Settling in

I am settling into my parents’ house in Florida (where it is most annoyingly in the 70s; Colorado’s been hit with yet another snow storm, so I gave up my White Christmas afterall). The journey here was incredibly annoying though not nearly as bad as it could have been. My connecting flight from Atlanta was moved from one terminal to another, delayed, the cancelled, then reinstated without a departure time, then moved to another gate, then delayed, and finally I got into Tampa roughly five hours later than I should have. Like I said, it could have been much, much worse.

For instance, I could have been stuck there the whole time with absolutely no knitting whatsoever. Thankfully, I had had the foresight and brain power to think “hey, bring those socks that have been hibernating for a few months, let’s see if we can’t make more headway on them.”

Socks

That picture was taken a few months ago, and that’s right about the point that I stopped knitting it—primarily because I needed the long circular for something else and I just switched it out for a few DPNs.

Well, now the second sock is at the same point that first one was. I finished the first sock on the flight from Denver to Atlanta, and began the second one while sitting in the Atlanta airport, and as of last night, I have 12 more pattern repeats and 10 or so cuff rows to go and I’ll be finished.

Tendonitis is also settling in, I think. Or it’s a combination of overuse on my left wrist and sleeping funny. (I’m truly baffled as to why my left wrist is giving me problems, because I’m a thrower.)

My bigger concern is running out of yarn. Not for the socks, the socks will have left overs, but I only brought three projects, all socks, but the other two are children’s socks. And one of those is a worsted weight yarn. Even with trying to take breaks and doing family things (though I can talk and knit at the same time, so I still get stuff done), I’m desperately afraid I’ll run out of projects and have nothing to work on for the flight home.

So yesterday I called my preferred dealer (yarn dealer, people) who lives in Melbourne and took care of that problem. When I get together with her next week, I will happily have new yarn! And probably new socks not long after that.

Why hello, sock knitting mojo, apparently you’re settling in, too.

A long time coming

This post has been haunting me for a couple of years. I mean, in the way that a goal, idealized and not yet realized, can haunt a person.

Let me back up. I started knitting a little more than three years ago. Two years ago, I decided that I’d be brilliant and knit Christmas gifts for my immediate family. I did everything the ambitious and enthusiastic new knitter does–I chose projects of a variety I’d never done before. I knit my brother a hat, the first hat I’d ever knit, I think, and that one was finished and appreciated on Christmas day (and probably never worn again, as he lives in Florida and well… it’s in the 70s there this week). I knit my dad socks, the first socks I’d ever tried to knit, and the man wears a US 14. They were larger than the cat. I only finished one before Christmas, but I boxed it up and wrapped it and then showed him the other sock, in situ, on the needles and about half-way done.

For my mother, whom I love dearly and find myself becoming more and more like each day (which has both it’s positives and negatives), I decided she needed a blanket. I’d only ever really knit scarves before this point, and what is a blanket except an exceptionally wide and long scarf that you wrap around your body instead of your neck?

I told you, I was new to this game. The hat was finished on time, the socks were finished soon after, and the blanket, while technically finished by Christmas day, was all wrong. Approximately three feet by 7 feet (which really is a wide scarf, so I guess I succeeded in that regard), it was too long and not wide enough to be an effective blanket. But my mother was incredibly excited about it, and so when I told her I’d take it home with me and re-do it, I’m sure she thought it would happen sooner rather than later.

In the great scheme of things, I suppose two years later really isn’t that bad.

Mom's Blanket -- Christmas 2007

The original blanket was knit flat, with panels of alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch. This incarnation is crocheted — 20 single crochet blocks, 45 stitches wide and about 12″ long, stitched together with a single crochet on the back side.

Mom's Blanket -- Christmas 2007

I did one round of double crochet on the edges, after the blocks were stitched together, and then a little ripple effect on top of that to give it a little sass—it’s approximately four feet by five feet of single crochet. It needed some sass.

Mom's Blanket -- Christmas 2007

The yarn is Elizabeth Austen’s Wool of the Andes. I’m fairly certain it’s been discontinued. It was probably about to be discontinued when I bought the initial skeins of yarn, because that’s my luck, so finding more skeins of yarn to finish the blanket was cause for excitement. I now have two more skeins left over, and absolutely no idea what to do with them. Maybe I’ll make a pillow to match.

As an aside, do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a cat to lay where you want her? Anything I don’t want her to lay on, she plops right down on. I ask her politely to be my model and look pretty on my blanket, and nothing doing.

Blanket and Vera

Many treats were devoured in the taking of these photos. My parents’ cats are probably going to hate this blanket—it’s going to smell teasingly of cat treats and Other Cat.

Optimism and a little bit of selfish knitting

At the risk of jinxing myself and causing something horrible to happen, not only am I on-track with my holiday knitting, but I may even be ahead. I’m knitting four items or pairs of items for Christmas–two of them are completely done (ends woven in, buttons sewn on, done). A third could be done this week, as could the fourth. The blanket of doom that I’ve been working on for two years could be done this evening if I forego knitting and just plop myself down in front of the tv with my crochet hook.

This is partly “processing out loud,” double-checking my list and making sure I am right in thinking that I’m as far as I am, and partly just stunned wonder.

In addition to accomplishing Christmas knitting miracles, I attended a Holiday Handmade craftfair over the weekend. The craft fair itself was amazing and awesome and I have a stack of business/Etsy cards about an inch thick, but the real joy was in discovering Fancy Tiger Clothing and Crafts. Since they were the initial organizers of the Holiday Handmade fair, my knitting friends and I thought it was only right and proper that we visit the store as well. BIG MISTAKE. Huge. Catastrophic.

That is, if you’re my wallet. If you’re not my wallet, well, then, it was the best idea EVER. I managed to not break the bank, but I did come away with the Fancy Tiger’s own wool wash blend, some pieces of fabric, and what I thought was the perfect yarn for the Bandelier Socks I’ve been wanting to make.

I bought 8 skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight yarn in varying shades of purple (and one charcoal), because ever since I started thinking about knitting these socks, I imagined them in a sort of monochrome palette. I don’t know why, but I was just going to go with it.

Turns out, the pattern only calls for 7 yarns, in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering. In my excitement at finally finding the Nature Spun in the colors I wanted in a store, I sort of overlooked that bit of information. However, it’s not that big of a problem! I did a little bit of selfish knitting yesterday morning and worked up the beginning of a swatch.

Bandelier Socks swatch

The sport weight yarn works up nicely on the US 1s that the pattern calls for, but it creates a thick fabric that is just barely a bit too snug to pull over my heel. I can do it, and I did it twice in the process of knitting up that swatch, but I don’t want to fight with my socks–I have enough that cause problems already.

In the process of knitting up the swatch, I decided that I wasn’t in love with the color variations that I had originally planned. So I started playing around with color-change order.

Arrangement 1
Arrangement 2

On top is the color-change order that I originally used; the bottom photo shows my new plan that I will put into effect at some point, when the Christmas knitting is over and the birthday gift knitting (which hasn’t even begun but will soon) is concluded.

Added bonus: these socks will likely force me to knit in a two-handed stranded method, which means I may actually get to the point that I’m good at tensioning my knitting with my left hand, which means I could, potentially, switch over to Continental knitting exclusively and then I WILL CONQUER THE KNITTING WORLD WITH MY SPEEDINESS. Or something.