Saturday, January 10, 2009

A sock, a sock and another sock

Socks, thats what I've been knitting. I don't think I've ever had a sock as my main project - oh I've knit lots of socks, but always as a side project. You know the project you take along to knit night, or in the car, to to guild meetings, or have at hand when the main project is to big, or to complicated or just not right for the knitting occasion. But right now, I've been working on just socks ... and when you just knit socks, they knit up real fast. I think I finally understand how those knitters who sign up for the 52 pair plunge manage to complete the challenge or even come close. Two socks have been competing for my knitting time, Poppys resized Froot Loops, and Cat Bordhi's Spring Thaw socks. Today, progress on both pairs of socks, my vintage pre-christmas find, a new increase to play with, and finally a few details about my new project.

I've finished Poppy's first Froot Loop, she did ask for knee length - and I should have given in, but I did not want to be stuck working on these whilst I had other things tempting me, so mid calf they are. Sock one was done on the 8th of Feb, quite quick really.

and sock two is more than half way done. Another few nights knitting and that to should be finished.

And those Spring thaw socks that I remembered I had wanted to knit. Well a quick rummage in my sock yarn drawer located some deep forest green yarn by St Ives, and knowing that white socks would not be a good idea for lots of reasons mostly involving how hard it would be to keep them clean - green seemed a good choice for socks with leaves. These socks have a very square toe, which looks quite odd when not on the foot - but on the foot work quite well.

... now just before I finished Froot Loops 1, on January the 8th, I cast on for Spring thaw - and look past the heel already. I admire Cat Bordhi's designs, but find her directions mighty confusing at times. I had hoped that since this sock was published in a magazine rather than her own self published and self edited book, that the pattern would be a tad easier to follow .. and I was nearly right. In her books patterns consist of many pages of line by line instructions and wordy explanations with diagrams - in Knitters the pattern is a bare one and a half pages, and comparably very concise. I still had a moment when I did not understand what to do next, and at 10pm was logging on to Ravelry searching for help on turning the heel - where I found at least a few others had the same problem. CB titles a section 'Turning the heel', and states all rounds now begin with the sole stitches and starts with what appear to be asymmetrical increases on one side of the gusset ... but at that stage the knitter has just finished the sole stitches. I was confused, did I now turn and work the wrong side and what would that do to the twisted ribs or work across the instep? I'm ashamed to say I didn't even think of working the instep (I'll admit my brain goes a bit mushy after 10pm and a G&T), but turns out the missing instruction is to knit in pattern across the instep ready to start the heel - and what appear to be asymmetrical increases on one gusset are soon matched by increases on the other gusset. It is all sorted now and I'm past the heel and mid way up the leg - only one and a half leaves to go, as in this sock progress is measured by leaves.

I love the way the ribbing flows over and around the leaves, like ripples of water in a flowing river .... very nice, imagine them in blue! I'm hoping the pair will be a mirror match for each other, so I might have to reposition the first leaf placement and remember to start each new leaf 5 stitches before the old leaf not 5 stitches past it - unless Cat has already planned for that. I notice Knitters took out her Linc and R-incs and substituted kfb increases, which I've now substituted with what I call K+1 increases.

On the last knitters trip to the mill, we did our regular thing, had lunch at the country club (more like a formica tabled cafe with pretensions - but the food is hot, tasty and affordable), and visited all the second hand dealers in Milton. There I found this, a vintage folder of sock knitting needles - nearly complete. Imagine the lucky knitter who owned these ... the sizes go from 1.5mm to 3mm, are steel, in sets of 4. I suspect they are English, as the sizing is form larges size 11 to smallest size 19. I'm not planning to use these, I prefer my sets of 5, but its a nice find. The set is missing 3 of the 12's, that is the 2.75mm needles - but if I keep an eye out in local second hand shop - they shouldn't be to hard to pick up.

During the week I stopped by an old haunt, an online knitting forum that I used to practically live in before there was a Ravelry, the Knitters Review Forum. With Ravelry running the KR forum is much quieter than it used to be, and compared to Ravelry its a much less showy place (no photos of what people are doing - only links to their blogs or flickr accounts) - but there are still some good answers being provided to questions about knitting and patterns and spinning over there. My favorite haunt was the General Technique Questions space, new members (to see if any Dunedinites had joined) and the Spinning, and have a quick look at the Active topics to see what was going on. That displays all the topics and posts since your last visit. In the General Technique section this visit I found a new increase which I've become quite fond of. I've tested it on both the Froot loop sock gusset and the Spring Thaw gusset increases - and it works fine. I've been working it in the first stitch to make a left leaning increase and in the 2nd to last stitch to make a right leaning increase ... so far so good. A bit like a knit front and back - but subtler. I'm calling it the K+1 increase for want of a better name until some one lets me know of its more established name. K+1 hints is an increase that uses a knit stitch - and adds a stitch.

And the new project is ... a gansey for Toby, in Marine blue 4 ply from the Mill. I was waiting for a third gansey book to arrive, Knitting Ganseys by Beth Bown Reinsell. I've knit he sampler gansey from this already, in a class at the local guild with the local knit guru Lorna, but wanted to book as it had more detailed instructions for the gussets and straps than the other books I have contained. Of course this means joining a new group on Ravelry - the Gansey group ... cause I'm just a group knitting junkie. This is a small knit along - with another knitter I've met on line, we are both planning and knitting ganseys for boys at the same time which should be fun. I think the project proper will start some time early Feb 2009 - which should give us both some time swatching and researching, and charting and planning. This is a swatch I knit when I first bought the yarn, I've labled it 2.57mm so think thats the needle size I used ... so better knit another swatch and try some of those gansey patterns just to check ... eh?

take care


twinsetellen said...

I've got both of those gansey books and a gansey in my future. But first I have a wedding veil to knit or my DD will be sorely disappointed. I'll follow yours along with glee.

Knitting Linguist said...

The socks look great! You're inspiring me to move that CB sock up in my queue as soon as I'm done with the three second socks that are all looking at me in that way that second socks have. I think I have just the blue yarn for them, too (and I agree about her instructions -- so very not clear sometimes...). I love the yarn for the new gansey -- that color is going to look great on T :)

Anonymous said...

You have a DRAWER of sock yarn?!