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I fear I have a minority report on the Clapotis: I’m bored with it! Please don’t shoot me. I’ve started dropping the stitches (this merino yarn needs a lot of coaxing with them) and established a rhythm, but it’s just a little blah. No doubt the finished product will be worth it (she said, hopefully), but as of now, I’m having an anticlimactic moment with it. I think it’s the twisted stitches. Ktbl was never my favourite.
Ah well. I frequently eat my words down the road so don’t be surprised if you see me casting on for another sometime later.
In the meantime, I discovered a great spinner and dyer online: Manasi, aka Yarnahoy. She has some great stuff on her Etsy shop, and today I bought some of her handspun and handdyed yarn:
Do check out Manasi’s store! She has great cotton/lycra sock yarns right now.
The multicoloured yarn is approx 440 yards of merino wool sock yarn, which she called "Jewels of Leh" (it’s the names of all her skeins that made me curious about her in the first place!). I wouldn’t usually put these shades and colours together myself, so I am curious to see how the knitted fabric looks.
And the red one I simply had to buy: it’s called "Sholay!" Heh. Sholay means "embers" in Hindi/Urdu, but having watched arguably the best ever Hindi film in Bollywood at least 15 times if not more, I simply *had* to buy it. It was our generation’s film par excellence; my serious crush on Amitabh Bachchan has long since faded, but I hope I never tire of watching Sholay.
This gorgeous yarn is about 220 yards of worsted wool, so maybe I’ll make a cap out of it while watching Sholay yet another time.
Thanks for all the kind comments on the socks, everyone!
I was saying to Spud the other day that repeated and cheerful frogging only means we’re becoming better, more exacting knitters. Ha! So in my quest to become a better knitter, my first stab at Clapotis has hit the pond. I decided against the laceweight on size 5s because between the socks and the laceweight shawl I think I need a project with slightly bigger needles and thicker yarn.
So I’ve started it again on size 7s, doubling the
laceweight. It’s not too tight, really, but why is it curling up at the bottom like that? I know it’s supposed to curl at the sides, but is this bottom-up also normal? Or am I doing something wrong?
It rained and rained all weekend, but I had a wonderful time indoors lazing around with some old friends. I also seriously overate some excellent Bengali food. Of all the Indian cuisines, Bengali food has never really been my favourite but I’m slowly
learning to trying to appreciate its subtleties and even cook a little bit of it from time to time. I’m planning to spend some quality time in the kitchen in Calcutta this summer learning some tips from ze mother-in-law. Anyway. In the meantime: socks are done! Took nearly a month, but well worth the frogging, the time taken and the effort to adapt a pattern to my liking.
Yarn: Koigu 100% merino (forgot the colour!)
Pattern: my own combination of Wendy’s Toe Up Sock Pattern using short row toes and heels and the Double Eyelet Rib pattern from Barbara Walker’s first Treasury of Knitting Patterns.
Gauge: 8.5 stitches over stockinette, on size 0 takumi bamboo dpns.
I cast on 64 stitches, and after completing the toe, I knit 8 stockinette rounds. Then I knit the rib pattern on half the stitches (32) for the top of the foot and stockinette for the other half (32). The rib pattern is over 4 rounds and goes fairly simply, like this:
Rounds 1, 2 and 4: p3, (k5, p2) thrice, k5, p3, knit remaining 32 stitches for bottom of foot
Rd 3: p3 (k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p2) thrice, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p3, k 32.
I knit as established until it was time to do the heel (2 inches less than the length I wanted for the sock). After doing the short-row heel, I decreased one stitch, since the rib pattern is a multiple of seven. So, 63 stitches for the cuff.
Rounds 1, 2, & 4: (p2, k5) all around
Rd 3: (p2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk) all around
Loose casting off was crucial and I picked the Russian one: p1, loosen the stitch just purled, place back on left needle, purl together with next stitch, continue till all stitches cast off. See photos of the process here.
Variations (for the future!): I’d probably do more plain rounds in between the patterned round, to make it go faster. Also, the pattern is over 7 stitches, but to make the sock slightly wider or tighter, it’s easier to just insert one purl stitch in between the rib panels, either in each purl band or in alternate ones. Doesn’t alter the pattern that much, and you avoid having to increase 7 stitches for a whole extra pattern repeat.
For once I’m not complaining that the weather got cooler again. Now I can just wear these to work tomorrow:
Just a quick update on the socks: now in the home stretch. The all over lace cuff will take the longest, but I am going away for the weekend to hang out with some old friends I haven’t seen in a while at their place in the Jersey suburbs. Much of it expected to be spent lazing around, watching a movie and chatting and arguing about politics, so I am hoping to have these done by Sunday.
Actually these socks will have good memories associated with them. The first one was knit last week mostly chatting and wandering around the city (including during a jazz concert at the Lenox Lounge!) with an old friend of mine who was visiting from India for a conference, and who I hadn’t met for over six years. Isn’t it lovely that projects have memories associated with them? Some bad, true, but it’s wonderful when they’re good.
Sort of unrelated: a friend and I were talking the other day about how we forget the plots of mystery novels and this allows us to reread old mysteries without losing the suspense value. She quoted parts of a poem by Billy Collins:
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never
even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
My research explores the making of historical memories (and much of it I would like to forget!), but this take on memory, of the joy of rediscovering well-loved books anew, is delightful, no?
