Well, the tricky part of the second Baudelaire is completed - but my knitting basket has paid the price! This was the scene late last night in Chateau Knit Nurse. The air was somewhat blue...! The front and back cable increases proved just as difficult on a stationary sofa as they were on a jerky London bus - and more destructive, as you can see from the fact that my set of five Brittany 2.25mm dpns is now somewhat depleted.
So, I have a few recommendations if you are planning to knit yourself a pair of these socks. Have some aluminium needles on hand - even if you don't use them throughout, you should at least bring them in to play for the front and back cable increases. Another suggestion would be to make the sock without the larger instep - no increase is required for this version. Or you could make the smaller sock on larger needles. Or you could make a different pattern altogether...
That last suggestion wasn't really made in any seriousness, however! It's worth the struggle, and the finished item is going to be rather gorgeous, I really hope my sock pal appreciates it and realises how much I've suffered.... I mean how much I've learnt from this experience. It has truly made me a better knitter!
Incidentally, I notice from the Brittany packaging that these needles come with a five year guarantee. Is it worth me returning them? Do they have an exclusion clause relating to Baudelaires?
Tee hee! Quite cute huh? And Young Jose's not so bad either. You can't actually see the i-cords that tie it on under his chin, but I thought it was a very pleasing little project. I will endeavour to link to the pattern when I can find it again!
Apologies for the poor photo; it's late, there's no natural light and I have no small child to model the hat I've just finished. What's more, I don't even have the link to hand to show you where I got the pattern from. Shall I get my coat?!
Have patience and you will be rewarded. In the meantime, this is a crap photo of the little hat I've just whipped up for Young Jose, who I am to visit tomorrow. You've met YJ before, in his fancy cardi. I just hope the hat will be as well received!
I followed the pattern slavishly, apart from using a crochet cast-on at the toe instead of the 'magic loop', and of course I made my own (ahem!) alteration to one of the cable increases. I also used the sewn cast-off for the first time, as Cookie suggests. Makes a much more elastic top to the sock, which is much easier for getting on and off. I often have problems with the top being too tight, no matter how loosely I try to cast off, so this is a revelation to me. The alternative, which I try to do when I remember, is to use a larger needle for the cast-off, but it seems the sewn cast-off is a better solution.
Already cast on for the second sock. No point putting off the evil moment...!
So there I was, coasting along with the Baudelaire socks and feeling all cocky because I'd managed to memorise the lace pattern, I'd successfully turned the heel and what's more I'd left no holes, when suddenly CRASH BANG WALLOP! She hit me with three little words. Front cable increase.
Now to be fair to Cookie A, I'm sure she didn't intend this dastardly difficult manoeuvre to be carried out on a bus. Much less a London bus driven by a Lewis Hamilton wannabe. Either that or this guy thought the brake pedal was the bass drum and was obviously fantasising about being in some banging rock band.
While all the jerking was going on, here was I trying to execute the following move (at the same time resisting executing the driver); "knit into the front of the next 4 sts, without dropping those stitches from the left needle: you will have 4 sts on you right needle which overlap with 4sts on your left needle; knit the 4 sts from your left needle through the back loops, dropping them from the left needle as usual. You will have increased 4 stitches, with the new stitches forming a cable twist (to the right) over the old stitches".
Just like that, of course.
No mention of the contorting, stretching, slipping, fiddling, frogging, knitting again, cursing, more cursing, tutting and sighing, the splitting, unsplitting, bodging, trying again, etc etc etc. And that was just FRONT cable increase. Follow that with BACK cable increase and you then have to scrape yourself up off the floor in a sweaty, frustrated and angry mess.
Little wonder then, that when I got a few rounds further on (luckily this manoeuvre is only one per sock!) and realised that Something Was Not Right with one of my increases, I just shrugged and thought 'no-one will know'!
(da da dah, da da da dahh! etc. I'm thinking Handel's Messiah here...)
Anyhow, here it is. The zip went in relatively smoothly, I did some tacking for the first time in years. Remember tacking? The stuff you used to do before you found out that pins were almost as good?
So it's done, it fits, I'm not sure I like the band at the bottom - it looks like a bit of an afterthought without the cable along it, but all in all, I think it's a winner. The Curse has been instructed on the correct folding and storage technique (ie not screwed up in a lump in the bottom of the jumper drawer, nor hung on a wire coat hanger in the wardrobe) and also cautioned on fear of death not to leave it somewhere or spill anything down it. Probably best to leave it nicely folded in the drawer, he's more than likely thinking. Which will be easy to do, because now it's finished, there is bound to be a heatwave.
Here I am, back from the USA after my annual work-related trip to Pittsburgh, PA. The visit was enlivened by a Sunday afternoon exploration of the wonderful Knit One yarn store out in Murray Avenue. Naturally this required a little bit of advance planning, but as I'm sure many of you can appreciate, it's something many of us travelling knitters relish. And I can assure you, Knit One did not let me down!
Having scoped out the address and opening hours beforehand, all that was left to me to do was to work out what bus to catch to reach the store. No point asking in the hotel - I usually find they can't understand why you don't just catch a cab there. But I believe that you can learn a lot more about a city and its people by taking a trip on the local buses or trains. There's only one bus every half hour on a Sunday, so there was a bit of waiting around to catch the bus there, but I was lucky to pick one up within a few minutes on the way back.
And what of Knit One itself? A veritable dream of a store! I wandered around in a daze for about half an hour before I could pull myself together enough to decide what to buy. They had shelves, baskets, rails, hooks, trays, etc etc - all adorned/laden/packed/overflowing with the most delicious yarns!
My intention had been merely to educate myself about some of the American yarns - a chance to take a look at them, touch them and see them, and then order them online or some such. And I really did believe I could do that! Ha! I was in denial, especially when faced with a mountain of Malbriggo and a batch of Blue Sky alpaca. It would have been rude not to - honestly! Especially with the pound as it is at the moment.... sigh!
Well the upshot was that I spent about £60, coming home with sufficient Blue Sky Alpaca to knit the Somewhat Cowl, (sadly they didn't have enough of the Alpaca/Silk so I had to do a substitution) as well as a skein of Malbriggo for my sister's christmas present (do I win a prize for the most obscenely early start to christmas planning???) and another skein of something gorgeous which is for general caressing and cooing requirements. Nothing planned for it yet.
I could have bought a whole host more, as well as books, needles, etc etc etc - this shop was VAST - but I tried to exercise some sort of restraint.
I'd love to show you pictures of all these gorgeous yarns - but I am currently in the middle of a luggage crisis. Although I made it back to Heathrow this morning, my bags did not. I don't care about the work notebooks, the suit, the dirty clothes, the sandals and the still-wet swimming costume. I don't even care about the brand-new Levi 501s that the Curse ordered (hope he isn't reading this..).
No, you can keep all the rest. I JUST WANT MY YARN BACK!
PS there will be sock news anon. I have progress to report, although not as much as I had hoped.
Well, I finally got the yarn from the Yarn Yard (having b**gered off on holidays just after ordering it was not probably the best idea..) but it was worth the wait! Lovely brown, fawn, orangey shades - I do hope my sock pal will like it, she said she wanted browns!
And after a few false starts and unworkable ideas, I've decided to use Cookie A's Baudelaire sock pattern since it fits in terms of gauge, and I love the pattern!
Well I've got a few long flights and long waits in the next few days during my trip to the USA, so by the time I return later in the week, there will be either progress, or despair to report!! Keep your fingers crossed for the former!