Tulips and Toesies

At last report, the Tulip was in detention for being way too tense in its I-cord; happily, it saw the error of its ways, voluntarily frogged itself, and reknit itself while I was sleeping… NOT! However, it was very cooperative on the whole process, and I was able to finish it off in a couple of hours, which makes me almost feel like a “real knitter!”

I’m not one of those perfectionist knitters; I approach each new project with the attitude that ripping out is a learning experience. And I get LOTS of learning experience every time. With the Tulip, I was feeling pretty sure of myself, since I’d completed the Rocketry version last summer without too much un-doing. But, different pattern, different techniques. With Rocketry, once I’d gotten past the gauge issue, it essentially just skipped along. I love these patterns because they are easy enough to understand, but the color changes (and the methodology thereof) give you a bit of a pick-up every eighth row. Downside to that pickup is that every eighth row, you have ends to weave in. And as we know, getting a little over-confident is like a large neon sign to the Knitting Goddesses saying, “OK, whack me upside the head with a stupid and easily correctable error that will have me tearing out my hair and using words no self-respecting cat companion should be forced to endure.”

The clever seed-stitch color change row was captivating; the color bands arranged themselves almost without thought. Even the seed-stitch border went pretty well – I realized I was working too tight after the first front and the damage was easy to control. But I-cord always kind of mystified me. I thought that it really needed to be pulled very tight at the beginning of each row in order to form the cord (instead of a sloppy tube-ish sort of worm thing.) Why can I never remember that moderation is a good thing?

Once I relaxed into it, it really did only take a couple of hours to rip out that initial try and replace it with…

Tulip and Vinca

THIS! Tulip in the garden, resting on a bed of Vinca minor (aka Primrose). Tulip has now gone to live with Marie, who will probably get a couple of months wear before it gets put away for a year, and then re-worn by Marie’s new baby sister who is due in a couple of weeks. And the Vinca? Give it a month or so, and I will show you the most gorgeous full bloom. The color of this particular ground cover makes me very happy, and I also have a patch of its big sister, Vinca major. Same thing, but about 10 times larger in leaves and flower.

Putting the Tulip in the FO column meant that, for the first time in a couple of months, there was no specific project waiting for me. I mucked about for a few rows with some mohair, thinking it might want to be a lacy scarf, but we didn’t seem to be on the same page, so I set it aside. Picked up some cotton thinking that perhaps a dishcloth would take the edge off, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Then I went stash diving in the sock yarn, and voila!

Behold the WIP Eyelet Rib socks!
Eyelet Rib WIP

This is another of my go-it-alone projects. Two socks together is a great method for me, because I still don’t trust my gauge to hold true from sock to sock. And I use the toe-up method so I can fit as I go along. These began with Judy’s Magic Cast-On of 12 stitches on each needle. This amazing cast-on is featured in Cat Bhordi’s newest book New Pathways for Sock Knitters (with Judy’s permission, of course) but I first learned from the link to Judy’s site. And speaking of New Pathways, I am surely going to try the Coriolis sock first (after I obey Cat’s instructions and do the class socks to get the hang of it.)

From there, I increased to 30 in the standard method (KF&B at the beginning and end of each needle every other row), and then straight on to Neverland. Because I really love a smooth fit over the top of the ball of the foot, I began with the pattern later than one might expect in a “normal” sock, at just over the instep. This pattern is from Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks, and is the first of the 5-stitch patterns on offer. I also have a rather high arch, so if you look closely at the right sock (showing the bottom of the foot) you’ll see six ribs under the arch to give it a bit more “hug” in that area.

I am really loving this yarn’s coloration, and the subtlety of the changes, and how my “fraternal” socks are each lovely in their own way. This is Jojoland’s Melody fingering-weight superwash wool in color MS08, on Addi 2.5mm (US01) 16″ needles. Since my foot is narrow, I can use a set of 16s on these socks, but for a larger foot I go up to a 24″ set of needles to keep from dropping end stitches.

I’m only about 6 hours into these socks, and they’re moving along more quickly than I would expect, as they’re the third pair in my history. With a lot of evening baby-tending this week, I’m hoping to make some real progress. Given that we’re already into March and temps are running in the mid-60s (F), I’d sure like to get a chance or two to wear them before I’m breaking out the sandals.

Other semi-projects that are on the front burner at present are to add a couple of inches to the collar of Noah’s Cobblestone, and to rip out the sleeves of a cashmere (machine-knit) sweater that is too tight, turning it into a vest. I’ll probaby just do a small I-Cord edge on the sleeve, unless I think I should rib that edge instead. And with the leftover cashmere from two XL men’s sleeves, I’m thinking perhaps I can design a nice scarf for me…

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