Friday, April 06, 2007

Eggy Woolly Flow'ry Clappy

24 eggs, their contents removed by me, by dint of blowing through pinholes


a miasmic haze of dye and vinegar


the biggest headache of my life. But look:

pretties! In the end there were 22 eggs, since two broke during the blowing process. Utterly disgusting. Also I had the unnerving experience of being watched intently through the window the entire time by a robin whose beady eye did not waver. I felt shamed, jaded - like an abortionist at playgroup.

It wasn't me, Cock Robin. Don't judge me. Those poultry farm chickens are sellout whores anyway. Should they really be given the chance to reproduce?

Tomorrow we decorate, and Sunday morning they will be hung in the apple tree outside, the tips of whose branches are swollen with the promise of buds. How deliciously pagan of us.


Spring continues despite inclement weather and, with every moment of sunshine, visible progress is made by nature

and by (wo)man.

Speaking of verdancy, let me show you a problem I'm having with my Common Welsh Green socks. I am working short-row heels on this pair, and I'm using a new-to-me yarn: Sweet Georgia's handpainted merino. Now, I am a huge fan of Felicia from way back - I've been lurking on her blog for ages, and always wanted to get some of her sock yarn but never managed it - just not fast enough on those days when she updated her shop. Luckily for me, Pick Up Sticks started stocking her yarns and I snapped some up. To be exact, I snapped up three pairs' worth. Now, I am turning the heel on my first pair of Sweet Georgia socks, and here is what the final wraps look like, as I come around to the last few rows of heel:

That fuzzy mass you see at the right side of the needle there? That mass is actually 5 separate stitches, all fused together just from the friction of my hand as I knit the centre heel stitches. By the time I had zigged and zagged across the heel for a total of 40 rows or so, those stitches were so felted that the plies couldn't be seen at all. They were so tight on the needle that in the end I had to switch to a smaller needle to knit them. I figure I am going to get 2, maybe 3 wears out of these socks, unless I refrain completely from standing or walking while I have them on. Then I should be okay until the nap of the couch wears a hole into them.

The problem is the softness of the yarn (and the loose spin). Over the year or so that I've been knitting socks, I have realized something. You can have "soft merino", or you can have "durable". I love wool socks, I love fancy hand-dyes and soft tootsies, but I just can't deal with disposable knitting. I have two pairs of socks in my darning basket: my Koigu Elfine socks, and my Fleece Artist Lacy Scallops socks. The Elfine socks have an enormous hole that appeared out of nowhere on their 8th or so wear (no shoes, of course, and with the heightened consciousness that comes from knowing you have thousands of careful stitches and hours of painstaking work on your clumsy callused feet), and the Lacy Scallops socks are waiting patiently for their THIRD darning.

The lesson? That $22-per-skein, hand-dyed, hand-spun, 100% merino wool would be perfect for wristwarmers (no fingers, naturally, due to high traffic and the inevitable holes), for hats (unless you have dreadlocks, because then you risk hat-hair fusion [which - it occurs to me - if you have dreadlocks, is probably fine with you]) and of course for fair-isle anything, which sort of lends itself to felt-prone yarn anyway, and carries the bonus of a double-layer for hole-prevention.

Despite my discouragement, and the certainty of darning to come, I am forcing myself to finish these socks so that I can cast on for Clapotis. Lizbon suggested it for use with my divine Hollyhock Malabrigo (pictured below), and I do believe she's on to something... The quicker I get these socks finished, the quicker we can see if she's as right as I think she is.

Edit: Sweet fancy Moses, could I use more punctuation?


lizbon said...

Looks to me like your robin agrees about the Malabrigo-Clapotis intersection. That color is glorious. Oh man, I feel your pain about the dissolving socks, though. The very idea of cramping my hands to make those tiny stitches and then only wearing them a few times makes me ill just thinking about it.

Incidentally,"like an abortionist at playgroup" had me rolling in the proverbial aisles.

lizbon said...

Oops! Here's how dopey I am: I thought the rose in the photo was a robin (though what I was really imagining was a cardinal, with the wrong name attached). I think the city-dwelling is dulling my awareness of the natural world.

Sue H said...

I think that Hollyock Malabrigo will be perfect for your Clapotis.
Poor you, I can imagine your frustration with the sock.

Gwen said...

Lizbon is right, that does look quite a lot like a cardinal!

The eggs are beautiful indeed.

the word verification is "tsumtasa" which sounds like a kind of sushi, or a martial arts move.

Katherine said...

I feel your pain. I knit Pomatamus out of KnitPicks Gloss and I'm not sure I've even worn them 5 times, definately less than 10 and they've got a hole in one toe and the other is about to go. Now Gloss is cheap compared to Koigu, but still . . . I have a lot of time invested in those socks which I didn't really enjoy knitting because I don't like knitting the twisted stitches and they are really beautiful. Gloss is nice yarn, but not for socks!

Kate said...

Ah, good old Kroy. Fancy yarn is for artwork -- like in a vase on the table. Or on the wall .... (ahem). This is what I tell myself to deny my lusting eyes when I look at your lovely yarns anyhow...

Loverly eggs; can't wait to see the Ogee; and you're succumbing to the Clap (can't wait to see it)!

Gwen said...

"succumbing to the clap..." That sounds scary to non-knitters!

Ginny said...

the malabrigo is bee-yootiful; might be a bit of a bugger dropping all those stitches in the clap, though, it's a pretty soft, loose yarn, isn't it?

I'm thinking felted heels titches might actually last longer - no?

The shrug worked out very well, BTW, I forgot to take pics with it on, but will post some soon. It was a great use of posh cashmere sock yarn, too... - 2 skeins of Sophia 4ply from