.

I was so looking forward to getting back to these socks after putting them on hiatus for the past month or so, but as soon as I picked them up again, I started having problems. I miscalculated the lengths of yarn I needed for bobbins. I dropped stitches. I crossed the wrong strands. I had to stop for hours while untangling unruly yarn. I somehow added a stitch at one point. I just can't seem to get back into the swing with these things. I'm also a bit worried that I might be running out of gray yarn. If that's the case, I can always make the toes a solid color (either the navy or burgundy), but I'd like to use the gray.

I'm not giving up on this project by any means -- I just wish it would flow more smoothly. This sock does a lot of things differently from normal socks, and I suppose much of my frustration comes from the feeling of doing something for the first time. I need to remember that these aren't ordinary socks, and let go of the assumptions and habits that I've gotten used to in my sock knitting. That's one of the points of trying something new, isn't it?

It could be that my Campbell-ness is just too watered down for me to take to argyle naturally.I suppose I could contact Torquhil Campbell, the current (and 13th) Duke of Argyll to see if he has any tips. But Wikipedia also tells me he is the captain of Scotland's national elephant polo team (!), so perhaps he's best left alone...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Night Gulls

I haven't posted in over three weeks because I've been on a secret mission. But now the cat (or the sea bird, rather) is out of the bag, and all can be revealed.

Behold, a new sock pattern -- Night Gulls -- created by my good friend, fellow librarian, and fellow knitter, Janelle. Aren't they cool? And Janelle chose me to test knit the large size. So much responsibility! But Janelle was thorough and kind and carefully considered all suggestions. I was a little nervous about it -- not knowing whether I would be able to be objective about a friend's pattern, wondering whether I would be able to be thorough (I tend to gloss over some parts of patterns) -- but the whole process was fun. A lot of hard work (especially on Janelle's part!), but extremely rewarding.

As Janelle mentions in her pattern notes, the socks have a kind of sampler feel. The top has a slipped gull stitch pattern that leaves the effect of a flock of seagulls (no, not that kind), and after a garter ridge divider section, a diagonal rib stitch that brings to mind rolling waves. So if your interest is piqued, check it out. If you do decide to do this, I can highly recommend using Dream in Color Smooshy. It was awesome to knit with.

I should say that I haven't spent the entire preceding month working on just this project, although it is the only knitting I've managed to accomplish. The weather here has warmed up considerably and our poor yard, much neglected after a couple years of intense drought, needed some attention. So weeds have been pulled, plants added, bamboo eradicated (as much as one can -- sigh), and ibuprofen ingested. All of this pulled me away from knitting and I didn't get to spend as much time at the needles as I would have liked. But the yard's under control, the Night Gulls have flown, and now I need to get back to those Men's Argyle Socks -- if I can even remember how to do them anymore.

More posts soon -- I promise.