Saturday, March 22, 2014

Knitting on the Road

We visited our friends Tom & Shelly in Houston this weekend to see the penultimate performance of a play Tom directed. Ruined, by Lynn Nottage at Obsidian Art Space was quite intense and had some amazing acting. So glad we took the time to come down and see it.

While having breakfast the next day, Tom reminded me that we had been talking about me knitting him a sweater. We haven't settled on a pattern yet, but I thought a trip to the yarn store might help generate some ideas. If we found a yarn he liked, it might help us settle on a pattern. And luckily for us, there was a yarn store down the street.

I'd been wanting to visit Knitting in the Loop for a while, but we just don't seem to get to Houston as much as we used to. It's housed in an old 1920s-era bungalow that was moved to this site in the 1980s. It's very open and light with plenty of windows looking out into the southeast Texas spring sunshine. They had a lot of Rowan, Cascade and Debbie Bliss yarns, among others. It wasn't cluttered-seeming like some yarn shops can be. And the place was hopping with people knitting on a Saturday morning. Here, Jeff and Tom relax while I get to business.

We still haven't settled on a yard or a pattern, but we might be getting closer. While Tom mulled things over, I snuck over to look at the sock yarn. I really liked the Painted Desert sock yarn they had, which I had never seen, but the fact that it was just superwash wool with no nylon made me a little leery of it's ability to withstand wear and tear. If anyone has any experience with this yarn, I'd be interested to hear about it. In the meantime, I bought some more Cascade Heritage Silk in a creamy beige color. It's so nice to work with. And it looks lovely among the loropetalum in Tom & Shelly's garden. Spring has definitely arrived in this part of the world.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a Barnum & Bailey World

A rainy cold weekend and a new sense of mission means my Paper Moon socks are finished -- including the re-knitting of the leg on the first sock. I really got into "the zone" on these lately -- and fitting with my modus operandi of letting projects languish and then suddenly knocking them out. A knitter's version of spring cleaning, perhaps. Which is also happening around here this spring break week. Believe me, it's needed.

You can't tell from the above picture, but I did re-knit the leg on the first sock. It would have just driven me nuts to know that these were "wrong," even if they looked fine they way they were. So I unraveled and unraveled and put the live stitches back on the dpns. Usually when I rip way back, I end up a row or two off, but I calculated it just right this time. And I was left with a giant wad of telephone cord yarn. (Sigh -- I just realized that "telephone cord" is starting to look like an anachronism.) In the past, I might just have wound it into a ball and started knitting, ignoring the fact that the kinks might make the knitting look wonky. ButI this time, I decided to be a bit more professional. Plus, I was worried that the kinks would make cables difficult to execute.

I wound the yarn around a box as I unravelled it. Using some scrap yarn, I tied off around the unravelled section in four places to keep it from tangling and I tied a stitch marker to the end so I could locate it later. Then I soaked the whole kinky mess for half an hour, leaving the rest of the sock on the edge of the basin. I squeezed it out, wrapped it in a towel and stepped on it, then draped it over a hanger with a slight weight and hung it in the shower to dry, again with the foot of the sock still attached. I had to get a bit creative, but it all worked. The next morning it was dry. Jeff did his husbandly duty of acting like a human swift while I wound it all up again, and then I was off to Saturday morning knitting.

Sunday evening, I had them finished. I washed and blocked the pair overnight and had my sock model pose for a picture on this glorious late winter day. They turned out beautifully. Jeff, who is not the biggest fan of wool socks, reports that these are quite comfy. That would probably be the silk. I'm glad I took the time to get these "right." And, because I'm a bit obsessive about these things, and because I'm hoping someone else out ther might be too, I can report that there are 392 cable twists in this pair of socks. And I'll have that number in my head each time I wear these. And I kind of like that.