Monday, June 04, 2007

Taking care of those treasures!

As with all other sock knitters, I LOVE my hand knit socks. I love wearing them. I love seeing them in my drawer, I love making them. What I don't love is finding a hole when I go to put them on. Given the amount of time that went into making each sock, I subconsciously plan on them lasting at least 25 years! Consciously, however, I realize that holes happen!
After graduation from library school, I had a little time on my hands, or on my feet......I washed all of my wool socks carefully. Then, I applied a little pill-buster "machine" to them. This is a little hand held, battery operated pill remover that I found at the hardware store. I love it. It keeps my socks and other wool items looking spiffy! Then, I examined each sock for signs of wear. I rummaged through my leftover yarn box to find matching yarn, and I duplicate stitched any worn spots. Then, I put them out in the sunshine for a nice group photo! (these are only my wool socks. My cotton/wool/nylon socks are still in the sock drawer.) Then, I put them in a box to save for next fall.
I realized that I need a little more color and variety in my sock stash! I love the fit and texture of Lucy Neatby's Mermaid Socks, so I'll add that to my list of socks for the fall. I'll also add another pair or two of the Feather and Fan socks from Socks, Socks, Socks. And, I'll try some new sock patterns that the bloggers are making. Finally, I'll make some more of the elegant rib socks--elegant rib is from Barbara Walker's stitch guides and it is a fabulous snug rib with cross-cables every once in a while. I'll also get out a knee sock pattern to see if I can make some that stay up!
With my left over sock yarn, and left over sock yarn from friends, I've been steadily working on daughter #2's leftover sock yarn blanket. You can see that she uses it every night on her bed, even though it is not finished. (Her beloved cat sleeps in the "nest" on top, with the baby blanket I made for her. The cat loves the little bobbles--in a way-too-Freudian way--and sucks the baby blanket before curling down to sleep!!!) Currently, the leftover sock yarn blanket is 13 by 11 squares. We think it needs to be 12 squares wide and 14 squares long to make a real blanket for her bed while in college. After knitting up those additional squares (let's see; I've knit 13 x 11=143 squares and I need 25 more squares, for a total of 168 squares total!!!!) I will put applied I-cord around to keep all the edges in line. However, I'm not finished with sock yarn squares. Now daughter #1 says she wants a similar blanket. So I've got 168 plus 25 more squares to make!! This is a very long term project.

Non-knitting and knitting friends alike ask me how long it takes to knit a blanket (not a smaller size afghan) out of sock yarn on size 2.5 mm needles. Well, 168 squares times 2389 stitches per square equals--401,352 stitches!!!! (or, 401.352 for European readers). Multiply time-per-stitch by 401,352 and then add the time of sewing the sides together (roughly four sides times 168 equals 672 and subtract one side for each of the edge squares) and you have the total!!! I sew the squares in as I complete enough for a side or edge and, therefore, reduce the angst of sewing together. Just doing the math makes me tired.

I've been on a spring house cleaning of my unfinished knitting projects. I had only a few items on the needles and I decided to finish them all before starting anything new. (does this ring a bell with anyone???) I finished the shaped shawl that I showed in my previous blog and gave myself a big pat on the back. Then, I finished my Potomaous (spelling??) socks from the Knitty pattern. They are made out of wool/cotton/nylon. Therefore, they went into the sock drawer, not into the box for next fall.

I also got out my husband's Dale of Norway sweater which needed 1.75 sleeves. It now needs only 1 sleeve. Sorry, I don't have a photo.

I got sidetracked onto a new project!! I know, I can't control my start-itis. My step daughter (age 40) will be getting married on July 2. Last week I offered to make her a shawl for the wedding!! Why I didn't make this offer a month ago,I don't know. (yes, I do know. I was overwhelmed with finishing projects for my MLS degree!! How quickly we forget labor pains!!) I am now making a shawl out of very fine lace weight cotton. Because her dress is lacy, she wanted a plain shawl. I can't show photos or divulge the pattern until after I send the shawl to her. I'm using size 4 needles (the new Addi Turbo lace needles for which I have mixed reviews). Laceweight cotton is more difficult to work with than I anticipated. Plus, the stitches get stuck on the join between the needle and the cable. Rats!!

After washing and mending all of my wool socks, I got to work on my wool sweaters. I washed all of them in my super dooper front loading washing machine that has a superb hand wash cycle. I spread the sweaters on my floor to dry. This attracted Cosmic, who loves damp wool. I, being human, do not understand the glories of damp wool as a bed, but who am I to say.
Cosmic's eyes are flashing a warning--do not disturb!!!


susan said...

The blanket's looking great. It's amazing how many of the colorways I can name.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

A blanket from sock yarn - I am impressed. What pattern do you use? This will be a lasting memory for your daughter.
When I was quilting and sewing clothes for my granddaughters, I made them scrap quilts and used many of the fabrics left from their clothing - they love them and often pick out the fabrics that their dresses, shorts, etc. were made from. Your daughter will probably do the same.

Warrior Knitter said...

Love the photo of your wool socks. So many beautiful colors and patterns.

The blanket is neat, too. I haven't decided what to do with my leftover sock yarn. Weird socks or a blanket.

debolsillo said...

Hola Gail:
¡Otra manta para tu otra hija! Te admiro sin límites (gracias por tus amables comentarios a mis fotos).
Saludos desde Barcelona:)

Kate said...

Hi Gail,
Saw you over on Peg's blog and hopped across. I'm in awe of your sock stash, I still give away far too many of mine.
Your sock yarn blanket is beautiful, do you have a rythm to putting colours together or is it luck of the draw?
The cat sucking the blankie made me laugh. My seven year old got so upset with our new cat sucking on HIS special blanket that I had to knit the cat a suckie-blanket (Just a small rectangle) out of the same yarn. It was a fuzzy baby yarn that I had used in his for thin stripes (the cat didn't suck on the rest of the blanket). He used it a lot at first, now he tries to suck on our blankets when he can sneak onto them!

Judith said...

Hi, Gail,
I like to check your blog every once in a while to see your beautiful projects, such as the lace shawl you just finished. The blanket you did with the FUS chalice group is astounding. Big congratulations on your MLS degree! Maybe I'll see you at the Sow's Ear.
Judy Lary

betty said...

Gail you are a busy bee! I admire you! And I love love love the leftover sock yarn blanket!

Magdalena said...

Gracias por tu comenttario.Si quieres que te envie la explicacion de cualquier zapatito me lo dices y te lo paso rápidamente.Casi todos se empiezan por la planta del pie,son sencillos y rápidos de hacer.Lo que quieras, me lo dices.

HPNY Knits said...

ahhhh, nice! the socks look so great ouside!

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

It's me again! Thanks for visiting. I, too, like Elsebeth Lavold, but I cannot wear her yarns - too itchy for me next to my skin. I have some that I reclaimed from a pullover I could not wear, so it will become a simple cardigan, I think.
I have changed the cable on one side of the cardi, and I will post a picture today.
My only complaint about EL's patterns is that she leaves a lot to your imagination - I like explicit instructions.

Karen said...

Hi Gail...thanks for visiting my blog and leaving the friendly note! I noticed that you want to knit The too! I purchased the pattern (all 19 pages!) a while back but haven't found the perfect yarn, although I am leaning toward Beaverslide Wool. If you decide to knit it, let me know and we can try knitting it at the same time...misery loves company :o) BTW, you will love the cable needles, they are truly lovely!

Karen...another lover of winter!