- September 29, 2012
- tags: mending
I’m undertaking a bit of sock surgery. The feet on one of the socks for Book The Third are a bit too long for the person who is going to model them. So I’ve picked out the end, ripped back the toe and an inch or so of the foot, and now I’m going to reknit the toe. But before I do that, I’ve got to address one small issue. See this?
See how the yarn is all curly and springy and kinked up into little nests? Yeah. That’s what happens when you unravel knitting that’s been set for a while (especially if it’s gotten wet after it was knit). Do yourself a favor. Don’t ever knit with yarn like that. Ever. Your tension will be all off and you knitting will never look smooth.
Instead, skein it up (I wrapped mine around a dvd case), tie it off in several points, soak it for an hour or two, and let it hang dry. You can do all this while it’s still attached to the knitting, no need to break the yarn. Once it’s dry you can knit with it (I’ll likely wind these up into little balls first just so they’re easier to work with). I do sort of love how the little nests look though. I’m half tempted to find something to do with yarn in that state.
Back when I was a (delusional) engineering student, I had to take my fair share of physics classes. Some might say slightly more than my fair share. One of my professors had an odd and somewhat alarming propensity to set us problems that involved livestock. Cows on ice skates. Sheep in catapults. Horses on pogo sticks. The imagery was actually quite disturbing and rather makes me wonder about his misspent youth. Each of these problems would end with the line, ‘for ease of calculation, assume the animal is a sphere.’
Now the distinction between a mathematical sphere and an engineering sphere is a fine one to make. They aren’t the same thing, and knowing which one you’re dealing with can have all sorts of real-world ramifications. But the habit of assuming livestock are all spheres tends to lead to fits of giggles whenever I drive past a field full of critters. The Boy was in this class too, and ‘engineering sphere’ is still part of our household lexicon.
All of which is my rather rambling and indirect way of bringing me to the topic of your thumbs. Bear with me, there is a connection. Take a second and lay your hands flat on a table or desk or wall. See how your thumbs stick straight out from the side of your hand, it’s in a plane with your other fingers? Ok, now pick your hands up and hold them relaxed in front of you. See how your thumbs are no longer sticking straight out of the side of your hands but are instead a bit closer in toward your palms? Yeah. That’s where your thumbs spend most of their days.
This thumb placement thing becomes important when you’re thinking about knitted hand coverings. It comes up for me in fingerless mitts, but it would be important in gloves or mittens too. You know how some pairs of mitts seem to constantly be twisting around your arm? How the back part isn’t ever centered right when you’re wearing them? And if it is then the underside of your arm is all twisty? Yeah. A lot of that goes away if you remember to put your thumb stitches a tiny bit in towards your palm, instead of straight out to the side. Take a look at these.
That guy in the front, he’s got his thumb sticking straight out to the side. Exactly like your thumb doesn’t usually do. And see how the fabric looks a bit bunched up and shoved over and uneven (hard to convey in a picture, but I had to fight to get it as smooth as it is, and even then it’s wanting to twist). Now look at the dude in the back, he’s got his thumb set a bit forward of his fingers. That’s where your thumb usually hangs out. See how the fabric on the back of the hand looks smoother and straighter? These mitts have their thumbs tucked under, just the littlest bit. That means they look awkaward when they’re on a glove form with his thumb sticking straight out, but look very good on a glove form with his thumb in a more natural position (or, say, on a human hand, which is likely more important).
Pretending your thumbs stick straight out the side of your hands may make the calculations easier, but it’s about as accurate as pretending that cow is a sphere. Move your thumb stitches in towards your palm, just a tiny bit (really, it can be as little as a stitch or two), and you’ll find your mitts don’t twist around and fit much better.
Next month is going to be busy. It’s the good sort of busy. Actually it’s two good sorts of busy, first the super productive slightly frantic sort, then the relaxed chill sort. It should all be fun, but it does require a bit of advance planning.
So, I’m polling the collective here. First, any must know tips for Rhinebeck? I’m going (yay), and it’s my first one, and I want to be sure to do it right. Second, any marvelous yarn shops in Maine I should know about? Maine’s big, and we’ll be staying on the coast, so nothing too far inland. But you guys are all knowing, so I’m shamelessly asking you for ideas.
One morning next month I will wake up, collect a large box of knitting and props, and head off to do the photo shoot for KCC2. This is both exciting (because holy wow is seeing all the pictures fun) and terrifying (because it’s the point in the process where the greatest number of things have to go right at the same time in order for the day to go well). I deal with this tension in a variety of ways, some rational (lists, lists, and more lists) and some irrational (like asking everyone I know to keep their fingers crossed for good weather that day).
One of the rational reasonable things I do as I get ready is block everything. Again. Just to be sure. I generally give stuff a light blocking when it comes in from the (noble and esteemed) sample knitters. That lets me confirm that there aren’t any problems or surprises. But there’s a period between when the samples arrive and when the photo shoot happens. During that time, the knitting can lose some of its crispness. So I spend the week or two before the shoot reblocking everything. I’ve started that now, or at least I’ve tried to start it. It’s been raining for days, nothing is drying, and my office smells like a damp sheep.
I’m starting to think this means I should just wait a day or two, but I have awesome new blocking mats and I’m eager to play with them. Oh, and if any of you are looking for blocking mats, do yourself a favor and check out the ones they sell as generic ‘interlocking foam mats’ rather than the ones sold specifically as blocking mats. These are the ones I got, and they’re less than half the price per square foot (and yes, that calculation includes shipping) as the ones from somewhere like Knit Picks. The ones I got are also 2 feet per side, which means I can often block things on just one tile, which makes it easier to set it aside somewhere to dry without feeling like it will fall apart in transport. Plus there’s the not-inconsiderable amusement of co-opting non-knitting supplies for knitterly purposes. Now if it would just stop raining, I could get this stuff done.
You recall our little trip the other weekend? You recall I mentioned I was knitting as we drove around? But for some mysterious reason I didn’t show you the knitting (unusual behavior for a knitting blogger). That’s because it was stealth birthday knitting. But the birthday has come and gone, and the knitting has made its way to the intended person, so I can come back and retroactively show it off.
These are the mitts I made with the Alisha Goes Around yarn I mentioned the other week. First, proof that I really did take them on the trip. We grabbed this shot when we walked down to the water in Watkins Glen while waiting for our table at lunch. I don’t think the town has a high enough density of knitters, as we got more than one funny look in the process. I mean really, if there were the proper number of knitters, people would be used to that sort of thing. Any looks would be attempts to catch a glimpse of the ball band, not darting glances to see if the crazy person was dangerous.
I finished the second one on the drive home on Sunday. Monday afternoon I blocked them. Tuesday we grabbed some pictures. First, I did pictures of them on hand forms (not being able to take terribly good shots of both of my own hands).
That evening I sweet talked The Boy into taking some of them on my hands (in the 15 minutes between when he got home and the sun went down…I may have ambushed him in the driveway with the camera in clutched in my mitt-clad hands). I’ll show those off next week when I put the pattern out. The pattern is off with testers now. All it needs in the meantime is a name, and it will be ready to go.