January was a great month to get back into the knitting groove. Since I was on post-surgery physical restrictions, I felt little guilt about curling up in my favourite recliner with far too much coffee and my sticks and string.
Here are the tallies. They look shocking, even to me. (For more info, archives can be accessed on the right.)
For the feet:
Retro Rib in Panda Wool
Salish Sea in STR medium
Ian's Trekking socks
Jason's stripey socks
4 pairs so far in 2008
67 pairs since the start of the Plunge
Swirly felted bag
For the wee loves of my life:
Amy's whale tail sweater
Charlie's letterman sweater
Tyler's letterman sweater
Baby B's secret sweater
Lauren's pink soy sweater
Frogged for now:
On the needles at the turn of the month (several to be blogged later):
While I sort through the blogging backlog created by a quick vacation, I'll at least give an update on July.
For the feet:
Solstice Slip in STR lightweight
Socks in Fleece Artist mill end
RPM in STR lightweight
Embossed Leaves in Fleece Artist mill end
Heather's socks in Fleece Artist mill end
Amy's ballet slippers
For the rest of me:
Flower Basket Shawl in Fleece Artist mill end
Backpack for Amelia
Backpack for Laurel
Little raglan t-shirt in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock
Still in progress:
Thermal, which is now just past the divide for the armholes
Twenty minutes into the month of August, a far more important production was completed in our family. Although I take no credit, I feel as the someday-to-be-favourite aunt I must inform the world of a very important arrival.
3 pairs of kids' felted clogs in various odds and ends
1 pair felted clogs for SIL in Patons Classic
After deciding to take the month of July and rest from socks, I dug back in on the latest BMFA club kit. I am officially re-energized in my love for socks.
It has turned out to be all about the needle size for me.
I have done 90+ per cent of my socks on 2.5 mm needles, and have always been pleased with the results. I have some smaller needles stashed away for when I feel like playing with gauge. I had somehow convinced myself that it took more skill, more discipline and more knitting chops to work with the smaller needles.
Perhaps that's the case, but I have some serious doubts about that.
I have since concluded that my 2.5 mm needles make me happy. The end result is not inferior. The fabric is not droopy, lumpy or otherwise unpleasant. The socks wear well, keep their shape and do their job. My tension produces a fabric at 2.5 mm that isn't just good enough, it's good.
Last week, I hauled out my 2mm needle and some Louet Gems fingering weight to tackle the Mock Wave Cable Socks in the Interweave Favorite Socks book. Great pattern, great yarn. And in that gauge, it looked awful. The "made" stitches pulled the adjacent purl stitches out of whack. More importantly, it wasn't fun. I will re-work the pattern in a larger needle size down the road.
Next instance of this sock mess was with my BMFA kit. The pattern called for a 2.25 mm needle, which I had stashed away for just such occasion. Not fun, not pretty and again with the stitches getting all pulled this way and that. I re-cast on my 2.5 mm needle and am much happier. Can't imagine this is a Club spoiler, so here are my progress photos:
Yes, that is a short row heel, over my size 11 foot, and yes, it fits. Very well. (About as well as JC Briar will fit in my pocket, if she doesn't stop the sock brilliance that is the tech editing of the BMFA club patterns.) The designer combined a set of increases, forming a mini-gusset, with a short row heel. The combination of the increased total stitch count leading up to the heel and the resultant increase in the heel's row count make for a great fit. I will no longer shy away from the short-row heel for my own canoes feet.
Here's a closer peek at the heel region:
Now I think I'll stop pontificating over my socks and go make some more!
It was a great month, both for the Plunge and otherwise. I had spells of real sock focus, punctuated by the rebellious need to knit other things. As always, photos and details can be found in the May archives, and my Plunge Page.
Plunge Pair 11: BMFA April Club socks
Plunge Pair 12: Austermann Step socks
Plunge Pair 13: Scrolls socks in CTH Supersock
Plunge Pair 14: Cookie A's Flicker in Louet Gems Sage Green
Plunge Pair 15: Jaywalkers in KP Simple Stripes, Vineyard
Modified Isabella for me. Added cap sleeve, worked in Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn
For the head:
Stockinette cap in the 2 strands of Opal I had plied together in April
Stockinette cap in my Navajo-plied KP Shimmer
Pomotamus cap in my Navajo-plied KP Shimmer
Here are some photos of the caps in question:
(that Laurel is a walking ray of sunshine, isn't she?)
I also started and frogged a pretty ambitious sock project in May. I've been fascinated by Meg Swansen's Arch-Shaped Stockings since I spied them in last fall's Vogue Knitting. After much swatching and playing, I found the errata for that issue included the entire pattern and decided to give it one more try. I was starting to doubt I'd like the thickness and lack of stretch, but solidered on. My last straw, the one that told me to let it go (what, your last straws don't talk to you?) was this:
See the smaller diamonds at the red arrows? Yeah, they're not supposed to be smaller. And while the remainder of the diamond pattern is as written, it's still fugly. I do, however, like the corrugated rib, which I'll definitely incorporate into future projects. The solids will become other projects, at least one of them Ariel Barton's Cablenet from last fall's Knitty.
One more fun knitterly event was a contest on the Rockin' Sock Club blog. We were asked for a creative, fun or other answer to a question. My answer definitely falls under the "other" category.
Question: How many knitters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
My answer: Two, but how on earth do they get in there?
It pays to have a dirty mind, because I was one of 15 winners chosen!
Then the decision. My prize was a skein light or medium weight, any shade on their website! It seemed a monumental choice.
I made the right decision.
Medium weight in Undertoe. It had been on my lengthy wish list since they posted their new colourways, and it is the most gorgeous yarn I've ever seen. In fact, I think I need to go be with it.