Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The dreaded SSS

I don't really have it, but I begin to see how it would be possible to develop SSS (second sock syndrome) not because one doesn't wish to knit the second sock of a pair, but rather because there are so many socks just begging to be knit, and so much sock yarn to knit with.

I finished the first of the woodsmoke socks (Anne's latest gorgeous sock-in-progress). The pictures are bad, because I'm not really home too much near a camera when there's actual light for taking photos, but you get the idea.
That's the new heel, which I am so glad I went back to knit; I really like the way it looks. It has a much more finished appearance somehow than the heel I'd mistakenly knit before.
Can I just mention how hard it is to take a picture of one's own heel? Especially in bad light...
That didn't work so well.

I cast on for the second sock in my faculty meeting today (alas that my new closed door policy doesn't apply to actual scheduled meetings), and I'll be working on that this week, along with Rick's sweater. That sweater, by the way, in spite of the lack of photographic evidence, is proceeding apace. I'm almost done with the 13 inches needed below the armscyes (is that the right use of that word? because it's not something one hears in conversation all that often...) before starting the moss stitch edging. Once that's done, it's just the sleeves and the neck, and then I'm good to go. I'll try to take a picture when I have Rick try it on (soon); I just need to put it on waste yarn first. It looks like I'm going to have plenty of yarn, which I was worried about, as I thought I was cutting it rather fine when I bought the stuff.

Right now what's on my mind as I'm knitting is the question of what I'm going to take along with me to the conference I'm attending this weekend. I could take Rick's sweater, which is a fairly mindless knit, but it is not a small knit by any means, and as I will be in crowded lecture rooms, and walking long distances through the city to get there, it seems like a bad idea. The second woodsmoke sock is probably not good conference knitting, either, as I need my charts with me to work on it, although I may take it along on the plane. (One caveat: I cast it onto my Celtic Swan needles, which I believe I have mentioned I adore in ways that probably shouldn't be discussed in public, and I worry a lot about taking them onto the plane, because they're metal, and if the security folks took agin' them, it would kill me to lose them. I suppose I could take along a self-addressed stamped envelope in case of emergency, but I'd have to overcome my dread of post offices to pull that off, and I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it before I leave...)

I'm thinking that this might be the perfect opportunity to knit the second of Laura's lovely Kicking Leaves socks, whose chart is much smaller, and which I only need to glance at to remind me what's going on in a particular row. And I can knit the second one on my KnitPicks harmony wood needles, whose loss (should the screening people randomly decide that wood dpns are a potential security risk) would be a blow, but not an irreparable one (read: they wouldn't cost as much to replace as the CS needles). Then again, maybe it's the right time to finally cast on for the very plain socks that I want to knit in order to play with a toe-up sock construction I've had in my mind (something that I'm sure is not original, but that I've not seen elsewhere and want to try). And I could always cast on for the next pinwheel blanket I'm going to knit (oh, didn't I mention that I fell down in my LYS today? more on that in the next post), but that might end up having the same size problems as Rick's sweater, so maybe not. (As an aside, that pattern is frighteningly addictive; I think someone knows what I mean.)

In the meantime, I'm also still spinning, and am close to completing the singles on the roving I'm working on right now. And I'm looking at knitting books longingly, thinking about what projects I can cast on just as soon as classes end and I'm finally free of this whole pesky full-time job thing for a few weeks (seriously, don't you find that gainful employment really gets in the way of knitting time?). When we were in the Bay Area, we just happened to be near Pendragon Books on Solano while they were still open (no advance planning there, nosiree!), and I just happened to check out their new craft books (oops), and as I was standing there, trying to decide whether I needed the recently-published Alt Fiber, a very nice woman walked up to me, and asked me whether I'd like her 20% off coupon, since it was expiring that night, and she'd just spent an hour in the store and couldn't find anything she wanted (!!). Clearly, she wasn't human, but was, instead, a knitting angel sent to facilitate my purchase of knitting-related reading material, so I said thank you and skipped my way to the register to complete my purchase before the coupon turned into a pumpkin.

