Thursday, July 10, 2008

Progress on Socks, Pair the Second

Things that are working:
  • the yarn. Louet Gems merino. Superwash. A tight twist and enough heft to the fiber that you feel like you're holding something in your hands as you knit.
  • the pattern. A basic four-stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, simplified even more to a basic 2 x 2 rib on the leg and stockinette from the end of the gusset decreases to the toe.
  • KnitPicks' 40" circular needle with nickel-plated tips. Long enough to easily work a version of the Magic Loop. Less needles and cords to keep track of. No porcupine-arrangement of double-pointed needles. No searching in the sofa cushions and under the coffee table and in the knitting bags for the fourth needle that wandered off.
  • I can knit about 3 inches in, well, an hour or two, which is much faster than the rate of the first pair of socks.

What wasn't working:

  • keeping the ribbed pattern going down the instep to the toe decreases. My hands, arms and elbows feel much better. I've been having stiffness and aches since I spent a marathon few days during the winter executing a moss stitch or seed stitch Minimalist Cardigan. I was having the same thing happening after working on the sock. I wasn't sure if it was this thinner yarn, the smaller needles, or the stitch pattern. I switched to stockinette - well, really just knitting, because I'm working the sock on a circular needle - and the pain is almost gone. (I also added back in some yoga poses for carpal tunnel and tight neck/shoulders, but I think the improvement is coming from both the knitting and yoga adjustments.)
  • this is not strictly a not working, but more of a glitch that's postponing completion. I'm running low on yarn and what I have left is in a nicely tangled clump.

I took the sock with me to the fireworks. You know how you have to go early enough to get a spot on the lawn, but have no dinner to occupy yourself with, and people are gathered together in unusual social combinations which make conversation a little more choppy than when you're with just your family or old friends?

We had a wonderful time and met the new neighbors, but my sock came along as my security blanket. There was an amazing little girl in our group, the granddaughter of a friend. Yarn plus creative five-year-old plus time to kill? She wrapped her grandmother's feet and legs up with miles of the Louet sock yarn, and entertained herself and us for a good 20 minutes. (We're an easy crowd.) We thought that we might have to cut it off. We got past that by unhooking her feet.

But now there's a good tangle of sock yarn to unwind. In fact, this is the second go-around: the first was Parker's mangling of the skein. I have delegated the unreeling to my husband, who will be the owner of the socks, or temporary owner, until another dog or small child decides to make a toy or sock puppet.


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