Saturday, October 8

What I did on my summer vacation

I work at a major research university that starts the fall term at the end of September. This has always been a great luxury because when the girls were in school, we were able to get through the hysteria of the start of school year separately - the girls got their new school clothes and the neat folders well before I had to consider the arrangements for new graduate students.

So I am now considering what I did this summer. Despite the dearth of blogging these past months (I mean on the blog because there has been plenty of blogging in my mind), I have been knitting.

Consider the socks.

Zauberball sock yarn I bought at the Brooklyn General Store

Regia from my yarn enabler or maybe donated by a grad student with too much yarn

Patons from Michaels

I attempted to deplete my sock yarn stash and thought I would abandon the interesting stitch-pattern socks that take time and concentration and crank out utilitarian socks - handknit woolies so why do I feel I compromised? Each pair can be done in a weekend with a good PBS schedule if I didn't pay any attention to the dust bunnies, dishes, food prep. The washing machine can work on its own (I want a roomba) since it's always a good idea to stir from the chair to switch the loads at least once an hour and get the circulation going.

I like the YH book Knitting Rules because it's a recipe book for basic projects. Once a knitter is experienced enough to take a step back from explicit instructions, this type of book is a lot of fun. One of the guidelines for socks is to make the leg as long as your palm. I tend to lose interest in knitting around and around before that happens but after seeing the Regia socks, I'm going to try to stay the course. The other socks just come up over my ankle bone but that little bit of extra room is really comfortable. I also have worked out a pattern on size 1 needles - these are all cast-ons of 64 but the yarns are so different that the Patons and Zauberball are different degrees of snug yet the Regia is loose enough that I gave them to my larger-footed daughter. And speaking of snug, I have remembered that I re-knit the toes on the Patons and Zauberball socks - instead of decreasing 2 stitches every other row to 50% of the stitch count and then every row to 25%, I kept the every other row sequence to the end. The smaller needles were too much for the accelerated decrease at the end and made the toe too narrow. A nice exploration - the advantage of not hopping from project to project.

My sock theme was supported by a class I attended at the Midwest Fiber and Folkart Festival at the end of June in Greyslake, IL. I wanted to take the twined knitting class but I seem to have been the only one who registered so I opted for another class taught by the same woman, Arnhild Hillesland, called Heel Appeal. We learned 4 heels that are traditional to Norwegian knitting. Unfortunately I secured my handout in a book or bag or notebook and can't work on these heels. The Regia socks have one of these heels and we had a good discussion in the class on the advantage of different heels but I can't remember how the heels are worked.

The beginning of the school year also seems the time to make new year's resolutions, not after Christmas. I think I will keep a stockinette sock going all the time and keep it in my bag for those brief moments of waiting. I do always have knitting with me but sometimes I just need something to occupy my hands, not my brain.

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