Friday, December 9, 2011

The alpaca sock experiment

Finishing off the alpaca socks didn't take quite as long as making them, but it felt like it - have you noticed that with your most longed-for knits?

I spent an entire evening doing Kitchener stitch and running in ends, though I suspect it would have taken less time if I hadn't been watching a movie starring a youthful Rossano Brazzi at the time.  So distracting, that man.

And then, being heavy alpaca, they took a couple of days to dry, even in the warm room where most of the radiator pipes live. 

I decided to run the ribbing straight down the leg because I just don't love looking down at a baggy sock, and plain socks invariably do bag on me.  By the ankle I remembered (and how!) that I also don't love knitting endless rounds of ribbing, but when I tried to do a plain foot I found the transition to stocking stitch was super lumpy and awkward looking so I went on as I'd started.

I am trying to remember that there is knitting an item and there is wearing it, and if you're lucky the wearing part will last the longest and be worth any effort beforehand.

Of course this is a pure experiment, the alpaca socks.  The yarn is from Meadowview Alpaca Farm and, though the blend seem to be different there now mine are a mix of alpaca with 15% or maybe 20% nylon for strength. I've done the heels and toes in strong-but-soft wool (Duchess from Twisted Fiber Art) for added endurance, but I will confess I trembled when I took them off after their first blissful-for-me day of being essentially felted inside my boots:

There's some fluff that suggested wear, until I noticed the same thing on some merino/mohair socks I've been wearing for a year without ill effect. 

The other thing I wanted to mention about these socks is the actual ribbing, which was for the first sock K2, P2 all the way round.  Worked beautifully till I got past the heel and realized that the front half was not symmetrical with the back, but heavier on the knit on one side than the other.  I got around this problem by making the second sock P2, K2 all the way round.  Now, whichever one I put on my right foot, they balance out.

Makes me kinda glad for the needle shortage that has me knitting just one sock at a time, instead of alternating between parts of the pair.

Have a good weekend! I'll see you Monday, hopefully with lots of finished Christmas knits in hand.

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