Sunday, October 5, 2008

Socks and Novels On The Move

hedera sock3 mod

Pattern: Hedera Sock, by Cookie A
Yarn: ShiBui Knits Sock
Needle: Size 1 dpn
Started: Sept 10, 2008
Finished: Oct 4, 2008

These last few weeks I found myself actually looking forward to my daily commute to and from Midtown Manhattan. The reasons are several, and the results are evident.

Reason 1: These socks. My first lace style pattern, knit in a wonderful yarn with a really tight twist. I really like the yarn. First, it's superwash, which when it comes to socks, makes sense because it means I don't need to handwash them. Second, the color is wonderful. I love the subtle striping due to the way they were dyed. And the deep grape color is very pleasing. The high twist means a good wearing yarn. That's important for socks so they don't look shabby and lose their shape in one wearing. The lace pattern gives it lots of stretchiness and I love the defined line between the lacy parts.

hedera sock1 mod

Reason 2: With this project I finally mastered knitting with double pointed needles while standing on a bumpy subway! Now that's determination! Part of the determination has to do with my wanting to get a pair of socks finished within a month. The other part has to do with wanting to take full advantage of the "down time" that the commute offers. I simply got tired of staring out the window.

Reason 3: I "read" books by listening to them on my iPod. It frees up my hands and eyes to knit. And I've trained myself to listen more intently as a result. The first few times I listened, I found my mind wandering but now, over a year into it, I am able to really tune out the world and give my full attention to the story. Knitting while listening adds to that ability in some odd way. The rhythm of the knit, along with the sound of the words puts me into a state of complete contentment and concentration.

During this project I listened to an amazing book, "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wrobelowski. This is the first fiction in quite awhile. And I was completely immersed in it! The publisher's notes state, "Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents and an unusual breed of dogs on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. But when tragedy strikes the Sawtelle family, Edgar flees to the surrounding wilderness. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him."

That description just scratches the surface. The thing that got me was the way the writer told the story from the viewpoint of every character, including the dogs. And the dog Almondine was so poignant, so vivid, so moving. The last passage of Almondine's story, near the end of the book took my breath away. She so keenly missed her boy Edgar and her search was so futile, when she went seeking answers, I cried out "OH, NO!!" in front of all the passengers on the Q Train. They stared at me like I was a crazy woman. At that moment, I was! I just stopped knitting and was on the verge of tears. Tragic, beautiful, vivid, lush.

hedera sock4 mod

The timing on the book, which was rather long - about 21 hours of listening, coincided neatly with the knitting. I was able to bring both to a conclusion this week. It's not often things work themselves out so well. These socks will serve as a reminder of the story every time I put them on.

hedera sock2 mod

I made a few modifications to the pattern, noted here: I knitted 16 repeats of the two row heel flap slip stitch sequence. The pattern called for 24 repeats. That means a smaller heel and a shorter gusset. I also adjusted the stitches a bit so there were 31 on the middle needle, allowing for 3 full repeats of the lace pattern, starting and ending with a kbl stitch.

At the toe, I knit plain rounds between decrease rounds until there were 33 stitches total on the needles. Then I eliminated the plain knit rounds and just went with decrease rounds until there were 13 stitches on the needles. At which point I used Kitchener stitch to close up the toe. Voila, I love these socks!


Katie M. said...

The socks are gorgeous! Knitting and audio books are a thing of beauty -- I can go for hours with a great pattern and an engrossing book.

barefoot rooster said...

these are beautiful -- i'm going to have to make these. audio books are great! i'm new to them, but a cross-country drives last year made it clear that they preserve sanity. good storytellers (and good readers) make everything better.

allisonxo said...

And a great colour choice!