Thursday, November 29, 2012

So much for turning those heels three weeks ago.

Okay. So I intended to keep flying along with my progress on the Salted Caramel socks. Then I signed up for 3-day-a-week Boot Camp classes at my gym. Which is just as tiring as it sounds. I also had a couple sick days in there. And then my mother came for a week's visit over Thanksgiving. And while all these things might sound like excuses, I prefer to call them mitigating factors as to why I only got the heels of these socks turned yesterday.

Yep. It took me until yesterday to get those heels turned. And it's not like the knitting was difficult. It was two heel flaps, two little rounded heels, and two gussets to pick up. Nothing to it. Ah, well. Now they're turned and I can work on the gusset decreases for awhile. I still expect to have them finished well before Christmas, but now I might be defining "well before" as "just enough time to wash, block & wrap them before I get to Christmas" instead of "oh, cool! I have time to cast on for something mindless to knit on while I'm there." I just hope it doesn't turn into "maybe he won't notice me weaving in the ends before I give them to him unblocked."

In other news, I have completed a few more owls, if you consider "completed" as being stuffed and closed up, but not yet having eyes and a beak. After about the fourth owl, I decided I would just get as many knitted as I could and do the eyes and beaks later. Like maybe in the car on the way to Christmas. I don't think it will really be that bad, but I'm definitely starting to get a little nervous about there only being 25 days until the Big Day.

My yarn estimates for these guys have been coming out just about right: 15 grams of wool yarn is plenty. The cotton ones are taking a little more like 18 grams. And then the faux Fair Isle yarn one took a whole lot more because it turns out that yarn is probably a little more like sport or dk-weight than fingering weight. I wasn't sure at the beginning of that one how I'd like, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I think once it has its eyes and beak and I hit it with a little steam, I'll like it a whole lot. I'll be sure to post new photos once they all have all their bits. I just hope for my sake it's before Christmas.

So, Friends, thanks for your patience between posts. Until next time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Socks finished, socks started

I think last time I posted I said I'd photograph the FrankenScylla socks and post them this time, so here goes! One day last week I got my husband to hold still for a few minutes so I could get pictures of his feet in the socks (in daylight, even!), because I think socks look better with feet in them. Anyway, he put them on and moved each of his feet this way and that, and then said to hurry up because he'd had just about enough. The whole photo shoot took all of 3 minutes. Maybe 4. Anyway, the socks got photographed, so my job there is done. Way to take one for the team, honey.

In other sock knitting news, I've finally started the Salted Caramels socks, these intended for my father-in-law. I'd been told by my mother-in-law that he prefers blues or greys in his socks, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered I didn't have the appropriate yarn in my stash! I made a point of checking out all my local yarn shops, none of which had quite the right yarn. (There was plenty of lovely sock yarn, just not the right yarn for this project.) I also took a look at a couple shops in Bloomington & Nashville, Indiana, when we were in the neighborhood a few weeks ago, but struck out there too. I finally ended up ordering two skeins of Cascade Heritage from an online seller: the Heritage yarn is a smooth superwash yarn with good stitch definition and generous yardage that would be just right for the pattern. I got the charcoal grey which I think will be a good neutral so George can wear them with just about everything.

Since I probably won't see him before Christmas and he won't be able to try these socks on as I knit them, I'm taking a few chances on the fit. My husband reckons that the medium size will be right for the legs, and his mother told me George's shoe size, so I feel pretty confident about that. Mostly I was worried about how the cuff was going to fit, so I decided not to do the folded cuff specified in the pattern. After looking around on the internet for a little while I decided that Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast On would be the way to go.

I watched the video a couple (dozen) times and cast on, and let me tell you, that's a freaking challenging cast on. For the first sock I probably tightened my stitches too much, which made knitting the first round of 1x1 rib, um, difficult. I was actually a little frustrated with it - so much so that I nearly didn't finish that first round. But once I got going on the ribbing and saw how very stretchy this cuff was going to be, I decided I would give it another shot for the second cuff. On that one, I felt good about the tension on the stitches, but then I made a mistake in the ribbing in the first round and made a discovery: you can't un-knit the first round with this cast on. I ended up just cutting the yarn and starting over. Once I got through that first round, it was smooth sailing. I think if you haven't learned this cast on yet, you should definitely try it with thicker yarn and bigger needles. I do not recommend learning this cast on with thin yarn and size 0 needles. I might have polished off a whole bottle of wine after that first cuff. (I don't really remember, but it may be why I wasn't unwilling to start the second one.)

Anyway, once I got through the cuff ribbing, I put both cuffs on one long circular needle (to knit them at the same time) and began the leg chart, which is a really simple pattern of paired increases and decreases. This bit is moving right along and I expect that I'll be turning the heels of these socks by the end of the week. I think these socks are going to turn out beautifully and they'll be just right for my father-in-law. The pattern is enough to keep me interested in the knitting, but not too busy for him to wear. It's a good balance.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Until next time, Friends.