Friday, July 28, 2006

wool is (too) warm for the summer

Edited to add more photos]

Though it’s been unbelievably warm lately. I am that girl with piles of wool on her lap at any given moment. More specifically, I’ve been knitting a lot lately:

Though blurry, the socks of suction are complete (this is the only photo I have of them)and now reside happily on janet’s feet (or at least they would ‘cept it’s freaking triple-digit temperature here and only a crazy person would be wearing wool socks in an un-airconditioned apartment). Photo to follow as, er…cooler temperatures warrant.

After the success of finishing my learning socks (aka: the socks of suction) I completed a belated birthday gift that took several false tries to get going. Here’s attempt number three:

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me during the making of cute pink socks #1 or #2. I am not the smartest of knitters. I had to abandon the above project when I was almost done with one sock. Abandoning here means unraveling the whole blessed thing. Argh. Cute though, aren’t they? But as socks go, they did not function well. For many reasons. And I am all about form+function.

The cute pink socks went through one more transformation before becoming these:

These would be the completed cute pink socks version #4.5. I had to rework the leg part because my husband (cough), I mean my fit-model complained that the cuff was too snug to pull the socks on past the heels. I unraveled the legs back to just above the heel and did some math. There was graph paper involved. And more than one night of falling asleep thinking about numbers divisible by 4 and the cabling pattern and something called “calf-shaping.” But it was worth it. It was a good learning experience and hopefully a welcome gift despite the insufferable summer temperatures.

I have two more on-going, no-deadline socks in my knitting bag. Sock number one is the first half of a pair of really pretty socks from the Knitting Vintage Socks book by Nancy Bush.

(Hard to see in this photo, but here is the sock I am working on in a different color yarn. I’ll post a photo when I remember to take one.) Here it is:

The orange strings are my ghetto stitch-markers. My co-worker thinks that I should design a sweater with intentional orange fringe-y things. I’ll think about it.

I get the strangest reactions about that book. When people see that in my bag or on my lap, they usually respond with: What? No way! How is such a book possible??

Which only speaks of their limited imaginations as far as I’m concerned. Why shouldn’t there be a book on knitting vintage socks?? I mean, duh. These are fun socks to knit, pretty pattern, interesting idea for a re-inforced heel (though quite dull and slow-going to knit through). I’m intrigued to see how the foot and toes work out. This sock pattern was started and ripped and started about 5 or 6 times over. It’s my learning curve.

For some reason all this ripping and restarting doesn’t faze me. I just kind of zen out over it and go through the motions over and over again. It’s kind of like a pleasant problem solving game that keeps me obsessed entertained for days hours on end. Not everyone is made for this. Every time I tell m about ripping back another almost complete sock, he looks pained. The man breaks out into a sweat when he sees me ripping madly through row after row of mistakes that took days hours upon hours to create. Knitting is not for everyone.

Sock number two in my knitting bag has yet to be started. Here’s the yarn that I intend to use for it:

Also from the Knitting Vintage Socks book, I am going to knit a pair for my dad-in-law. Photo to follow when I have cast on. Here’s a blurry photo from the book of the finished sock (for the love of god, I hate my digital camera!):

I have some vague notion of a goal to knit all the socks in the book while simultaneously outfitting the feet of everyone I know. I have a long road trip ahead of me early this fall. Might as well keep me entertained.

Socks are a nice portable project. I’ll probably always have one going on without a deadline. But my next deadline driven project is a sweater-jacket-cardigan thing I wanted to knit for my mum-in-law. I want it to be red and I want it to have some sort of Aran-Celtic-Fisherman motif going on. I considered designing something on my own. But just didn’t want to fight so hard. I found this in the nick of time:

It’s even the same-ish color. I got the pattern here and was pleased to see that the original was knit up in a knitpicks yarn which is great since they have such good prices for their yarn.

And because I just couldn’t help myself, I considered re-writing the pattern as I read it last night. You know, just to make it a little more personal, just because I wasn’t sure if I liked the back of the cardi to be so simple, just because I am that kind of person. But I thought it over (calculating the number of days I have between now and the birthday) and decided that I would just knit it as the pattern was written. It’s my first cardigan after all (it’s my first non-sock, non-rectanguloid project) so perhaps I shouldn’t be so ambitious. Big lie. If I didn’t have a deadline looming over my head, if I was knitting this for me or m (i.e., someone who is readily available for measuring and trying-on) I would be sitting hunched over a calculator and graph paper for the next few weeks days muttering: bring it on, cable pattern. I can take you.

But we are more mature than that. We make smart decisions. We lie when we have to.

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