Thursday, March 13, 2008

I feel like such a HEEL

It's been a long time, almost two whole weeks, since my last post. I almost don't know where to start! Usually, I have to try to think of something to post, but today, I have oodles of things to write about.

My only real shopping expedition this fortnight was a trip to the Yarn Barn in the city. She had some gorgeous silk/cashmere blend yarn, but at $29 a ball, I figured I'd hold off on that for now. Instead, I bought some "possum" yarn, Naturals Merino and Fur, and some NORO Silk Garden, which I have been pining for forever. There is a scarf I would like to make for ME out of it on Ravelry. I was sooo tickled to find some. She only had two balls, so I'm hoping it's enough. I could have gotten Noro Koreyun (sp?) but I don't like it nearly as well as the Silk Garden.

I also had a friend at work give me some lovely unspun tops. It's not a huge amount, but maybe enough for some socks, or parts of socks. It's lovely, and the blue is soooo soft.

I made up a little extra something for mom for her birthday to go along with the scarf, and I mailed all that with Justin's hat to her this morning. I've also joined a RAK (random acts of kindness) group on Ravelry, and I've sent out a few little odds and ends to some of the members, some Tuesday and some today. Lots of fun, that is. It's nice to give (and get) little unexpected gifts. Plus I got lots of new friends on Ravelry out of the process, which is indeed fun!

I haven't made much progress on the Fringe Jumper, not even enough to warrent a pictorial update. My excuses are as follows: a.) I needed to get Justin's hat and mom's little extra something finished before I missed mom's birthday completely. b.) Those darned big needles hurt my hands after just a little while knitting, and now that I'm on the body part, knittng from cuff to cuff as I am, one row is about 230 stitches or so. c.) It's HUGE to tote around with me already d.) I've discover the joy of knitting socks, which are light, easy, portable and fun! e.) I spend too much time on ravelry.

What I have been devoting the vast majority of my knitting time on is a pair of socks. Well, to clarify, only one sock, although I do intend to make a pair. The sock saga is pretty long, so I will condense it as best I can (which anyone who knows me will know, condensing words, written or verbal, is not my strong suit).

I kept seeing online that everyone, or so it seemed, was making socks these days. It's all the rage apparently. I was in Lincraft, back before Christmas actually, and I bought myself some sock yarn. The ball band said get some 2mm DPNs, so I did, even though I despise knitting with DPN's, I figured I'd do what I had to do to be in vogue knitting wise.

Now you hear basically two things about sock knitting. You hear how wonderful it is, something akin to falling in love, winning the lottery or having Leonardo DiCaprio give you a back rub. How turning the heel is a marvelous experience, a veritable self affirmation and life changing metamophosis. How the leg portion of the sock is like a knitter's canvas, inspiring knitters to masterpeices beyond compare.

Or you hear how horrible it is. How working with DPN's is akin to wrestling an octopus with 8 very pointed legs. How working with the tiny stitches makes you want to rip the thin membraneous tissue off the outer part of your cornea. How turning the heel is emotionally sapping to the point of suicidal ideation.

So there you go. What's a serious knitter to do but give it a try. At worst, I would have some horror stories to tell. At best, I'm gonna have some super comfy socks. I'm pretty sure the experience, once finished, will be somewhere in the middle.

Having the yarn, and some vague intention of knitting socks "someday", I also bought a book on sock knitting (and on dyeing yarn for socks) called "The Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook. To tell the truth, it has far more in it about dyeing then it does about socks, but never mind, I like dyeing too. There was also a pattern on the ball. I've been using both. Don't ask me how, cause I don't know.

I also started paying attention to what I read on the internet about knitting socks, and what I'd seen (and done) already about knitting socks on two circs and the magic loop. Unfortunately, I never went out to buy two 2mm circ's (2mm DPN's being what the pattern called for), but I did read how easy it was to convert DPN patterns to circs.

It was a fine Sunday morning. I had worked all night, but I was off that night. Chris wanted to take the little boat out (yeah, the little fast one) and I was hankering to try out the sock knittnig thing. So I grabbed up the DPN's and away we went. We got into the boat, and we're speeding down the Murray at about 30kph while I'm trying to cast stitches onto DPN's. I won't go into details here, just use your imagination. We brought some Subway's along, and when we stopped to have lunch, I actually did get the stitches on and a couple of rows done, and I continued from there on the way home.

It had been years since I've worked on DPN's, and I will tell you plainly I like them no more now than I did then. I don't know what brain genie made me believe that somehow I would have grown an affinity for them. But I continued on the DPN's for the rest of the day.

The next day, I went out and bought two 2mm circs at the LYS. I can't say they were exactly cheap, they were a common brand here in Oz, but they are not all that great for knitting on two circs. When knitting on two circs, you have to slide the stitches up onto one needle, knit them, then slide them off, pick up your other needle, slide stitches on, knit, slide off. The word slide I'm using very loosely here, as none of them slid. I put the stitches on my DPN's on my circs and tried to knit. I had to pick and pry almost every stitch, both on and off the needles. After I got a couple of inches knit on, I tried them on (a trick you can do with circs that you cant do with DPNs). They would barely go over my heel and not much further up on my leg than over my ankle.

I frogged. What else could I do? I started over, using a method mentioned in the Twisted Sister's Sock workbook. I cast on twice the number needed for my working stitches, then decreased every stitch, cutting my stitches in half, then knit in 1x1 rib. This made a very very stretchy top to my sock, with which I am still well pleased. I can't see myself using any other method from now on, but hey, I'm still learning so who knows.

Back to the needles. I hated them, and I kept reading about Addi Turbos, how smooth the join was on their circs, and how they were the best thing to get for needle sizes below 3.75 (my Denises will handle anything above that). So I ordered some addis from an online shop here in Oz. I ordered two 2mmx30cm needles to do the socks I'm working now with and one 3.25x120cm to do the magic loop method with the yarn I dyed. They were processed and shipped very quickly, but it was a holiday weekend, so I didn't get them until the next Tuesday. Unfortunately, I only got one of the 2mmx30 needles and the 3.25mmx120. I wrote to the company and they promised to send me another right away.

Figuring one was better than none, I replaced one of my old needles with the new one, only to find out that a 30cm cord was too short for me to knit with comfortably. DAMN. Back to the computer, and I ordered 2 more Addis, one 2mmx40cm and one 2mmx60cm, as I had read somewhere in the meantime that different length cords helped you keep track of your front and back better.

So, now I'm waiting on those, and still picking the stitches on and off, which is maddening. But I turned the heel last night. The pattern(s) I'm using call for the short row method, which I'm already familiar with, so really it wasn't dreadfully hard, and I did feel an odd sense of achievement when I finally got "around the bend". There are little holes, which are common and to be expected. I have read tutorials on how to get rid of the holes, but I reckon I'll just wrap my head around making the actual sock for now rather than perfecting it. I can worry about the sordid details when I make my next pair.

Till next time!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think your sock looks good,your doing better than I can with the circs I still fight with the dpns when I do them -woolie wombat