Opals

I decided to try to make some socks for the man with the iron feet, and went with a thin but tough sock yarn and tiny needles. (Did I mention that the yarn was black?).

I got so bored that I made them too short and he doesn’t love them. We’ll see how long they last until we walks through them.

I had picked up some lovely yarn ion a visit to Fankle that is basically lengths of a bunch of different luxury yarns tied together (ribbon yarn, mohair, a roving-like one, a chenille…) in complimentary browns and oranges and like colours. In the shop they had knitted a scarf, lenthwise, from it, so I’m doing the same. And it’s a nice change from the socks, but it’s not making me rush to pick up the needles.

And then….then my Secret Pal came through again. My last package arrived, full of goodies. There was a beautiful red-wine coloured skein (unlabeled, but none the less lovely) and a pattern for dragon-inspired gaunlets. There were two tins of butterscotch hot chocolate and other goodies including a big ball of Opal 6-ply sock yarn. It’s the kind where you knit it up and patterns appear as if by magic on your knitting.

I waited about, oo, a day, before winding the ball into two center-pull balls, with my very satisfying ball winder. I was quite pleased with myself for thinking of dragging the kitchen scale out of the cupboard to try to help me figure out when I had reached the half-way point, instead of just trying to eye-ball it. Of course, I tried to do it the hard way, by planning to stop winding, disassemble the winder, place the being-wound ball on the scale and subtracting the weight of the core. And then I had a moment of clarity and picked up the unwound portion instead, and popped that on the scale. Ahhh, much better.

I cast on for toe-up socks, because I had no idea how many stitches to use, and if you start at the toe you can just keep adding stitches, then trying it on, until you think you’ve got the right number. As it turned out, I increased a bit too far and ended up ripped back, which I see as a mark that I’m growing as a knitter. My earlier sock efforts having balloon toes as I just kept knitting and decreased a few stitches when I noticed it felt a bit baggy. This time I loved the yarn enough to treat it properly.

The difficulty with toe-up socks is that I’m not happy about the kind of heel you usually find in patterns for them. It’s not nearly as snug as the flap heel and really, if it’s not going to fit well, what’s the point of spending all that time knitting your own socks?

So I searched around and hit on a pattern for Cybersocks, which has instructions for a reversed flap heel. Now I have the pleasure of getting what I want AND trying something new.

That, I realise now, is what keeps me knitting. It’s why scarves have limited appeal: they are just straight knitting, knitting, knitting, and once you’ve cast on and done the first row, there’s no challenge until you reach the end and try to cast off without making mistakes.

When, on the other hand, you try something that makes no sense as you’re reading the pattern and is so footery that you’re sure it can never turn into anything good, but you just keep plugging along, and all of a sudden something architectural is hanging off your needles…that is such a treat.

Time to make a Baby Surprise Jacket, I suspect, or maybe something by Cat Bordhi.

PS I’m a few inches into the leg on that first sock already! Nearly there!

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