Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A parade of sockly goodness

As you might imagine, working while driving is an attractive proposition. some crochet and now knitting has traveled with me for many years on vacations, and lake weekends, but until socks and knitting, it was almost impossible to carry more than one project. Most of my work has been sweaters, blankets, big things, and the smaller finer, thread work and embroidery was left behind. With the addition of socks, crocheted or knitted, I could to fill the bag with enough projects to work on for a couple of weeks and still have room for vacation yarn purchases to be stored. I left home with yarns for 4 different projects, and came home with all of them used.

I also left home determined to figure out how to purl while working in the round. Thanks to a hurried conversation the day I left with one of the nice people at River City Yarns, I can now proudly say I can purl properly. I don't even know what it was she said, but when I picked up the yarn to give it a go, I realized she was talking about clockwise counter clockwise, and that I had to go from the other direction the front of the needle to get an untwisted purl. It almost made up for having to miss the night June Ellison was in town. Almost but not quite.

I realized before we left I needed a warm something to wear, so I pushed hard to finish the Ragg vest. The decision to make it be a vest was easy with the rush of time, and I am glad. I needed better quality finishing skills - I'm not happy with how I sewed the zipper in. It's amateurish, and I know I can do better. Otherwise I am very pleased with how it turned out and even better how it wears.
It fits and coordinates my wardrobe and will work in my very chilly workplace without the fuss of sleeves.

Then there are these socks. They were supposed to be for my Daughter-in-law, HN, but she is an ardent animal person so wool is out. I am currently looking for all cotton yarn sturdy enough for socks, or maybe bamboo and if not that, then Lustersheen will do. I really want a natural yarn. Anyway these socks were then to going to be for SSs mom, but I am not happy with the workmanship. The socks have been frogged, refrogged, and frogged again, plus all the little times I made them too short in the foot, too long in the foot. They began to make me feel like a dunderhead, so as you can see I finished them quickly as a shortie. I did learn from them. First, plain yarn shows all ones little errors, a valuable lesson to learn, and second, I can get a pair of shorties to fit a medium woman's foot from a single Kroy yarn, which is also very good to know. They might suck, but they are socks, and are on my feet this instant.

Now these socks are my best work. These socks have an honest to goodness purled shaft, so I am just pleased as punch. They were supposed to be for Mr. Needles, but are about a half inch too long. Everyone else tried them on, but it seems Kerric, the biggest footed fellow, has another nice pair of socks. I did learn more than just purling with these. As you can see, by the heel and the somewhat stunted calf's, I need 3 skeins of Kroy to make man socks to fit the fellows in my house. I also learned that I will bend my needles if I ever try to double heel yarn again while doing a peasant foot. I won't be doing that again.

Which brings me to this yarn.
This is the lovely Red Rooster colourway from Blue Moon I was working on before we left. I did the shaft of the sock as I had planned out before I left, but it needed to be wider, so I redid. It looked odd, and I wasn't happy. So froggy went a courting and I redid. Somewhere along the way, taking into consideration the foot length problems I was having, I thought I should check out the feet, and yup. Too short. I'd like to know what the heck I have been thinking about, but dad gummit, the length on everything I touched while on vacation was wrong. So I ripped off the calf, and left the foot for later, and what you see here is a whole new sock. Top down turned heel this time, starting with a provisional cast on (duh, is me, I got the idea from the smart Ladies over at River City), and since this yarn does not want to work out for me, I will gift it to the mother of SS, who I know will treasure them on the chilly wet coast evenings. As you can see, the heel flap is done here, and last night I did the turn, and am roaring on down the foot. Oh and the little bit you can hardly make out is a simple knit 2 together, yarn over fancy bit running up the leg. I can't wait to see these complete. The yarn is sheer excitement!

And then these. The green socks requested by Kerric - son 2 - and on the needles. Its Trekking XXL, and in comparison to Kroy, feels very fine.

They are going to be wonderful socks, I can feel it. I'm going to do a different heel this pair too. Yesterday, I finally saw how others are working heels on toe up socks without going to a peasant heel.

There was much work happening on the Aline Vest, which, yes you guessed it, I ripped and restarted. Its obvious how much of this I do, as I change patterns to adjust for size and fit, but well, it keeps an agile mind. Ah well. I am very pleased with it now, and you will be surprised how fast its working up now that I have the direction clear in my mind. I will do pictures a little later this week.

The blanket needs work, I am sorely behind, and that is what I am going to really push this week. It will be a little boring - all blankets have that part - but the finish isn't all that far. Finishing is fun, and I mean to taste it soon.

We passed several yarn stores, but Mr. Needles didn't stop. I did get to one, but it wasn't a great store, and did not have much of a choice of sock yarns, which is what I was vacation shopping for. I will have to work out my vacation shopping a little better before I go, and I will have to impress how important yarn shops have become to me before we travel again. Such is life.

I also wanted to tell you other things about traveling and working at the same time. I'm not a work all the time traveler. One of my favourite things is to just watch the road go by, and see new places in the way you can driving on the less beaten paths of this continent. There were roads that were too windy and too bumpy to work on, and there were many many places too beautiful too miss, so most of my work was similar to working at home. Stopped for a minute filling gas? Working. Driving freeways? Working. Going through most of Alberta? Working cause I've seen much of it before.

Back roads are so not for working. They are for seeing and contemplating how lucky we are.


Gina said...

The vest turned out fabulous. I need to take a finishing class...I wish I knew of one. Socks all look great...

Anonymous said...

Hope you got my email - if not, thanks again for everything. I should have insisted we go to a yarn store! I finished the alpaca scarf and blocked it without incident. The other scarf is ready to be blocked. I started the hat for my kid. Could not manage it on circulars or dp's, so it will be knitted flat and seamed. Not sure I'll have enough yarn at all, so it may be just an experiment - lovely soft stuff. Someday socks, I promise.