Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicago, Part the Second, in which I contemplate socks

I know this post is a little late, but I only got around to finishing it today. Stitches Midwest was a total blast! Midwest seemed so bigger than Stitches East, or at least it looked bigger to me. Maybe there are just more knitters in the midwest? The convention center was definitely bigger. Stitches was sharing it with the "World of Wizards" fantasy/scifi gaming expo. I saw more than a few Jedi walking around :) Anyhoo, I bought a range of sock yarns and a bit of Icelandic roving. That's Icelandic as in the breed; the sheep themselves were from Illinois. I also got some stuff for my SP11, but I gotta keep that under wraps.

I also took Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock knitting class, which meant I got to meet some of the socks from her books.
I was a little star stuck, but who wouldn't be in the face of both the Nancy Bush and the Blue Stocking? The book in the corner of the photo is a facsimile of some issues of Wheldon's Practical Needlework, the British magazine that inspired the vintage socks book. Trust me, the patterns in Nancy's version are much much much much clearer, with the complete yarn information and standardized abbreviations that we spoiled modern knitters take for granted.

For the class, we knit a little sampler that included a seam line, a Welsh heel and a French toe. It was like the IHOP of sock samplers. Well, at least it was supposed to be sampler, but I made my heel flap pretty much life sized, so I decided to go whole hog and knit actual anklets (ok, that's really more like half-hog, but you know what I mean). So far, one sock down:
I left the French toe out because it takes too much brain power to divide by three when you're using magic loop. Why the odd color choices? I was knitting far from my stash so I had to make do with the yarn I had, specifically two 50 gram balls of Telemark, one white, one brown. The white part it what I completed in class. I switched to brown so I'd have enough white to do the second sock. It was touch and go with the yarn amount. 2 balls of Telemark was probably never intended for a pair of socklets. When I got home, I consulted the kitchen scale and did some grade school math (I heart dividing by 2!) to make sure I'd have enough of both. It turns out that I do - Phew! I can go ahead with the second sock! So, apart from proving once again that one can never have too much yarn on hand, what else did I learn?

1. Seam lines are like built-in stitch markers
2. Back in the "vintage sock" days, they always used Slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over as a complementary mirror-image decrease for knit 2 together. Slip slip knit is the more modern equivalent.
3. You should always slip as if to purl, unless you are doing something special with the slipped stitch (like passing it over subsequent stitches), in which case you should slip as if to knit. I'm pretty bad about following this one. I'm just accustomed to slipping stitches as they lie.


~Tonia~ said...

Sounds like a wonderful class. So where are the seam lines in your sock? Do they run up the back of the sock?? The sock is very cute. I think I would have had to knit the life sized verson as well.

Jinann said...

I love the "socklette"/"anklet" you made - the ruffled top is darling. I'm loving the table of socks in the photo....getting inspired....