Friday, July 18, 2008

A socks-rich post

So I'm getting very close to finishing the write-up of my sock pattern. It's taking a while because I'm testing it out on several different sizes. My family is made up of four people of differing foot sizes, which means I've got a good range of guinea pigs available right in the comfort of my own home. So I need to make a toddler size, child size, woman size and man size. Then I'll do individual photo shoots and finally try to get a usable shot of all four of us sticking out our bestockinged feet. I trust DH and myself and, to a limited extent, DD1, to be able to pull this off, but DD2 is the wild element that may make such a pose impossible. We shall see.

Baby socks for DD2
These were done using the second-smallest size instructions. I finished them about a week and a half ago - thus using up all the leftover sock yarn - and they are really, really cute. Unfortunately, they are also bordering on being a bit too small for my younger daughter, girthwise. But they do still fit, and we had a big photo session with her and her feet sitting in the high chair. Very cute stuff.

Wild socks for DD1
These were the bane of my existence for a while, I kept having to rip them out and redoing them. I was using the third-smallest size instructions. My first time out, the girth around the instep was waaay too small (and to add insult to injury, I'd made the feet far too long), so I re-jigged the size instructions to make things wider around the instep. The second time out I think I made the feet too short, so I had to rip them back and redo. Only after I'd done that did I discover that things were still too small around the instep.

Finally I came to the realisation that the size I was making was not adequate for my kid. This, plus the fact that the socks I'd made in the second-smallest size for my toddler were a wee bit too snug led me to changing the sizing structure of my pattern somewhat - instead of baby/toddler/young child/older child/woman/man, I went to newborn/older baby/toddler-slash-small-child/child/woman/man. Armed with the new sizing structure, I cast on again for these socks, this time using the fourth-smallest size (also known as the third-largest size).

At last...success. Except that I screwed up my math and initially made the foot too short.


FINALLY, on Monday I finished them and brought them home for DD1 to try on...and they fit. [insert angelic chorus here] Not only did they fit, but they have just exactly the right amount of looseness to them which tells me that they will fit her for a good while, and if I adjusted them later on to be longer in the foot, she'd probably be able to wear them for years to come. Hoo-freakin'-ray!

Oil-slick rainbow socks for moi
So with the toddler and child size socks in my pattern out of the way, I had to start making some socks in my size. Unfortunately, I don't really have any sock yarn I could use that isn't earmarked for something else, so my only options were to cannibalize an existing sock project, or buy more sock yarn. Since I have extremely limited financial resources and wanted to start rightthatverymoment, I went with the cannibalization option. I'd gotten as far as starting the leg of the first toe-up sock with the Sockina Colori that DH gave me last Christmas, but that obviously didn't matter, because I frogged that sucker back so fast I barely had time to blink!

But partway through the heel, I suddenly decided that what I really wanted to do with this nifty heathered rainbow-y yarn was pair it with some black and make a stranded vest for myself.

(I know, that kind of came out of nowhere, didn't it? Who knows what paths my brain will take. Even I haven't learned how to predict this.)

So this project is now officially cancelled.

Foot-pampering socks for moi
Naturally, I still needed to make woman-size socks with my new sock pattern. So I turned to the other sock project for myself that was in progress - a top-down pair using the Step yarn that I got for Mother's Day last year. I'd done most of the leg on the first sock, but again, that quickly vanished in my enthusiasm to re-start with my own pattern.

First sock is now coming along very nicely, but I tried it last night, and again I'm having a problem with the tightness around the instep. So I think I'm going to have to rejig the instructions there just a tad and have a do-over. But first I'm going to check online to see if there are any "standard woman foot size" measurements out there that can tell me whether the problem is my sock sizing, or whether my foot is just bigger than average. Either is possible.

But as usual, I am looooving this yarn. It's squooshy and smooth and you can totally feel the effects of the lotion without it being even the slightest bit oily. Love. It.

Stranded vest for moi
I need vests to wear to work. Unfortunately, I have only two...and one of them is really a tank top masquerading as a vest. I have all kinds of grand plans for knitting myself vests, but for a variety of reasons, none of the plans have morphed into actual projects yet.

