Sunday, December 12, 2010

Knitting in airports

So I have these two skeins of  yarn and more to come. It's pretty much what I hoped it would be like, but now the big question -- what to do with this llama/alpaca/merino/silk yarn?  It's going to be an extremely warm wearing item, whatever I knit with it. 

It is between a sport and a sock weight yarn.

I decided to make a pair of socks for my Dad. He lives in Bangor, Maine which is a fairly cold place in the winter.  It's a damp cold. 

Last Sunday I had to fly to Winnipeg for work, so decided that the airport waits/lineups and hotel evening time would help me make a dent in this project.  In the line up for the re-scheduled departures, [because the morning flight out of Calgary was cancelled due to mechanical errors which threw the whole system out of whack,] I cast on 56 stitches for the socks.  After 1 1/2 inches of 1x1 rib, I knew these were going to be too big.  I was using 3mm needles, the same I reguarly use to make socks.  . . . this yarn was a wee bit thicker than the sock yarn I regularly use, I never thought it would make that much of a difference.  No matter.  I had a two hour wait ahead of me, so I headed through security, grabbed a table and a coffee and proceeded with my project.

I did a few quick [back and forth] rows of stockinette stitch and measured it up.  No wonder why 56 stitches were too huge.  I ripped it all out, and according to my calculations,  decided to cast on 48 stitches.

Start #2 - no matter and no problem - I had a two hour wait ahead of me, and not many distractions.  I was in the Abbotsford Airport.

Knitting a sock or knitting a mitten is kind of like knitting a swatch, so I often don't stress about gauge and such.  All I've "wasted" so far is about 20 minutes of knitting.  That's nothing, and it helped to pass the time.  In fact, while I was standing in line, a middle aged woman walked past me, stopped and asked, "what are you doing with those sticks?"  "I am knitting."  "Oh," she said, "Is that like crochet?"  A moment flashed before me while I explained the similarities and differences between the two noble crafts [and she grew crazed with boredom and stabbed me]. Before I could come up with a reply she saved me by asking what I was making, "Socks, socks for my Dad."  "Oh, I should try that," she said, and tottered off on her heels.

I carried off in the lineup and kept knitting.  It wasn't until I was comfortably seated in the coffee area by Gate 3, that I had time and presence of mind to take an honest look at the piece I'd been making.  Yep, it's true.  This is way too big.

As mentioned earlier, I cast on 48 stitches - down a full 8 stitches from the first effort.  This should make a difference.  I knit 2 inches of 1x1 rib.  Then started on plain, easy, mindless stockinette.  I knit, and knit, and knit.  I phoned home, I texted friends.  I took photos of the sock with my phone so I could document the amazing progress of this pair of socks.   One and half hours into this activity, a feeling came upon me.  This sock is still too big.  Not as obvious as the last one, but it's still too big.

Many of you knitters will know this feeling.  I comes on you quietly. 

This isn't right. 

But another side of your brain says,

Yes it's just fine.  You did a swatch.  You measured it out

This went back and forth, while I kept knitting. 

This isn't rightIt's still too big. 

Don't worry, once it's washed up it'll shrink to size. 

And this went on until we [finally] boarded the plane to Calgary. 

Once aboard and settled in, I looked at the sock.  I removed my boot and tried the sock on.  Yep, it's way too big.  What was I thinking, why was I kidding myself?

I measured it again, getting [to no one who knits surprised  at this fact] a different gauge reading from knitting in the round than from my first flat measurement.  Sometimes you want to get something done so badly, you forget what you already know.  I can't believe I made this mistake.  No time for personal admonishments.  I had a two and half hour flight ahead of me -- knitting Nirvana.  Starting again was not a problem.

I promptly ripped it all out.  My seat mate looked over at me a full three times while I did this.  I wondered if he had experience with knitters and was wondering why I was engaging in this activity in silence? -- no swearing or cursing out of me.  I am the consumate traveller.  Nearly invisible.

I didn't rewind the tangle of yarn that landed in my lap. It seemed like a waste of time.  I cast on 42 stitches, 14 on each needle and started knitting.   By time we landed, I had completely knit up the nest of yarn that was in my lap. I was at exactly the same place in my knitting, as I was when I boarded the plane. 

More later, with photos [as soon as I learn how to transfer them from my phone to my blog.]

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