## Friday, August 5, 2011

### When will I ever use this in real life?

Remember asking that about math? Not adding and subtracting, obviously, but equations. Percentages. Geometry. Graphing. Once they started adding letters (and requiring calculators that cost more than a car), I was toast. Not really, I guess, I made it all the way through pre-Calc with reasonable grades, but math was never easy again, and I dropped it as soon as I could.

(Actually, I liked Geometry, the logic of angles and shapes spoke to me. I remember a very specific class where the teacher put a so-called diagram up on the overhead, but it resembled nothing so much as a blob of ink, causing us all to giggle as she tried to teach us while repeatedly referencing said meaningless blob, ultimately leading her to pitch a huge fit. I want to feel bad for her now, but we were a rather well-behaved group of advanced math students in a stuffy all-girls Catholic school, so a few giggles about blobs on the overhead are barely a blip on the radar given all of the atrocious behavior she could've been experiencing as a teacher.)

(Do they still have overhead projectors?)

It turns out, though, that you need math as a knitter. At least, if you're concerned about your clothes actually fitting. No quadratic equations or anything, but a few basics. If your gauge is x stitches per inch, and you want your garment to be Y inches wide, you'll need to cast on X x Y stitches. Decreasing, ie, subtracting evenly across a row of stitches. Counting.  I was ok with all of that. The idea of doing math was scary, but in practice, it was doable.

But now, trying to design, I'm finding the need for even MORE math.

I don't like it.

Math for making different sizes. Math for adding cables. Math for switching stitch patterns. Math. Math. Math.

My head is spinning a little bit, as I try to design a pair of socks. This could take a while.

In the meantime, I've finished two pair of socks someone else spent hours fretting over designing.

Pattern: Boyfriend socks, sz medium
Yarn: Malabrigo sock in Cordovan

You may recognize these because I started knitting them last July. Oops. I guess I got distracted.

Oh well, better late than never, right?

Easy, straightforward pattern, short row heel, cabled without a cable needle as usual. I made the cuffs extra long as that's what El Peruano prefers, and ta da:

Sadly, I did not love the Malabrigo sock. Too thin for my taste, I feel like these will wear out quickly. (El Peruano has been instructed to never, EVER put these in the laundry; let's see how long it takes him to forget.

This yarn is more my style:

Pattern: Diamonds and Cables socks, from Wendy Johnson's Toe-up Socks for Everybody
Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Lubber Grasshopper

The trickiest part of this sock was a difficult cable in the middle--slip 2 stitches to the cable needle, hold in back; knit 1 stitch through the back loop from the left-hand needle; slip left-most stitch from cable needle back to the left hand needle, purl; k last stitch on cable needle through the back loop.

Since I refuse to use a cable needle unless absolutely necessary, trying to use one for this cross really slowed me down at first (mostly the bit about not dropping anything while slipping those stitches around). Once I reached a suitable level of totally-fed-up, I decided to put all my brain power into figuring out how to do it without the cable needle, and I'm happy to say, I succeeded: follow the standard technique for cabling sans needle, then, after slipping both stitches back to the left needle, purl into the second stitch, then knit into the back of the first stitch, drop both from needle.

I know, not rocket science, but I'm still proud. I figured something out without Google-ing.

These socks were the last completed for a personal challenge I established in May to knit 8 socks by the end of July (3 complete pair and 2 singles). And I'm happy to say, I did it! Eight socks in 3 months!

Now I've got 4 new pair of socks snuggled up in my knitwear drawer, waiting for me to wear them once the weather turns cool.

Today's high: only 88!