Friday Gauge Check: Monkeying Around

Friday means it’s time for our Friday rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing the next one. Which, around here, is the Gauge Check, where I take a look at my week and figure out where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about what’s going on in my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

This picture is what a successful weekend looks like.  Two silk bags suitable for holding socks in progress and a ball of variegated purple and blue yarn.

Saturday, Lantern Moon was having a warehouse sale, and I managed to score a pair of gorgeous small project bags for very little money.  I’d been looking for project bags at Oregon Flock & Fiber, but hadn’t seen anything I really wanted, so it was a pleasure to come across these.  They’re a heavy silk, and tastefully elegant, which seems to be hard to find with knitting project bags – “cute” seems to be much more common.

Afterward, I went back to Twisted to try and find a yarn that would work to complete the Gretel tam.  What I ended up with was a skein of Knitted Wit superwash in the colorway Shades of Grey, which is actually mostly blue and purple.  It proved to look too different to just knit the crown, so what I decided to do was to knit the ribbing in the Knitted Wit, the body in the Knit Picks, and possibly the top of the crown in the Knitted Wit, to make it look like a deliberate decision rather than “Hey, I ran out of yarn!”

Since the Gretel tam requires concentration, however, I haven’t really done more than a few rows – I did finish the ribbing, and I started the body, but that’s all.  Working with the Knitted Wit yarn, though, was lovely, and I totally intend to make myself a pair of socks out of the remainder.  (Probably toe-up, two-at-a-time, to prevent running out of yarn again.  Ahem.)

Speaking of socks for myself, I’d like to show all of you something.  Purple-and-green striped sock in the Monkey pattern.

On your left, ladies and gentlemen, is a completed sock and the cuff of a second.  (“Completed,” in this instance, does not involve blocking.  Or weaving the ends in.  Or… Kitchnering the toe.  Because I can’t find my yarn needle.  So completed actually just means that I finished knitting it.)  It is, in fact, my first Cookie A. sock, the much-knitted Monkey from her second book.

I am making this sock (and its mate, because that’s how I roll) for myself.

Hey, my feet are cold.  This is a serious motivator.  A surprisingly serious one.  In fact, I took this picture before work this morning, and I’m now more than halfway down the leg of the second sock.  With luck, I should have the second one finished by early next week.  (And then my feet will be warm!)

The thing about knitting socks, though, is that occasionally you have to do something that requires actual thought.  Turning a heel, for example.  While I decided to go with the afterthought heel for the Approaching Autumn socks, I really do enjoy turning the heel, and I feel sort of gypped every time I knit a sock with an alternate construction that avoids it.  Of course, when you’re knitting while you’re doing something else (listening to your trainer, for example), and you hit the Thought Required point of a sock, you kind of have to put it down until you can give it your undivided attention.

So I cast on another sock, as you do.  I had planned for this, even – cleverly tucking the ball of Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock and my favorite sock needles in my project bag alongside my Monkey.  72 stitches and a few inches of 2×2 ribbing – I’ve started enough of Jack’s socks that I can do that much without thinking.  I’d been planning on doing a pair of vanilla socks this week, and knitting the Monkey socks before and after work, until I realized that the pattern had such a logical progression that I had the whole thing memorized after a single repeat.  The plan for the alternate socks was vanilla, but I finished the ribbing right about the point where I got a break, so I cracked open Knit. Sock. Love. When he looked through it, he’d specifically mentioned liking Sake and the BFF Socks.  Now, Sake has an incredibly elaborate chart of the type I associate with Cookie A, but the BFF Socks have an incredibly simple five-row repeat.  (By “incredibly simple” I mean four rows are exactly the same.)  Plus?  The second-largest size starts with 72 cast-on stitches and a A variegated blue-green knitted sock, in progress.2×2 ribbing.  It seemed fated.

Now, variegated yarn is sneaky.  It’s almost universally gorgeous in the skein, where all you see is waves of color.  I’m a sucker for variegated yarn, and Jack is worse.

The trouble is, once you apply needles, the result is rather hit-and-miss.  If you dye it exactly right, it stripes!  If you don’t, it pools or flashes or comes and goes in weird illogical progressions.  The stuff I picked up from Knitted Wit sort of… spots.  Not in a bad way, just… kind of erratically.  The wrong yarn selection can mean that your hard-won pattern absolutely disappears behind how magically colorful the yarn is.  There’s at least one book on knitting socks with handpainted yarn, which tends to be the worst offender (and yes, I own it). I’ve frogged more than one thing because it just didn’t work with the yarn.

And then there’s this.  Abstract Fiber’s Mighty Sock in Deep Lake.  It doesn’t do anything nearly as mundane as striping, or as vulgar as pooling.  It glimmers, it shines, it’s a rich green with bright blue peeking through – it really does look like the deep mountain lake it claims to.  If you get a chance to pick up a skein of this, do it.  Give yourself a treat.  Totally worth it.

That’s really been my week.  Lots of sock knitting, lots of fairly dull training, coming home too tired to do much else.  Hopefully next week will be better, because I want to do a review of the Kollage Square Needles, and a overview of Portland yarn shops, including the one in Gresham I visited today, Andersen Fiber Works.  (I bought fiber.  It was on sale!)

Check your gauge in the comments, or tell me the wonderful thing you found this week!


~ by Amber on October 22, 2011.

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