30 September 2006

Retrospective 1 (and another cautionary tale)

Let's kick off on a positive note with a scarf update. Every cloud has a silver lining and my inability to buy 3.25mm DPNs (despite a trip to John Lewis Haberdashery on Thursday) means that I'm three days closer to being Sock Wars roadkill but have completed another skein of the scarf. It's now 80cm long and I'm going to have to order at least one more skein as my ISE recipient says she likes long scarves. 120cm is by no means a long scarf. Now let's move on to the cautionary tale, which is the first step back on the retrospective. These are the unfelted Men Who Knit knitalong clogs. They're unfelted because they're unfeltable. I bought some bargain "wool" on eBay which came in neat little balls, each with a ball band marked "100% pure new wool". It didn't feel like wool or smell like wool, but as it seemed to be quite old I gave it the benefit of the doubt. So once the clogs were finished, I put them into hot water, rubbed and scrubbed, with no change at all. I looked through people's posts about felting problems and decided to go the whole hog with a 60C wash. No impact (though they did smell fresher). Reader, I'd been sold a pup, or more precisely 1000g of violent mustard yellow acrylic. Now I don't know what to do with them. We've tried wearing them as yellow gnome-hats but they're not quite large enough to stay on top of our heads. I can't burn them and they're not going to biodegrade, although I'm amused by the thought of some future archaeologist going through landfill site and trying to work out the cultural significance of these indestructible objects. Any ideas?

28 September 2006

Mourning the fallen

I had an e-mail from my assassin, Fannie Pie, to say that she's been killed without quite finishing my socks. Another senseless act of knitting violence, but Sue seemed to be taking it in her stride. How cruel this game is! The upshot is that the marvellous wool-silk objects that will put me out of the game are now on their way from Tulsa, Oklahoma to San Antonio, Texas to be completed. I have no idea how competitively assassin #2 is taking this and will have to check out her blog. The silver lining is that I have maybe a couple more days to try and finish two proper-sized ones before I get knocked out. I'm not working today, which gives me a chance to get the 3.25mm DPNs, and I'm off to London on the train, which gives me guilt-free time to get cracking. Photo update tomorrow or at the weekend.

25 September 2006

A cautionary tale

As you can see, the first Sock of Doom is finished, Kitchener stitch and all. Glad it was only 10 pairs of stitches to be finished off!

As you can also see, it is a mite too big even for my own tender feet, which are men's UK10 = US11. Victim's feet are women's US8. Guess I should have done that tension swatch. Curses.

My partner pointed out that the aim of the game is not only to knit quickly, but also to give your victim the benefit of a serviceable pair of socks to ease the pain of failure. That makes this one unsendable, and there's no point in knitting its matching pair either.

Back to square one, and I also need to buy some 3.25mm DPNs to have a chance of knitting something wearable to pattern. Of course I could knit over 42 stitches instead of 48 but that would be cheating, so I won't.

The other lesson learned, apart from always always ALWAYS making a tension swatch, is that I like knitting socks and will be doing more of them. Why was I so against DPNs?

Specs, you can breathe easy again, at least for a while.

First steps on the sock of doom

My first pair of socks, if I ever get to complete them. This is how far I got yesterday with sock #1. My assassin is in the US and I've pleaded for mercy (i.e. asked her not to use priority mail) to give me a chance of getting them finished. Imagine being knocked out without even getting to try the Kitchener stitch. I reckon I have 6-7cm of the foot left before I start the toe decreases but also can't find my tape measure to confirm this. But as you can see, the gauge is only approximate and I think these will end up as bed socks, so it might not matter if they're a teensy bit generous.

Getting to grips with blogging

After some friendly support from Spectacled, my appointed Sock Wars victim, I've decided to get up to speed with the blog. So the plan is over the next week or so to have a quick retrospective of the projects that I've completed so far and also to start regular updates of Works in Progress. To kick off, my most recent International Scarf Exchange 3 update is here. Photos and more stuff later.