Sunday, 31 August 2008

Miss me?

Dear god, I'm a sorry excuse for a blogger, aren't I? Somehow the summer hasn't been conducive to blogging Chez Ginger - a combination of weddings (planning for my own and going to others), parties (again, both at home and elsewhere), a funeral (of which more later), serious amounts of exercise (well, serious for me, but it is working!) and being terribly busy at work. However I feel it is time to get back on track. I thought I'd better get a post in whilst it's still August - just. I'll try to play catch-up this week as much as I can, both in terms of blank posts below, and things never posted at all.

For tonight, I shall concentrate on much sockage. The knitting has, strangely, benefited from my hectic schedule. Socks have gone especially well, probably due to time spent on various forms of transportation. I therefore have two finished pairs to show off!

Preppy Socks

The first pair to be finished were some that were on the needles for so long that they were in danger of being treated as hibernating. I just didn't have time to sit down and do a toe or heel to progress them. Once I did, I churned through them very quickly. Here's a picture on my new sheepy sock blockers from The Loopy Ewe:

The yarn, as mentioned in my previous post featuring them, is from Snarky Design, in a sport weight, colourway "Prep School Dropout". These are therefore big, thick, chunky socks. Too big, in fact. Don't know how that happened, since I was trying them on the whole time. Never mind, I'm sure they'll get worn, just not as often as they should. 52 stitches for the foot then 56 for the leg on 3mm needles, by the way.

I'm also not overly keen on the combination of yarn and pattern, as I think the strong horizontal stripes of the yarn fight with the strong vertical lines of the 2x2 ribbing. Some mysterious change in tension also made the second sock ever so slightly larger than the first one (you can see the leg striping is different too). I'm trying to rationalise that - the first one was mainly knit on holiday in Ecuador when surely I should have been more relaxed?

All in all, a very pleasant knitting experience, as the yarn handled beautifully, but a less successful end product. Oh well.

Pink Lemonade Socks

Thankfully these little beauties are pretty damned good, if I do say so myself.

The yarn is Cafe au Lait in the colourway "Pink Lemonade", by Yarn Chef. This is a DK weight yarn but I went down to 2.75mm needles to prevent the bagginess of the Preppy Socks, and it gave a nice, solid fabric. It's divine, with strong colours which are taken up by the yarn in an interesting way - the core of the yarn seems to take it up less than the halo of fuzz, leading to a pretty, shaded effect. It behaved itself and formed itself into neat four-row stripes with no prompting from me.

I made sure to start one sock with pink and the other with yellow to ensure that they are mirror images of each other, as this amuses me, like so:

For the heels, I initially did my customary Sherman heel, but hated the way that it interrupted the stripe pattern as when the foot stitches were rejoined, I had a pink stripe only one row wide. Not acceptable. I frogged (very rare for me!) and instead did afterthought heels by knitting in a half-row of waste yarn then pulling that out later, and decreasing down. This meant I had to - gasp - learn to do the Kitchener Stitch! I'd never dared before, as books on it seemed baffling. Thankfully I found a clear tutorial on YouTube and was fairly satisfied with the result, although next time I might try Vogue Knitting's tip of decreasing by one at the end of each needle to prevent the "corners" I ended up with. For some unknown reason the last pink stripe ran slightly short on one sock, and changed to yellow just before I Kitchenered.

Still, we can't be perfect, can we? Although the toes pretty much are, in my humble opinion:

That's a toe-up provisional cast on with kfb increases instead of m1 like the previous pairs.  I think this is much easier.

Best of all, they were done in only three weeks. I'm getting faster on the needles as well as on the treadmill.

Cherry Blossom Socks

Being what I've cast on tonight. No pictures yet. They will be garter stitch socks in the limited edition "Cherry Blossom" colourway by Cherry Tree Hill, in Supersock DK.

Frogged, with sadness

I mentioned a funeral in my intro. My beloved grandfather died in August, just before his 82nd birthday. I really have no desire to go into that on a blog, so I mention it only in respect of the socks I had been knitting for him, on and off, for over a year. They will be frogged. They were never, in all honesty, going to be finished - they were my first attempt at socks, I'd lost a stitch somewhere, the cast on (they were top down) was far too tight, and I hadn't heard of negative ease. Still, I can't bear to continue them for anyone else. The yarn may become socks for either my father or the boyfriend, but not for a while.

Monster sockage

Finally, a lighter note, related to one of the weddings I also mentioned. We attended K's wedding in Berlin in August, and of course I had to take presents for the happy couple and their two children. For her daughter, I braved the horror of Hamleys, but found something quite delightful: Little Miss Matched. Apart from ultra-cute non-matching socks, which are right up my street (and yes, they do adult ones), I found some non-scary monsters made of real socks:

And best of all, little purses made out of little socks:

Far too cute to resist.

So there you are, socks: all human life is here. Tomorrow and onwards, the rest of my non-sock related human life.