There are a lot of things to like about this book, and I'm really glad that I got it. In particular, I love the descriptions of different non-animal fibers, for the same reasons that I so enjoy Clara Parkes' book, which is one of my all-time favorites. It's not so much the patterns (although there are some great patterns in both books) as the way they make me think about the relationship between the yarns I use and the things I choose to knit with them. I think I'm a better knitter for reading books like these. And there are some really exciting patterns in Alt Fiber that I want to knit. The Rose Kilim sweater looks amazing, as does the Avery Jacket. And the Midnight Lace stole -- wow. (Wendy is knitting that one right now, and it's stunning.) And there are some mitts and socks that I'm going to have to try. But there are two things that I wish were different about the patterns. First, I wish there were more pictures of each of them. Particularly with the sweaters and jackets, some of the pictures don't give me a clear idea at all of the details of the garment (in fact, most of the details are obscured in some of the pictures), which makes it hard for me to make any kind of educated guess as to how it would look on me. Which leads me to the other thing that I miss in these patterns: a diagram of the pieces of the garment, the sizes of the pieces, and the way they relate to one another. I don't think I'd quite realized how much I count on that diagram to get a sense of a garment and how it works until I went to look for one and it wasn't there. I'm not sure whether the pictures and diagrams weren't included for space reasons, and I can only guess that it's expensive to put out a book like Alt Fiber; in any case, I'm still glad that I bought the book, so I guess the lack of those two things doesn't weigh more heavily for me than the content, which I really like. But I do wish there were there, too.


Rachel said...

Lovely sock! and as for the conference knitting how about a nice little cowl or two? :)

EGunn said...

Whew! That's a lot of planning at once! The end of the quarter/semester does do that, doesn't it? Somehow the break seems infinite...

Good luck deciding! Can't wait to see what you come up with. =)

twinsetellen said...

I really do love diagrams in patterns. It is one of the first things I look for. For project pictures, I wonder what you'd find on Ravelry.

Don't even think of bringing the Celtic Swans on a flight. The thought of losing them is too scary.

Miss 376 said...

You are certainly not lacking in inspiration! The heel has turned out lovely, well worth frogging and redoing

Marianne said...

Oh that Beauty of a sock, what a fetchingly designed heel! (Anne truly is amazing)
Yep. Take needles that can be easier replaced by all means.

Alwen said...

It is indeed difficult to take a good heel picture. I am often in awe of RoseRed's ability to take pictures of her own feet for her Shoesday posts.

The thought of losing any of my needles, even the boring old Boye and Susan Bates aluminum ones, scares me, so I'd be right up a tree if they were Celtic Swan or Harmony ones.

(Verification word is watching my Thanksgiving plans: oveness!)

KnitNana said...

The sock looks great! Now you know, you can't let the mate get away from you or you can't wear them!

Why not take Spiralucious? You've got to make another anyway. You've done it once, the chart should be just a "reminder," right?

And no, don't take chances with expensive needles.

I so want to get Clara's book...

Gwen said...

Decisions, decisions... Fun ones anyway! Feeds the startitis. Can't leave without starting it, just to make sure.

And this is one of many reasons some of us have a whole load of projects at once.

Bea said...

Lovely sock! I love the redone heel.

Lynne said...

"Gainful employment interrupts knitting" - what a great headline!

Not knowing what to knit next is a delightful problem, isn't it?

Carrie K said...

Don't take a chance with your needles! yikes!

Something light and easy. Lace shawls, if the pattern is easy is best for conferences w/o much room and a lot of schlepping around. Charts can get unwieldy to follow or read and some folks get fussier around them. (Non knitters. They just do not understand.)

Rachael said...

Twinge of paranoia hitting that I must ask you about - you are only making the body of rick's sweater 13" to the armholes? I'm sure you did all the appropriate measuring of things and whatnot before you set out, but I make my hubby sweaters 18" to the armhole and he's only 6'1" - he is long waisted and wears 'talls', but still I just had to ask to make sure so as to prevent any knitting related trauma on your part if I could.