I have the perfect solution: make the first one so problematic, and yet so lovely when done, that the second one seems like a total breeze in comparison and you cannot wait to have the pair done to wear. I am aware, that like with many other solutions, your mileage may vary with this one. But look:
I started the second Koigu sock yesterday, and hopefully this one will be much less painful to execute than the first one.
(The tibetan Buddha statue on which it rests is presumably not too happy, but it was handy. )
In the interests of my own sanity, however, I decided to add some colour to the grey knitting and start a new project. Voila mon clapotis (or should it be ma clapotis?):
The subtle shades in this handpainted yarn are gorgeous. Thanks to Laura, colour expert extraordinaire, for coming up with this gorgeous yarn.
So my Clapotis is in laceweight, on size 5s, following Alianneknits. Also, I am doing the stitches to be dropped in purl. Easier to spot, easier to keep to a rhythm. I like the soft drape, and am still trying to figure out how many increases to do, to give it a good width.
Okay, so I just frogged my Koigu sock a couple of rows and wore it, and it went up my, um, shapely calves just fine. Google to the rescue: a search for "stretchy cast off" made me realise with a relief that I was not the only one to have this problem with toe-up socks. So here’s what happened. I found this list of stretchy cast off techniques which mentioned a Russian cast off (scroll down to post # 4 by Spinerella). I tried it:
Basically, purl the first two stitches to be bound off together.
Then loosen the resultant purl stitch and put it back on the left needle. Then purl it together with the next stitch. Keep doing this till all stitches are cast off. Voila! All stitches have been cast off, with a neat, yet stretchy cast off. The edge looks loose and curvy but fits snugly over the leg.
And as you can see, it fits nicely and snugly, with no problems whatsoever. I am in love, and cannot wait to cast on for sock number two.
…. or do we? This does look like a completed sock, ready to wear, but then that would be so easy, no? I finally knit to the end of the skein and find that the sock is too tight! I can barely get it past my ankle, and when I do, it’s a right royal pain to get off. Damn! To think it was too loose when I began. This sock is sure trying my patience.
Now I’m in a quandary: 68 stitches was too loose on the foot, and 64 is too tight on the cuff. Actually it’s not the whole cuff, just the top couple of inches. It went over the ankle fine when the stitches were on the needles.
I think I’m going to frog half the cuff and increase a stitch in all the purl sections to make it a little bigger. To all sock gurus reading this, should I do that, or add a ribbed edge? Which will that make it stretchier and easier to wear? Or should I increase some stitches and also add a ribbed edge? Please, all suggestions are welcome. I so don’t want to junk this project. I did bind off in rib, on a size 2 needle.
Thanks for all the nice comments on the shawl, people!
My husband’s cousin and her family visited us for dinner tonight from the ‘burbs. My niece is seven and quite precocious; I made the Dancing Socks for her sometime back. This evening was great fun, because I finally taught her to knit after months of her asking me to. She could barely hold the needles before this, but this time she was quite determined.
As you can see, she was trying to helping me finish my Koigu sock, but I managed to get her off that delicate project and gave her some worsted weight yarn and size 6 straights. She ended the evening with a small band of garter stitch! I was so proud.
She kept repeating the ditty with every stitch:
"In through the front door,
once around the back,
peek through the window,
and off jumps jack!"
You can see her little brother trying to disrupt the procedings as much as possible, but he did succeed in almost tearing my measuring tape to bits. Boys.
… slowly. Very slowly. Like the Marathi saying, ????? ????? ??? ???? (literally, drop by drop the pond fills up). Here are a couple of progress pictures. I gave my husband quite a turn yesterday as he spied me trying to photograph my foot in the air with needles sticking out all around my ankle.
I like the way the lace looks. I am not entirely sure about how tight the all-over lace pattern will be on the ankle and cuff, but am knitting it right now, so will find out soon. But I can so totally see a second sock syndrome coming on. Need to fight it.
Also, the Shaped Triangle Shawl is growing! I had a devil of a time trying to photograph it, though. Here’s one that is halfway decent. I have a long way to go, but this project is wonderful. You can see its shape forming, like a butterfly opening its wings, almost.
So I’d ordered some laceweight handpainted yarn sometime last year, from handpaintedyarn.com. I made this lace shawl with it. I’d ordered a bunch of other colours and returned some, in exchange for more of this pale pink colour and this reddish rust shade. It never came, and after some fretting I cut my losses since the yarn was cheap, contact with those folks was tedious and I had too many things on my mind, among them moving house for the nth time (some of you remember my kvetching about my landlord from hell.)
But this morning, voila une belle surprise!
The current tenant called and asked us to pick up months of mail, since she’s had it with that flat too and is moving out. Amidst the credit card offers was nestled a bag of yarn! It’s four skeins of Red Java and Damask Rose, about 850 yards each. I now have four skeins (I already had two) and nearly 3500 yards of the Rose, and am in search of a lace shawl project. Something springy and flowery, perhaps. Hmm. I know I paid for it and all, but after nearly a year it still feels like some gorgeous free yarn dropped into my lap.
Btw, I highly recommend this yarn. Its colour variance is high, as I found out with some panic towards the end of my lace shawl. But the yarn quality is great, the shades are luminous and the price unbeatable.
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