Thursday, March 30, 2006

More than a river in Egypt

A quick note: today at Yarn Forward's weekly Sit & Knit, I was browsing through the newly discovered lace patterns binder, highly overexcited at the abundance of lovely Fiber Arts shawls and the like. When what should I stumble across but the very sheep shawl pattern mentioned by the Harlot herself! (I really recommend the book, by the way. So excited for her new one.) In the book it was only mentioned as having been purchased at an Ottawa yarn store, and big ole nerd that I am, I had considered emailing her to find out which one it was, precisely. My nerd quotient, 'tis through the roof at my excitement over this discovery.

Onward and upward, in the parade of ghosts of FOs past!

Pattern: Broadripple socks, by Rob Matyska in Knitty Summer 03
Yarn: Cascade Fixation, colour 2406
Yardage: Just less than two balls
Yarn Source: Wool-Tyme Kingston
Needles: Susan Bates (I think) 3.25 mm dpns

I really like this pattern - simple enough to memorize very quickly, yet still interesting. My only regret is that I fear the feet are too long. The pattern calls for knitting the foot until it is 1.5-2" shorter than desired, then starting the toe. I did 1.5" and still fear the toe may be too long. Oh well - the heel slides up comfortably, and it's not like the toes are flopping around like clown shoes.

I bought this yarn on my recent trip to Kngston to visit my aunt and uncle. I have an unfortunate history with Fixation, but I'll give you the Coles Notes version:

With so many patterns flying around recommending this yarn (darn you, Stitch and Bitch Nation! As an aside, why does a book written by the editor of a feminist magazine include patterns that only go up to 38"?), I was convinced that I must have it! Not to mention the fact that cotton-spandex blends are not exactly plentiful; I can sub Paton's Classic Merino for Lamb's Pride Worsted or Cascade 200, and Lana Grossa Meillenweit or Kroy for Opal or Lorna's Laces - you get the picture. But naught for Fixation.

So I finally tracked down this yarn at a stall at a fibre exhibition. However, this same stall had included a Knitty pattern in its kits. I recognized the pattern immediately for what it was, and knew that this was at the least unethical and probably illegal. I finally got up the gall to confront the stall owner and was told that because she was not selling the pattern by itself, she had done nothing wrong. My delicate teenage pride wounded by her tone, I marched away angry and upset, but eventually skulked back because I really wanted that yarn. I bought four balls of a deep royal purple.

Much to my alarm, this wasn't similar to the acrylics or wools or even dishcloth cotton I'd used before. No, this stuff was (suprisingly enough) really, really stretchy. How did one hold it? Did you stretch it out or let it hang? What about its disturbing propensity to fall off the needles in the early stages (not that I ever progressed beyond)? And howsabout that stitch definition, eh?

Certain that I was a Just Not Good Enough for the seemingly exalted and likely cursed Fixation, I ended up RAKing my precious, long-sought stash of it all away. Karma is, as they say, a bitch. This yarn just had bad vibes and wasn't going to quit for me.

Then this February, I visited my relatives who live in Kingston - Ontario, not Jamaica. (As a sidenote, I know some people would highly disagree, but I really enjoyed Kingston. It's quite pretty.) Somehow I managed to wrangle in a trip to a yarn store [innocent whistle]. I promised to be quick, only to be told by my uncle that he in fact used to knit, and did all the household sewing as well. I was a bit shocked (I know, how sexist of me) but really pleased as punch. I whipped around the store in a mad rush, exercising a disturbing lack of restraint. And what should I find but Cascade Fixation.

It was during this trip (wow, some Coles Notes version, eh?) that I was working on my Olympic socks. I'd been knitting socks for a while now and was willing to give it another go. Plus, you know. No bad vibes!

So I found this pattern, and set forth. The leg is 6-3/4" rather than the 7" recommended. I tried to be good this time, really I did, but still was eager to get to the "good part". I'm not sure using a solid colourway was the best idea. On the other hand, people rarely complain about their socks being too sober, and when on the leg it looks like a rather nice lacey pattern with the row of eyelets cascading (ha) down the leg and foot.

And may I just say, I love the dpns I used. I think they're Susan Bates - I got them at Wal-Mart. They're a shiny deep plum colour. More needle companies should think of making their needles pretty colours. I have a pair of plastic Japanese 7mm needles a friend gave me for Christmas a few years back that I love for their endearing shade of pink (along with being Japanese and 7mm and a gift from a friend).

It has begun to get warm here very quickly - it is supposed to be 17 degrees tomorrow! (That's Celsius. Canada is not that crazy.) Today I was overly warm wearing pinstripes and a cotton cardi. You know what that means:

Yes, that is a sticker of mad scientist Yzma on my computer.

Denial! I wore wool socks twice this week and paid for it. So of course the sensible thing to do is start another pair. By the way, what is up with the jacquard sections of this sock? They don't line up prettily like they do on my pink socks, which is just another colourway. Same needles, too. Bah.

By the way, I call these my animated socks because the colours remind me of old children's illustrations, for which I a huge sucker.

In non-Egyptian news, I have been working on a season-appropriate garment!

( got it? gosh, we are a sad crew. now let's move on)

I'm sure it goes without saying that the colour is completely off. It's much more of a dark, steely blue.

It's Grumperina's Picovoli! I'm doing it in Amazon Cotton DK. I wasn't able, no matter how hard I tried, to get 5.5 spi, even though I went down a needle size and machine washed and dried my swatch, trying to make it shrink. No such luck. Still only getting 5 spi. So I did my math and figured I could just go down a pattern size. Yay!

I'll leave you with this:

Yes, these are the sort of things my brain comes up with late at night.


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