Monday, June 29, 2015

K'done: Touring Bubbles socks


Pattern: Touring Bubbles, by Karen Buhr
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in The Game is On

Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

Tour rank: #137
Actual knitting time: who knows? I totally forgot to use my timer for this one!

Ahem. Please ignore the autofocus fail there.

I shouldn't be so down on my finish for these socks. I mean, sure, I missed my goal by a fairly wide margin, but I'm still done well before the cutoff date. Thing is, I was anticipating that this round would be great for me - it's a sock done up in a single colour, in a gauge that I am used to, in a pattern with a memorizable chart. All those factors should come together for super zippy knitting.

Unfortunately, the world at large had other plans for me and my time, and funny thing about knitting, if you don't touch the yarn and needles, no progress gets made. Picking them up and then putting them right back down again doesn't count either. I tried it.

So while I am disappointed with my performance, even though it wasn't really me being slow, it was me not being able to knit, I am still happy with the socks. Note the colour - not red/pink! I realized I was on my way to having this year's Tour turn into the Tour de Pink, and my sock drawer is rather well populated with reds and pinks and purples already, so it was time to venture into other areas of the colour wheel. I'm glad I did - this yarn photographs super blue with my iPhone, but in reality it's more of a slate grey-blue to my eyes. Lovely dye work - exactly what I've come to expect from Invictus - and the base is a nice smooth yarn to work with. There were a couple of moments where I managed to pull a stitch off the needle by inadvertently dragging it with the most recently completed stitch - a bit of fuzz or something got caught - but no disasters were suffered.

Pattern-wise, I was so happy to see a memorizable chart with a 10 stitch repeat, but its small size did lead me to a small goof - I forgot to take the cables into account. The pattern does this to a certain extent - the leg of the sock is worked over 70 stitches, which is a lot, but the pattern also makes use of 2x2 cables, and the rounds that have these cables actually are almost entirely composed of cables, which eats up a lot of lateral stretch. The socks still fit me, and it's a bit close getting them on and off - not uncomfortably so, but if I were to do this pattern again, I'd do the ribbing on the 2.25 mm needle, go up to a 2.5 mm for the leg for a little extra room, then switch back to the 2.25 mm for the heel, foot, and toe.

All in all, a fun sock!

Friday, June 26, 2015

TdS 2015: stage 3, day 6

Getting there.

In fact, I think these will be done tonight. Given that today has so far had zero knitting time, and it is now 4:30 PM local time, that might seem like a pipe dream, but I anticipate being able to put in some good time after dinner, and really, there's only about 30 rounds of foot left, and then the toe. Easy peasy, right?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TdS 2015: stage 3, days 4 & 5

Yesterday, when I woke up, I had this:

It looked as though if I really put in the time, I might be able to make my top 10% goal after all.

As the day wore on, and I found myself forced to attend to other things - so many other things - finisher #91 rolled in somewhere. I'll have to settle for completion points on this one, because this morning? I have this:

Yep. I only managed to get in maybe 20 25 rounds throughout all of yesterday. Sigh.

Let's see how today goes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TdS 2015: stage 3, day 3

What you see is what I got:

Honestly? Not as much as I'd hoped. I cruised down the leg in the morning, thinking that I might be well into the foot by the end of the day, but then the rest of the day happened, with not much knitting time. Sigh.

Back to it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

TdS 2015: stage 3, days 1 & 2

I'm not sure if today is officially only day 2 of this stage - it was released at midnight official Tour time. Locally, though, the pattern dropped at 11 PM on Saturday, so to my mind that makes my Saturday day 1, and Sunday day 2.

Not that it matters much, because Sunday was also Father's Day, and while the Mister is not a father, we both have fathers, and while his father is too far away for more than a phone call, mine is a short drive from here, so we had my family over for dinner last night, so yesterday was really really not so much with the knitting time. Witness, day 1:

Day 2:

I swear there is a difference between those two, but it's subtle - about five rounds' worth of difference.

Meanwhile, there are many many finished pairs appearing - or should that read Finnished pairs? Because the vast majority of those who are done are Finns. Oh well. I better get a move on if I want to meet my goal!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

K'done: Far Into the Forest socks


Pattern: Far Into the Forest, by Kirsten Hall
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Adventure, in More Power (pink), and Knit Picks Stroll, in Basalt Heather (grey)
Needles: 2.5 mm / US 1.5

Tour rank: #90
Actual knitting time: 44 hours, not a word of a lie

I'm feeling really good about these socks right now because I was so sure I didn't make my top 10% goal when I submitted the finished sock pictures to the Tour Director yesterday evening. There had been so many finishers, and the leaderboard hadn't yet been updated beyond finisher # 75 or so, and I just wasn't up to spending the time trying to figure out if I made it or not - I was so sure I hadn't.

