What’s holding up the show around here is this: I don’t have the beauty shot. You know, you finish a big project and you want to take the perfect picture of you, carefree, (and with great hair) wearing the perfect sweater? In advertising, they call that the beauty shot. Well, I finished Lizzy when it was 90 degrees out, so there was no sweater-wearing any longer than it took to say “yes, it fits.” so this is what I have, for now.
For the first time, I got the sweater I expected based on the measurements I picked – it fits, and the waist shaping I added looks lovely. Plus, I am now a master of the set-in sleeve. I don’t want to tell you how long I spent getting it right, but I did, and it was worth it. As excited as I am about Lizzy’s greatness, it’s taken me a good three weeks to admit it will be awhile before the final FO shot gets taken. You’ll be the first to know when it does.
In the meantime, I have a consolation prize for you: socks. These are Deb Barnhill’s Pot Pourri Socks from the terrific Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn (you’ll recognize the yarn as the Seacoast Handpainted merino tencel reincarnated from my failed Punctuated Rib socks – which I am totally going to make, Ann Budd, I promise!), knitted on size 1 needles. I’ve read elsewhere that the double-figure 8 row is a pain in the neck, and I can’t lie – it was time consuming, but it works to break up the pooling very nicely.
In the knitting confessions department, this is just my
second third pair of lace socks (I always forget about these), and I think I’m finally starting to get lace in a way I had not before. Which is a good thing, because I start the Nancy Bush lacy Mystery Sock for Sock Knitters Anonymous tomorrow…and I’ve wound the yarn for my Flower Basket Shawl, after four long years. Lace and me, we’re BFFs for sure.
It’s been an eventful month around these parts – work is exceptionally busy which explains why you get last week’s photo of the current sock instead of one taken yesterday, as I approached the toe. As you might have guessed, the sock is Paraphernalia, out of stashed Opal. This is my last ball of Opal in the sock yarn bin, and given that I still have a fair amount of knitting up to do before I reach 20,000 yards in stash, Opal and I will be separated for a good long while.
Can I just say again how much I love it? Opal is the James Brown of sock yarns – the hardest-working yarn in show business. Color, durability, yardage, and value; Opal has it all. Love! If there’s anything reading forums at Ravelry has taught me, it’s that there are a million kinds of sock yarn and an equal number of people who love each one. You can have your Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend – I’ll take Opal any day.
The only downside? This sock may turn out to fit my mother’s size 7 foot instead of my wee size 6. So I might lose out, and mom will get two pairs, since her Bells and Whistles Socks are next up in the “Finish Me!” parade, sock division.
First to be finished will be Lizzy, seen here as last week’s pile of pieces, now a seam and a ruffle away from being a cardigan. I’m as shocked as you are to find that…I like seaming. For a results-oriented person like myself, it’s easy to see the relationship between the time spent learning how to do it well, and the lovely seams that are the product. It also makes me feel like the 14 months I spent with this sweater in progress were worth it because I’ll happily wear it out of the house…when it’s not 90 degrees here.
Tune in next time: will I start the Chicknits Ribby Cardi or Slinky Ribs from Custom Knits? Can I keep from casting on two pairs of socks for the July Socknitters Anonymous challenge? Will my budding crochet skills allow me to start Evelyn Clark’s Flowerbasket Shawl as it was meant to be started? You and I are both dying to find out.
Without my really paying attention, I managed to complete two sleeves and almost the entire back for Lizzy, the Noro Silk Garden cardigan that I was noodling around with when we last saw each other. I had fantasies that I would be able to finish knitting the pieces for Lizzy in the month of April, and it looked likely except for one thing: the siren song of garter stitch.
Here is what I’ve learned about myself (the “knitting as a growth experience” part of the entry): the easiest project on the needles will invariably rise to the top of the working rotation. I can talk a big game about cables as easy to knit as stockinette or a lacy sock I am dying to make, but apparently there were days this month when purling was too hard, and Lizzy was cast ruthlessly aside in favor of the Better Mousetrap Socks by Debbie New from Interweave Knits Fall 2001; I would show you an FO picture, but the Internet seems to think that I’m the only person who wants to make them. It doesn’t look like much more than a strip of knitting, but simple decreases give you half a heel and toe on each side, then you graft the whole thing together, and voila – a garter stitch sock magically appears, thanks in large part to the inspiring gift of Trekking sock yarn from Theresa as a blog contest prize.
Except not. In late-breaking news of the “knitting as a growth experience” variety, I started the second set of heel decreases and got the sneaking suspicion that while the adjustments I made to ensure the foot was the right shortness (it seems wrong to say “length” here, since that’s not my problem) appear to have worked, the sock itself will turn out to be too wide side to side, with potential bagginess looming all over the place. Damn.
Part of me wants to treat this as a learning experience and figure out how to customize the second sock to fit me so I can reknit the first one in all its garter-y goodness before the Michigan/Ohio State football game in November (yes, these are my secret “M – Go Blue!” socks to be worn in Buckeye country). Another part wants to finish the sock and give the sock and yarn to someone with size 6 or 7 EEE feet – let them knit the second one! And a third part of me wants to admit that the only way God meant for us to knit socks is top down or toe up, and rededicate the yarn to that purpose. What should I do?
So I told myself that a March finishing frenzy was inspiring me to actually finish things, and indeed I have finished something: the Tidepool Socks. Except for the harrowing hunt for coordinating yarn when I thought I would run out, these were a totally relaxing, fun knit. Details: Koigu KPPM p211 on size 1 bamboo needles, 72 stitch picot hemmed cuff, 68 stitch leg, 60 stitch foot. Koigu KPPM p213 for the heels and toes purchased from the charming Merilyn at Foxyknits. The heel is Dawn Brocco’s 6-point afterthought heel, which I continue to recommend wholeheartedly. Best of all, Mom loves them, so the hunt for more Koigu was worth it.
Whether it’s an abiding wish for spring, having my iPod serve up Eydie Gorme singing Blame it on the Bossa Nova, or a deep desire to just do something else, I have succumbed to cast on fever. More specifically, lace cast-on fever. It’s time. With just one pair of socks, one aborted shawl, and hundreds of patterns bookmarked, I have surprisingly little to show product-wise for my fascination with lace. Until now. Meet the (latest) project I love unreservedly, Nancy Bush’s Wishbone Socks. Much like the Little Tent Dishcloth, this is a project I was inspired to make from the moment I first saw Cassie’s version on Ravelry.
Piecework Magazine to the rescue – the pattern was published in their March/April 2008 issue. This is Apple Laine Apple Butter in Dark Chocolate – a little somber for spring, but I am so tickled to actually be using yarn I stashed in 2004, I don’t care.
To counteract any gloominess, I’ve also swatched for Lizzy, the Noro ruffled cardigan I’ve been yammering on about for the better part of a year. Not only have I swatched, I’ve washed and blocked my swatch to check my true gauge. Properly informed, I also whipped out the better part of a sleeve in the car going back and forth to my parents’ house for Easter (total number of knots found in two skeins of Silk Garden: 2 Level of annoyance: low, because I am using Anja’s terrific “weave your ends in as you go” method). It occurs to me that I could have titled this entry “Let’s Get Ready to Ruffle!” How great would that have been?