Friday, June 29, 2007

Return to Vinnland

After a month of no sock mojo and weird Anglo-Sox-on dreams, I've decided to get back to some sock knitting.

When we last left our frustrated sock knitter, he wasn't able to get a Vinnland Sock, which he had poured hours of work into, over his heel.

At the time, I blamed the pattern. I had this idea that it was written in women's sizes and that I had not done the translating. But this is absolutely not so -- the pattern is clearly written in inches of circumference. I had followed my usual circumference for my foot (10") and it was still too small. What was wrong? I'm sure the more experienced of you knitters out there have guessed already.


I hadn't closely paid attention to the suggested needles (Size 1), because I at some point made a decision which has since become gospel -- Thou shat knit socks on needles of size 0. I read 1, and immediately thought, "Hell no, I'm knitting these on size 0." And the hubris kind of went on from there.

My apologies to the designer of this lovely pattern, Becca Compton, for thinking cranky thoughts about her pattern. It really is a great pattern. I'm just an inattentive, and somewhat stubborn knitter.

So now I'm starting over with a new attitude and knitting one size up on the chart. I think it's already looking better than it did the first time. One thing I am doing differently is using Charlene Schurch's wrapped short row method for the toe (and later the heel) rather than Becca's method of using yarn-overs (yarns-over?). I'm only doing this because I'm more familiar with it.

Wait -- could be this be another initial assumption that will later torpedo the project?

Nah. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hex Files

Where have I been? Working on this Hex Afghan.

Life has been awfully busy lately. My contract year at work is winding down and I'm trying to get a lot done in what little amount of time I've got left. We've been busy with chorus functions and trying to get some work done around the house -- both inside and out. Precious little time for knitting. And the best time of year for knitting big wads of warm toasty wool? -- not summer.

But I've been able to put some work into this afghan little by little, and I'm pleased with how it's turned out. It was a pretty uncomplicated pattern, yet it still looks cool. My favorite kind of thing to knit.

But not my favorite kind of thing to knot. Which is where I am these days. The instructions call for long fringe to be attached and then knotted in a kind of two-row lattice pattern. You can kind of see it on the cover of the book from which I got the pattern:

I think I've figure out how to do it, but I'm a little unclear on how to get the lattice even. I'm thinking of using a glass or some other object to knot the yarn around so that I maintain some kind of consistency. And there is still some blocking left to do. But since our spare bedroom -- the official blocking chamber -- is scattered with materials for fixing cracks in drywall, it may be a while before I get to that part of the project. I really do think I need to block it before I add the fringe. I want to jump the gun, but I'm sure I'd regret it.

Here's another closeup detail of the knitting so that you can see the bifurcated hex pattern.

I really want to get back to some sock knitting. I haven't knitted a stitch on a sock in over a month and I'm jonesin'.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Her Majesty's Socks

I've not been feeling well today and really should go to bed...but...I had the oddest, knitting-related dream last night and I just remembered it.

Jeff and I were part of a massive group of people fleeing some sort of natural catastrophe. I had the feeling that it was a swarming infestation or a type of contagion. I'm not sure which. But it felt more like small crawly insects were involved. We were in a car, driving down a road. People were on the road with us, most of them walking, carting their belongings in wooden wheelbarrows. The atmosphere was one of general confusion and fear. Oh, and Prince William was in the back seat of our car.

For some reason, we were responsible for getting him somewhere safely. We ended up in a small house. It had furniture from houses like old ladies lived in when I was a kid -- lots of blandly upholstered furniture with doilies on the headrests. The three of us, and my friend Tom from college who happened to be there, just sat around chit-chatting, waiting for something.

The door rang and it was Queen Elizabeth and a driver, arriving to pick up her grandson. As they left, I looked down at her ankles for some reason, and saw that she was wearing the ugliest handknitted socks I had ever seen. They were ankle-length, knitted on huge needles for socks, and made out of this swirly purple/green/blue yarn. The gauge was all over the place and they were very saggy. And she was wearing them with those royally comfortable shoes she always wears. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.

Maybe it was a sign that I'm ready to get back to sock knitting? Or perhaps a sign I should stay away for a while longer?

Interpretations appreciated.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hex Afghan

I got bad sock karma, people.

Let's just say that when I read "size 10.5" on the chart for the Vinnland socks I was working on, it never even crossed my mind to ask where this was a men's size 10.5 or a women's size 10.5. I can't get the sock over my heel. So I'm going to either frog it and start over, or find someone with a 10.5 foot to give this to. I'm not sure what the deal is, but both of my Kool-Aid-dyed sock projects are really sapping my knitting mojo.

To get it back, I decided to knit something from one of the myriad books I got for Christmas. I'm really intrigued by Nora Gaughan's Knitting Nature, but a lot of the sweaters are awfully complicated and let's face it -- my hips just can't rock a knit skirt. But there was this cool afghan project which is not awfully complicated, but looks quite elegant. Things will get complicated when I get to the lattice-knotted fringe at the end, but I'll cross that bridge later.

It's quite satisfying knitting. Just mindless enough to be able to knit while watching the tube, but still needing a bit of attention now and then. The pattern is made of alternating rows of hexagons in a 10-stitch pattern. Two rows of hexagons are 16 knitting rows tall, and then a 24 row pattern is thrown in, just to shake things up and keep it interesting.

The hexagons are divided down the middle with knit stitches on one side and purl stitches on the other. Two trapezoids are meeting up on their long sides to make the hexagrams. I see the trapezoids easily, but kind of have to squint to see the hexagons. I think the 2 5-stitch patterns make a kind of ribbing, so unless it's stretched out, it's hard to see.

I'd say I'm somewhere between 1/3 and halfway through -- and I've only used 3 of the 10 balls I bought in a lot on sale from Webs. I'm thinking I'll have enough left over to make a scarf. Gotta love Cascade 220.