Wednesday, January 16, 2008

living on the edge

So for about the last year, I've been knitting virtually nothing but socks. I wrote them all down recently, and it seems that I average a pair about every three weeks, since last Thanksgiving. My photography skills are not good enough to make a post of ALL THE SOCKS interesting, and besides, many of the socks have gone to live elsewhere. So, instead of socks, here's the pair of mittens I'm knitting. The light blue is a heavy and coarse unknown from the stash, and the cuffs are made from equally unknown leftovers. All wool.

The darker blue is a lighter weight yarn for a lining. If you've never done this, it's really very simple. After you knit the first mitten, you just pick up stitches along the cast on edge of the first one, and knit another mitten, checking along the way to see that the second mitten is slightly narrower and slightly shorter. I usually accomplish this by doing the same number of stitches in a skinnier yarn with smaller needles. Then when your second mitten is complete, you just tuck it inside.

The pattern on the cuffs is from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Around. There's a picture of an antique Norwegian mitten with an intriguing pattern on the wrist, but no chart for it. I worked out the pattern on graph paper several years ago, in order to use it for a sweater I made for Big One. This is the first time I've used it on an actual mitten.

See that ball of the light blue yarn? That's how much yarn I have left to finish the outer mitten. It's not enough. Living on the edge, indeed.

On my 40th birthday, almost a month ago, a friend of mine taught me how to spin. That is, she showed me how she does it, gave me a few pointers, and then gave me access to her excellent spinning wheel. It was bad going at first, but yesterday for the first time, I spun a more or less consistent piece of stuff for almost an hour. It was exhilarating. I don't know anything about the technical aspects of what I was doing, ratios and batts and so forth. I don't even remember what kind of sheep she has. But here is the so-called yarn I've spun so far. From left to right in that little arc is the first and worst to the most recent and best.

And here's the most recent pair of socks I've made. The yarn is leftover Sisu from a pair for my dad and a pair for Big One. There wasn't quite enough Sisu, so I used some Reynolds Swizzle for some of the parts. Many adults think these socks are quite charming. A certain five year old dislikes them, but is generous enough to wear them on occasion. His complaint is that they are different from each other. Socks are supposed to match, he thinks. I guess he has a point.

About Sisu: I really disliked this yarn at first. It seemed rough and splitty. I think I may have been responding to its price tag. It is relatively affordable, at about $6 for a 50 gram skein. Certainly the cheapest sock yarn I can find in a LYS. After the first pair, though, I really came to like it. It is consistent, and springy, and knit up into a great pair of totally washable socks for Big One. It may not be dryable, haven't tried.

As for the Swizzle, there's a nasty yarn. Rough, stiff, and ugly. Anybody want to take it off my hands? I have two red balls and two green balls, 100 grams each.

After I took photos of the socks the way I thought they should be photographed, with feet in them, much silliness ensued. It seems Little One has his own ideas about sock photography. First there was this:

And then this:

And finally this, exactly the way he wanted to show them:

And then he thought perhaps socks should hang from the ears:

Or maybe this:

Sweet silly boy.


Granna Judy said...

Little One may not like them but Granna certainly does. I have decided that the Bazaar socks are beyond my capabilities, but now i have five skeins of nice sock yarn in yummy colors, so I am going to make myself a pair of these socks and call them my "Little One" socks. Thanks for the idea!

Tyson said...

Guess where Granna Judy got her idea? My next project is going to be some Little O Socks for myself. I guess we women of a certain age like mismatched clothing.Thanks for the inspiration.; I can hardly wait to get started...with two circular needles of course.

elsie deluxe said...

Ya'll are funny. I can't believe you're referring to these socks as if they're an actual pattern, but I do look forward to seeing the finished socks.