Friday, August 14, 2009

Latvian socks

I have many knitting needles, in my opinion. I have needles in almost every size, including intermediate ones like 2.5 (Addi 2s) and at least one set of double-pointed needles in sizes 000 through 4, with one exception: size 00. The only time when I don't have needles available is when they are being used in another project, and this happens occasionally with my favorite sizes (US 2, 3, 4).

The missing length, the 00s? They were just what I needed to make Nancy Bush's Chaussettes en Dentelle. I cast on for these socks at least 3 times (and the yarn itself was part of failed sock attempts at least 3 other times), but no luck. Beautiful fabric in the recommended 000s, but the socks were barely getting over my heels. Nice fabric in 0s as well, but way too big. In disgust, I ripped the sock beginning once again and cast on for something simple and dependable:

The Latvian socks from the same engrossing book, Folk Socks. They look better and more polished in person. I've been knitting a lot of socks lately and I can't seem to stop.

On a different note, this is perhaps my last post written in Philadelphia. Slightly bitter-sweet. I have a lot of good memories from this city, but a lot of bad ones as well. This entire week I've been trying to go about my daily business (or lack of) without thinking "this is the last time I'll be going into this store" or "this is the last time I am seeing this street", but it can be difficult sometimes. I will most certainly cry again tomorrow or on Sunday, whenever we end up actually leaving. I will not miss the bad smell of the city, the trash on every block, the rude drivers or the people spitting on the street, but I will miss... something. The younger me with many hopes and dreams.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stockings with clocks again

Modeling long wool socks in the middle of August is quite an experience. I could barely pull them on, not because they are too tight but because they stick to my skin. Everything sticks to my skin in this weather, though.

As anticipated, the socks were done last night during the Battlestar Galactica marathon. It's funny how I fall asleep at virtually every movie UNLESS I knit. Most of the time I knit during movies not because I am bored or because my fingers fidget, but because I cannot stay awake otherwise. It could be the world's most interesting movie (cylons! spaceships! hot aircraft pilots!) and I will still be out within 5 minutes.

Digression over. Here are the socks:

As I've mentioned before, they're not quite knee length - I don't know whether Nancy designed them this way or it's just the way the decreases fit my strong calves or whatever, but I think I'm Ok with that and I love the way they fit.

Here is the prerequisite shot of my leg up on the heater (this is where I get the best light). You can see the "clocks" at the ankle. Together with the back seam, the clocks make it very easy to count rows and figure out how to make the socks match in length and shape. Why, you didn't think I actually used a row counter or kept track of rows in any other way, did you? When I knit, I like to knit, not write or keep track of stuff. For me, this is part of the appeal of Nancy's sock designs: you can learn them very easily and not have to fidget with a pattern, but at the same time they are not boring or completely trivial.

It's difficult to photograph the back of your legs, but here's my best try: an attempt to show the back "seam" and the shaping decreases.

Fun times. I've already started another pair of socks from the book, the fancy Chaussettes de Dentelle on size 000 needles. I still don't know whether I'm getting the right gauge, so I won't say too much about them. Naturally, I don't do gauge swatches for socks, it seems like a huge waste of time. I start the sock, knit for a bit then try it on. The sock is the gauge swatch.

Real life stuff: ironically, I am moving to Connecticut, again. I know I moved last year, so how does this work? Well, my partner was still living in Philadelphia at our old place this past year, and now he is making the move as well. Since some of my stuff was still down there anyway, and his stuff is my stuff... I'm not a big fan of moving, but it is a good excuse to clean up and give away things we don't need any more. We have a lovely new place in Connecticut, one that brings out nesting instincts I didn't know I had (no, I'm not pregnant).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stockings with clocks

I left the big Starmore sweater in New Haven and worked like a madwoman on these, during what might be my last visit to Philadelphia for a while:

Stockings with Clocks by Nancy Bush, from Folk Socks, my new favorite book.

I have no idea what this yarn is called. The label is somewhere in a box; have I mentioned we are moving at the end of the week? I think this was the first yarn I bought when I re-started knitting the last time, with plans to make those insane cabled stockings from Socks, socks, socks. I realized pretty quickly that not only does this yarn not match the project (multiple plies, which is great, but splits like crazy), but I also hate, hate, hate twisted stitches and tight knitting. In a second attempt, I bought two more skeins of this yarn in electric purple, which I thought would make a killer color scheme for Eunny Jang's entrelac knee socks. Fiddly technique, crappy-looking result. I am never doing entrelac again.

Anyway, the yarn seems to work allright in this pattern. I'm making these somewhat shorter than knee socks, more like some long socks, and I'll probably add some elastic at the top to keep them up. The socks are flying off my needles and I'll probably finish the second one tonight. I am glad I didn't bring the big cabled sweater: it's been very hot and humid here and I can barely stand even this this yarn sometimes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The best way to deal with a stressful situation and painful waiting is to start a new, engrossing project. I give you the beginning of a sleeve for Inishmore:

I have a bunch of Cestari wool that I bought at last year's Maryland Sheep & Wool and I've been looking for a good project. Something cabled, earthy, traditional and with a gauge I could achieve in this yarn. Bonus points of the garment is designed by Alice Starmore. The cables are working out well, it's very easy to read them and see what to do next, and I've done more than half a sleeve in less than two days. The yarn is rough and rustic and I absolutely love it.

Incidentally, the stressful event ended up being so much less difficult than I was expecting. The dentist was able to save my tooth, I had to pay much less than I was expecting (a saving of $1,500 or so) and I now feel like a grown-up for taking proper care of my health. I blew part of the savings on the latest Rowan magazine - no yarn, so I feel like a very virtuous grown-up.