Monday, August 31, 2015

The Endless Gusset

Is almost done! Well that is not quite true. But I have at least, passed the half way point. The sock just before the flap and gusset, started with s 74 stitches, 36 in back and 38 in front—so the flap was the 'standard' 36 rows—which makes for 36 stitches picked up for the gusset—Plus 1 extra stitch in the corner, (so there is no hole).

This resulted in 38 stitches picked up for the gussets—19 stitches on each side of the flap. A total if 112stitches per sock at the beginning of the gusset. Corresponding, I am working 38 decreases, spread out over 38 rounds –with 2 decreases ever other round to make the gusset. I still have some 16 stitches to decrease--(8 each side).

So I feel I have gotten a lot of work done this weekend... First the turning of the heel, followed by more than half of the gusset rows worked. The front half of the sock, (where the gusset is located) finally is beginning to feel normal length-- Even though it has 54 stitches—but it felt endless when I first started the decreases..

The gussets have been moved to the center—extending the bias panels. For the leg, to create the bias panels, there were increases along the side “seams” of the sock, and then decreases either side of the center front panel. Now, as I work the gussets, I just decrease every other round. This creates a lot of ease in the instep—and the long gusset is great for high insteps—which S-I-L has. So I know that these socks will be comfortable and well fitting. The stitch markers show how many stitches still to be worked for the gussets. When the marker reach the center front stocking knit panel, the gussets will be completed.

All in all, I love every part of this pattern—it is attractive and simple- I can't really complain about it.. Men's socks are just so much bigger, (and I have big feet!) that knitting a pair takes forever it seems.

Today, I will give my hands a rest (or rather just exercise different muscles) and work on the double knit potholder—already, ½ of a pattern set completed this AM.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Week--

So busy, that I found it hard to remember just what I did! Good stuff, bad stuff, busy stuff.
I am feeling old—The older generation, (my parents and their peers) is just about gone. My father remains, in body, but his mind is gone. He is fortunately, happy to sit and watch nature, and listen to music. He sometimes remembers he has children, and their names, but mostly he remembers Arias, oprahs and the stories behind them.

This week, he became the last of his generation alive. Getting together for a funeral of someone who is in their 90's, who had a good long, mostly healthy life—has an element of sadness, but it becomes a mini family reunion—with cousins coming from far and near, to share time together. Ginny was interred here in NY, where she lived all but the last six months of her life—with her husband and son. And we are all that closer to being the old generation.

It also makes for a long day—one that left me totally exhausted.

Another day involved taking possession of the car I hope soon to own—the car is from an almost contemporary friend—he was 12 years older. 2 other friends died in the past 3 months, and both of them were younger than me. When friends and contemporaries start dieing off, it really make you feel old—and vulnerable. (An acute attack of arthritis, leaving me limping doesn't help either)

The hold up with the car is the title—no title, no sale; no sale, no registering it in my name. So it is sitting in my garage, gathering dust...

I also took a bed from his apartment—it was bought late in his illness, and was never slept in. My old bed (just a mattress and frame) was (is) 20 + years old, so I really needed a new one. This bed has an adjustable base—No box spring, and the adjustable frame is high enough to fit those plastic  storage boxes underneath. My bed linens are stored in a storage box already—it will be nice to have them handy –I have a dust ruffle so the boxes will be hidden—and the bed will look dressy and not bare boned. I am thinking about a head board, too. And perhaps mounting some pin up lamps on the head board. I like to end my day reading or knitting in bed.. a nice lamp to do so, is almost a must.

But it will be a few days, (2 weeks or so) till I get the new bed set up. --since I really need a major reorganizing. I started out with out a real plan, when I moved in, and very little furniture. Thing were placed piece meal in my bedroom over the years, a set of drawers here, a cabinet below with a bookcase above there. No real order or organization.

Now its time to take everything out, and put back what I want, and throw out what doesn't work.
I have been having a bit of clean out for the past month—in other rooms—cleaning and more importantly, reorganizing and culling (Oh the stuff I have thrown out!) —this will just continue on a grander scale.

I saw the girls, this week too—Swimming classes are over, but we continue to go to the pool (one more visit is scheduled) Miss C started classes wary of being in the water, now she cries when its time to leave. She also started needing to be coxed into the pool—Yesterday, she was sliding off the pools edge into the water on her own—I still catch her—but she is growing more confident with each visit.

