Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiny Compared to What?

SPOILER ALERT: IF, by chance, you are a member of my family and think I just might have your name for Christmas, and IF you do not want to know what you are getting from me, you should stop reading and save this post for later. Like after you open presents. IF you don't care if you know ahead of time and could enjoy the knowledge guilt-free, you are welcome to continue reading.
/END ALERT
After finishing up all the projects and last minute details for the Red Purl holiday sale, I suddenly found myself without a travelling project. (I also had another "setback" with the Woven Cables Sweater and until I have some time to sit and give it some remedial attention, it was not getting worked on.)

I was still working on the February Fitted Pullover but with the size of the project, the lace pattern, and number of stitches to keep track of it was not a good travel project either.

So I cast on a pair of socks I had yarn for and had had my eye on for a while. It is "Outside In" by Janice Kang from knitty.com. I first saw the pattern very soon after thinking that I had to make some socks which had the knit stitches on the inside. They're softer and smoother and would feel lovely against my soles, I thought.

And then I saw this brilliant pattern which indeed has the knit stitches on the inside. Normally this would mean that you had to do a lot of purling. (Generally not people's preference over a knit stitch.) But instead, Janice has you knit the sock inside out. Simple solution, right? You get to knit the stitches, but when you turn the sock inside out, your sole gets to enjoy them. Best of both worlds.

Janice admits that she didn't think this up as a solution to that problem. Rather, she was designing a sock with a different idea in mind. The design wasn't working out very well. As she was about to rip it out and forget the whole thing, she saw that the inside of the sock was beautiful. So she finished the pattern and just turns the sock inside out at the end. Brilliant. She's a rock star.

My pictures of this project will only show the sock how it's knit. I will not be giving you any sneak peaks of the "right side." If, however, you really can't wait til I finish them (you'll see in a minute why that might not be right away), then click on the pattern link and you will see how gorgeous socks from this pattern are.
I'm using a sport weight yarn, actually. (I was thinking it was sock weight when I started using it.) I didn't quite get gauge so I went down a size and it seems to be working. Knitters reading this will laugh when I tell them the leg has a charted 8 row pattern repeat--and that's what I pick to take travelling with me! Ok, so it takes up a little more attention than I normally consider for public knitting, but I seem to be managing.

To get close to gauge I am using the second smallest needles I have in my KnitPicks Harmony sock needle set (size US1/2.25mm). This felt small until I started the project I really should be working on...

You see, I still had a Christmas gift to knit! My mind played a trick on me to cast on more projects when I had already bought supplies and had a pattern ready for the truly gorgeous "Vinterblomster" mittens from Heidi Mork. (I am assuming Vinterblomster is Norwegian for Winter Blooms--good guess, don't you think?) I put them off in November for other projects, but now that December is here, they really do have priority over the Outside In socks.

A gauge swatch determined that I should be using the smallest needles from the Harmony set (US0/2.0mm) and the yarn is much smaller (fingering weight--sock yarn). When I work on the mittens and then switch back to the sock, the sock needles and yarn seem huge!

Working on the mittens has been a lot of fun. I love seeing the charted pattern emerge in yarn and the colour changes of the one skein are really pretty.
It is, however, fiddly to be working on-the-go with two balls of yarn and a chart to follow for all the colourwork.

This yarn is extremely slippery on the ball, and the outside wraps were continually falling off and getting messed up. My solution: wrap a knee-high nylon around the outside of the balls:
It's not pretty but it's working like a charm! It will keep them cleaner too when I have to set them down on "questionable" surfaces. (Always an issue with travel knitting!)

I'm still hoping to get both done on time, but if not, I'll wrap one up so she'll know they really are worth waiting for!

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