Greenhorn

greenhorn_frontThe pattern for Greenhorn is up.  You’ve seen these as they grew, so I won’t bore you with too many details.  The short version goes ‘two sizes, mirrored left to right, nifty heel construction, worksheet to let you use the construction elsewhere.’  I like them, and you might too.  Go forth and knit before it gets too warm to wear wooly socks!

Their fate on the color front is still undecided.  A few more washes has helped to equalize the color a bit.  I think I may hold off on the Kool-Aid extravaganza.  Of course now I’m terribly curious about the process and want to try it just for its own sake.  I think I’ll do it on some blank yarn rather than on a finished pair of socks though.  Less time invested if it all goes horribly awry that way.

The next project is writing up the pattern for the blue reversible socks.  I hope to finish knitting them this week and to have the pattern up for testing over on Ravelry some time next week.  I’ll post an announcement here when it goes up for testing.

Up Next

Greenhorn should be out Wednesday or Thursday.  The socks are finished (you already knew that), the pattern is finished (you probably knew that too), and the testers are finished.  And let me assure you, these were tested out the wazoo.  I’ve had several people make each size and each side (left or right).  Don’t be afraid of the new heel.  It will seem funny the first time you do it, but then again every new kind of heel you’ve ever  made seemed funny the first time you did it, right?  Don’t lie.  You know it did.  This is no different, and no harder.

I’ve actually included a little worksheet that shows you how to do the math needed to use this heel on any sock.  That way, if you fall madly in love with the fit, you can convert a regular heel flap sock into this sort of sock with just the tiniest bit of math.  (Really tiny amounts of math.  Dividing by 2 is the hardest bit.  Third graders can do this.)  Think of it as one more tool in your arsenal of weapons against unsightly pooling.  Or maybe as a way to avoid having to pick up and knit the stitches on the side of a heel flap.

Maybe…

greenhorn_porchHmmmm.  Maybe it’s not so bad.

I suppose one doesn’t generally hang socks side by side and stare intently at them.  At least I don’t.  I tend to put them on my feet and go about my day.  And while my feet generally remain in fairly close proximity to each other, they don’t actually spend a lot of time lined up awaiting examination.

Maybe I can live with it.  If not, I’m now provisioned with a large supply of Kool-Aid packets in flavors that bear no resemblance to any fruit found in nature.

Do You See That?

greenhorn_squareI tried to pretend it wasn’t happening.  I tried hard.  But alas, I can no longer ignore it.  Look at those stripes.  On the left, big stripes on the top and little stripes on the bottom.  On the right, little stripes on the top and big stripes on the bottom.

Also, and perhaps even more infuriating, the sock on the left is far brighter than the sock on the right.  I am displeased.  Rather amazingly displeased.  I could probably get past the striping thing, but the color is really throwing me.

I’m considering washing the left sock a few extra times or maybe leaving it to soak overnight to see if I can get it to lighten up. I actually far prefer the bright colors, but I can’t think of a way to brighten up the lighter sock, so I think I’ll have to settle for dulling down the bright one.

I’m pondering over dyeing.  I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that the pattern is cool, the yarn base is lovely, but the dye job is rubbish.  That’s what over dyeing is for, right?  Any reason that would be a terrible idea?


It’s Quiet…Too Quiet

I finished the Greenhorn socks on Sunday.  This, combined with my continuation of the knitting olympics finish-a-thon, means that I currently have no socks on the needles.  None.  Now sure I have a few single socks lingering in the back of the closet, but I have declared those ‘showpiece socks,’ socks I made to do the pattern rather than to do the socks themselves.  That’s somehow different.  I’m good at justification, just let it go.

So, what do I do in this oddly sockless state?

Obviously, the book is one option.  Much progress has already been made on the book.  However, I sort of need my fancy pants book yarn to arrive before I can do any more on that project.  The second option is to cast on something completely non-book related, something I can talk about and photograph at will, something just for me with no deadlines or expectations.  The third option is to pause, knit nothing for a few days, just abstain from all fiber related activities.

I’m very undecided.

And Yet More Testing

greenhorn

Lest you be worried I’ve abandoned socks (perish the thought), allow me to set your mind at ease.  I’ve got the newest sock, greenhorn, up for testing.  Click the picture for a much bigger version.  As usual, the place to volunteer is on Ravelry.

I need several testers for these, as they come in two sizes and the left and right socks are mirror images of each other.  If you’ve got time to knit one sock over the next two(ish) weeks and want to get first crack at these (you know…while the pattern still has mistakes and lacks pretty pictures and isn’t yet quite perfect…gee don’t I know how to sell and idea), I’d love your help.

The pattern talks in some detail about how the sock is constructed.  Once you’ve made these socks, you should be able to use this construction in other projects.  It’s a handy thing to add to your sock toolkit.  There is a tiny bit of math, but it really only involves basic addition and subtraction, so I’m sure you can do it.

Olympic Glory?

