Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gray is Perfect when knit

In the past month, (I've been home a month!) I have made great progress on knitting little things and little progress on big ones. I blame any lack of progress on my new goal of perfecting my knitting. It's much less daunting to perfect a little project than a big one. I won't denigrate the little ones, though. Besides producing a satisfying result, making the little projects perfect does encourage me to plan the big ones carefully.

Last year, I bought over 1,000 yards of this gray and aqua yarn (Blue Sky's Alpaca and Silk). Since I have a wealth of sweaters, I hoped to concoct a shawl. I knit Andrea's Shawl and ripped it out. It wasn't what I wanted. I tried Ulmus, but it didn't work in a plain yarn. That pretty pattern really needs a little variegation to make the slipped stitches blend together, I think.

When I saw the fingerless mitts by Mary Rourke, Lusekofte-sque, I decided this lovely design, which recommends a similar yarn, would work for these two contrasting colors of Alpaca and Silk. While I was knitting the mitts, I re-thought shawl designs. I'm making a little progress on the shawl now that I've had success with the mitts.

I'm also working on perfecting socks. That is, I'm developing a set of sock patterns that are perfect for me. I've gotten the top-down, heel-flap-and-gusset, princess-sole, minimum-purl version knit and written. Now I'm trying a pair from the other end.

These are knit with Paton's Kroy Jacquards. The first one was straightforward--toe-up, yo-yo heel. I knit until I had used a full ball of yarn. The problem came with the second one. I knit the entire foot before I realized I was knitting the stripe pattern in reverse. Since I wasn't happy with my finish on the heel, I was glad to rip it out and start from the other end of the second ball. After all, the way to get matching stripes is to start at the same point and knit in the same direction. I reasoned that knitting the heel again would give me a chance to solve its problems.

If only that had worked. Instead, I cut and joined the yarn several times to try to match the stripes, finally giving it up on the final repeat. That one is just a little off, though. The other six match, and the heel is darned close. I'd call this a success. And, in case you didn't notice, that is a sheep my feet are resting on. It's my new knitting room doormat, courtesy of Tuesday Morning. Using it for my photo shoot gave me a pass on dusting the floor!

Ah, pretty gray knits, warm hands and feet, sheep rugs--what's not to like?

I'll be writing a lot about these perfected socks in the next couple of months. I hope there's interest in a pattern. They may look like simple ribbed socks, but they have a couple of secrets.

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Marjorie said...

Those are really lovely mitts. I'd never knitted that kind of project (for me it was tipless gloves in late winter) before, and I'm totally captivated by anything in the "glove family." I misguidedly bought 100% alpaca in a kit for socks (of all things), and I've since decided that they ought to be mitts. Something along the lines of your gray and white ones would be just the thing.

I too am vacillating between big and small projects.

Nanette said...

I love those mitts especially the colors! I don't use gray enough in colorwork. Thanks for the inspiration!

vlb5757 said...

I love that you got your socks to match! I have yet to do that. One of these days...

Affiknitty said...

I like your idea of perfecting your knitting. So much of my knitting is done hurriedly, that reading about your goal is hitting home. Your fingerless mitts are really pretty. And I look forward to reading about your sock secrets.