Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maybe not - I don't have to knit everything

Today its about knitting for enjoyment, about it being a hobby, something that provides relaxation, about liking the act of knitting. I knit for lots of reasons but mostly because of the sense of pride in my creative output, a little bit of a sense of achievement at learning and accomplishing new and old knit tricks and techniques - and mostly, essentially - its fun! So what-do-ya-do when the project that seemed so promising lacks the reward, is just bland and not at all fun? Well in my case you knit something to distract yourself, and then have so much fun - well the decision to abandon the aforementioned project is easy. So today I'll introduce my pretty much abandoned sock project and the new one that was much more fun.

First up, Padded Footlets by Mary Snyder, in IW Favorite Socks. This pattern has tempted me since first I read the book, the idea of a sock, with a padded sole, knit with double yarns intrigued me. I understood it was knit in the round, and that you didn't have to purl back but I just couldn't get it. I read and re-read the pattern but couldn't understand how the sole ended up double and the upper section could be knit with a single ply. Some times I have to do it to understand it, really sometimes I'm that thick about the how. Leading up to this project was knitting socks for four others, and deciding that the next sock would be for me, in my own hand spun sock yarn. With me so far, exited? Well so was I, I cast on, I knit, I found the handspun to be harsh, stiff, not soft. I told myself it would soften and that yes perhaps I had overtwisted it ....I knit on, I knit the heel, and the heel cup, it was bulky and awkward, I knit on, and progressed to the gusset decreases. Yes this sock was top down, and I finally understood how the sole could be knit with two strands and the upper with one -in the round. Hint : its to do with slip stitching every second row of the sole, to return one of the yarns to the beginning of the row - and no its not hard, or difficult, surprisingly easy. I'd have to say the pattern is fine, spot on, its probably my yarn and my needle choice and that they were not going to fit me. I plodded on, getting more and more unhappy with the stiff, harsh yarn .. and got to here
One socket, half knit, just before this stage several things became apparent. First - the sock was going to fit a larger foot than mine. I had knit it on 2.5mm needles to match the slightly thicker than normal sock yarn, and it was going to be to big.
Second, that the yarn was overtwisted and not fun to work with, I spun it early on, I can do much better now.
third, I didn't like the fit of the sock, the heel was baggy - probably because it was over sized - but also wider than my foot. I asked bear to try it on, and he said he would wear them if I knit them, but the heel was odd - a non-knitter noticed the heel.
So I put the long planned handspun socks aside and cast on some thing else.

I found a project to use up my one skein of Noro Silk Garden, but first I had to find a yarn to put with it. This Possum Merino in orange looked promising and got several votes from fellow spinners and knitters.

And this green grey also looked good, and got votes from other fellow spinners and knitters. I went with the Green-Grey, it provided more of a contrast to the Noro, I worried that although the Orange looked good, really good the colours would be to similar and when knit it would loose the pattern when the orange of the noro and the orange of the possum merino co-existed.

And the project, the Fake Isle hat, designed to use up a single skein of Noro, which I had, and I knit in 2 nights tops. This was fun - much fun, and exiting. Don't get me wrong, I found knitting colour-work with thick yarn a challenge, the yarns don't feed as easily as finer yarns, I detest those teeny tiny needle tips on 40cm circulars, they just are to small to hold easily, but I'm not a fan of colour work on 2 circs. Yup thats me - today all moans, yet I was a happy. I knit right up to the crown decreases in one night.

Last night I spun, with a group of local spinners, and we had a new person join the group, N, I think she was sussing us out, I hope we passed the come-spin-with-us test. Tonight, back to the knitting, I finished the crown, threaded up the last few stitches, pulled it tight, wove in the ends and blocked the hat over the obligatory blown up balloon. You all do that don't you, blow them up until they are the size of a head?
Now I'm happy - this is the way knitting should be, not super easy, not super quick (even though it was this time), but with a sense of achievement and pleasure at the outcome.

So the footlets?
Well I'm abandoning them, going to start a new hat with the Noro left overs and some other little bits and bobs that are around. I'll slide the footlets into a bag and maybe in a month or two they will go in the trash. It takes time to say goodbye some times :-)

Saturday is knitting study group - intarsia in the round, which will be interesting, I hear its another hat. I've got some white sport weight (4 ply), some dyed with lichen and some to dye tomorrow with Indigo. Should be fun ... the way knitting is supposed to be.
Take care, happy knitting, go well, Stella


CraftyGryphon said...

I really like colowork-on-black. Your hat came out great... I think I know what I may try with the extra skein of Noro that somehow followed me home!

Angelika said...

Yes, the black contrast makes the Noro colors pop. What a great use for a single strand. Does it itch though? Or does a good soak take care of that?

Knitting Linguist said...

Good for you! Far better to be knitting something that you are enjoying and will enjoy wearing, than to suffer through something just because you started it. And I adore the hat; the dark grey makes SUCH a nice contrast!

KathyR said...

Another one chiming in to say, yep, the dark contrast was the right choice - not that my opinion matters in the long run, of course! What a good way to use a ball of Noro. I made a pair of Maine Morning Mitts with the ball of Noro that came home with me. Nice, but not a particularly inspired use.

Sad about your handspun. Does it really need to be discarded or can you find a more suitable use for it? Can't think of one myself right now, mind you. I totally agree that some projects do need to be put to rest, though.