A trip north, with socks

Published on Friday May 5th, 2006

Last weekend Mr. Garter and I took a jaunt up to Seattle to visit friends and relatives. I had an ulterior motive, too – the Seattle Knitting and Fiber Arts Expo was in full swing, too, and I wasn’t about to miss that. I didn’t know what to expect: the only knitting festival I’d attended previously was New York Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck, and clearly an event held in the Seattle Marriott wasn’t going to be featuring quite so many wooly beasties. And while sheep dog trials in a hotel sound like a pretty good time to me (certainly the dog would be required to load the sheep into the elevator and bring them up or down to the correct floor), I didn’t get my hopes up. Sure enough, the Seattle Knitting Expo was a smaller and tamer affair. I hadn’t signed up for any classes, so I just browsed through the twenty or so vendors’ booths. Blue Moon was there, rocking their famous sock yarn (I didn’t buy any, since I stocked up at Knit Purl a few weeks ago and I still have a huge stash of it from Christmas), but I was disappointed not to see Brooks Farms in attendance. I did do a little stashing at Pat Fly’s Angora Valley booth – I picked up an 800 (!) yard hank of 3-ply wool in “Tartan”, a mix of berry tones, and a 650-yard skein of Fly Super Sport Monarch (formerly Happy Trails 3-ply – a dead ringer for the midweight STR at a much more generous yardage and better price, and superwash to boot) in shades of teal. By the time I had finished shopping, it was raining buckets and the temperature had plummeted. The weather had been so mid-summer glorious all week that I hadn’t even packed a sweater for my trip. So I sat in the lobby shivering in my Clapotis and knit like a fiend on Hourglass. When the rain lightened up a little, I fetched a car for the woman I’d been chatting with (an awesome green Buick with the vanity plate “I KNIT”) and then made my way back to the relatives’ house.

On Monday we drove up to visit my parents for a few days. And of course there was the Sockapaloooza deadline to meet. I almost got the Dalarnas in the mail for Tuesday. Sometimes I forget that when you’re on an island things work a little differently. It turns out the airline that used to carry our mail got all delinquent with their rent payments to the airport and lost their accreditation, so they aren’t allowed to carry the mail anymore. This means the mail has to go out by boat, and that means the post office has changed their hours and now closes at 3:00. Not 3:00:27, which is approximately when I turned up at the door with my package. Alas, my most pathetic appeals could not sway the man locking said door. So the socks had to wing their way to my pal in the other Washington Wednesday morning before I boarded the ferry for a day hike on a neighboring island. But I’m pleased with them – thanks to those of you who suggested blocking on coat hangers. (Click for big!)
sock_blockers1.jpg

dalarna_blocking.jpg

dalarna_drying.jpg

Specs:

Dalarna socks from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road

Dale Baby Ull in cherry red

US#0 Addi circs

As I mentioned previously, I modified the pattern to replace the leg shaping with ribbing. Otherwise, I followed it as written. It has the swirling toe decreases that many people seem to dislike, as they produce a somewhat pointy toe, but I decided to trust Nancy. The blocking rounded out the toes a bit.

I really did knit these babies on the road – in Friday Harbor, WA; Portland, OR; Alpine, TX; Big Bend National Park; and Kansas City, MO. I just hope they fit my pal.

And now I get to await the arrival of my own socks. One of the perks is that I have an actual mailbox to watch. It’s my very first mailbox. Okay, it’s really Mr. Garter’s parents’ mailbox. But my mail comes there, too, and it’s a real novelty for me. Growing up we had a post office box because packs of rowdy boys tend to play mailbox baseball from their trucks. (We’re a little short of teen entertainment in my home community. At least we haven’t resorted to wholesale cow tipping.) Lots of people have mailboxes anyway, but my parents didn’t want to deal with one. So it’s quite a thrill for me to put the electric bill in the box and tip up the little red flag. And it’s totally fun when the postmobile heaves in sight.

Next up: Hourglass sweater!

8 Comments to “A trip north, with socks”

  1. gleek Comment Says:

    i love your sock blockers! mine did not come out as nice 🙂 i’m also awaiting my socks. i wonder when i’ll get them!

  2. Katie Comment Says:

    Lovely socks! And it sounds like hourglass is coming along nicely. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see collies hearding sheep at the Marriott. That would have been awesome!

  3. Lisa Comment Says:

    The socks turned out wonderfully! I’m sure your pal will be tickled pink to receive them! Call again soon! We sure do miss our Blue Garter around these parts…

  4. Veronique Comment Says:

    I love how your pictures pop up on the screen! Very fancy.
    Your socks look lovely, and the bent coat hangers are very nifty!

  5. minnie Comment Says:

    the socks turned out lovely, i’m glad the “blocking wires” worked, lol. i’m just going to have to break down and buy that book (when i’m off hte diet, sigh)

    a warning about paying your bills by putting them in the mailbox: thieves steal letters from mailboxes with the flag up, “wash” the checks in some chemical, and reuse your checks for their own nefarious purposes. i saw it done on the news a few months back. you’re better off either paying with a credit card (which has it’s own inherent risks) or dropping hte bills in an approved postal box (the blue buggers taht are everywehre)

  6. Karma Comment Says:

    I’m so sorry we didn’t hook up in Seattle! Wasn’t the weather weird? It’s been like that for the past 2-3 weeks… sunny and beautiful during the week, rainy on the weekend. This weekend is supposed to be the same.

    Good to see that you made sock blockers out of wire. That’s something I’ve been meaning to try out for a while. The Dalarnas are so pretty! What do you think of Baby Ull for socks? You’ll have a happy pal for sure. 🙂

  7. Lori Comment Says:

    It’s your sock pal from Washington, DC – thank you so much!!! I got the socks yesterday, and I love them. They fit perfectly and I love the color and they feel really nice. They will definitely keep me warm in the winter, and the leg part is long enough so I can wear them with my winter boots -yea! I had fun going back and reading your blogging about my well-traveled, well-blocked socks. I’m glad you did the ribbing along the back b/c I actually do have remarkably big calves for someone who wears a size 5.5. 🙂 Also, thank you so much for the wool yarn from your neighbor’s sheep – what a generous and unexpected surprise! As my husband said when he saw it, “Knitters are nice people.”

  8. Blue Garter » Blog Archive » Baby Surprise Pingback Says:

    […] Modifications: Only the addition of the simple crochet around the edges. I thought the variegated yarn wanted visual pulling together. And I had some scraps of Dale Baby Ull in an appropriate red left over from my Sockapaloooza socks. Overall, I’m delighted by this little sweater. The construction is so clever and unusual. I was guessing at the pithy directions a couple of times, but I guessed correctly and all turned out well. […]

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