Friday, November 11, 2005

A Sock Experiment

Last night, I finished spinning up the cream roving, but it will have to wait to be plied due to travel plans. Thank you all for your help with my spun-yarn problems; I think where I was going wrong is that I was using soap. No soap with this yarn! Just water and maybe a can of beans if it needs it.

In the meantime, I have decided on a new sock project, one that is a bit experimental. I'm going to knit a sock using a Turkish pattern (#21 from Anna Zilboorg's Simply Socks). But instead of knitting the sock the Turkish way (toe-up, with a perfectly triangular toe, and a sewn-in-later heel), I'm opting to knit it top down, starting with a braid edging. While I am dying to try the Turkish cast-on, the traditional Turkish sock structure looks like it would be cumbersome under shoes. I think the Western way will result in a more streamlined, comfortable sock. I'm sort of borrowing from Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia for the sock structure.

But, due to constant color changes, these socks won't have much give. I expect them to be stiff and hopefully stand up on their own (if I knit them tight enough). I happen to have several pairs of much-beloved fleece socks that never, ever slouch, which I suspect is due not only to the thickness of the fabric, but also to the subtle ankle shaping. They start at 9" in circumference, drop to 7.5 inches at the ankle, and expand back out to 9" by the end of the heel. Has anyone tried this? I realize this will skew the pattern, but I'm hoping I can hide those edges on the inside leg. Nancy Bush has a couple of patterns that utilize leg decreases, so I'm hoping to find some guidance there. Anna Zilboorg has another book, Socks for Sandals and Clogs, that might utilize decreases (I can't remember off the top of my head, but I wouldn't be surprised).

I don't know whether this whole shaped sock thing will work, and it may not be worth the trouble. But I'm going to give it a try (and rip it all out if necessary). It's an excuse to use stash yarn that's been sitting around for about 6 years.

What's that you're saying, for my first pair of patterned socks EVER, maybe I should start a little simpler? Yup, could be. But I've done all the techniques (braided edge, color knitting, decreases/increases, basic unshaped-top-down sock structure) before, so I'm hoping I can put them all together into something that works.

And to cast on, I had to steal #3 dp needles from the barely-begun sleeve of a Dale pullover that's been sitting in the basement for about 7 years, leading me to a new resolution: I will finish that #$^&* Dale. Maybe not this winter (1 3/4 sleeves and yoke to go), but I'll at least work on it this winter. It is glorious, if enormous, and whenever it's done, it'll be a great cross-country skiing sweater. And in a pinch, I could lend it to the hubby, it's that huge. No wonder it took so freaking long to knit I gave up on it. I could fit two people in there. What was I thinking?

In the meantime, Rogue's hood is done, and its front awaits an icord and a zipper. I figure I should knit the icord, then block it, then order the zipper, so I make sure I order the right size. Then finish the hems, sew the zipper in and sew the sleeves on. While it sounds like a lot of work when you list it that way, it's kind of comforting knowing that it's almost done. I can't wait to wear it. And it's just getting cold enough to!

There will be pictures next time, promise. Work has been crazy this week and there's been no time. And at home I've been too busy spindling!

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone. Many thanks to our vets.

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