As promised, here’s my knitting progress. First, the leaf pullover:
As you can barely see, I’m now well past the underarm narrowing, about half-way from that point to the beginning of the neckline. It’s still very slow going because of all the 1×1 twists, but I’m very pleased with the effect, in spite of the thing being a bit off gauge and an inch too wide (I like loose fitting sweaters in mid-winter). Although I’m mired in holiday gift knitting right now I’m making a point of NOT putting this down in its entirety. I want to avoid what I now (thanks to blogging) see as a familiar pattern – the sidelining of my October/November project due to gifts leading to its eventual consignment to my Chest of Knitting Horrors ™.
And in gift knitting, here is a mostly done sock worked in a combo of black Cascade Fixation and raspberry Elann Sock it To Me Collection Esprit. Both yarns are 98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic. Both are marked with the same yardage (186 yards stretched or 100 yards relaxed), and same gauge 25st and 40 rows = 4 inches or 10 cm. Fixation also carries a crochet gauge of 29 double crochets and 12 rows = 4 inches or 10 cm. As far as I can tell, they look like exactly the same yarn. While the yarn review collection reports Fixation as a worsted based on its initially reported gauge, current labeling moves it down to the sport yarn realm in line with Esprit’s labeling. I say neither is spot on, and would call both yarns DKs.
My own gauge using 3mm needles at a reasonable sock gauge is 6.5 stitches and 12 rows = 1 inch. The fabric is markedly stretchy, even more so than a comparable weight wool yarn knit at the same tight gauge. Now I know many people who have reason to avoid wool socks swear by this stuff, but I’m less enchanted. I selected it because I am knitting socks for someone who is both wool sensitive and diabetic, who requested very stretchy cotton socks with a specific wide ankle measurement in comparison to the foot area. I am working my standard toe-up sock on a foot circumference of 48 stitches, moving up to 52 stitches just prior to the short rowed heel, and then 54 stitches immediately after. I add another four stitches at the uppermost black stripe for an ankle part stitch count of 60 stitches. Based on progress so far I predict I’ll use one ball of raspberry on each sock, plus most of one ball of black between the two. I bought 4 raspberry and two black, so I’ll have enough left over to make another pair, should I so desire.
But I’m not sure I so desire. Although this sock is suitably uber-stretchy, and the cotton yarn is relatively lofty, I don’t like the feel of cotton socks for myself. I find them cold and hard compared to wool, and walking in them feels like walking in a massage sandal studded with thousands of little pebbles. But I don’t have problems with wool. If you do, this yarn is an acceptable substitute, although at its weight you’re going to end up with nice, thick hiking socks, not fingering weight socks that are wearable in a wider range of shoes.
I was also disappointed in the color of the raspberry bought via the Web from Elann. Standard cautions on buying based on color displayed on a computer monitor apply. Remember – no color monitor displays true color fidelity, and lighting conditions at the photographer’s end can add complications (to demonstrate this, call up different photos of the same color card at multiple retailers’ websites, and/or view the exact same color card photo on different monitors). On line the stuff looked much deeper, almost wine in hue (which was the color requested by the recipient). In person the raspberry is closer to an unexciting mauve. Color fidelity is another reason I vastly prefer to buy yarn in person rather than by mail order. Color cards help, but since I have so many excellent local yarn source options, and am always looking for new yarns rather than repeaters, I do not buy by mail often enough to invest in them.
My next bit of gift knitting will be a wool foraging cap for a historical re-enactor friend. It’s mid to late 1700s or so in target, and will be based on Voyageur’s Caps and Liberty Caps. I’ll take notes as I create that hat in case the thing catches on with his re-enactor regiment. Second cotton sock will probably take me through Thursday or Friday, so I won’t be beginning his hat until later this week.