Labors of Love
It's not that I'm having a problem with the dreaded Kitchener stitch, which is the lament of most authors of sock patterns. It's pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it, and there's a pleasant, weaving-like rhythm to the knit-purl of the stitches on the front needle and the purl-knit of the stitches on the back needle. And it goes fast: lots of instantaneous accomplishment as you drop a stitch from one needle or the other every 30 seconds or so.
My issue was that, in working the finishing of the toe, I had left too much slack between needles and had a bumpy, uneven, row of little ear-like stitches instead of a nice, smooth edge. I unpicked the stitches, put them back on the needles and walked away from the project to go to yoga. After dinner, we watched the second episode of The Wire and I tried again. Much better this time: even decreases, a lovely edge, a very respectable-looking sock. Unfortunately, a tad too short for the prospective wearer. And I had dutifully finished all ends before I had him try it on. See, doesn't it look nice?
I was so proud of my accomplishment that I had my husband try the sock on right away. I wanted to take one of those modelly-foot shots that all the best blogs are showing this summer. Then I noticed a surreptitious wiggling of the toes action. Turns out that the sock is a bit too short. I put it away for the evening as I could not bear to rip it again, especially since I had meticulously finished the end and clipped it short.
Today, as I waited for my steel-cut oatmeal to cook, I picked the darn thing apart again. Never say that I'm not a perfectionist. It's truly a labor of love when you make the same navy blue stockinette sock three times over. (And that's not counting the gazillion times that I tried to get gauge on a size 3 or 4 needle.) I ripped back to the foot section before the toe decreases, worked about 8 or 9 rows more while I listened to Kelly Petkun and the KnitPicks podcast, then put the sock away for a fitting session later in the day.
Here's the other labor of love. At least you can eat this one: a pie. Really, a tart from the Chez Panisse Deserts cookbook. I artfully attempted to execute pie dough twice last week, and you know, it's just not in my genes. I cannot get the feel of the right amount of moisture, resiliency, or amount of dough to make for a traditional pie crust. Both efforts went into the garbage.This is the fail safe: short crust pastry that can be pressed into the pie pan. A pastry cream. Bake the shell, cool it, add the cream, throw some beautiful fresh fruit on top, and eh voila: a pie.