Thursday, January 06, 2005

Yes, I am wearing the birthday socks!

Thank you, everyone who offered birthday greetings. I'm having a very, very fine day indeed. And although I was up *somehwat* later than I should have been, I am wearing the "A Step Above" birthday socks today. They are strangely baggy at the ankles, and one of the toes is too short -- both Janice and I came to the conclusion that more length is needed in the toe of these socks. So even though I am wearing them, I can't quite declare them "FO #1" until I fix that first toe.

Overall, I thought A Step Above was genius. The pattern is from Knitters 75, Summer 2004 and it was the first project to ever make entrelac look attractive to me. The use of ribbing instead of stockinette in the entrelac squares reduced the weird puffiness that entrelac tends to develop. Also, the way this entrelac pattern shows off the 3-12 inch color runs in the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn is just fabulous. The knitting itself was pretty easy - you're only working on 12 stitches at a time for most of the project. Even the shortrow transition from the straight ribbing to the angled entrelac sections went smoothly The one big bummer on this project was the allegedly easy afterthought heel that led to hours of cursing on sock #1. So that required a pattern adjustment.

Where the heel is inserted, you have just finished a bunch of short rows and the "heel preparation" of knitting each stitch together with a loop of the stitch below it and doing M1 increases. The very next row is supposed to be the waste yarn for the heel. Then on the foot portion, you do a bunch of shortrows to get back to the original stitch count before the heel. So both before and after the waste yarn, you have stitches which are somewhat unformed - just made, just short-rowed, or just knit together with the row below. Picking up stitches from this mess was incredibly aggravating. The fix was really quite easy: 1-2 rows of straight stockinette before and after the waste yarn. I held off knitting heel #2 until Janice finished hers to see if the fix worked, and, yep, it worked like a charm. On sock #2, I picked those heel stitches up in about 20 minutes in a very sleep deprived state with no whining whatsoever. What a difference!

Today I am working on a gauge swatch for my next project, the Diamond-Seed Baby Jacket from Interweave Knits, Winter 2004 in a pale grey Dale of Norway Baby Ull, courtesy of the big sale at Knitting Arts in Saratoga. It's a small gauge at 7 sts/inch, but that's good for Bay Area babies who don't really need thick woolly sweaters. So cute, so retro!


Blogger Bogie said...

Birthday Socks! That's such a cool idea. (Hmmm... what will my birthday socks look like?)


January 06, 2005 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Birthday!! -emily

January 06, 2005 8:08 PM  
Blogger Wiz Knitter said...

I am so excited that you're knitting that sweater. I think I actually squealed aloud when I saw the picture, and Adam went, "Oh, God, that one would take you ANOTHER six months." Now that you're doing it I'll get to see it live and in person.

January 07, 2005 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Birthday Socks... What a luxury! Happy Birthday, you little Capricorn.

January 07, 2005 12:44 PM  

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