As for knitting—I've gotten a little done. I haven't finished the double knit potholder (swatch) but it is nearing completion—9 inches done, 3 more to go. That will make it 11x 12, before I wash it hot water and shrink it. It will still be a big potholder—but that's the way I like them—Oversized!

The sock legs eased past 8 inches and the heel flap is complete. (the markers are for the heel turning). The heel turning is a simple short row one (one I have never done, though) and then gussets—that are hidden in the biased bands of the leg stitch pattern. This will be a change for me—As a matter of habit, I tend to pick up all my gusset stitches on the sole side of the sock, and instep is left unchanged—but this sock requires all the gusset stitches on the instep—and it just sounds weird—and I suspect it will feel a bit weird, too.

I have my daughters old fitbit—and I almost never get in 10,000 steps a day—but this week I had 5 days in a row of 5,000, give or take a few hundred. Instead of the more usual 2 days,of 5000,   separated by a day or two) so—you know its been a busy one!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Not a Stitch

Worked on the Hugo socks. I took them to the living room to photograph, and they remain there, untouched since yesterday.

I did get a few more rows done on my double knit potholder (1)--It's a variation on a theme—interlocking diamonds. It reminds me of Easter—all sunny and yellow on one side and pinks and blues on the other. (Lily's Sugar and Creme in color ways Sunshine and Pretty Pastels) This is being made for no one in particular—just some fun pattern swatching.

I have been doing a row here, and row there, in between times.. and suddenly I have 5.5 inches and I am half way done!

I think I want to work on the bath mat next—though renovating (or perhaps, merely returning my bath room to its former state) is being postponed—yet another leak! Not a big one, but.. as Dr. Who has said—water is relentless. It always finds a way.

This, too, is an intermittent leak—and will result, I am sure, in an even bigger mess for my bathroom ceiling. I want something to feel good about—and setting up all the new stuff, Shower curtain, towels (even if not new, a new combination set), bath mat—ever thing all ready to put in place will feel like progress. Destruction is progress too, sometime.

You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Philosophically, destruction and creation are flip sides of the same coin—You destroy the skein to knit the object...and I am hell bent on destroying a bunch of skeins of cotton! Potholders use up not quite 2 skeins at once. Bath mats, knit with the yarn doubled, devour yarn!

One bit of destruction that is also planned is the inside of the bathroom cabinet. I suppose it is the “medicine” cabinet—but I never keep much medicine in it. Occasionally some common cold stuff, and antacids. Mostly its the extra refills for the electric tooth brush (and the tooth brush itself), a bit of make up (if you consider moisturizers and make up removers to be make up) and some hair care products. I want to clean it out, and fix up the inside.  Layers of clopped up paint,--will be chipped off and a new coat of paint put in its place.  It won't be new, but it will look better.

I have thought of replacing it.. but it is one of those job that is a lot bigger than it seems. They no longer make anything the same size (and yes, I have though of just swapping it out). Anything taller, and I need to call an electrician, since the light fixture is actually touching the top of the current cabinet, and would have to be moved. 

Anything that I find that is the same height, is narrower--(and consequently, smaller) I don't have one of the modern base cabinets, with a sink sunk into the Formica counter top—I have a wall hung sink. Changing that? Means replacing tiles, since there is a great big cast iron bracket that is mounted on the wall (to hang the sink from) So storage space (as in a medicine cabinet) is at a premium.

And I don't really want a base cabinet style unit. I do wish I had more counter space.. but...If I found a sink I really liked, and that would also fit into my postage stamp sized bathroom, who knowing what I would do!  One day—maybe. But not now.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 8

of the Hugo sock, and I have knit 8 inches. I am happy with the progress! Actually, I am a few rounds past 8 inches (but less than 8.25). I intend to do a few more rounds before I start the heel flap. 8 inches just doesn't look long enough.

Based on the previous socks, the foot will be 11.75 inches long, and I tend to like the leg to be equal to the foot in length—when they are folded in half, at the heel. So 8.5 inches of leg, Plus, 3 more inches in the heel flap, will make the heel turning just about mid point of the sock—and long enough for my liking.

Once again, the skeins seem to be shrinking down to nothing very fast—but I actually had 4 skeins to start –I've called this a drab color (and it is) but I rather like. So I don't have a worry in the world.

  I bought a pair of skeins, and then some months later, bought another pair (forgetting I had the first). I like and own many colorful pairs of socks.. but sometimes, I like a plain drab pair, too.

