Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mojo Returns

by Caroline

No, I haven't been to the blog in a while. You may have noticed that, considering the last 4 or 5 posts were Kathleen's. But really, how interesting is it to read: "started the Prince of the Wood Elves sock for the third time . . . fourth time . . . fifth time"? Or, "took 2 weeks to finish my wee tiny sock"? So, yes, there was little knitting mojo in me this last month. But I got better.

Let me refresh your memory on the Prince of the Wood Elves, April's entry from the Lord of the Strings sock club. I was feeling pretty cocky, having finished Hobbiton with a little over a week before the arrival of the next sock. And then, Prince of the Wood Elves was in my hands! Eeep!

So, the cuff is done sideways with a 3-needle bind off and then pick up however many stitches for the size you are working and begin the leg in the round. Three issues here: 1) never done a provisional cast-on, 2) gauge, and 3) never done a 3-needle bind off. I don't know if I can condense all the wrong things I did in just the cuff. I didn't check gauge. I jumped up a needle size. I didn't pick the right size to knit. I did complete the cuff once (there were a couple false starts before I got there) and ran into problems picking up the stitches in my provisional cast-on.

Actually, I had screwed up my cast-on so well that no one could pick up the stitches! And believe me, I passed that cuff around to many in my knit group. But I did notice that it didn't look like it would go around my leg anyway, so I pulled it all out. Jumped up another needle size and went up, oh, 2 sizes on the sock. Still no gauge check. Tried another cast-on. Knit too tight. Rip. Lost my place. Rip.

Finally completed the cuff again. Picked up the stitches from the cast-on with Gina's assistance. Yay, Gina! Tried the 3-needle bind off. Did it wrong. Got help. Did it right. Are you still with me? Are you awake out there? So, the sock was underway. I had almost 8 inches done of the leg. This is where I should have been starting the heel and I still had about an inch to go to complete the pattern. Mmmm, maybe, the sock is too big. In fact, it was looking rather odd. Have you ever seen on nature shows, where they pull up a squid and lay it out? That is what the sock was reminding me of, without the tentacles.

Can you say rrrrrrriiip! I took it into knitting and gave it to Laurin to frog. And then I had to take a break from this sock. I had 2 wee tiny socks to get out. And they were not going to make it for their deadline. It's ridiculous to think I had so much trouble with wee tiny socks. I mean, I've done 2 a month for a while but I couldn't seem to get these done. sigh

They finally went out to their patient recipients and I picked up Prince of the Wood Elves again. Dropped down a needle size, picked the correct size to knit, crossed my fingers, and began one more time. Finished the cuff, did the 3-needle bind off, picked up the stitches, and then began to knit. Also, I began to worry that I still hadn't checked gauge. So, I pulled some yarn out of the skein and did a swatch between the sock and the skein. Whew! All seems to check out. I haven't taken any pictures yet. I think I'll wait till I find out whether this time will really work.

Hey, Kathleen! Guess what I did Friday?

Heather brought in a wheel that she was selling and let me play with both it (a lovely single treadle Louet) and her beautiful double treadle Kromski Sonata. It is probably too early for me to be looking at wheels. I hardly touch my drop spindle. But the wheels were fun and educational. I tried some roving but had to switch to some bulky yarn as I couldn't manage the treadle and the drafting at the same time. Thank you, Heather and I think I might be going to SPA next year.

The third installment of the Lord of the Strings sock club is in: The Fellowship. OMG! If I thought Prince of the Wood Elves was challenging . . . . this one is just chock full of techniques I've never done: toe-up, new cast on, colorwork (and wait till you see the yarn). I haven't even read through all the directions, yet. There might be more! This club is one of the best things to happen to my knitting, ever! I'll get pictures up soon, I promise.

I also have some exciting news. I'm going to the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon in August! Yay! I got through registration day: couldn't get in, didn't get in, then I got in. Had to fight the servers for a connection. You wouldn't think sitting in front of a computer would be so exhausting. But I finished the day with most of my top choices. I have a class with Cookie A (The Perfect Rib), a class with Cat Bordhi (Dancing with Socks), and a class with Abby Franquemont and Denny McMillan (Spindle Spinning Basics). I'm also taking KnitteRx (ergonomics) with Carson Demers and Hip Hems for Him and Her with Stephen Houghton. I'm planning as much sight seeing as I can manage between classes. I plan on coming back home seriously sleep deprived! Can't wait!


Mom said...

Great post! Your Lord of the Wood sock is worth all the challenges, beautiful yarn and you are doing a good job sticking with it.
I don't know how you balance all these hobbies and you're thinking of adding spinning!

lulubelle said...

First, I did the test knitting for the wood elves sock and totally hear you, it's a challenging sock for sure! But totally worth it in the end because it's gorgeous. The heel is particularly charming!

Second, I never used my drop spindle because it never quite felt right in my hands. But my louet S10? Love it. I don't get to it as often as I'd like since I have 3 kids, one which is a toddler with curious fingers (makes it hard to spin when you're trying to fend him off). It's a totally different experience than the drop spindle. Worlds apart.

Mom said...

Sorry I got the name wrong, Prince of the Wood Elves sock. i was worried about when I posted, but too lazy to go check.

Kathleen C. said...

Oh yeah... spin baby spin!
That's the same brand as my wheel. I have a louett S75 and I do like it a lot. You can play with it when you visit in October... You'll need to to use up all the roving I'm going to enable you into buying at Montpelier... whahahhaha...

Beverly said...

Your persistence is to be admired! Also, it is never to early to get a spinning wheel. I wasn't spindling as much as I would like because it was difficult on my shoulders, but my wheel has me spinning almost everyday. Congrats on getting registered for Sock Summit. Good luck with the finish of the socks and keep trying out spinning wheels!

SleepyEyes said...

Ooooh, such adorable little sockies!! Did Maureen give you that pattern I found? Hope you like it!

Dana said...

Mmmm... great trip and beautiful yarn! What more could anyone ask for?!?!