Saturday, December 17, 2011

Then again, maybe its about making not the finishing?

Last post was about socks for Christmas, about how I thought I could finish a pair that was only a quarter done. By all rights this post should be proudly showing a finished sock and its pair well under way. But that is not the content of this post, instead there is pretty much the same sock with minor modifications at pretty much the same stage. What happened was that I made a mistake, I had the yarn in one 100g cake, and after I turned the heel on the first sock I wondered how much was left. I pulled out my little mini-digital scales and weighted the remaining yarn. Forty six grams (46g) which was less than half the yarn used and still one and a half socks to knit.  I knew I was knitting a large sock .....but was shocked to find I'd used more than half the yarn on one quarter of the sock,  so I frogged the sock back to the beginning and weighted the entire cake of yarn - to find the scales said 76g! Now I knew something wasn't right as it was a 100g skein of yarn so should be a 100g cake of yarn. I transferred the yarn to the scales in the kitchen - 103g, now that was more like it. Then I noticed a wee odd symbol on the small scales, and they were not at zero but sat at 34g when empty. Doh! I found I had frogged the sock thinking I had used more yarn than I should because the scales mislead me.

Still, I decided that since I was about to cast on and reknit then I could improve the pattern. I modified the slip stitch pattern a little - making it more dramatic, and managed to integrate the pattern even more into the toe shaping. From what I learned in knitting Mark I, I was able to tweak the pattern for Mark II so the heel was worked over an odd number of stitches and the heel slip stitch pattern was able to be symmetrical. I even tried starting the slip stitch pattern when half the the gusset increases were done, so that there was reinforcement under the heel. That may have been my undoing as slip stitches are shorter than plain knitting.
This was all going well until yesterday morning, when I asked Bear to try the sock on and check it fitted. Well it fitted but the heel was misplaced by 2-3 cm so the heel turn sat under his heel not at the end of his heel. I realized that  would be the slip stitches shortening the sole. Bother! I thought about the solution for most of the day as I got on with family things - and three possibilities came to me:
  1. The sock fit me, so I could just continue to knit and call it mine, after all Grandad would never know about the sock he didn't get, and I could knit him one for his birthday in April. 
  2. I could frog the sock, at least back to where the gusset shaping started and add in an extra few centimeters of length to the sole.
  3. I could park the project completely and knit something else until I wanted to return to knit this sock.
Now solution number one appealed but really at this stage I realized that  I wanted to work out how to make this sock work more than I wanted to finish this pair of socks. Solution number three didn't appeal at all, because I knew if I parked the sock I would return to it at some distant time in the future and I would have forgotten all the little details that I would need to develop it as a working pattern.  I make notes - but sometimes there are things do not seem important enough to write down but which are considered in desiging.

That left me with solution two, frogging back to before the gusset increases and adding extra length. Given that the gusset increases and heel were worked in only one night of trash tv, and there was bound to be  more trash tv that seemed the best solution. So this is where I am now, knitting the slip stitched heel for the third time, and nearing the end of the heel flap. At this moment I'm not sure if these will be for my Grandad as Bear is eying them up enviously, he has been ever since he tried them on. The socks have stopped being for Granddad(my dad- the cubs granddad) for Christmas and are now about me solving the problem of shaping a heel with slip stitches under the heel and a heel flap that is as tall as that on a conventional top down sock.

I've also been playing with blotting paper, those who are 'into' fountain pens and ink will know that blotting paper is useful, for quickly drying inky words so they can be slipped into envelopes or the notebook shut without smearing. I covert some of the tools of the scrap-booker, the beautiful papers and stamps and ink-pads in amazing colours. I especially covert the embossing equipment .. so much so that I splurged on a few templates. Not being into scrap-booking I didn't understand the difference between the single layer metal and plastic templates that one embosses with a stylis and the embossing folders that one passes through an embossing machine.  I bought two embossing 'folders' on-line, and then had to find some way of using them, once they arrived it was clear both were more work than one would want to work at with a stylis and being clear both were hard to see on a light-box. After a wee bit of experimenting I've found that a rolling pin, the kitchen type, is a fair substitute if you have the folders and no machine, so I've been making decorative blotting paper to tuck into my notebooks and into the Christmas cards of those who are into fountain pens. 
This is the cutsey owl using a Cuttlebug folder, and
a more grown up style 'Alfreds birds' by Craft Concepts. And I'm not the only one who has discovered that rolling pins are a economical substitute for specialized equipment. I'm not sure how many sheets of blotting paper one needs, but cutting up an A3 sheet into smaller sections and embossing them was rather fun .. and completely put me in the holiday relaxed mode.

take care

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

The sock is looking very nice (I like the more dramatic slip stitch pattern a lot), and I completely understand how a deadline project can turn into a design project very quickly (I prefer the latter sort to the former, quite frankly).

I'm glad you found such s fun way to get into the holiday relaxed spirit! Those blotting papers are turning out beautifully.