Friday, December 01, 2006

I still exist.

We're moved, and I'm knitting.

The new place is great, and I'm mostly settled in. The one part of my life that isn't unpacked are my knitting supplies, since I used to store it all in built-in cabinets at our old place. But I don't have all that much, anyway, so a few cardboard boxes aren't all that terrible. When I get through more of the stash, I might decide that I don't need new yarn storage space after all.

I've actually done a fair amount of knitting in the past few weeks, though most of it is either not that exciting or not yet for public consumption. I got a start on the second Komi mitten before we moved, finished 3 more sock yarn baby hats, and after we moved managed to knit a pair of socks in 5 days:

socks for Lisa

Socks for my friend Lisa, knit in Socks That Rock (lightweight), in the Scottish Highlands colorway. I used my basic fallback sock pattern: size 1 needles, 64 stitches, 3x1 ribbing, top-down with heelflap and gusset. I had hoped to do something sightly more interesting for these socks, but the colors are so powerful that anything more complicated than ribbing would have been too much.

This was my first time using Socks That Rock, and it was even nicer than I anticipated. I liked it better than Koigu. (Granted, I've only knit one pair of Koigu socks.) I didn't realize that STR is a 3-ply, which I prefer to Koigu's 2-ply construction. There is a very soft sturdiness about it that reminds me of a really old, worn pair of jeans. A soft, cottony feel, but with all the stretch and character of wool. I'm still not so sure about their variegated colorways, but I look forward to eventually knitting some socks for myself out of their nearly-solids, or perhaps one of the more tone-on-tone variegated colorways.

I'll soon be knitting a pair of socks for Lisa's husband, out of Gems Pearl. (One advantage of knitting for other people is getting to try out yarns for free.) I remember hearing somewhere that this is actually the base yarn used for KPM and KPPPM, but I'm doubting that now that I've examined the yarn. I swatched, and the yarn feels thinner than Koigu, and the plying doesn't seem to be quite as tight. These are just observations, not complaints. I adored the feel of the swatched fabric, and while these won't be the most exciting socks to knit (mostly plain ribbing, in a solid color), the yarn will make it an enjoyable experience. Even if it turns out that this yarn isn't the base for Koigu, it still feels similar, and is much cheaper. If I like the final product as much as the swatch, this may become a staple sock yarn for me.

I'm afraid that I now become one of those annoying people who writes about super secret projects that are just wonderful, but which they can't yet share. Several weeks ago, while struggling with a failing sock design idea, I came up with a different, better sock design idea. I spent several days knitting swatches, and finally came up with a keeper a few days ago. I'm sending it, along with a design proposal, to Interweave Knits. If they don't want it, I may self-publish it. But since I'm still in the process of trying to get someone else to publish it, I really shouldn't share too much. So here's a cryptic sneak-peek of one part of the sock. It doesn't really display what's special and unique about the sock, but it's still a pretty picture.

sock teaser

I used Harrisville Shetland Style (from the second ball of the cream color I anticipate not needing for the Komi mittens), which worked a lot better than I expected for this design. I chose it because it was my only option for a fingering weight yarn in a light, solid color. When knit up in size 1 needles (as opposed to size 00 for the mittens), and washed in Eucalan, it's surprisingly soft for something that markets itself as being similar to Shetland. I consider it against-the-skin soft, though of course it's no merino. The stitch definition is beautiful, and while it doesn't knit up as evenly as some other yarns at first, the fabric improves greatly with a wash and mild blocking. I can't begin to express how excited I am about this design. Even if IK hates it, I'll still be elated with it. Not to toot my own horn too loudly, but it's quite the clever design, and different from any sock I've ever seen. I put a lot of work in to improve small design details, and am as proud of my effort as I am of the final swatch. I also designed a cable pattern. It's not that complicated, and I wouldn't be surprised if it already exists somewhere. But it's new to me, and is something I did on my own instead of taking it from a book. What a mighty feeling of accomplishment.

That's all for today. Posting might still be slow for the next few weeks, as I knit those socks for Jules and get around to the second mitten, which will look just like those photos I posted of the first mitten. See you again in a bit.


Blogger LaurieM said...

Here's a big pat on the back from me. Good for you girl!

12/01/2006 11:59 AM  
Blogger Knitting Therapy said...

I love, love love cable socks. Can't wait to see it published.

The STR lloks great. I like the pooling. The purple creates quite a design interest point.


12/01/2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just love that colorway!

12/01/2006 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so excited to see your sock design! I hope it'll be on the pages of Interweave Knits, but even if not, here on your blog will be almost as good. Glad to hear you're settled in the new place and that your knitting hasn't been thrown off too much!

12/02/2006 3:08 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

The suspense is killing me! And welcome back.

12/03/2006 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The socks look great! I love the colors.

12/05/2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the succesful sock pattern, even though we can't see it yet! But I trust your judgement and believe that it is clever and original. :)

12/07/2006 3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cryptic! But pretty. Hopefully IK will pick it up and I can see it in a national mag!

Those socks are gorgeous. Your mittens match each other? (Kidding.)

I hope your hand is doing better.

12/08/2006 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I go, I had to comment on these Socks that Rock. They are just great. I am just learning to knit socks (can you belive it?) and am using my first Trekking yarn. I haven't heard of this yarn but it is gorgeous. You are right, a plain sock is just right. Besides, that is all I can knit right now. (g)

12/16/2006 1:19 AM  

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