Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stitches go in, stitches come out

So you would think, in four and a half hours as a passenger on the road to Madison, that I ought to be able to get a lot of knitting done, right?

Well, yes and no.

I started the second sock of a pair as soon as we left town, because second socks (usually) require no decisions. But I forgot to bring my design notes, so I had to figure stuff out by looking at Sock One. The first time I cast on, after 6-8 rounds I realized I'd started with the wrong number of stitches. On the second try, I got a little farther before noticing my gauge didn't look right. Sure enough, it was looser than Sock One. So I double-checked my needles and I had brought the wrong size needles: 2.5mm instead of 2.25mm.

Luckily, I only had to fidget about 45 minutes before we got to Champaign, IL, where we got off the highway for gas, restrooms, and an emergency yarn store stop. I was sorry I couldn't spare more time to browse at Needleworks, but I did get a pair of 2.25mm circulars. Unfortunately, the only metal ones they had in stock in that size were Susan Bates Quicksilvers. I don't mind them for larger-gauge projects (in fact I rather like the finish), but for socks, they were a misery. They have nice sharp points (excellent for lace and twisted stitches), but look closely at the cable join; that little smooshed place is wider than the rest of the needle, so tightly-knit sock stitches do not want to slide over it. After a while I got frustrated and took a nap.

By the time we switched drivers in Rockford, IL, all I had finished was this tiny little toe-start, about an inch tall. I got another inch or so knitted after snapping this photo on the comfy couch in Lakeside Fibers. Mercifully, I was able to replace the offending needles with Chiaogoo Red Lace needles at The Sow's Ear, and finished the toe at Late Night Knitting. These are my new favorite sock needles. I'm a long-time fan of Addi Lace Turbos, too, but I have acidic skin and wear the "slick" off the finish pretty quickly. I'm hoping the stainless steel Chiaogoos will tolerate me better.

Unfortunately I slept late the next morning and didn't manage to get the instep pattern established before my afternoon coffee-and-knitting date at EVP Coffee, with my friend Jamie McCanless, Madison resident, cool dude, and tech editor to the stars. Jamie's too interesting company for me to set up the instep without my notes while we talked, so I knit a lot of stitches, but only in a "they're all wrong, but it's okay, I'm a process knitter" sort of way. (Guess I should have taken a photo of those completely random traveling twisted stitches before I ripped them out, huh?)

And two weeks later, I'm ready to turn the heel. Um, yay?

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