March 12, 2007

Off to the Races

Sock Madness has begun!

I went to bed Friday night more excited than I really wanted to admit to myself. I did not set the alarm, but couldn't help waking up at 5:45am Saturday morning, anyway. I went straight to the computer. The e mailed pattern was in my inbox. I began casting on immediately.

The first socks are called Mad Cow Socks, because the designer, Jennifer Young, made them to look like the spots on a black and white cow.

They look more like Sadie to me.

I began knitting furiously. I was knitting when Glenn called to see if we wanted to get brunch. I knit in the car sitting next to Zev. (I told Zev I was making a sock. Later, when I showed him the needles with the cuff and leg and asked him what it was, he said, "Sock!" I love that kid.) I kept knitting while Mayrav told us about their recent trip, fed herself, fed her son and encouraged me. (You're a multi-tasking queen, my friend.)

By the time we got home from brunch, I was about ready to turn the heel...but, wait. Am I supposed to do 4 stripe repeats on the leg or 5? Luckily, the answer (5 leg repeats) had already been posted by the judges. Phew. Except it meant I had one more repeat before the heel. Blast! (The ruling was somewhat revised later, but whatever.)

Leg done, I moved on to the heel. The short row heel, my new nemesis. I'd never done a short row heel before but I more or less understand the general concept behind short rows. I knew there were probably some tutorials on the subject, but this is a knitting race, so I just barreled ahead without consulting them. And I did make a heel - the knitting bends in such a way as to accommodate the way a foot bends - but not a good one. WTF is up with all those holes? (I can't even bear to show you a picture, sorry.) Well, here's where my vaguest of vague understanding of short rows played out. You do a wrap and turn. I did that just fine. But when you go to "pick up the wraps", there's a whole special technique to it. All the pattern said was "pick up the wraps", which I did, but not using the special technique, hence the effin' holes.

Over in the group discussion and photo pool, I saw I was not the only one having this problem. I'd like to give a big shout out thank you to Kellie aka marmys, for posting the link to this tutorial, which helped me improve my second heel. And a big thank you to ALL the other knitters who took time away from their own knitting to offer help and encouragement to their fellow participants. It's more proof that knitters are some of the nicest, most generous people around.

One side of my second heel came out pretty okay, but the other side is still kinda holey. I'm sure it's operator error. Maybe a tension issue?

Well anyway, I finished the first sock about 4:30pm Saturday.

I could not believe it! My goal had been to finish the first sock by the end of the day. But at this rate, I was able to start on the second sock that evening. I took a quick shower and got ready to go out to dinner. I really needed the break. My hands were turning into little, gnarled claws.

I knit in the car on the way to dinner. I knit over coffee and dessert. When we got home, I stayed up knitting 'til 1am (which was the same as 2am because of DST.) Staying up to 2am is waaaay out of character for me. I really like sleep and require lots of it. Ask around, it's true.

I stopped when I was ready to start the second heel. I figured I could look at those short row heel tutorials after I'd gotten some sleep.

I didn't sleep for very long, darn near craziness for me. I got right back to the knitting first thing the next morning. I just sat there and knit, knit, knit. We did listen to Harry, of course. I finished those suckers right about at noon.

I was pretty useless for the rest of the day. Too tired to do anything (too tired to nap, even), I just sat around watching the sock pictures accumulate in the photo pool. Which is really cool and fun.

Now, It's been about 24 hours since I finished those socks and I have not knit on anything else that whole time. I think, when I do pick up some needles later today, all I'll be up for is swatching for a sweater for my wonderful husband, Chris. Rowan Calmer yarn and US 7 needles. Soft yarn, (relatively) big needles, simple stockinette and a swatch which holds no consequences if I mess it up.

And now, here's a picture I wish I could give you in scratch and sniff:

The jasmine is in bloom and just about anywhere you go in LA smells wonderful.