Friday, September 14, 2007

More socks!!!

They are the Coriolis Socks by Cat Bordhi and they are AWESOME! I need to take a picture that shows off the swirl a bit better, but they really are great. The yarn is Opal Rodeo in color 1150 (orange, purple, blue/gray, white). This is the very first (and yet only) real sock yarn I've ever purchased. Ok, now here's the story of the yarn and it's evolution into these socks.

For Mother's Day 2006, my mom gave me a $50 gift certificate to a cute little yarn shop called Amazing Threads in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Up until that point, I had never...ever...knit with wool. I'd never touched wool. I don't think I'd ever seen wool. My economizing nature meant that I was going to use this gift certificate as efficiently as possible, trying out as many yarns as I possibly could. I bought S.R. Kertzer Marble (for Aibhlinn - it was great, BTW), Lamb's Pride in Kiwi (for Vino Armwarmers), a couple balls of Ella Rae Classic (ahhhhh!), but I really wanted to buy a ball of sock yarn. I sat, crouched on my heels in front of the sock yarn bins for about 20 minutes before I made my decision - the Opal Rodeo in color 1150.

I'm not sure why I chose this color combination. There were several others that were very beautiful, but I think I picked these because I wanted something different. These definitely don't look like anything you would buy in a store, nor did it look like any other sock yarn in the store.

I started to knit this yarn into a feather and fan pattern in Sensational Knitting Socks (the chevron section for self-striping yarn). I think I was using size 0 or 1 dpns and knitting to a gauge of 9 sts to the inch. Eek! This was my first try at socks.

I brought them along with me to the hospital when my daugter had surgery on her ear. For 3 1/2 hours, I sat there knitting on the leg of this sock and I only got about 3 inches done. It languished in my knitting bag for months and months. I was awestruck that anyone had enough patience to knit a sock, let alone a PAIR of them! I'd heard of people actually addicted to sock knitting. I was convinced they were off their rocker. (So to speak, of course. Not all of us knitters knit it a rocker.)

Well, then I happened upon the Knitty Gritty episode with Cat Bordhi and watched them make the Coriolis Socks. Those look easy, I thought. Thus the frogging of the first attempt.

I had a real fear of running out of this yarn that was the most expensive ball of yarn I'd ever bought so these toe-up socks really appealed to me. I was still skeptical of being able to do a 7" leg. I could have used each end of the yarn ball to achieve the doubled yarn required but I didn't like thinking of the possibility of it getting twisted together. So I took out my little Martha Stewart food scale, put the ball in the basket with one end attached to my ball winder. I wound until half the yarn (or what I very unscientifically viewed on the non-digital scale to be half) was on the winder and half on the scale. Then I cut the yarn and wound the scale half into a ball. Thus I could draw from the center of each ball while I knit.

I brought these on the airplane to Orlando with the husband and kiddos back in May. I finished the first sock on the flight down and bound off with 4 strands, just like Cat says, because she said it would be stretchy enough. It was super fast, but I will add that I only made my leg about 2" long. the hotel I tried on the sock. I couldn't have pulled harder on that bound off was not going on my foot. I had this perfectly formed sock - the pattern couldn't have been easier or have gone more smoothly - and I couldn't get it past my toes! Here I was, at Disneyworld, and I was an ugly stepsister trying to squeeze into the proverbial glass slipper. I didn't knit at all the rest of the week long vacation. I didn't start the other sock either. On the way home I was sitting next to some grumpy woman who wasn't all that appreciative of my efforts, so I didn't knit much then either.

Back at home, I undid the bind off and tried using a larger needle with the 4 strands of yarn. A little better, but not nearly acceptable. The sock could have served as a tourniquet should I have needed an amputation.

I undid that bind off and tried something else I'd seen on Knitty Gritty. Annie Modesitt had demonstrated a bind off method of knitting 2 together then putting the resulting stitch back on the left needle, continuing thusly until all stitches were bound off. This was a desperate measure since I had no idea of this method was stretchy or firm, it was just another way to do it and I was grasping at straws.

The sock sat in that bound off state - still too tight - mocking me from a basket in my closet. I'm not really sure what snapped me out of my sock phobia, but I got going on it again a couple weeks ago. I finished Cookie A.'s Twinkle Toes Socks. These were also toe-up and when making these I learned the fabulously stretchy sewn bind off. Voila! Socks that go on my feet! And they don't cut off my circulation! Bonus!

I finally got the nerve 3 days ago to undo the bind off on my Coriolis sock and do the sewn bind off. I can scarcely put the moment into words. To have my sock bound off, finished, and on my foot looking perfect was almost more than I could bear. But it was still only one sock.

There was no time to lose. When I found the yarn in my closet, I found that I had already completed the square toe section. I printed new directions and got to work. I finished the sock that same day and wore them the next.

Thus is the story of my first pair of socks with actual real live sock yarn.

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