Thursday, April 24, 2008
Monkeys Without Borders
I know. I suck. There she was, the Yarn Harlot in all her brilliant and hysterically funny glory, and this is the best picture I got of her. I didn't even get a picture of her holding the baby whose birth I attended six weeks ago (and whose kind mum is how I got to go). On the other hand, when said mum mentioned that I'd been her doula, Madame Pearl-Mcphee shook my hand, with enthusiastic words of praise about how important we are. It was enough to fluster anyone.
The fabulous folks at Blue Moon Fiber Arts had cooked up a special colorway of Socks That Rock Lightweight for the occasion called "Knitters Without Borders". In order to not finish my mother's Monkey (see below) too soon, I wound my skein... and still ended up knitting Mom's sock halfway down the foot. Anyway, I took my precious ball home and promptly cast on for one pattern... then decided that not only did I not have enough yarn in the one skein to complete that pattern, but that the white/black/rust-red/gray/mauve variegations really didn't suit the lace. So I frogged that start, and started another Monkey, this one for me. You can't really see it in the above pic, but I'm several rows into the heel - this pattern knits ridiculously fast for me! I'm thinking that I'm going to wear these for my labor - just seems appropriate in so many ways I can't count.
So yeah, Mom's Monkeys. Mom had been working on this sock (well, not *this* one, she was doing a plain stockinette sock) for a couple of years now. She was taking so long not because she hates the yarn or anything (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway is Lorikeet) - quite the contrary. But in her life, she's used her hands enough that she's got some arthritis in them, and can't knit so much anymore, and this sock just fell to the bottom of the pile, one way and another. When she was visiting for my brother's wedding a few weeks ago, we were talking about knitting (naturally), and doing a bit of show and tell, and she pulled her version of this sock out - barely longer than the last time I saw it, over a year ago. So I said, "Mom, I need more things to knit, my stash is low and not likely to be replenished for a good long time, why don't you leave that with me and I'll do something fun with it." Well, that was the gist, anyway. She agreed, and left the incipient sock (now frogged to a happy little ball) with me... I started this Monday morning on the way to a prenatal appointment, and got this far between that travel and listening to the Harlot Tuesday evening... and now I'm waiting for the first of the month and payday so Mom can send the second ball and I can finish the pair. Did I mention this pattern goes super fast for me? I mean, it's just ridiculous. The leg of the Monkey Without Borders above I knitted almost entirely in about 4 hours last evening.
I feel the desire to comment here about how I knit Monkeys. When I made my first pair last summer, I fiddled a few false starts (alliteration not entirely intended), and found that for me, I really do need to use US 2s on the leg, because the pattern just doesn't have the stretchiness of the ribs and lace patterns I frequently use. On the other hand, I sincerely dislike the feel underfoot of stockinette from 2s (not to mention I think the gauge I get doesn't wear as well as a tighter one), so for the heel to toe portions, I switch to US 1s, and decrease a few stitches less in the gussets. This modification, of course, is for fingering weights; anything heavier, like the STR Mediumweight I used for the Monkeys I knit my fellow doula Amy, and I use the larger needles throughout.