Thursday, June 07, 2007

Now Entering the Black Hole

I know there has been some discussion that I've been cheating as far as the contest goes by knitting ankle socks. While I certainly hope that your comments have been at least partly in jest, you'll be happy to know that my sock knitting has slowed down considerably because of this:

Yes, it's a plain old stockinette sock, but it's full length (7" leg) and, probably in large part due to the yarn I'm using, it's taking forever. This is Autumn House Farm Herdwick Fine sock yarn that I purchased back in February at the Pittsburgh knitting festival. It's indeed a very fine yarn, such that my row gauge has gone from the usual 10 rows per inch to a whopping 13 rows per inch. I guess that would explain why I seem to be knitting for hours and not getting anywhere.

This sock was started the night before last, though I only got in about half an inch of ribbing while wasting some time in a Barnes & Noble between dinner and going to see a movie. Then yesterday I knit on them a bit in the morning, while the guys and I drove to get lunch at the Salty Dog Cafe, most of the afternoon while some sunbathed and some napped, and then most of the evening while watching the last hockey game of the season. And yet still I seem to have made little progress.

The good news is that I have a big honkin' skein of yarn from which to knit:

Perhaps I should have included something else for scale here, but trust me when I tell you this is one large skein. What I've used has only just started to make a dent, so I think there will be plenty for a pair of socks for me and probably even another pair of socks for Aidan (this colorway is very boy-friendly, right?).

The more astute among you might have noticed that for this sock I'm using a technique that's new to me -- magic loop. It's working well, although I'm still not convinced that I like it any better than two circs. I certainly don't think it's any faster, as there's still rearranging of the needle to be done when switching from one half of the stitches to the other half, but it's good to know that I can maximize my usage of the needles I have.

For those of you have been wondering how it is that I've accomplished so much knitting, I think a little clarification of my vacation activities is in order. For one thing, this was not meant to be an adventurous vacation. Yes, we've gone for walks and done a little sightseeing, but the main object of this vacation was to just relax and be away from work. Most everyone else is sitting and reading or sitting in the sun. I've already mentioned that I did bring a couple books with me, but I wasn't really planning on reading much since I read for a living (and reading would kind of defeat the purpose of getting away from work, wouldn't it?). I've mostly been sitting inside and not tanning with the others because, for one thing, the medications I've been using make me much more susceptible to a sunburn and, perhaps more significantly, I'm wearing a strapless wedding gown in a little less than three months and I don't want any funky tan lines.

So while everyone else is reading or tanning, I've been sitting inside by the window or in the shade outside knitting. While I'm not actually reading, I have been listening to back episodes of Craftlit -- specifically to the episodes with readings of Pride and Prejudice, my favorite book. I'm normally not one to listen to audio books since, for me, the pleasure of reading largely comes from the experience of holding the book and turning the pages, but I've enjoyed listening to a book I know so well and can visualize so easily.

There's been a final development related to our trip that might come as a happy surprise to some of you. We'd originally intended to drive home over two days, just as we drove down over two, but it now seems that we're going to try to make it in one day on Saturday. That means I'll be home on Sunday and will be able to make it to the big sale at my LYS that I thought I was going to miss. And you know what that means, right? MORE PRIZES FOR THE CONTEST! I'll still award the Jitterbug to the person who correctly guesses the total number of completed socks (if there indeed is anyone), but I'll pick up some other fibery surprises and do some random drawings to include all of you who participated. Sound good? Anyone care to say I'm cheating now? ;-)


  1. I've tried magic loop and liked it well enough and it is a little faster. Not a lot, just a little. For some reason, though, I tend to get ladders. I don't ladder on dpn's at all. That really ticks me off.

    That is a pretty colorway of yarn, I don't remember you getting that at the festival at all. Very sneaky!

    I'm so lazy, an adventurous vacation doesn't sound like fun at all. When we were in North Carolina last year, we were with a couple of adventurey types who just couldn't sit still. Vacations are made for being lazy, as far as I'm concerned!

  2. That is my favorite kind of vacation. We go to our family lake cottage in Michigan every summer. A stack of books, a loaf of organic bread from Stone House Bread, a glass of Leelanau Cellars Pinot Gris, a hefty chunk of Black Star Farms cheese, and knitting. What else is there?


  3. It sounds like the perfect type of vacation! Adventurous vacations aren't any rest at all.

    I have some socks moving along like those. 72 st on size 0's at something like 10st per inch... it's slow going. I thought it would be slower though. Stockinette helps.

    I feel the same about Magic Loop. It's a handy tool when you don't want to buy more needles, but it's not my preferred method.

  4. Oh, and you don't need to spoil us whiners with more prizes! But have fun at the sale anyway!

  5. that colorway is so pretty! and you hit the nail on the head as to exactly why I hate knitting plain stockinette socks at so fine a get nowhere! hope you're having fun on your vacation

  6. I was just looking at that Herdwick yarn on the Autumn House Farm site yesterday! Lovely as it looks, I think I will stay away from it now that I know it is super fine!

    I wish I could take relaxing vacations, but for some reason, I feel compelled to jam them full so that I am more tired when I get home than when I left! :)

    Glad to hear that you're relaxing and churning out the socks!

  7. That sock is making me so optimistic! Hope it starts to move a little faster for you-- just not too fast.
    Sounds like a super vacation. We're so busy this week, I'm trying to live vicariously!

  8. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Your vacation sounds wonderful to me!! It sounds like you're loving it! See you in a couple-a weeks here.

  9. Go knitter Go! You are just making socks like crazy. I thought about going to the yarn sale, but I don't do well driving in Pittsburgh. Oh well it's not like I don't have a ton of yarn here at home.