Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Knit to begin 20-10

My first finished knit of the year is, I'm rather sad to say, a pair of socks. Regardless of my hope to have a year filled with knitting projects begun on impulse and continued past exhaustion, I couldn't ignore obligation. After all, someone who earned a PhD in engineering deserves a small tribute to her achievement.

I chose Nancy Bush's Anniversary Sock pattern, a small fob to my desire for extreme knitting. It has some out-there elements, being her tribute to a style in fashion over a hundred years ago. The leg is longer than I usually knit, even though it is one repeat shorter than the pattern sample.

The lace pattern is very simple and was a breeze. I had no trouble memorizing it, especially since I did have trouble with the first sock that required ripping and reknitting the pattern until it was burned in my brain. The yarn just wasn't the best match for the pattern, being a rather rough, inelastic wool. The inelasticity demanded a larger sock than I originally cast on. J. Knits sock yarn, selected for its color rather than texture, just isn't equal to the Regia Silk Bush's pattern recommends. The color is nice, though, being a bit greener than what you see here, a light aqua that shows off the crossed stitches and eyelets that grace the front of the sock.

I changed the standard heel flap to a boomerang short-row heel, not wanting to interrupt the smooth stockinette of the back. My first version of this heel narrowed to 8 stitches. That pointy heel, plus the tightness of the instep, forced me to frog the first sock I completed. It was too tight across the instep, meaning it would slip down when worn. The second sock, with 12 stitches across the bottom of the heel and two more stitches in the leg, was a better fit, prompting me to knit the third version to match. Knitting three full socks to get a pair fulfilled my desire for extreme knitting in this project. I don't resent the extra effort. She earned her PhD, the least I can do is knit her a pair of socks that fit.

In other exciting knit news, yoking has commenced on the Bells of Ireland cardigan. Now that I can see it together, I'm seized with longing to get it done. One day I think it will be too short, the next, just right. It lacks two more repeats of the bells, then the garter stitch edging. I am hoping it hits the top of my hips, but I fear it will end above my waist. While I might have had enough yarn to make it longer, the four special buttons I kept aside for this yarn were the real limitation. Just four little buttons, spaced as far apart as I dared. Perhaps I should have knitted more on the bottom and left that part buttonless. As it is, besides going short on the sweater, I let the sweater length dictate sleeve length. I'm afraid sleeves that are much longer than the sweater will make monkey arms.

Meanwhile, the conclusion of the blue socks left an opening for more, and more fun, socks. Impulsively, I cast on for stripes in two colorways of Zauberball.

I'm playing like mad with this one, not using a pattern at all. I find the black/red stripes exciting, but am stumped by the monotony of the white/rust stripes. I tried using up the white in the boomerang heel, producing an abrupt change in color with the tan stripe after the heel. There's more craziness in there, with contrasting boomerang rows and multiple treatments of the seam stitches. I hope this yarn frogs well. I'll knit each sock differently--there's enough yarn for four. Once I get one I like, I can rip out the unsatisfactory ones and reknit them to match.

ETA: this sock evolved into my Burning Stripes pattern.  See the link on the sidebar under "Patterns".

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Patricia said...

I love those Anniversary socks and can see why you chose the yarn as the color is lovely. I am currently knitting my husband a pair of socks using the Regia Silk and it has quickly risen in ranks as some of the nicest yarn that I have knit with.
Glad to read that you are enjoying the Scholler Zauberballs. I have two and have not tried them out yet. I think that I want to try a Baktus using and additional color.

sapphireblue said...

Wow! You've been busy!

Wool Winder said...

I think a finished pair of socks is a great way to start the year!

vlb5757 said...

I love socks so seeing you have two pair today is even better. I will be curious to see how the four socks turn out. I hope that you post them for us to see. I love the first one. It's looking great. I have a pair of socks on the needles that I started last year and am hoping after the Olympics to finish them. Not that I need another pair of socks, but I just addicted to them.

Mardel said...

I think a finished pair of socks is a beautiful start to the new year, especially such nice socks.

Marjorie said...

I think the socks look wonderful (as do the other projects).

And, hey, my first 2010 project was socks too--and I was strutting around with pride knowing that I actually have an FO.