Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Week One = One sock

I haven't been blogging. I've been knitting. Oh, yeah, and somewhere in there was Stitches West -- four classes in three days, three large bags of yarn and other sundries purchased.

But at the end of it all, I have a sock! And it's beautiful and it fits. I'm going to reward myself the bronze medal right now just for getting one sock done. I may have to kill myself to get the second sock done, but even if it doesn't happen, I feel pretty good about accomplishing one.

Here's the quick wrap-up of the last few days:

Days 4 & 5:

So little accomplished on the sock that these days hardly count! We did have a lovely Valentine's dinner at 231 Ellsworth on Monday, and saw "Brokeback Mountain" on Tuesday. No way could I knit complicated lace patterns in the dark.

Loved the movie, but the idiots at the Century Theatres in downtown San Mateo had WASHED THE SEATS that afternoon. By this, I mean that they had sprayed the seats with water so that the aroma of human sweat and spilled sugary soda pervaded the theatre. We also had to SIT on these seats. By the end of the movie, half the theatre looked as if we had wet our pants. To their credit, they did refund our money, but their short-sightedness was amazing to me. They said they thought it would be a slow night at the theatre. Valentine's Day? A major date night? Not to mention the fact that this is the most critically acclaimed romance of the year? Hellooooo, people.

Day 6:

I headed over to Nine Rubies, our lovely new San Mateo LYS, for social knitting, but unfortunately I finished up ball #1 quickly and ball #2 was at home. So I sat in front of the TV and watched some skiing while plugging away at the leg of the sock. And then, like Lindsey Kildow during training, distaster struck! I missed a couple of yarn-overs and didn't notice, blithely knitting on until, about five rows later, I realized I didn't have the right number of stitches to decrease properly! I tried to drop a few stitches back and add in the decreases, but I knit pretty tightly and it just wasn't possible. I frogged the whole thing back and then had quite a time trying to get the teensy little stitches back on the teensy little needles. The DH needs special kudos for bearing with me during the 45 minutes of frustrating wasted time this all entailed.

Day 7:

After work, it was off to a friend's 40th birthday dinner at Buca di Beppo. Stuffed to the gills with eggplant parmigiano and fried shrimp, I managed a few rows after we got back. (Fortunately, I stayed away from the Chianti, or we might have had a repeat of yesterday.)

Day 8:

I was supposed to work at home in the morning, but my webmail account was down, so after I'd made a few phone calls, I had nothing to do but knit! At this point, I crept toward the end of the long leg section, then headed down to Stitches for my first class of the weekend, "Two Hands, Two Colors" with Sally Melville, my absolute favorite knitting teacher.

By the end of the afternoon, I could do Fair Isle! Gotta love it. I can't wait to do my first Fair Isle project, and I spent much of the class blessing Nancie Wiseman for successfully teaching me Continental in TKGA last April. I love holding a color in each hand, far superior (in my opinion) to any other way of doing it.

At random moments in the class, I picked up my sock for a row or two, thinking that I wouldn't have much more time to knit that day, since I had to drive up to Berkeley for callbacks that evening. Fate had other things in mind, however -- I ended up stuck in terrible traffic with no way of getting to my destination by 7, let alone 6, my planned arrival time. I abandoned hope of joining the director and choreographer, called in to let them know I was stuck, and made a left turn across the bridge to home and a cozy evening with my sock. Leg finished, heel begun.

Day 8:

Officially halfway through the Olympics, and the first sock ain't done. And not much chance to knit today! First there's Nancie Wiseman's "Intarsia Basics," and by lunchtime I can add Intarsia to my list of new color knitting skills. Lunch with Spinnity, a quick dash through the marketplace, where I purchase a little more alpaca for the DH hat/scarf at Yarn Barn. In the afternoon, it's back to Sally for "Creativity," a fun, mind-opening class that's mostly lecture, so I knit away at my little sock and turn the heel, which is no big deal as far as I can tell -- not sure why it's supposed to be so challenging.

