Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sure as sugar

I've caught the sweater bug again.

I can tell, because I spent a not insignificant amount of time surfing the Ravelry database last night, starring potential patterns so that I can look at all the candidates at once - as long as there aren't too many - and make a yarn-pattern match for my next sweater.

Now, it's true that this is perhaps unsurprising given that Big Blue had its last seam sewn, its last end woven in:

It's also gone home with my sister. One of these days, I'll snag some shots of her wearing it and do up a proper finishing post. In the meantime, a sweater's worth of mental space has been cleared. So it makes sense that I'd be looking for the next big project, right?

Well, except that I've got a pair of socks on the go for my mother:

This is perhaps not the clearest picture, but I like it. Those are her Christmas 2015 socks - Hermione's Everyday Socks, done up in some Knit Picks Stroll that I thought Mum would like. The yarn was presented on Christmas Day, with a promise for me to knit it up for her once I'd measured her feet and gotten her ideal sock dimensions, and once a pattern had been chosen. The pattern choosing took a while - Mum knits, but she's not on Rav, so finding opportunities to show her different patterns ended up being sort of complicated, and when I did have a chance to show her some of the options, she was pretty quickly overwhelmed - the database has a lot of entries. Then she remembered a pattern someone in her craft group had pointed her to - the February Lady Socks - and dug out her copy of the pattern to show me. One problem: she had said she didn't want lacy socks, and, well, the main stitch motif in that pattern is for lace. The sample image colour, combined with the old inkjet print quality, masked the lace to her eyes. Once I pointed out that it was lace, she vetoed it.

Then, one night, I suggested to my sister that she could show Mum some of the socks I've made for her over the past few years, to see if any of those appealed to Mum. Sister is also apprehensive about lacy socks, so her choices should be good candidates for Mum too. As I was saying this, in the back of my mind I wondered if I should have just gone ahead and done up the Hermione socks right from the get-go - Mum's a big Harry Potter fan, and knowing these socks were inspired by those characters would amplify their appeal. Still, I thought it would be best to let her choose.

Wouldn't you know it, a few days later I get a call from Mum, saying that my sister had followed through and they'd gone through her knit-by-me sock collection, and Mum said rather excitedly, "You know, she's got some that are really fancy, I like them a lot."

"Oh?" I said, while a voice in the back of my mind chuckled, She's going to pick the Hermione socks.

"Yes," Mum chirped, "Hermione's Socks!"

Really, I had considered just going for it with this pattern and trying to get these done to present finished socks on Christmas Day. But, I worried that perhaps the simple knit/purl texture might be seen as a bit understated for gift socks, and there were some questions about sizing, so it seemed prudent to not gamble and let Mum have lots of input on the socks as they came together. I probably would have been fine - I know Mum's shoe size, so I could extrapolate foot length from that, and her feet are a lot like mine in terms of width and overall construction, so I could use what I've learned from knitting socks for myself (and my sister) to get a lot of the other details right. I just wasn't sure if she'd want to take the opportunity of having someone else knit some socks for her to go for a pattern she wouldn't much care for knitting herself - which was really the whole point of the gift, Mum knits, but she doesn't like the fine gauge needed for socks that will actually fit in shoes, so she's pretty well abandoned any idea of knitting socks for herself. She did one pair a while ago, and we gave her some more sock yarn as gifts along the way, but I noticed that they all turned into one-skein wonder shrugs, and not socks.

Anyway. Turns out, Mum finds Hermione's Socks to be 'fancy', so that's what she's getting.

Having knit these before, I knew what to expect, and yet I didn't know what to expect: I remembered being quite pleased and satisfied with the knitting the first time around, but patterns tend to be less charming on repeat - sometimes this is a problem with second socks, or second sleeves. As I worked the leg in bits and bobs of time I've found over the past two weeks or so, my progress seemed a bit slow, and I wondered if I was now immune to the pattern's magic. Then I found myself with several hours this past Saturday night, after that picture up there was taken, and I sat down with the sock and gave it some proper dedicated attention. It now has a complete leg, a heel flap, a heel turn, and very nearly completed gusseted portion of the foot.

I haven't really picked it up since then, though. I've been working on a new sweater for me, a consolation prize for the career advancement attempt I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, which I have since learned is going nowhere. I don't have pictures of the new me-sweater yet, but maybe later this week, if the sky cooperates.

I also feel a strong urge to get back to my Oblique cardigan and pound that one out, and I'm starting to feel some twinges telling me to just do the sleeves on another sister sweater that is sitting in sleeve purgatory.

All while I was carefully curating a list of potential sweaters for what's going to come next.

Yep. Definite sweater bug. Maybe be mindful of how close you stand to me - it could be contagious.

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