Monday, 7 September 2015

Mystery Sock Yarn, #10, and Some Gratitude

I started another pair of socks using some yarn I've had in my stash for quite a while. It had been wound into a yarn cake, partially knit, then ripped out and rewound. The label is long gone so I have no idea what brand it is. It has a tight twist and is a big heavier than regular sock yarn.

I chose a pattern that I hadn't tried before, Ann Budd's Punctuated Rib Socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn. From this book I have previously knit the Escher Socks. For those I used Rowan Fine Art sock yarn. It's a really easy k2, p1 pattern with 1 x 1 cables every 6 rows creating the interesting rib pattern.
Escher Sock
What attracted me to the Punctuated Rib pattern was the interesting, staggered, pulled yarn detail.

Instead of knitting it toe-up, I knit it top down, casting on the 70 sts over the two 2.75mm needles. I normally don't knit socks on such large needles but I wanted the leg to be snug but not tight. I then pulled one needle out and divided the sts between the front and back needles of the 'magic loop'.
If you have never given 'magic loop' a good try, I really do recommend you take 5 minutes and look at a good demonstration video. Here's one you could try for starters. Some people are hard-core dpn users but most people I know that give magic loop (knitting on one, long circular needle) a try make the conversion fairly effortlessly and kiss their dpns goodbye when knitting in the round.

After knitting the leg, I knit designated half the sts the instep sts and continued the pattern while knitting stocking stitch for about an inch on the heel sts before starting the heel flap.
I used my usual 'eye of partridge' heel for as many rows as heel stitches (or half as many slipped stitch rows). The slipped stitch rows (right side rows) are easy to count from the inside of the heel flap. Then I decreased to the original 70 sts for the gusset and then reduced the needle size to 2.5mm for the rest of the foot to be even more snug on the foot to minimize slipping, looseness and the resulting wear on the sole fabric. I maintained the rib pattern down the instep.
This is beautiful hand-painted yarn. Here, on the stocking stitch sole stitches, you might be able to see the looser gauge on the right, compared to the tighter gauge on the left.
I have been binge-watching 'Narcos' and 'Club de Cuervos' - both Netflix series in Spanish (with English subtitles), so actually completed this sock in only two nights of knitting.

Whoever is the recipient of these socks may have to wear them with looser shoes or boots, as the fabric is so thick, it increases the shoe size both in length and width.

I might even keep them myself. I just took a look in my two sock drawers and don't see a lot of room for an extra pair. I knit most of these, except for the white, cotton sports socks and the cute, sheeply socks in the centre of the top drawer.

I did a major culling last spring, giving away 6 pairs to very knitworthy recipients. Most of them, I'd never even worn but just enjoyed the process of knitting them. I'm sure I'll be able to cram another pair in there somewhere. Perhaps in that hole in the middle of the bottom drawer.

On the monarch front, our last one emerged last week. It was the one that I found crawling on the kitchen floor in its larval state. It did continue to develop after that but its pupa was noticeably smaller than the others. When it emerged, it had a smaller wing span but seemed perfectly formed otherwise. It was another girl, making it 7 females and 3 males this year.

I'm happy with that number, but aspire to raise more next summer. The plan is to try and find more eggs on plants  out in the country that are easy to get to. My technique of keeping the young larvae separated worked well. Then when they were about an inch long, I was able to put them all together in a larger container.

I like to think that there are 10 more monarchs heading down south than there would have been had I not intervened to create optimal development conditions.

Finally, today is Labour Day. In my past life, it was the last day of my summer vacation and the day I'd started to get revved up about going back to work for the next 10 months. Nowadays, weekends, long or otherwise, are just days for us where we stay off the major highways to avoid sitting in traffic and we hang around home or go into The Big City on public transit to do tourist-y things. An upcoming post may be about that. For me as a former educator in a world-class publicly funded system, Labour Day is a day where I reflect on how grateful I am for the middle-class lifestyle I was afforded as a result of the working conditions achieved by collective bargaining by my teachers' federation (union).

Anyone who was able to provide a middle-class lifestyle for themselves and their families probably did so as a result of the efforts of some type of labour union or federation. Things like a regular work week, weekends, group health insurance, a vested pension plan, improvements in working conditions, health and safety considerations, workers compensation, employment insurance, parental leave, fair hiring and firing practices, protection from employer abuses, etc., etc., are as a result of decades of work by labour unions. If you were one who benefited (was educated or had your children educated in the public school system, have ever ridden on public transit, have driven on highways, have been a member of a union or federation), take some time today to be grateful for those who came before you to create decent working conditions and a living wage to the benefit of all of us.

Happy Labour Day.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful socks! I wish I could knit short rows....but I finally discovered the (German Short Row) and it looks like my saving grace! I can't wait to try it. It is very nice what you say about your gratitude to be able to be a "middle class" family. You have been fortunate. For the majority of us, we have had to endure much of what you mentioned as "employer abuse" and slave wages without getting ahead. Perhaps you should take a look at this video......only 20 minutes and very enlightening with the (true) history of the US over the past 200 yrs or so. Bless you and yours. It's time to wake up from your slumber. Namaste