Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thoughts Both Fore And Aft

I think lots and lots.  I am on vacation so I have the time.  I nap a lot too, but this isn't a napping post.  It is a thinking post.  We'll leave the naps for another time.  

For example, I have been thinking about spinning lately.  Knitting is good and all...but I really seem to be thinking a lot about spinning these days.  I don't always act on my thoughts, but this time I did.   


This is the Shetland Lamb that Cathy sent me last summer and which I have let marinate for a while.  And, when I say, "marinate," I actually mean that it was so very soft and pretty that I was afraid to touch it for fear I would massacre it.  But, what with all the thinking and stuff, I decided to give it a go.  

The thinking has led me to a deep kind of understanding.  This is not going to be the finest yarn I've ever spun.  It is not going to be the second finest.  Or the thirty-fifth.  That said, I have come to realize that I love it.  I haven't spun with yarn I've processed right from the fleece for a long time.  As much as I enjoy going from the beginning to the end with the wool, I sometimes get impatient.  And the prep work is what makes the final product, after all.  If I'm going to whisk it off to the wheel before it's really ready, I'm going to have to learn to love the floofy bits that don't want to spin happily.  

I'm counting on the acts of plying and knitting, combined with the overall beauty of the wool itself to make up for my lack of attention to detail.

As I was driving my less than happy self to the lab the other day for my various screenings and squishings, I got to thinking about the socks I've been knitting.  I was worried.  I've never done an Afterthought Heel.  Things could go horribly awry.  They often do when I am knitting strange and foreign things, after all.  And the decreasing!  What if I can't tell how far to go before toe shaping needs to happen?  Will I have an elf sock?  Worse, will I have a gigantically mutated sort of sock?  But what was I to do?  The Afterthought Heel comes after.  That is the whole point...

Thinking about this sort of stuff is what I did in order to avoid dwelling on the fact that I was running late and that I didn't want to get a mammogram in the first place.

I had a bit of an epiphany as I was motoring down the Maine Turnpike.  An Afterthought Heel could really be done at any point once you've knit a bit past the place where you put in the waste yarn.  I could just pop that bad boy in place and there would be a nice little reference point for foot shaping!

Yay for thinking!

Then I forgot about the whole thing in all the excitement of the holiday and whatnot.  Today, however, I recalled my flights of fancy and took up my sock with great hope for the future.  To ensure quality knitting time, I decided to work on my footwear while watching The Evil Dead trilogy in reverse order.  I thought about that, too.  Reverse order makes no sense whatsoever, but I've never watched them backwards before and I like the first one better than the last so I figured it would give me something to look forward to.  

It made sense while I was thinking about it, anyway...

And, with all that thinking and reverse movie watching going on, I finished a sock!  It is not without issues.  A great, gaping hole appeared when I picked up the heel stitches and later surgery was required.  A stitch was dropped somewhere and fudging (along with some rather foul language) was employed.  Finally, when all was said and done, the Afterthought Heel verdict was in.  I guess the kindest thing you can say is that it is "inelegant, but functional."  It creates a perfectly serviceable heel, but not one that fits my foot quite as nicely as one with some flappage.  I'll do it again.  It's an easy way to make a sock happen fast.  Plus, I still have to knit a second one if I want a pair of these.  But I don't think it will ever replace a heel flapped kind of sock for me.

The model I employed for the blog picture is new so I ask your understanding regarding the quality of the photo.  He hasn't thought about this kind of stuff as much as I have.  I probably should have coached him a bit more before the shoot and perhaps practiced a bit.

Maybe then he wouldn't have tried to hug it.  It took me ten minutes to get it away from him.  I thought I was going to lose a finger for a minute there...

Tomorrow I am thinking about doing some more blending with the Shetland and see if I can't get another basketful ready for spinning.  We'll see.  The weather promises to be rather humid and that often does not inspire me to break out the drum carder.  If not, I suppose I can always resort to that napping plan which has served me so well...  Time will tell.

Oh, and this last photo?  I post it because it pleases me to do so.  No thought went into this whatsoever.  

Maybe it's just revenge for the botched photo shoot...



Yarnhog said...

I've never done an afterthought heel, although I've thought about them. If you think about doing one in advance, does that defeat the purpose, or render it somehow inauthentic?

Anonymous said...

That AGK is a real ham, isn't he? Aren't you glad you got a new camera to record his antics and cuteness?

Donna Lee said...

I feel the same way about short row heels. I like the way they look with stripey yarn but I am not sure I like the way they look overall. I think I am a flap and gusset kind of woman. That sounds kind of kinky doesn't it?

crzjane said...

I have done the afterthought heel once. It was so many socks ago I can't remember if I liked it or not! I use the good old slip/knit heel flap a lot. Also I got a heel from my daughter Amanda that I like very much. It involves a lot of stitch wrapping.
Looks like you should be able to start getting some fiber from that cat to spin. I wonder if Kitty fur would be as soft as Bunny fur?

Jeanne said...

AGK thought that you made it for hims.

Nice socks! (Laughing at Yarnhog's comment)

catsmum said...

I think that Sophie is in love with AGK - I had to explain the concept of distance and oceans and all that to her. She was unimpressed.
As to the afterthought heel being inelegant and all ... I would guess that it comes into its own if you wear through the heel of your sock and can just rip-and-replace instead of some botched ugly darn. Of course that requires one to actually remember that this is the pair with the afterthought heel.

mehitabel said...

AGK is definitely a squeee-worthy model, even if he thinks socks are for eating rather than posing with! I think I'm developing a crush on him (Orange Crush?) already. That could be bad, as my furboys would be jealous.
Isn't an Afterthought Heel a good substitute for a darn as well? (I like the Harlot's method of darning socks: you hold it over the trash can and say, Darn it!)

trek said...

I once knit an afterthought heel.
Well, twice so there was a pair.
Have you noticed that I knit socks with flaps all the time?
'Nuff said.

Alwen said...

In the field of fixing stuff, the technical term for foul language is "secret magic words". In my experience, the only possible way to fix anything is by the use of the words. Maybe that's why they're secret.