Happy New Year, dear knitting friends! May 2016 bring beautiful fibers and intriguing new projects your way, and may we all find comfort in the clicking of our needles when the new year brings on its inevitable challenges and crises.
On January 1st, I managed to finish either my last pair of socks of 2015 or my first one of 2016, depending on how you choose to look at it.
I have decided that 3/1 ribbing on the body of the sock is my favorite style. It gives the unworn sock that leaner look that is missing in plain stockinette, and yet, as I knit, falling into a Knit 3, Purl 1 rhythm comes very easily. In order to center the ribbing properly after turning the heel, I cast on an extra stitch before going on with the 3/1 pattern. That stitch will be purled so that the instep will be framed by these two columns of purl stitches. I just have to remember to decrease that extra stitch on its own once I reach the toe, in order to return to the same number of stitches on the top and on the sole of the foot. I have no idea if this is what one is supposed to do, and I couldn't find any useful information on the subject on Ravelry, but it just felt wrong for my ribbing to lack symmetry and adding one stitch solves the problem without making the sock too loose.
The finished pair was blocked and dried just in time to fit in my New York daughter's duffle bag when she flew back East on Sunday. Winter has finally arrived on the East Coast and so I hope that these socks will soon be pressed into service. I loved working with this yarn, Lang Jawoll; a spool of coordinating wool thread is hidden deep into every skein, and I used it to knit the toes, resulting in extra-cushiness. I'd love it if more sock yarns offered that option. I have a few lengths of solid sock thread in classic colors but they are not going to blend quite so invisibly with patterned sock yarn. Still, the extra comfort and solidity are a huge bonus, which I appreciate as I have been wearing my own handknit socks more than ever this winter.
In other news, I finished knitting my pink stockinette cowl. Normally I would have blocked the finished length of knitting first, before tackling the seam. But with a yarn as tricky as Kidsilk Haze, I decided to play it safe and to change my plan of action; I executed the kitchener seam yesterday, before soaking the finished cowl and setting it on the blocking board.
Kitchenering 80 or so stitches could drive a person slightly crazy. I made sure to find the right time of day and the right place to get started; this is not a task that one can complete in fits and starts, or all scrunched up on one side of the couch. I used the dining-room table with full day-light, the relative comfort of a firm chair and a couple of podcasts for company. I had to take a break and stretch my legs once or twice in the proceedings, which took a bit more than an hour. What appeared to work well was to pull on the thread tightly with every stitch or so, but then to pause every inch or two in order to (gently!) stretch the seam laterally and to make sure it had as much give as the knitted fabric. This was very easy. You can still see a faint diagonal line where the seam happens, but it is barely visible and much more attractive than an actual sewn seam. I am also hoping that it will fade even more once the cowl is off the blocking board.