Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Honey, I'm home

Just, since last Wednesday I've been away and back and away and back, and and now I've gone back to work after what seems like an age of leave. But knitting, yes I have been knitting, I needed a new project for all the travel, first up to Dads to collect the cubs, a whirlwind trip back home to pack and head away to a Sock Knitting Weekend. I needed a new portable project, no charts and no fuss, and it really needed to be socks if I was to continue to knit it at the sock weekend. Then the knitters weekend was at a sock yarn shop (yes such things exist in New Zealand, they really do shops that sell only sock yarn), so some sock yarn was acquired but more about that latter.

I started a new pair of socks, for Bear, armed with a vague plan, 2 balls of hand dyed yarn, a pair of needles, and the size of his paws. I found a neat cable in BW Treasuries, the Banjo Cable, cute and round and decided to work that in.

I started Wednesday and knit that night, and what seemed most of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and look, now I have 1.5 socks. I worked the cable up the middle of the foot and then worked a toe up gusset flap heel with slip stitch under the heel, but it looked wrong, very wrong. To achieve the slip stitch under the heel toe up I had to increase across the heel cup not around it. Working the increases across so the slip stitch pattern lined up meant I didn't get that nice corner that comes when the increases are at the turn of the heel cup. I sighed and frogged and tried a second time, this time a standard toe up gusset heel flap but the colour changed as I worked the heel and where I stopped knitting the heel flap and starting knitting in the round again there was an ugly transition line across the front of the sock, a nasty jar of pale and dark blue. Finally I gave in and worked a short row heel, not my favorite heel, but the right heel for this sock, the perfect heel.

Some where in my past acres of reading about and around socks and sock traditions I stumbled across a description of traditional socks knit with a band of rib above the heel shaping, designed to make the sock fit better. My main issue with short row heels is the shaping is generic, the sock can twist and isn't as shaped to the foot as other heel styles. The idea of ribbing to snug the sock to the foot above the heel appealed, I liked the effect, and worked 7.5cm of 2x2 rib right after the short row heel.

Then as I worked towards the top of the first sock, I began to wonder how best to finish it off. I thought the moss stitch from the center of the banjo's would be a nice band at the top ... but was unsure of how to transition from leg to band, until I remembered the Estonian traveling braid. A little knit stitch that works its way across the row with a little slight of hand knitting. Some how I not only remembered how to work the stitch without my knitting books, but I also managed to finish the little braid as neatly as it had begun, flowing out of the banjo braid. I can't help but be just a little bit proud of the way it all worked out at the end, (and we all know that pride goeth before a fall - so I'm now waiting for the fall). I think I remember how I did it, an increase, knit 2nd stitch, knit first stitch, slip last stitch knit back to left needle ... and at the end a bit of fussing to work out which stitch to slip over which stitch to end it neatly. I even resorted to the basic k2, slip first stitch over 2nd stitch cast off .. as it matched the Estonian braid so well. Just goes to show even the basics have a place.

Finally the weekend, oh that was fun, so much fun, I want to go again. Four of us knitted our way up the South Island, to Wellington by plane, then by rental car to Greytown for a weekend of sock knitting and spinning events hosted by James of Joy of Yarn as part of the arts festival. I met such lovely knitters, and spinners, I ate to many of the treats, and knitted the sock reported above. and I shopped, a little on Friday (the Zauberball, a used but signed copy of KF Glorious Color, two fat-quarters of fabric, and Vintage Purls Sock in Serac), a little on Saturday (fingering Little Wool company), a little on Sunday (the needle case topped and tailed with buttons), and a little last bit on Monday (the Regia in Exotic Zany and more Shoc Chocolate than I care to admit to buying). I finished it all up with finding a copy of KF Glorious Knitting on TradeMe for $8. Those two books have instructions for Kaffe Fassett's Poppy - a design that I will one day play at with knitting.

I'm unpacked and semi-settled and back at work, and still knitting.
There are two socks on the needles and a cardigan waiting to happen, and its all slightly out of control but in a good way.

na Stella


Lindsay said...

I adore those socks! The perfect amount of pattern vs. plain, toe-up, and looks like the ribbing definitely makes the heel fit better.

Are you considering writing up a pattern?

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Neat socks. I like the colour progression!

KathyR said...

Love the socks - your tweaking for the Estonian braid is very clever! Your comments about the short row heel are interesting although I've never found them to be a problem fitwise.

Knitting Linguist said...

I love those socks! That's definitely a pattern worth writing up; they're lovely, and the details are really nice. It sounds like a fabulous trip, and the loot is excellent :) (And can you believe Bloglines *just* told me you'd posted? Sigh...)

Linda said...

Love the many ways you've adjusted the sock's fit: beautiful yarn, neat integration of cable and rib.