On Sunday evening I did a little New Year’s organizing on the desktop. I was cleaning up my KnitAble program, which I use to keep track of everything knitting, from my needle and yarn inventory to all the projects I have completed or that are on needles. I was quite surprised to find that I had just seven unfinished projects!
Yes, of course I started another pair of socks. This one is in that beautiful Fleece Artist color called “Woodland Twilight,” but for some reason all I can think of while I ‘m knitting are my father’s Harris Tweed jackets. He loved wearing them throughout his life, and he wore a few of them to pieces. One of my earliest memories is of the LifeSaver peppermints that would come from those jacket pockets, always with a little fleck of tobacco attached. I can still smell them. But I digress…
This is very nice yarn. I mean delicious. I love the way the colors work together. I fell in love with hand-painted yarns a long time ago, and I feel like I’ve come to know what kind of yarn I will get from each company — how patterns will look, if the colors will pool or stripe, etc. I choose accordingly. When I try a new yarn, though, I have to be willing to be surprised. With each row of this sock I find myself saying things like, “Oh, goody! The red gets to sit next to the brown this time!” Or, “Hey, that gold just turned green!” Surprises keep things interesting.
I could have used any old sock pattern, but since the yarn was new to me, I thought it deserved something different. Not fussy, though — no lace or cables this time. I got out my copy of Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks and started browsing. I haven’t spent much time with this book yet (or with my other new sock book, Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks, but I’ll get to it eventually). Within five minutes I knew I wanted to make a pair of Garter Rib socks. It’s a simple stitch pattern, and the look of the little garter bumps next to the smooth knit stitches is just what I was looking for. As long as I was at it, I thought I’d go ahead and use the book’s formulas and techniques. Me, follow a pattern exactly? Yes, almost. This is perfect travel knitting, too, because it’s practically mindless. So here’s what I’m doing:
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino, 350 yd skein, Woodland Twilight
Pattern: Garter Rib (Four-Stitch Pattern) from Sensational Knitted Socks
Needles: 2.5mm/US 1.5 bamboo dpn’s
Gauge: Something close to 8 spi in both ribbing and stockinette
Modifications so far: The cuff & leg measures 6″ instead of the usual long-legged person’s idea of how long a sock should be. I use less yarn. So there.
I’ll be leaving for Maryland in a couple of days, and I hope I’ll be able to take at least three pairs of socks in progress. There will be lots of knitting time in the airport, on the plane, and in the nursing home where my mom is to do rehab for the next few weeks. My job is always more demanding at this time of year than I expect, so I have just a few days that I can manage to be away.
I’m feeling the pressure, too — yesterday my dentist told me that I have to stop clenching my jaw and teeth. A night guard is in the works, but what about the other eighteen hours? So, one of my Plans is to take better care of myself, generally, and to address specifically how I react to and handle stress. Up until this past year I handled it pretty well; I even almost conquered my tendency to eat when stressed or upset. My Plan is pretty simple, and it starts with paying attention to my physical and emotional self.
I am doing that today by taking the day off — even though I was going to go to work because I have to be gone from Friday through Sunday and there’s so much to do and most of it has to start with me because I have to pull the returns and my house is a mess and there’s sand all over the place because I walked around in the shoes I wore to the beach and don’t even look at the litter box and boy, do I want to put that Christmas stuff away. So what have I been doing? It’s noon. I slept in till 7 (hey, I’m usually practically out the door by then). I’m still in my pj’s. I’m about to get dressed and mosey over to Sag Harbor to get the mail. Then I’ll come home, put on a DVD, throw in a load of laundry, and knit. I might vacuum and clean the litter box. No, I will. The alternative is just too disgusting, even for slobby old me.
I am really enjoying being a part of the 2006 ABC-Along. Folks have already begun posting their first images, and it’s fun and inspiring to see what they’ve come up with. There’s a button over on my sidebar with links to the ABC-Along ring. If you have a few minutes, go see what everyone’s up to. We have until January 13 to post our A’s, and then two weeks for B, and so on.
There. I think I’ve run out of wind. If you’ve made it this far, you’re a real trooper, and I thank you.