Then I dash back to the marketplace and make some more purchases, yarn at Webs, buttons at the Button Lady, and Nicky Epstein's new book signed by the lady herself. So far very little financial damage done. Then we had a birthday dinner to run to, and a play to run to after that, and then I crawled into bed and only knit a couple of rows. One more day gone, and still lots of sock to do.

Day 9:

I wisely did NOT sign up for a class Sunday morning, so after sleeping in a bit I headed out for a calm stroll through the marketplace. Fewer people, much more mellow, which put a bit of a strain on my pocketbook resolve. Particularly when I came across the must-own kits from Drops yarns, sold at a knitting store in Washington state. I got a cute bolero kit on green alpaca and mohair with a bit of sparkle. Then I bought some yarn at Hand Jive Knits from Sacramento. Then I bought some more buttons, from Buttons! in Calistoga.

I was starting to get a bit reckless, you know that "I've already gone over budget, what does it matter now" feeling. I got some Debbie Bliss cashmerino Astrakhan on sale, and some sparkly colorful Wool in the Woods for a certain birthday project. Luckily a call from Spinnity saved me from more spending, and I went to sit with a bunch of Santa Clara and San Mateo Meet-up friends in the stage area, to eat lunch, knit, and wait for the grand prize drawing of $750. Lo and behold, it went to Bogie! We all gave her a standing ovation, she was totally overwhelmed. If anyone deserves it, she does, my dear Fairy Godknitter who helped make the extra Shawlapalooza for my wedding!

My afternoon class was "Keeping Trim," my first ever with Lily Chin, and I have to say, believe the hype. She is funny and creative and clever, and she taught us a number of useful trims for the bottom of sweaters that won't curl or cling or make you look pregnant, and showed us a lot of great new stitch patterns and techniques to use just about anywhere. She's very high energy and New York-y, but she didn't flog her books or spend half the time self-promoting, which is what I was afraid of. I prefer Sally's laid-back hippie Canadian charm, but I would certainly put Lily on my good-teachers list.

By the end of the class, I was exhausted, and ready to curl up with my sock. The DH and I met up at Spinnity and Bill's for dinner and yarn-sharing. The foot of my sock was growing, and a new problem presented itself -- there was no way I was going to finish this sock without running out of yarn. Sure, I had two more balls at home, but those are for the other sock! What to do!

Day 10:

I made an emergency run to Nine Rubies for more sock yarn. Unfortunately, they don't carry Rowan 4-ply Yorkshire tweed. Choices -- order on-line, wait, risk missing Knitting Olympics deadline, not to mention a totally different dye lot. Or do the toes in a different color. The second option started to appeal to me; after all, then my socks would be truly unique! Nine Rubies yielded plenty of gorgeous colors of 4-ply Scottish tweed, which is a little loftier than Yorkshire but claims to have the same gauge. I got a nice contrasting burgundy. I actually really like how it's turned out. My lack of patience has resulted in something truly lovely.

The sock was finished about 11:30 last night with the painstakingly grafted toe (thanks again to Sally M for last year's Good Grafting class notes). I will never like grafting, but it did work and the sock is done, except for weaving in ends and adding the cute ribbon bow trim (which will be burgundy to match the toes, of course).

So I'm 10 days in, only 6 to go including today. Can I do another sock, especially now that I have rehearsals every night? Solani and Sudha at Nine Rubies cheered me on yesterday, making me think that just maybe, if I give up a certain amount of sleep and sanity, I could do it. Time to give it that old Olympic try.


shorelinesue said...

Congrats to you Miss Olympian! Sounds like you've had a busy week of knitting festivities. Hope you are well. Miss ya!

Christina said...

It was great to see you at Stitches. I miss knitting/chatting with you. Nice work on your fisrt sock. It's beautiful. Best of luck getting the second one done in time for closing ceremonies (you can do it!).

~ Christina

spinnity said...

Burgundy toes! What a nice touch. I have a progress photo sock number one from Sunday night, in front of the fireCan't wait to see them as a pair with bows on! Citius, ya know? Altius! Fortius!

mel said...

You can do it, just think of how cute they'll look when they're both done and you get to wear them! Oh and I did finally get to Nine Rubies, what a great store!