Monday, April 17, 2006

Sock shuffle

Uh huh. I changed my mind again. Here is the new lineup:

Grey socks for bro
These are no longer for DH. They're now for my brother. For his birthday (today). This decision came about thanks to several factors. The first was that, as I've mentioned before, I really wanted to give socks to my brother, and his birthday was the perfect occasion for that kind of thing, and these grey socks were the closest to being finished. Another plus: he and my husband wear the same size shoe, according to my mom, so I could count on their feet being more or less the same length. Yet another plus: as my first all-continental project, my gauge was looser than normal, and the socks wouldn't have been particularly snug on my husband. My brother, however, has very wide feet (again according to my mom), so the looseness of the grey socks would likely make them ideal for him.

The final factor in the decision to make these socks for my brother instead of my husband was that DD totally spilled the beans to DH about the existence of the socks. I was working on them in front of her (my first mistake), and DH came back upstairs from the basement, so I hid them. What does DD say the moment DH shows up? "Daddy! Mummy is making you a sock!"

Oh, but it gets better. DH then went into the kitchen, and I whisperingly urged DD to STOP TALKING TO DADDY ABOUT THE SOCKS, for heaven's sake, because they were a secret. Then I went upstairs to hide the socks. As I was doing so, what do I hear downstairs? "Daddy! Mummy went to hide your sock!"

I admit, I have finally learned my lesson. DD has so NOT grasped the concept of keeping a secret yet.

So, with the cat completely and utterly out of the bag, there was no point dithering anymore. The Universe was trying to tell me something: the socks were obviously meant to be for my brother. I was a little nervous about whether I'd be able to finish the second sock in time for this evening, but I figured I had a pretty good shot. Silly me. I had more than a pretty good shot. I finished the second sock in plenty of time early Sunday afternoon. This is the second sock:

Unfortunately, as of this morning, this was the first sock:

Yes, I unravelled the entire first sock down to the completion of the toe. Why?


When doing the second sock, I remembered that my gauge on the first sock had been kind of loose, so I consciously knit a little more loosely than I had to in order to duplicate the loose gauge of the first sock. Sadly, I did this way too well and the second sock was way bigger than the first sock. DH tried both of them on. The first sock fit him fairly snugly, and the second sock was very slouchy. As I've mentioned, my brother's feet are wide (and I suspect his calves are bigger than DH's), so I guessed that the second sock would fit him very well but that he'd probably have a hard time even getting the first sock on.

I had no choice. Regardless of whom the socks were supposed to be for, I had to re-knit one of them. We were having our Easter visit at my MIL's at the time, and DH's family looked on in horror as I frogged the first sock back and began it again almost from the beginning.

Fortunately, the glorious speed of continental knitting kicked in and I'd finished turning the heel by the time we left my MIL's house on Sunday night. I worked on it all the way home and today on my lunch and during my whole commute to and from work. By the time I got off the subway near my parents' place I had just seven ribbing rows to go on the second sock, so I sat myself down on a bench in the subway, finished the ribbing, cast off, wove in all the ends, and attached my customary 'knitted just for you' label. I was later to the party than I wanted to be but I MADE IT, dammit.

My brother? He liked the socks.

Then he tried them on.

They fit really well around his calves, the width of his feet, and they felt comfy. The only tiny snag was that the feet were at least an inch and a half too LONG.

That is when I realised these were the Socks From Hell, sent to test me. So I sighed, took a deep breath, and spent the rest of the evening fixing one of the socks.

These were knitted toe-up, but there was no freakin' way I was going to rip all the way back down the leg, down the heel, back to where the heel should have started. Screw that. Instead, I pinpointed where the toe should have started further up on the foot, put needles through that row of stitches, cut above the row on the needles, separated the tip of the foot from the rest of the sock, and redid the toe. Result:

I'll do the same thing for the second sock tomorrow.

Self-patterning socks #2 for DH
With the grey socks re-assigned to my brother, I now need a sock project to do for DH's birthday present. Therefore, these socks, which were originally for DH...then were maybe for my brother...then were maybe for my dad...are now absolutely, certainly and finally, for DH again. This should not be too much of a problem to pull off, since I'm already on the leg of sock #1 and I have a month and a half to finish them.

Black socks for DH
These are still for DH. I'm not sure what occasion I'll give them to him for, but they're definitely for DH.

Black socks for Dad
Since my brother is now getting the grey socks for his birthday, I can knit the second pair of black socks for someone else. I was originally thinking DH, but I think I like the idea of making them for my dad better. I can give him these socks and the blue socks as his Christmas present. I'm always hard-up for gift ideas for my dad, but I'm sure he would love to get handknit socks from me. Plus, four balls of this sock yarn fits the budget for his Christmas gift perfectly. And he doesn't have huge feet, either.

Hopefully you managed to follow all that sock stuff. So, moving on...

Basic Sweater for DD
This saw a bit of action this weekend while waiting for DD to complete some potty activities. I also brought it to work with me today, intending to work it as my project for the evening once the socks were done. Alas, since I had to do more work on the socks, I only ended up working on the sweater on the drive home. Stocking stitch in the round on 4mm needles with white yarn is so ideal for car travel knitting at night. Several more rows got done. I estimate I've got about five more rows before the yarn poops out.

Garden Shawl for MIL
This didn't get worked on this weekend due to all the sock panic, but it saw a lot of progress during the previous work week. I must first apologize, my last blog entry crowed that I was over half done the body of the shawl. This turned out to be a lie - I had added wrong when I peeked at the shawl calculator [link to calculator in sidebar] to see how much I'd done, and accidentally claimed to be further along than I thought. That's the bad news. The good news is that now, I'm definitely over half done the body of the shawl and am actually pretty close to being 60% done. I'm well into the flower stems chart. I suspect that work will continue in earnest on this after the sock panic is over.

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