Friday, January 15, 2010

I can't believe it's been over three months since I updated my blog. What I really can't believe is how much of a difference having DSL makes to being able to upload pictures. What used to take hours now is done in less time than it takes to eat a hot dog. So maybe this will happen more often.
It's also true that I couldn't show or talk about most of what I was knitting during November and December since it was destined for gifts. The Canadian bunch all got scarves and wraps -about 60 feet worth of scarves and wraps. It was a lot of knitting in a short time, but it made me happy to do it, and the smiles and hugs were definitely worth a few late nights.
But now it's January, and I'm off on new adventures. At least new variations on old themes. Because it's winter, I'm working on hats for the Arkansas Children's Hospital, with a goal of cranking out one a week. I'm also working through old acrylic stash because I'm tired of looking at it; by the end of the year I'd like for all of it to be gone and replaced with newer, better quality yarns. Hat number 1 for the year is this one: It's the basic 80-stitch watch cap, but partway through I began to 1)worry about running out of yarn, and 2) think this was terribly dull for a young person. So I threw in some purled stripes. That got me thinking that it would be fun to see how many variations on the 80-stitch watch cap I could come up with in the course of a year without using lacy stitches.
Hat #2 came out like this:
It started out as a kind of diamond pattern, but I didn't like the points, so decided to hide them behind bobbles. These bobbles are a bit large, but I decided to just leave them alone and try something different on the next hat. In the process I learned how to knit backwards so I didn't have to turn the work while I was making the bobbles, and that was totally cool. So I'll play with this idea for a bit and see what happens.
My other new adventure for the year has to do with knitting socks. This is my last pair made from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks book. I have loved working from this book, and this pair, made from a blend of merino wool and possum, are among my favorites. I worked them toe-up with a short-row heel and they fit my feet perfectly.

But of course, having achieved perfection, now I have to try something different. Last summer I found Cat Bordhi and her innovative ways of shaping socks. At the time I didn't want to think new thoughts about making socks, so I put the book away. But as the new year approached, and other knitters talked about spending a year with Elizabeth Zimmerman or other designers who provide challenges, I decided 2010 would be the year of Cat Bordhi for me. I dug out New Pathways for Sock Knitters and sat down to patiently read through all the instructions. I even followed the suggestion of knitting a "learning sock" to get the basic idea of the architecture before starting in on an adult sized pair. This is my first learning sock.
I didn't follow the instructions about being careful about gauge, and so this sock will not fit any normal human foot, but I fell in love with the way the increases are made at the top of the arch and the back of the foot just wraps around to make the heel.
The next challenge was to measure my own feet and develop "magic numbers" that would translate into a pattern that would fit my feet. I did that this week, and started a pair of grown-up socks in this pattern. I only have a couple of inches done, but I slid it onto my ankle yesterday just to prove that I had done it right - and I have! I can hardly wait to get to the arch and the heel.
So I'm off and running for 2010. Lots of plans for the year. There are babies to be born and weddings in the works, and my feet still love handmade wool socks on a chilly day.