Almost Done and Almost Started

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Here is the MKAL….I’ve started calling it the bubblegum shawl and have no idea why, lol. I’m just starting the 9th repeat of an 18 repeat section and then other than a light blocking it’s ready to be wrapped up for Christmas and put up.  One gift down…actually the only knitted gift unless I get REALLY motivated between now and then.

As I’ve said, I’m on a quest for knowledge. I want to learn (and understand the mechanics of) techniques I use without understanding them as well as completely new techniques. In that spirit I’ve chosen a gansey sock pattern. It’s something I’ve never done, it’s a beautiful pattern that will show off the yarn I’ve chosen (Shibui Knits Sock). The pattern is Diamond Gansey Socks from Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson.  I’m planning to photo document my progress on this project, so here is the first pic of Ancient Coal Ganseys…

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Adventures in Sock Knitting

Sock knitting has been one of the things that I’ve always been most intrigued as well as most intimidated by since I learned to knit.  I’ve tried to knit a simple sock on a few occasions and have failed rather spectacularly.  I’ve always been terrified at the thought of a toe up sock – the top down was more than difficult enough for me.  So I got this New Pathways for Sock Knitters book out of the library a few months ago (I’ve renewed it twice now; I really need to buy my own copy) to check it out.  I was so impressed with the Coriolis sock that I was emboldened to try it even though I was sure I was going to fail just as horribly as I have in the past.  I did the practice sock since I hadn’t knit on 2 circs before and even though I’ve done several things with Magic Loop, I didn’t want to deviate from the instructions at all since I knew I was going to be intimidated enough to begin with.

I used Socks that Rock Medium Weight in the color Hot Flash which I bought as a gift for a friend (I was going to knit her something with it) that I never got around to doing.  I thought the color was WAY too pink and bright and I really didn’t like it much – until I wound it and realized that it was actually a gorgeous color.  I started a pair of Monkey socks with the yarn, but frogged it when I decided to try the Coriolis socks.  I decided to use the Spiraling Coriolis master pattern and got started.

What I’ve discovered is that toe-up socks are much easier for me than their top-down counterparts and that sock knitting is not the frightening concept that I thought it was.  It took me about two weeks of working a few hours a night to finish sock #1.  The biggest problem I had was binding off in a way that made the sock go over my foot.  After tearing out several different B.O. methods, I settled on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind-off, and that worked for me.  I just finished the heel turn on the second sock (no “second sock syndrome” here) and I’m hoping to have the pair done before I leave in a few weeks for three weeks in CA with Jake, visiting my mother and going to the David Cook concert (which I’m so excited about I’m like a 14 year old teeny-bopper….mmmm….David Cook).

The thing that I found most intimidating was the short rows with the wrap and turn and then concealling the wraps as well.  I think I’ve finally mastered it, though, or at least it’s not so scary for me.  I think the heel turn is my favorite part of sock knitting; there’s something magical about it to me.  I simply love sock knitting and now I completely understand why there are people who are so obsessed with it.  I love having a project that is small enough to take anywhere, yet interesting enough to keep my mind occupied.

What I really need to do is to get back to spinning.  I look at my wheel every day and I never seem to find the time or energy to pull out fiber and spin.  I think I’ll take the wheel with me to CA.  I’m sure I’ll find time at Mom’s house to get some spinning done.  I have some great bamboo batts from Loop that are deep brown, scarlet red and amber colored bamboo in layers.  I have 15 oz. of it and I think I’d like to spin it to fingering weight in a 2 ply and then make a shawl for myself out of it.  We’ll see how that goes since I’ve never spun bamboo before.  Maybe I should grab some bamboo in a single color that I don’t love as much as these batts and give it a go first.  Any hints/tips on spinning bamboo would be appreciated.