Ain’t no sunshine …

Okay, that’s a lie. The sun is still shining like mad.

I’m actually a bit weary of all the sunshine. (Did I just say that out loud? Damn.) Let me explain – I love the sun just as any normal minded person, but I also love to sleep. Sunshine outside makes it so much harder to sleep in the day, which is the only option if you have worked in the night.
Ah, well, I’ll get over it.

Wendy
Wendy

Last time, I mused about Wendy Happy, and how much I liked it, didn’t I? I’m sorry to say all has changed. I am no longer in love with Wendy. We broke up. She dumped me. Did I maybe dump her? Who knows … matter of fact, I had to rip the sock yet again, and I didn’t have it in me to start over for the 5th time with Wendy. There comes a time in any relationship where you have to take a long hard look, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. So back in the drawer she went.

Green and not-so-green
Green and not-so-green

Out came some obscure dark green (probably russian) yarn, and some other stuff without a band – I think it’s some sort of Regia sock yarn.
And again, I cast on … back to my 2.5mm needles, btw.

On the positive side, I have finished my spreadsheet, and got to test it with some new numbers (2.5mm == different gauge). It looks good, I’m pretty positive I can now just change the gauge or measurements and it’ll produce a wearable sock.

Slip stitch close up
Slip stitch close up

I might or might not decide to share it with the world – would you be interested in such a spreadsheet, say? Leave a comment to tell me!

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Wendy Happy and the difference of half a millimetre

Last Sunday, while outside the sun was shining and people were piling up on the beach, I sat at home and pondered the “Formula Toe-Up Sock” pattern for the KAL in April.

I swatched (well, I measured some existing sock knitting), and did my math. I cast on. I ripped. Cast on again. Ripped again.

It was just one of these days. My initial plan was to make a sock using up some leftovers, with a chevron pattern, in 3 different yarns.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, the chevron pattern combined with working in the round and several strands translates to holes at the beginning of the round. So to the frog pond that project went.

Next up some lovely yarn from Zen Yarn Garden, one of her art walk colourways. Turns out that’s a bit bulkier than what I usually work with, and with the sun blazing and my living room heating up nicely … well, you guessed it. Frog pond.

So I decided that I’d just use some fairly unprepossessing yarn – this was, after all, just to try out if this formula really works, and to anticipate where people might run into issues understanding or following it. Which made me pick Wendy Happy.

This ball has been sitting in my stash for a good long while – last year, while knitting some other project, I became obsessed with bamboo  yarns for a short while. That’s when I purchased this ball. I don’t remember what made me pick this colour, tho – I don’t wear a lot of blue. Actually, I don’t have a single blue garment, apart from my beloved jeans. It probably was the only one available that day on ebay or some such.

Anyhoo, when I pulled it out for this project, I didn’t expect much.
I started knitting, with my 2.5 mm needles, and found the resulting fabric a wee bit too lose, and went down to 2mm needles.
At which point I realized I quite like the yarn. It’s super soft, very bouncy and the colour knits up in nice marled stripes.
It’s also very splitty, which I don’t like so much. Especially with the smaller needles, and after having ripped a bit of it, the first re-knit of the toes was a bit painful.
And I will never get over the huge difference it makes to go down half a mill in needles. I mean, half a millimeter. That’s barely visible, one would think. It certainly feels like changing from chopsticks to tiny wires, though … and it slows me down quite considerably.

Anyhow, now I’m sailing along nicely, and really looking forward to try the formula on my gusset and heel flap. I even made a little spreadsheet, where I (hopefully) only add a few key measurements, and my gauge, and it’ll automagically tell me all the other numbers I need for a perfectly snug fitting sock.

Toe-up sock formula KAL

Next week, the little Ravelry group “12 pairs in 2012” will embark on a Knit along. Several members of said group have voiced their interest in trying out toe-up socks, so we picked a pattern that promises to let you fit your toe-up sock to your foot, yarn and needles.

Now that sounds promising to me.

Not that my socks don’t fit. There are, however, occasional mishaps – like this one. Or the latest pair I made, out of a lovely, hand-painted BFL/silk mix, which turned out just that tad too long to fit perfectly.

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The KAL starts on 1. April, and if you’d like to join, please have a look here – it’s a small, but friendly group, and everyone is welcome. If you think 12 pairs this year is too much and would just like to hang out with us, that’s fine, too.

In preparation for this project, I have started on a sock following the formula. Well, actually, I started it 3 times.

You know how it sometimes goes – the gauge is off. You forget a couple of increases around the toes. And then you realize the yarn doesn’t do it for you (which, btw, has nothing to do with the yarn itself – it’s just too bulky for the 20C sunshine we enjoy currently).

Now I’m happily clicking along, with Wendy Happy on 2mm needles. Both, the needles and the yarn, have surprised me, but I’ll leave a detailed report of that for Wednesday.

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“Life is just one damn thing after another.”

So said Elbert Hubbard.

And ain’t he right. This blog hiatus was never supposed to last this long, but just one damn thing after another happened.

And while there was one truly horrible incident, the rest of it was just tedious and time and energy consuming.

My job went from stressful to crazy stressful. Then I got a work offer for when my contract will run out, which would have included moving to the other side of the big pond, and then the offer was retracted because of “business decisions”. Nothing to do with me, so I was told, but it still dumped me in a roller coaster that took a while to get out of. The fact that my work is still very demanding wasn’t helping. And now, of course, I have to  think about what I’m going to do when the time comes and I’ll need a new job.

There are health issues in my immediate family which keep me worrying. Nothing really I can do about that, and that’s probably what stresses me most.

And then there was The Baby Blanket. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will remember that this blog started with The Blanket.  The yarn and pattern were picked with great deliberation, and I knit it with love and care.
That was not quite a year ago, but man, does it feel like a lifetime passed.
The blanket was delivered, on time, but it breaks my heart to say that the little recipient never got to use it. There were complications during the birth, and it did not end well. Forgive me for being a bit cryptic, but I’m sure you’ll understand that I can’t go into details of my friend’s ordeal here.
I am not sure I can ever knit a baby blanket again – not usually given to superstition, I’d worry a curse might be attached to my blankets. Of course a test group of one is not exactly scientific proof, but the whole horrid experience was just too depressing.

Some of that is behind me, some is still going on. The good thing is I am still knitting, and sometimes I’m convinced it’s what keeps me sane.

The projects I’ve finished in the meantime are too many to list here, and if you’re actually still reading, and would like to see in more detail what I did, please pop over to my ravelry page (and if you’d like to friend me, I’d love that, too!).

Currently, I’m preparing to host a KAL over there, too, for our little group of dedicated sock knitters – come join us, if you also feel like you don’t have enough socks. Or enjoy making them. Or just for fun 😀

I am well aware that I promised to outline my plans for this blog going forward, but I feel like I’ve taken enough of everybody’s time and I will leave that for the next post. The plan is to get back to my Mo, Wed and Fr schedule now … we’ll see what the damned things say.

Thanks for staying with me, and talk soon!

You didn’t think I’d leave you with zero eye candy, now, did you?