So I sort of did it, but only sort of.  The official goal was ‘don’t cast on any new projects.’  The unofficial goal (which seemed to follow rather naturally from the official goal) was ‘get lots of stuff done.’  I totally met the first goal.  Despite severe temptation (we went to a fiber festival right at the beginning of the Olympics–this was not a plan designed to foster restraint), I didn’t cast on anything new.

Alas, I also didn’t get quite as much done as I had hoped.  I did make some progress.  I finished a pair of secret socks, and they’ve gone off to a magazine for their photo shoot, which I find both hysterical and deeply awesome.  I finished the adumbrate mitts, wrote the pattern, and started the testing process.  I finished the first of the greenhorn socks and wrote the first draft of the pattern.

The one thing I didn’t finish was The Boy’s xanthophyll socks.  Almost, but not quite.  It turns out these socks have scads more stitches than any of the other socks I’ve made.  They’re just slow.  Pretty, but slow.  Luckily, this weekend we took a trip that provided many many many hours of knitting time, and now they’re done.medal-blog-button

I’m still taking the medal.  I’m using the whole experience as proof that it’s important to define your goals clearly.  My official goal was ‘don’t cast on any new projects,’ and I met that.  I might have had ‘finish every single ongoing project’ in the back of my mind as some sort of mythical extra goal, but that wasn’t ever really going to happen.  I met the official goal, I’m calling it a success.  (This is the likely-unnecessary-but-I-like-to-be-extra-careful disclaimer.  The picture is created by Franklin Habit, provided by Yarn Harlot, and used with permission.  Please do not write and tell me I’m stealing it, mkay?)

Come back later in the week for the finished (and free) pattern for adumbrate!

Brrrrr

greenhorn_sideTurns out that bit about ‘when the snow lets up’ was overly optimistic.  As far as I can tell the snow is never letting up.  It will continue forever.  Sled dogs and igloos are starting to sound eminently practical.

I had grand plans for taking pictures of the blue mitts (adumbrate…I’m thinking they will be called adumbrate).  Alas, taking pictures of your own hands involves a substantial amount of fiddling around with the tripod, swearing, knocking the camera over, swearing, sitting still while the timer runs down, swearing, and just generally having a bad go of it.  I can barely bring myself to do it when it’s sunny and mild outside.  The idea of doing it in heavy snow while shivering just didn’t appeal.

I could (just) manage to toss a sock on a blocker, hang the thing on a tree, and snap a quick shot.  Please note the snowflakes clinging to the sock and commend me on my nobility.  Please also note the nifty way the gusset and heel go together.

greenhorn_heelI officially like this construction and will likely use it again.  The pattern is written, but this one will be a while in the testing process.  Because it is an unusual way to build a sock, I want to have extra testers so I can be sure the instructions are as clear as possible.  I’ll likely put it out for testing in a week or two, and will post here to let you know where to go to volunteer.


Hubris

Things seemed to be going well.  Really they did.  It was a new (to me at least) way to make a gusset and it seemed to be going off without a hitch.  I finished the first Greenhorn and grafted the toes.  It was the prettiest and least fussy graft ever.  I should have known something was up.  I soaked it, blocked it, and hung it to dry.  I had tried it on several times during its construction, and had no reason to think anything was wrong.

But there was.

It pulled, just a little bit, right across the point where my leg turns and becomes my foot.  Just a bit.  Just a little tiny bit.  Just enough to be maddening.  I could wear it.  But I knew I wouldn’t.  I held it.  Stared at it.  I tried it on again.  It was still just the tiniest smidgen too small.  I swore with an enthusiasm and verve not usually heard except in the presence of eighteenth century pirates.  I tried it on one more time.  It was still too small.

So I ripped.

Actually, I picked out the lovely graft and tried to convince The Boy to pull the end.  I wanted someone else to do it so as to spare me the heartbreak.  He (likely wisely) declined this rare opportunity for authorized knitwear destruction.  His protestations were most amusing.  Eventually I succumbed and ripped it myself – all the way back to the gusset.

I added four rounds (and thus four more gusset stitches) and am now most of the way back to the toes.  I’ll end up with a much better final product (ya know, one I’ll actually wear as opposed to one I’ll let languish at the bottom of the sock basket), but I still feel the tiniest bit slighted.  It will likely pass once the pair is done and in the rotation, but for now, I am not amused.

It Works

greenhornSo I’m down past the heel/gusset/flap/bendy bit of the sock, and it totally worked.  It fits.  I’m not quite sure if I’m in love with it.  I need to work a few more rounds and try it on before I can be sure.

I like that it let me avoid the dramatic flashing this yarn seemed likely to do.  I love that it let me work back and forth all the way from the heel turn to the end of the gusset (wooly nylon held along, worked perfectly).  The only thing I’m not crazy about is the expanse of purls.  I used purls because I thought they would give that sort of horizontal visual line you usually get in the gusset.  I may try it again in the future with a different stitch pattern.

The current verdict is promising, but with potential for further improvement in the future.