If I see this yarn again, I might end up with another 2 skeins, so I can have a pair in this color way. That won't be any time soon—I have resolved to make a dent in my sock yarn stash before buying any more sock yarn. (I justified my sock yarn purchases back in May, with the thought that the yarn could also be made into a scarf (Yeah, like I don't have enough of those either!)

At the same time, I have started with a double knit potholder 1—11 inches wide (it will shrink) and about 3 inches done. More potholders to come after this one, and a new bath mat, too. The potholders are fun little projects, but the bath mats are medium sized project. My first bath mat got put in a load of wash with some bleach—and it really weakened the fibers. At some point, it ended up being more frays and holes than knitting—so this new one will replace that one.

For the bath mat, I am thinking, cream (the wall color) and brown and taupe , and some pink—I have a shower curtain in reserve—that will replace my current shower curtain soon—that is light taupe with little pink roses. And I have lots of pink cotton, and a whole cone of cream. the current shower curtain is cream and tan and taupe and brown--a goemetric design that seems almost neutral.  

I have over the years, knit for breast cancer fund raisers—and pink is the dejur color of the day for them. I have pink towels too. For that matter, I have every color towel in creation.. but a set of cream and pink and taupe towels wouldn't be hard to put together—along with a matching shower curtain, and bath mat. A pretty set for when company comes.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Less Again

But more than expected. (but not enough to bother taking a photograph) 

The girls (my twin granddaughter)  are enrolled in a swim class—and yesterday was my day being there to help them. Its a small class, and only 4 sessions long, (yesterday was session 2). I had a brain fart—and was almost late—so I ended up taking a cab (not buses) so I go nothing knit on the way to my DD and pool, and going home, I knit a bit, but I was so tired, it was hard to keep from falling asleep, I was that tired.

The girls reaction to water is very different. Miss C doesn't like baths. Sitting in warm water getting washed is something she is not very happy about. So you can guess her reactions to a pool.

It wasn't panic or fear—partly my DD thinks because she didn't recognize the blue as water. And with steps, and walking into the water, (with clothes on) it didn't seem like a bath. But eventually she realized the similarity, and she wasn't all that happy.

Miss J on the other hand marched right in (a little fast for my liking! In effect pushing me down the steps to stay ahead of her!

We stayed in the water after the class was over.. and Miss C and I found a game she liked. One element of the class was teaching the girls how to climb out of the pool on their own. (A good skill!) and Miss C liked that. But what she ended up liking even more, was jumping back in. We spent an hour doing nothing but giving her a very little assistance climbing out, then sitting down on the pool edge and jumping in.

Up and out, and down and in, and Again. She went from reluctant to enter to the pool to having a bit of temper tantrum at the thought of leaving it!

I hope her newly learned enthusiasm last till next week. And that she be more receptive to doing other things. Blowing bubbles and putting her face under water, and learning to float on her back and all the other skills that are needed. But being happy about being in the water is a good start. 

So I knit a bit –a scant inch—going home, which is less again than previous days--but the socks are now a row or too past 6 inches!  More than I thought I would get done for the day.

On the second bus, a Russian woman stared a bit, before asking what I was doing. She was intrigued by my 2 socks at a time method. I invited her to sit next to me—and in a few stop she, got the concept of 2 socks on 2 needles and kept saying Amazing!! (I learned 2 on 2 pretty much the same way...)

I saw someone doing it, and sat down next to them and watch for a few rounds—and then I was off on my own. I had to figure out for my self how to start—and I figured out my own method that I have demo'd using 2 colors of yarn----(see it here) (i think it is a bit easier to see what is happening with 2 colors of yarn.  The video is on my Golden Apple face book page--Like it, while you are there!

I think my method  it is easier to do, and easier to get a nice edge --well it is for me.  Once I figured out  how to cast on,  I haven't looked back--all my socks are knit 2 at time, on 2 needles, with the beginning of a round on the side, not center back. (Of course I use a different method to cast on for toe up socks)

Queens is physically big, (110 square miles) and incredible diverse (the most diverse county in NY States, and the most diverse county (measure by languages spoken at home) in all the counties in all the states! My neighborhood isn't an enclave, but we do have a large percentage of Russians—some (perhaps mostly) Russian Jews (one whole town emigrated entirely!) and its not uncommon for me to see Russian lace shawls in the winter--lots of them.  But it is rare to see Russians knitting in public.

