Sunday, February 25, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 35

  • Yaacov Socks - using Lang Jawoll Magic Dégradé, 60% complete
  • Gschnitztal Socks - ripping and restarting in Tanis Purple Label Cashmere sock in papaya  
I missed posting last week because of computer problems. Just one problem really: my computer would not boot up. Most of last weekend was spent sorting that out.

• restart ... would not boot
• restart with all unnecessary peripherals disconnected ... would not boot
• restart in Safe Mode ... would not boot
• restart in Recovery Mode, run Disk Utilities to scan for and repair errors ... would not boot
• restart in Recovery Mode, reset PRAM and SMC ... would not boot
• restart in Recovery Mode, run Tech Tools Pro to scan for and repair errors ... would not boot
• restart in Recovery Mode, re-install operating system software from App Store ... would not boot
• restart in Recovery Mode, take a deep breath, ERASE DISK, and restore everything from Time Machine Back-up.... WOOHOO ... THAT WORKED!!!

Clicking "ERASE DISK" and "CONTINUE" felt like stepping off a cliff, but there was nothing else left to try so que sera, sera... Thank goodness for the online Apple Support communities that give me suggestions about what to try and how to go about it. And thank goodness that I had a complete current Time Machine Back Up on an external drive to restore. I won't be nonchalant about my back ups again; lesson learned!

The hours watching disk utilities check my hard drive sector by sector were a mix of stress and tedium - time better spent knitting than worrying about what could go wrong and what was left to try. So I spent a lot of time last weekend knitting my Mojo Socks which were exactly the sort of mindless knitting to fill the stressful hours perfectly.

The pattern is a mix of horizontal and vertical ribbing which creates some very interesting distortions in the fabric. The horizontal ribs pull together across the instep and shin, whereas the vertical ribs pull in around the instep and leg. To make things a bit more interesting, the direction of the ribbed sections is reversed from the left sock to the right sock for fraternal socks. No doubt about it, the socks look downright weird off my feet - like some crazy kind of poodle cut or topiary - but when worn, they stretch in every direction to fit and feel great! Yeah, I love these socks!

The yarn is some unknown stash yarn that I inherited from someone else's stash, although I'd guess that it's a Merino-Cashmere-Nylon blend. The cake was 120 grams, so I knit both socks toe-up to use every last inch. Hurray for socks with long legs!

By Tuesday my computer problems were resolved, my Mojo socks were done and I was back to knitting my Yaacov Socks. It's Sunday afternoon now and the plan is to finish these by end of day Wednesday in time for the deadline for the 2018 Paper Bag Project Year Long KAL on Ravelry. Can I do it? Not sure, but I'm going to give it my best effort. It'd be a shame to strike out in the second month of a twelve month KAL. Working in my favour is that I'm home alone - Gavin's in Nicaragua on a surf vacation - and the forecast is for strong winds, chilly temperatures and drizzle... stay inside and knit weather, in other words. Also time to catch up on all those Netflix titles that Gavin won't watch, starting with The Crown.

One way or another my Yaacov Socks will be done by next week's update so I'll have more to say about them then. But once the second Yaacov sock is done, all my WIPs will be complete and I'll have to cast on new projects! On Thursday I'll open up my mystery Paper Bag for March and cast on that. Also my HiyaHiya Sharp DPNs finally arrived so Gschnitztal might also be cast on next week.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 33

  • Yaacov Socks - using Lang Jawoll Magic Dégradé, 25% complete
  • Mojo Socks - using purple unknown stash yarn, 20% complete
Through most of the past week I've been knitting my first Yaacov sock, but my enthusiasm for these socks has flagged somewhat.

First, I'm not altogether happy with the yarn. Although I did purchase the yarn shown in the pattern photo, I did not match the colourway and that has led to some disappointment. The Rainbow colourway shown in the pattern photo has a lot of yellow and dark blue, whereas the colourway I have has orange and brown; it's just not as bright and fun. I'm going to carry on with the hope that the more I knit, the more interesting it becomes.

As well, I'm not altogether happy with the pattern. The ribbed cuff is worked in two yarns - like corrugated ribbing - so it's not stretchy. In fact, the entire sock is worked in stranded colourwork so it's not very flexible at all. It fits so far, but I don't dare make the leg longer and I'm not convinced that the heel cup won't be too shallow. We'll see. I'm fully prepared to give these away if they don't fit me. That'd be easier than trying to modify the pattern to fit, so that's the plan.

No matter, progress will continue. There's some interesting shaping about to happen through the gusset which should be fun. Maybe that will restore my enthusiasm?!

The Plaid socks are done and I'm reasonably pleased with them. They are certainly warm and comfy, although the pattern is nothing special. And they worked entirely through that handspun yarn with just a couple of yards to spare, so that's another point in their favour! I much prefer the look of these socks with contrasting cuffs, heels and toes as compared to the pattern instructions with a 2C stranded colourwork heel flap. Mine have a kind of work sock vibe to them that I quite like.

The Hiya Hiya Sharp DPN needles I ordered have made their way from Alabama to Illinois... maybe they'll get here by the end of the week? Gschnitztal awaits! In the meantime I cast on Mojo Socks. The right sock is written with the toe pulled inside out before working the foot. I tried it, didn't like the look of it, ripped it out and restarted. I also added some stockinette to start the foot as I have very long toes and don't like too much pattern across the top of my toes. It's a very weird looking sock off my foot, but super comfy on my foot so full speed ahead! I hope to work the heel today and maybe have one finished sock to show you by next weekend!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 32

The Plaid socks are progressing well but they are definitely a tedious knit. I decided against the colourwork heel written in the pattern going with an afterthought heel instead. The finished socks are quite big and thick, in part because of the columns of slipped stitches within the pattern, and in part because the natural colour yarn is quite thick in sections. I'm guessing that the natural colour yarn is a handspun yarn inherited from someone else's stash - it's very high twist (annoyingly so) and very uneven in thickness. In some sections the yarn was so worryingly thin that I doubled it, but in other sections it felt almost like DK or heavier. All of which explains why the plain stockinette sections of the sock look lumpy. Maybe some washing and blocking will help out? I hope so.

I've never been prone to Second Sock Syndrome, but if there was ever a time for it to strike, it would be with this pair of socks. Immediately after kitchenering the afterthought heel of the first sock I was overcome by an incredible urge to cast on something entirely different. Fortunately I was foiled by not having the needles for the sock I wanted to knit, so I gave myself a stern talking to and cast on the second sock. The big and thick character of the first sock inclines me to think that the finished pair will be thoroughly appreciated by the Warm Hands Network - they specifically request warm, non-lacy socks in larger sizes.

For my 2018 Paper Bag Project Year Long KAL on February 1st I opened another paper bag to find the yarn for Yaacov socks. Hurray! That'll brighten up my February! Now I just need to find the sustained willpower to finish my Plaid socks. I'd dearly love to cast on Gschnitztal but those needles are still in the mail service somewhere. Last time I checked my tracking info they were in Alabama!

What did arrive in the mail from lovely Frieda at Restless Needles was Silk Road Socks by Hunter Hammersen! That was a lovely belated birthday gift; the book is absolutely gorgeous. It's an interesting read about the history of silk rugs by geographic area, and illustrated with stunning photography. Oh and the sock patterns!!!! My head is just spinning!!!! Expect many of these patterns to pop up in my list for Year 8 ;)