Sunday, April 5, 2009

Knitting with no time

What do you do when you have no time to knit? Put some sock yarn and needles in your purse and see what happens.

(I find that this is very similar to what happens when I put a project I'm dreading next to my chair with no others in reach; you get amazing progress in very little time, just for lack of anything else to do.)

I began these socks right after Christmas, and have knit them entirely in waiting rooms in the past 3 months (excepting the last two inches of ribbing, which I did at home). All those doctor appointments have to be good for something, right? (Nothing dangerously wrong...just trying to fix some chronic back problems.)

The yarn is Alpaca Sox, and I'm not sure what I think about it. It's soft and warm, but it's very fuzzy, and a little bit itchy. I can't believe I just typed that. Me, who loves "hard" wools, saying that something is itchy. But they are. Just a little bit. Takes a while to stop noticing that they itch when I put them on. I was surprised, because the yarn feels so soft to my hands. Maybe my skin is just dry. I'm also expecting the alpaca to be a little more fragile than wool, so these socks will be getting the easy treatment (don't know exactly what that means, but I promise I'll be nice to them.)

I am also not sure that I'm a fan of the color patterning. Or lack thereof, to be more accurate. The one on the right has reasonably nice stripes, but there's a lot of pooling in these socks. Pooling doesn't particularly bother me, but it's also not the most attractive look out there. I'd like my socks to look good when I'm done, not just ok. I've been thinking that I might be ready to give up on handpainted yarns for socks. I like my socks to be plain stockinette, and I don't want to have to use two balls or crazy stitch patterns to get a nice-looking sock. If I can't get good color patterning out of handpaints, then maybe I just need to knit socks with plain yarns.

And then, I started a new pair:

This is a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock that I picked up at Madrona. When I took Cat Bordhi's class, I asked what her favorite sock yarn was. I've tried a few, but hadn't found the perfect one, and I was curious about what her thoughts were. She said that this is the yarn she'd pick if she needed to choose just one.

I can see why. This is the medium weight, which I think is actually really heavy, but it has great bounce, and it makes a beautiful fabric. It feels like it will wear well, and these will definitely be cushy on the feet. And, there's no pooling at all, which is great. I absolutely love the colors that BMFA sells, so I'm very happy to have an excuse to buy more. The only downside? The dye is leaking on my hands! I'm hoping that a good wash and a little synthrapol will fix that, but we'll have to see. If it doesn't, Branden may just end up with purple feet when he wears these socks. I've had really good experiences with the BMFA yarns before, so I think the leakage is just a fluke.

Note that the sock is on Knit Picks wooden needles; Branden bought me a gift certificate for the Knit Picks store a while ago, and I finally ordered some needles! The box came on Monday, I think, and I like them a lot. I'm not a fan of bamboo or other clingy needles, but these are beautifully smooth, and also nice and sharp. I'm not sure if it's the yarn or the needles, but I'm making very good progress on this sock, and I'm not feeling as impatient as I usually do with sock knitting. I bought a full set of sock-sized dpns, which I'm sure I'll be using quite a bit. Also in the box were a set of blocking wires, a skein winder, and one harmony cable needle to try out (I'm hoping for lace as soon as the thesis is done!).

So, there's my week in knitting. How was yours?