Then I woke up this morning, and checked, and it had been updated, and there was my Rav name - in the very last possible position to get more than completion points. Instant euphoria.

Because these socks had teeth hiding behind those spooky leafy eyes.

Charts don't scare me, or bother me - in fact, I usually prefer them over written directions now, great big walls of text can be hard to parse, but charts you can sort out what's going on fairly quickly once you've got the symbols in your head, so you can usually just give them quick glances as you work your way through. Even large charts - I see them and have a mental ugh moment, but once I start working it comes together nicely fairly quickly.

These charts, though? I don't know why, but I had a really hard time with them. I had to stop and count more than I thought I should. I lost my place as I worked through them many, many times, leading to much tinking back to correct errors. All made the more frustrating since I was trying so hard to be nimble and quick, knowing that I am wickedly slow with colourwork due to lack of practice. The most frustrating thing that happened, though, was on the leg of the second sock - I missed the first double decrease on one side of the calf chart, and didn't realize it until the chart was nearly complete. Some 21 or so rounds later. That led to this:

To correct the error (and prevent my socks from becoming an exhibition only pair), I dropped a few stitches down to where I figured the chart began, to rework all those stitches as they should have been. I dropped more stitches than I needed to, because I didn't think that part through very carefully since I was trying to hurry, and about halfway through the dropping process I realized I should probably figure out how far I needed to go. I took a good look at my knitting, and isolated the row that I needed, then told myself this was no time for silly errors and went back and counted the rows down to where I needed to be - one row lower than my eyeballing had picked. Except, I did something wrong in the counting process, because when I got back up to the top, I realized I had actually dropped down one row too far. I'd been right when I eyeballed it. Back down I went, dropping stitches all the way back to where I'd been before, working a plain row, then doing the chart as I should have the very first time. I didn't time this bit specifically, but I'd guess it took about 2 hours - it felt like FOREVER.

It was really gratifying to see today that I met my own little goal on these socks after all!

Colour-wise, I ended up going for the grey and pink contrast after all, despite the similarities in values. I did this because when I saw the sample pair in the pattern, worked up in super high-contrast yellow and black, I looked at that column of leaves looking like wicked eyes marching up the fronts of the socks in pairs, and I felt the beginnings of a whimper start in my larynx, and reasoned that making myself a pair of socks that will make me yelp every time I open my sock drawer is not a good plan. I hoped that a less stark contrast between yarn colours would make for an overall friendlier looking pair of socks. I think the plan worked out - these don't make me want to fling them away and flee in fear.

Despite the fact that these were more demanding, effort-wise, I really enjoyed working the pattern. No big crazy long floats to manage - in fact, the colours alternate so frequently that the floats seemed to sort of manage themselves. The strong vertical patterning also makes my feet look rather narrow and dainty, instead of the odd oars attached to sturdy ankles that I know them to be. The heel turn and heel flap were a bit cumbersome to work because you have to purl while still alternating colours, and the way I hold the yarn for purling doesn't work for more than one yarn strand, so I had to switch to a two-handed practice for those, which felt a bit awkward because I haven't carried yarn in my right for so long now. On the second sock, I tried continuing to work two-handedly on right side rows for the heel and up the leg, wondering if it might be faster, then gave it up - it didn't seem to be speeding me up any, but it did seem to be tightening up my work a little, the dominant yarn wasn't 'popping' as much as before. I don't think it's a super noticeable difference in the finished socks - didn't affect the fit in any way that I can detect - but I don't think I'll bother with that in the future. It actually started giving my right hand a bit of a cramp!

I probably used about 50 g of each yarn for these socks - that one 50 g ball of the Knit Picks was nearly completely used up. I haven't weighed the remnants of the Invictus yarn, but there looks to be a goodly amount - certainly enough for another pair of stranded socks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TdS 2015: stage 2, day 5

Hey, hey!

My second sock nearly has a complete heel flap. From there it's a cruise up the leg. With, like, 88 sts per round. Still, if I can put in the time today, there's a (very small) chance that these could be done tonight!

Which would be great, because tomorrow's shaping up to not have tons of knitting time in it.