Sunday, July 8, 2007

Socklets, Swatching, Sci-Fi and Going on the Road!!

New Sock Class - Way Fun!
As my new knitting friend Ellen has written, a good time was had by all at the Toe-Up Sock Knitting Class taught by Cookie A on Friday at my favorite LYS, Unwind Yarn. Knitdevil Madge was there, along with another 8 or so knitters. Cookie is a very thorough and patient teacher, being able to provide individual attention and clear step-by-step directions. Unlike the previous sock class I've taken, we produced a demo sock that actually can be worn by a little kid. So here is the Socklet. Well, it will be more useful when it gets the other sock to match.

I've included a AA battery for scale in the first picture, then two views of the Socklet with my dear Midnight. She was not particularly amused at the 'Sock on my Cat' idea, rolling over into her signature Elegant Pawsitude pose to glare at me.

Will I become a toe-up knitter? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe sometimes. As the class discussed, there is a lot to be said for both toe-up and top-down sock knitting. While my Turkish cast-on looks perfectly OK, I'm not sure that 8 stitches of Kitchener is more difficult to do than this cast-on. Toe-up is certainly the choice if you're concerned about having enough yarn for both socks.

Cookie's signature short-row heel and gusset make a very nice looking sock, and are worked in a way that will allow making the heel in any number of lovely pattern stitches. I picked up a couple of Cookie's simpler sock patterns; I particularly like the Thelonius pattern.

My sock-knitting mojo is really back, Hurray!!! I think this Nashua superwash worsted would be better done with size 3 needles rather than the 4s I used, since the fabric would be a bit tighter, but my old problem with uneven gauge seems to be gone.

Mystery Shawl 3 - Knitter #6706 Here

My dear friend Madge convinced me that I should join the 6700 other knitters working on Mystery Stole 3. I'm beginning to think that she's going to take over the title of Evil Enabler, which I've carried for a year or two, at least according to the members of the Knitting Forum.

I've made the swatch, using some beautiful pale cameo 20/2 bombyx silk I bought from Treenway Silks, when I was on Salt Spring Island 2 years ago. I have nearly 1100 yards. This is only half of the yarn; there were some technical difficulties in winding the yarn, involving yarn wrapped around the swift and some VERY tiny knots, which somehow resulted in 2 balls. As you can see, I've applied good advice I've had from experienced lace knitters, and used a toilet paper roll to keep the ball from collapsing inward.

The swatching required several changes of needle size and a few start-overs, but I think I finally have a good result, using size 3US Addi Lace needles. The blocking is rather wonky, since I started with dry yarn and then spritzed it - hey, that's what the directions said!! I'll use my own experience for the next blocking efforts.

I'm Off to Canada!

I'm not planning on starting the stole itself until after I get back from my trip to Vancouver, BC. Not to be confused with Vancouver, Washington, I'll be cross-border in Canada, home of the Loonie and Twonie, the most excellent hard cider, as well as some outstanding yarn sources, including (but not limited to) Koigu, Fleece Artist and HandMaiden.
Warning: Sci-Fi Content!!

Vancouver International Airport is so open and filled with light. If you're a StarGate SG-1 fan, the airport is the setting for one of (IMO) the best episodes from Season 4, "2010 ." An alien race has offered all sorts of technical advancements to Earth, but somehow transported to 10 years in the future, the SG-1 team learns that the aliens have made everyone infertile so they can take over the Earth. All of the team die in the effort to toss a message through the StarGate (set up in the airport) to warn themselves 10 years earlier. Paradox? Yes. SF trivia - you betcha!! But it's a beautiful airport!!

I'm going to be spending a week in the Vancouver area, visiting with my knitting friends up there. I'll be staying with my dear (blogless) friend Lunadog, and getting together with the fabulous Jayne to observe her wonderful yarn dyeing skills. (Check out her gorgeous products at her Etsy shop!) I've sent her some pale grey Optimum, and while I'm there we'll be deciding what colors the yarn wants to be. Jayne's new 'Brandy in the Garden' colorway is the current top contender.

I'll also have a day or so over in Sidney, on Vancouver Island, visiting with some other knitterly friends, Uleta and Alice. Unlike the whirlwind of activity that was my visit to San Francisco, this will be a quiet week. After buying lots and lots of the lovely Artfibers yarns, which came right after the going-out-of-business sale at Black Sheep Knittery, I'm literally and figuratively "stuffed" full of yarn. Though I might pick up a skein or so of Fleece Artist or HandMaiden loveliness, maybe for holiday prezzies??

One of the few 'must-do' items is to find some of the wonderful Growers' Hard Cider I enjoyed so much on my last visit. Growers' isn't shipped out of British Columbia, sad to say, and I couldn't find a website for them.

In other knitting news, I've finished a couple of other projects, but I'm actually and mentally too preoccupied with getting ready for my trip on Wednesday to try to block them before I go. I'm back on the following Tuesday, and I promise to take lots of pictures!

Knit on!!


Madge said...

*cackle* The Evil Enabler, aka Lady Doom, here to say...great, newsy post! Your socket is so cute, and I had so much fun with you, Ellen and Cookie Friday night.

Your MS3 swatch looks fantastic. I'm so glad you've joined the throng and are having a lace summer, too.

Bon voyage! I hope you have a wonderful time in Vancouver.

Grace Yaskovic said...

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful trip to Canada!!! You will be missed

Kim said...

Your stole will be beautiful. Give me all the gory details on Vancouver - heading there in Sept.

Sandra said...

Okay, so I know we're not next door, but if you're coming to Canada, next time, plan a trip east - the Toronto Area KNitters want to meet you as well!! (come in Feb - I've got Sally Melville coming to our Guild!)

Joan said...

I'm with you on the kitchener being no biggie and the elaborate toe up cast-ons to be equally challenging. I also don't like short row heels worked toe up. But I think toe ups are probably easier overall for new knitters. That pattern would make great charity socks. I also haven't started the MS3 yet. I am a little concerned that it may end up being too-themey/costumey for me, judging by all the guesses at the Yahoo group. I plan to let a few more clues unveil.
Your vacay sounds awesome!!! Have a great trip, Barb! Love to Jayne.

Mary Tess said...

Have a good trip. I'm looking forward to hearing about it. And fret not, no one will replace you as the Evil Enabler--you made too much of a head start.

smariek said...

Have fun in Canada!

Cindy G said...

Have fun with the Canada knitters! Sounds like a great trip.

TracyKM said...

Enjoy your trip!
I heard about the Mystery Stole thing and didn't look into it. Then, two days after the deadline, I saw a picture of someone's progress, and I'm really bummed I didn't join! I haven't been too fond of many stole patterns I see (they look like mini afghans to me), but done in delicate yarn, in delicate pretty!