Friday, February 28, 2014

Hind Leg

I thought that after knitting for nine years I had grasped the concept of following the directions in a knitting pattern. Apparently, I have not. Or maybe I have and I just need to pay more attention to the pictures provided. Or maybe I shouldn't knit while watching sci-fi movies over the Atlantic. Let me explain.

I was working on the second of the two Paper Moon socks yesterday and did a double-take after glancing at one of the pictures. It clearly showed that the cable which starts near the toe and is "unwound" to form the gusset, is supposed to be re-braided after the heel is finished and the leg begins. I went and grabbed my completed sock. Not only had I NOT done that, but the back of my sock didn't have the cabling and garter stitch motifs that the sock in the picture does. The back of my sock's leg was plain, except for the oddly placed purl gutters, which I had assumed where just there as placeholders for the cuff that is knit in the last few rounds.

How did this happen!? I started this sock in Germany, so I could claim travel fatigue or sleep deprivation. I can't believe that I worked on this off and on for over a month and never saw what I'd done Or rather, I can believe it, because the evidence is staring me in the face. Look at this photo of my pair in progress. The sock on the needles is the second sock, with the cable brought back together and the pattern going around the whole leg above the heel. The completed sock is sitting there like a reverse mullet hairstyle -- party in the front, business in the back. Boring!

When I reread the instructions for the leg, and then looked at the charts, I could see where I strayed. After a set up round where the purl gutters are established, the instructions say to work as established. There is no chart specifically for the back of the leg, although by the time you get there it's not too hard to see where you're going. Unless, of course, your eyes are glued to a tiny screen on the back of the seat in front of you, watching a hapless South African bureaucrat making a mess of intergalactic race relations.

I'm going to re knit the leg of that first sock.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

One Sock, Two Sock, Green Sock, Gray Sock

I was a little exhausted after the quick finish to the Girasole Throw. Pairing that with a nasty cold that left me apathetic about nearly anything creative, knitting and crocheting fell to the wayside in early February. I'd work a few stitches here and there, but my heart and hands weren't in it. I seem to have recovered -- I can breathe clearly now, the cold is gone. Today, I finished the first of a pair of socks that had been languishing.

This is one of the Paper Moon socks that I've been working on for a while. I cast on for them in late December while in Germany, and hadn't touched them since the flight home until this weekend. I had to stare back and forth from the sock to the pattern for 20 minutes before I could even grasp what I'd been doing with these -- what size I was making, where I'd left off. But I got a lot of work done on them yesterday, and this morning I finished the cuff and bound off. Better start the second right away, I think.

Yesterday I got to know and spend time with a knitter I'd never met -- always a fun way to spend a beautiful day. Kris is a friend of Janelle's who I know from her blog and a few social media connections. She happened to be here for a conference, so we set aside some time for a mini yarn crawl yesterday. We ended up hitting two shops, driving around a big part of Austin and grabbing some coffee. Knitting happened, of course. Afterwards we ran by the house, went with Jeff to take the dogs for a quick walk, and then all went out for some Texas barbecue. It was a great time, and I look forward to seeing Kris again. I swear we'll get back up to Pennsylvania one of these days. I promise!

While shopping, I couldn't resist this striking light gray Shibui Stacatto sock yarn, a merino/silk blend. The colorway is called Ash. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Sock yarn is the only kind I buy without a plan for what I'll do with it. I think I'll just enjoy looking at it and thinking about the possibilities, for now.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Drop of Golden Sun

I'm coming up for air after a flurry of knitting with no accompanying blogging. Not much to report with lace knitting in-the-round. Yarnover this, decrease that, join another skein, blah-blah-blah. I had a little excitement when I realized I needed a seventh skein to complete the project, coupled with joy that the yarn shop still had another one in the same dye lot. So I decided to wait to bore readers with the details until it was finished. And as of today, it is. I finished knitting it with my knitting group yesterday morning, wove in the ends when I got home, and washed and blocked it in the afternoon.

Since it's cotton, I washed it in the machine. I wanted to make sure it didn't fall apart. It didn't. But it was so heavy when wet that the washer wouldn't spin fast enough to get it past soaking and merely to damp -- it caused the whole thing to go way off balance. So I tossed it in the drier on low for 20 minutes to get it to the right dampness. All pointers I can pass on to those who will be caring for it.

The picot edging has 240 points on it. Ideally, I would have pinned out each one, but I don't have that many pins -- or that much patience. I made do, trying to make sure that each point was 30" from the center, making for a 60" diameter -- which just about fits on this old beach towel that I use for blocking big projects. The only place with floorspace big enough was in the living room, so I had Jeff help me move furniture around to create a Fortress of Blockitude, impervious to curious dogs. Frankly, I was a little disappointed that Pona and Kate didn't show much interest in my efforts. But if I hadn't done it...

I'm always fascinated by how magical lace is, being based on nothing but making holes and gathering them back together. And how it never reaches its full potential until blocked. Even in cotton, it smoothed out and shaped up noticeably after a good blocking. The sun pattern in the center spreading out from the clever cast-on is my favorite bit. But I also like the diagonal lace bars that shift directions as they move outward. I thought the knitted-on picot edging would drive me crazy with the amount of time I anticipated it would take. But it wasn't too bad. The six row repeat was quickly memorized and was easy to read as I went along. I can highly recommend this pattern. It's not particularly difficult. And, as with most Jared Flood patterns, it's very well written. I can't wait to see how this is received!