Saturday, February 12, 2011

A day to myself

So yesterday, when I had the house to myself for a day, I decided that what I wanted most to do was to card. I haven't done any carding since before Christmas. That means I can't do any spinning, because the one bobbin on my CPW is half full of the carding project I was working on back in December, and I don't have any more to spin and don't want to wind off the singles and spin something else on it. And I can't spin on the Lendrum because the CPW is in the living room and the sock machine and its associated boxes of tools and yarn are in the family room and swap packages have taken over the dining room and if I pull the Lendrum out and unfold it the whole family might rise as one and say **ENOUGH!!**

So like I said, I wanted to card.

First I had to get to the wool room.

You can see the box of soap-making supplies that has been sitting in front of the door since we made bath bombs for Christmas presents in early December. Through the open door you can see why the soap box hasn't gotten back to its proper spot.

The only reason I've come in here is to throw things into various piles. These are the boxes I pulled out last weekend -- you can see I just shoved them back through the door. Lots of other things have ended up on my carding work table.

So I spent a while sorting and organizing and putting things back in their places. Not too much, though, because I could spend forever in there, and what I really wanted was to card. And I did:

Here's a shot where you can actually see the floor:

It's still crowded, and I've got lots of pink left to process, but I have the space to do it again.

After a lunch break, I made the mate to this knee sock, the one on the right:

I like almost everything about it except the toe. The toe is too big and twists funny so that I am walking on the short row joins and the excess fabric. The sock on the left is a commercial sock; I want to make toes that fit like those ones. The second sock, which I have not yet tried on, has a stubbier toe that I hope will fit better.

Why have I not tried it on yet? Well, after the sock knitting, Me Time was over, and today has been a Not Me Day from the get go. I've helped Charlotte make a teddy bear from a kit she got for Christmas, I've mended holes in t-shirts, sewed badges onto tae kwon do uniforms, made pizza, ferried kids, ridden bikes to the park, watched a family movie, made dinner, read books (separately) to both kids at bedtime, etc., etc., but I haven't tried on a sock. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More socks

I have been spending as much time as I can manage with the autoknitter. The basic operation is not too difficult, although I still have the occasional surprise non-knitting needle (pesky), dropped stitch (peskier) or totally jammed ribber (disastrous). But the real challenge, surprisingly, has been making a sock that fits my foot and that has a dense enough fabric to suit me. I like a nice firm sock fabric and a tight fitting sock; I think both of those make a sock last much longer. And getting the fabric I want from the autoknitter has been more difficult than I expected.

I've made a second pair of socks for myself, using the same yarn as the first, but in a different color. These were knit toe-up, which meant I could make the legs as long as the skein held out. In this case that's almost knee length -- not really high enough to stay up for sure, but warmer than the first pair.

This pair has a ribbed foot -- you can see how much narrower it is than the first, unribbed pair. I like the feeling of it quite a bit and it certainly does hug my high arches. The leg doesn't look much longer than the first pair's, although it's actually an additional 40 rows. Here's another view:

That's more like it. Here you can also see that the foot is longer -- oops. It sure didn't need to be, but I lost count of rows and then made the second sock to match rather than start over.

Both pairs of socks have been through the washer and drier a couple of times. The yarn has softened up and gotten kind of fuzzy but they haven't shrunk much at all. I know that's how they are designed but I would like it if they'd get a little smaller. Perhaps I need to investigate non-superwash yarns.

I've made a few non-sock items -- legwarmers for Charlotte out of thicker yarn, which my ribber didn't much care for, and wristwarmers for Charlotte out of sock yarn (these started out as my first experiments with the ribber). I don't intend to do much more, though, until I've got the sock fabric worked out. I'm just past the toe of a pair made out of Kroy, which I'm hoping will make a denser fabric as it is a thicker yarn. I couldn't face putting in the ribber needles this late at night, though, which is why I'm blogging instead of knitting.

My 30 slot dial arrived from New Zealand and turned out to be completely useless. The metal had swelled -- a known issue with the low-grade pot metal from which they are made -- and the slots are now too small to hold a needle. The seller is going to replace it but I am so disappointed; I was really looking forward to being able to do 1:1 rib. Why? Because it doesn't unravel, so you don't have to do anything to finish the edge. I'll be able to in time, I guess, but not for another few weeks while the crummy dial wends its way back to NZ and then a good one makes the return journey to me. I hope the 80 slot cylinder is in better shape! I'm counting on that to make a nice dense fabric out of regular sock yarns.

The children have been out of school for the past two days and my husband is working from home, all due to the storm that swept through here Monday night/Tuesday morning. They'll all be here tomorrow, too; the university has specifically told people like my husband that they are not allowed to come in even if they are perfectly comfortable driving on icy roads. "Work from home," he was told, which is easier said than done when you are Fun Dad and the kids are home, too.

When I imagine snow days they involve lots of yarn, a fire in the fireplace, and general cozy hanging out. In real life there are a lot more loads of laundry and washing of dishes. I still hope that tomorrow I can make those Kroy socks.