Lately, however, I've been thinking how neat it would be to use sock yarn for a vest. First off, the superwashness translates into machine washability, which is excellent for something I'd be wearing on a regular basis. Secondly, sock yarn is extremely affordable. For example, I had 100g of solid black Sock it to Me that I'd ordered from a few months ago that cost all of about $4.80 (plus shipping). (Yes, you read that right, $4.80 for 100g of sock yarn.)

Then I figured, if I used two different colours of sock yarn, especially if the second colour was self-striping, I could do stranded knitting and make it look very fair isle-esque.

My original plan was to snag some Noro sock yarn at my LYS' recent sale, but unfortunately, by the time I got there, it was almost all gone and I didn't care much for any of the colourways that were left. (Poo.) Or, rather, I thought the colourways were certainly very nice generally speaking, but recognized that they'd look pretty crappy on me specifically.

When I started working again with my Sockina Colori, though, I started thinking that I could use that as my second colour. It's not self-striping, but it is heathered with three different colours: black, white, and variegating rainbow hues. Paired with the solid black sock yarn, I thought it would look pretty stunning.

So I grabbed a 3mm circular needle, guessed at gauge, and cast on.

The good news? It looked terrific. I lurved it.

The bad news? My gauge guess sucked. I thought that I'd get 7 sts per inch with the bottom ribbing. In reality, I got 9. Rather a big difference! Oh, also, I underestimated how big my waist is. I keep forgetting that I've had two kids and that the 22" of my high school days is long gone. On the upside, it's still small at 25.5", so it's not like I'm busting out of my clothes or anything. (If there's anyone reading this who is now annoyed at my tinyness, be assured that I am not a stick: my hips are 36".) Plus I hadn't really considered that I'd want a bit of ease on this thing. So, I had to rip it all back (sob) and re-cast on with about 24 more stitches. So far I'm approaching three inches on try #2, I think, and I'm still nervous that it's not big enough. We shall see. It's very fun, though, I still lurve it.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the pattern once I finish it. I'm sort of torn between just writing it up and posting it for free; or doing lots of work to figure out instructions for multiple sizes and either selling it, or submitting it to Interweave or something. Of course, the lazy bum part of me who doesn't want to do all the resizing calculations is yelling, "Just post the damn thing as is!"...but I dunno. We'll see.

Double-faced bib
Even with all the sock knitting going on, this has seen a fair bit of action and is growing noticeably. Also, I've decided who's going to get it. But it's a secret, so I'm not going to say. :)

Snood for DD1
I finally blocked the snood this week. (Which took a bit of doing to get started, since my husband had been doing some sewing and the pins were down in his workshop instead of up in the workroom where they belong. It is mostly wonderful to have a crafty spouse...but sometimes a pain, too. I'm sure he feels the same way about me, especially when I teef his electronic caliper!)

As you can see, it cleaned up real purty. But I was still nervous about whether it would be big enough. The morning after the blocking, it was dry, so I unpinned it and took it to work along with the yarn. On the bus ride home, I twisted up a drawstring, threaded it through the lacy edging, and - tadah! - a snood. DD1 tried it on as soon as she got home and, to my great relief, it fit (although she will probably grow out of it a few years down the road). She wore it with great joy until dinner, when she wanted to take it off so she wouldn't get it dirty. I pointed out that she was unlikely to spill food up onto her head (I got a giggle out of that), but she was adamant so off it came. But I suspect she'll want to wear it again really soon, especially when we go to another SCA event. I should get DH to make her a little circlet to go with it!

And speaking of the SCA, thanks again for all the tips, Keja. I missed seeing you at TW that weekend! I did a walkabout to try and find various friends but didn't spot you. I hope you had a lovely time. I know I found it a very relaxing event, even with the kids!


Keja said...

Thanks, I'm sorry I missed you too. I was there for Saturday only due to some unfortunate family matters, and I spent most of it in camp helping Anne with lunch and dinner. Maybe next time. :)

Carrie K said...

The snood is cute! Glad it fit.

Sock pictures.