My encounters with my Russian neighbors have resulted in me learning a cast on method—and now me sharing a sock knitting method. Small cultural exchanges—in the world of knitting.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Diminishing Returns

I cast on, and started the S-I-L sock with great enthusiasm.
Day 1, 2.25 inches ribbing done.
Day 2, a solid 1.75 inches if the leg done, getting the pattern established, and visible.
Day 3, (yesterday) 1.25 inches done...

Do you see the pattern? I love knitting, but sometimes I get bored. There is hope though, I am now 5 + some inches along on a 8 inch leg—and soon there will be a changes! Most immediately, (3 rounds from now), the second decrease, and the stitch count goes down to 76!

Hardy enough to notice, but I will, just because. Then, not long after that, (just 3 inches away!) the heel flaps and then the interesting gussets! Before that, 2 more sets of decreases. The stitch count for the foot is 72 stitches—which is the same number of stitches I used in the pair of socks I knit S-I-L last year.

So I have things to look forward to, and my enthusiasm will return. And I am pleased as punch that I have passed the half way point on the leg!

I might need a to work some additional round, to make the increases work out evenly, though.

I am not using the suggested yarn—but stash yarn, and while my stitch gauge (the really important one in a sock!) is spot on, my row gauge is a bit tighter. I am supposed to be getting 50 row per 4 inches/10cm—but I am only getting 44 rows-- This really doesn't matter much—It's easy (boring, perhaps, but easy) to knit a few extra rounds to get the right length. I already did that to some degree, and have a deeper ribbed cuff than the pattern calls for. These sock do have some leg shaping, I don't have to worry much about them being too tall, or too tight at the cuff end.

I know from last year, when I knit S-I-L socks from the same yarn, on the same needles, (and got the same gauge) that the socks weren't too big—or too tight at the cuff. Yes, those socks were ribbed, and ribbing does wonders and make it easy to generate negative ease—but the bias panels, that continue right down into the toe, do the same thing. They don't generate as much negative ease as ribbing, but they do pull the knitting in.

They change the gauge in effect. When not stretched into the foam forms I used to photograph them, the socks tend to have the back (already 2 stitches smaller than the front) wrap to the front. The front fabric is tighter than the back—a good sign.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Bit of Progress

I am following the pattern. From the first repeat, I was unsure, and I continue to be, but I am following the pattern.  (Reminder, this is the HUGO sock by Stefanie Bold.) 

It's a simple one. First—the directions are needle neutral, (and presume you know how to knit in the round), and are slightly biased—in favor of magic loop/2 at at time, on 2 circ's. I love that! It will make the heel and keeping up the pattern (which morphs into the gusset) so much easier to do.

Secondly, it is slightly un-even. You start with more stitches in the back of the sock than in the front.

There is a small amount of shaping done, (8 decreases over 8 inches of the leg).  These give the sock some shape, and extra ease over the lower calf. The slightly larger back of leg to begin with makes this shaping easier. 

Those are the good things I have discovered so far. But the bias element? It is created by making increases   and decreases. M1R and M1L for the increases—and OK, I broke from the pattern here--and did my own version of a make 1--see how nice it looks? Can you see the M1 at all? Or just realize it must be there because the stocking knit is biased?  That is it.  the only change I have made. 

 But they are not the expected every other row—rather every 3rd row, (Make a “Pattern row”, work 2 rows plain) The Biased panels have a softer slope as a result. I think I would like a steeper one better.

With just a little more than 1 inch knit, it is almost impossible to really evaluate, (and the photo image does look good!) but I think I would like the socks better, with an ever other row a pattern row, better.

Still its nice to report more than an inch done—a lot more than an inch. (but I am still far short of 2 inches!) I have knit enough of the sock to see the pattern.--You'll note the markers have been removed--at this point I can see where to make the decreases, and don't need them.  that might change at some point (the heel gussets) but for now, I can manage with out them.  

Since I am making the large size, I started  with 80 stitches in a round--(a lot more than my usually 60!) so more than an inch over night is nice progress! I have made my first set of decreases—and now have a grand total of 78 stitches in each sock—Though I am never going to whittle theses socks done to my average number—big feet mean 72 stitches for the foot—which in the grand scheme of things, is still a lot more than my average.

It's a dull grey rainy day—So its a perfect day for doing laundry-- And I have plenty to do. Spring was cold, so I still haven't really completed putting away long sleeves shirts, and pulling out short sleeved ones—These loads of wash should finish up all getting all the winter stuff clean--(and relocated) but it won't be long till they are needed again.