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Archive for September 14th, 2003

Lisa B. Writes after Seaside Retreat

Sunday, September 14th, 2003

Lisa B., a friend of Annie Modesitt’s who I was supposed to meet at the retreat this weekend, wrote me a very nice note today. She’s been reading my blog (she knows how to flatter me) but this weekend was the first time we’d corresponded.

Lisa took the sock class with Annie this weekend that I missed… and she used my yarn that I sent. You know, sometimes you sell things but you have no idea where they go, what “life” they have after they leave your hands. It’s wonderful to hear from Lisa. She writes:

The yarn you made for the retreat is even more spectacular in real life. My skien (sic) is vivid with purples and turquoise and white being the main colors and with bits of paler blues and greens running through. It’s knitting up really well, so lovely and easy to work with. I am knitting up lace socks for my soon to be 7 year old niece Nicole, who is convinced she is a real princess.

Well, that made my day! I hope the princess likes her socks. Thanks for writing, Lisa.

By the way, I seem to be turning the tide. I still feel like I have a cold but I can be upright a bit more. I’m sure glad I don’t have any appointments until Tuesday, though. I had hoped I’d feel better in time to play with my new knitting machine, now that the manual came in the mail. Instead I knit sox because I could do that with my feet up.

This evening I felt inspired to go back out on the porch in the hammock for a while. I hadn’t even been tempted by the outdoors for days. This is a very good sign. Maybe I’m on the mend. It is about time.

I do enjoy the pair I finally did knit this weekend. They are almost done, and I will take pics when I get there. I worked with the Ethnic Socks and Stockings book to figure out how to do the toe, heel and bind off at the cuff. I enjoyed studying this book this weekend. I’d browsed all the pictures and looked up a few details before, but this time I read it cover to cover and used several techniques she details.

Without multicolor stranded knitting, these do not look very Turkish (or eastern) at all. But I tried some features that I was intrigued by on my own Turkish sox. I did a swirl toe (four sections instead of the two on my cream/turquoise pair). I started with 8 stitches and it might have looked better with six, but it probably fits better this way.

Then I did what Priscilla Gibson-Roberts calls a banded heel. It is a lot like a Dutch heel, with a heel flap but the flap goes under the heel and the heel turn is up the back of the heel where you can see the detail under the cuff.

After turning the heel, you bind off the remaining stitches on the back of the heel. To start on the cuff, you start at the side of the sock and pick up exactly as many stitches as you had to start with (sometimes a few more but not many) and there is no gusset decrease. This part felt clumsy as I was not sure how long to make the heel flap and then I wasn’t sure where to pick up the stitches since I could not pick up one in each edge stitch. It worked out fine, though.

Books warn that Turkish socks don’t pull on well because of the lack of a gusset. However, they are often knit at a very tight gauge with unyielding stiff yarns. My yarn is so stretchy it works fine. In fact, I made the sock a little wider than I wanted because I was afraid they wouldn’t fit, but next time I’ll make them slimmer. I typically like my socks to fit very tight, as if they had lycra in them.

I bound off with a purl ridge, then one row of eyelets (*k2tog, yo*, repeat) and then two more rounds of purling before a bind off. This part looks quite Turkish/eastern, which pleases me. And then I decided to put two rows of “Bosnian Crochet” on top (that is what P. Gibson-Roberts calls knitting through the back side only of a slip-stitch crochet chain… my crochet teacher called it a ridge stitch if I remember right).

The foot won’t show much in a shoe but the top will look great. I plan to make a tassel to hang down on either side, either laced through the eyelets or not, I’m not sure yet.

The only decorative feature I used was a vertical strip on the center front of the sock. I used a five-stitch centered decoration of Purl 1, knit one, slip one, knit 1, purl 1… and on the next row, purl 1 knit 3 purl 1. This elongates the middle stitch. This feature was inspired by the lace design on Annie’s pattern, which also has a slip stitch every other row in the center front. This made me feel more connected to those at the retreat, even though I was doing a different design. (You can not see the purl stitches in the photo, as the sock is at rest. I’ll try to get photos on a foot later.)

Pictures soon, I’ll bet. I have maybe an hour left on these socks.