Thursday, June 21, 2007

FO: The Saga of the K/H

There they are, the actual FO on their intended legs but minus the kilt because it hasn't been bought yet. Aren't those fabulous calves just asking to be shown off?

Way back in February, I had this bright idea. I could give my husband a Utilikilt (feel free to giggle at the propoganda) for his birthday, and knit a pair of kilt hose to go with. I consulted the digital oracle for patterns, and was taken by this. Those cables were my undoing in so many ways. And you realize this project was originally an excuse to go to my favorite yarn store and buy yarn, don't you.

Next stop, LYS. When I stopped in that fateful day, I had all kinds of ideas but no clues. Theresa was a genius at helping me with yardage, needle sizes and gauge. But there isn't a person at Knit Purl who hasn't been helpful and genuinely nice. (And I'm not just saying that because they might be reading!) I walked out with five skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted in Aran and size three DPN's, though I still had no comprehension of the scope of the project ahead of me.

At home, I hid the bag of yarn and the pattern. The thinking here was that I was going to make the k/h a total surprise. However, knitting on this project only when hubbo was work turned out to be a pipe dream. There was just too much to do. The pattern is toe-up on circulars (not my cuppa), so the first task was adapting and getting gauge for size threes. Theresa, we, okay you, were spot on. You are officially my scientific consultant for knitting projects. I cast on and frogged twice before really catching on to the proper set-up. Having never knit cables, I hadn't realized just how many stitches they could suck up. Lesson #1. Between February and the beginning of April I managed only to complete the first cuff.

As the birthdate quickly approached I found that it was time for a change of plan. First, knit in front of the husband. This involved a couple of large lies about the project. The first k/h sped toward the ankle, and it also became a sweater sleeve (in name only). By this time I'd given over the pattern for winging it. The calf shaping and ankle redux are very different from John's version, and I wish I had charted them before knitting up. Lesson #2.

Numero Uno went back into hiding after the heel flap because I couldn't think of a feasible lie to explain toe redux on a sweater sleeve. I was ecstatic to be halfway there, but resigned to the fact that six weeks wouldn't be enough to get through Numero Dos. I cast on and put aside all my other projects in the hope that I could at least finish the cuff by the necessary date.

Somewhere back in the middle of the first k/h, I must've acquired some brains because I actually made a plan and wrote out the calf and ankle shaping details before starting them. Sadly, this means that the pair are not nearly twins - more like cousins. Well, to make a long story palatably shorter, I managed to knit all the way through my notes with perfect shaping and no frogging, and bound off the second hose two days before the birthday.

There was one thing needing a correction, though. The cuff of the first didn't match the second because I started at the wrong row of the cable repeat. I tried to unravel starting at the cast-on, but when that failed utterly I just plain cut off the offending rows. Then I picked up and knit back down through to the top, cast off, and promptly asked my husband when he wanted his present. Lesson #3 is that casting off is much tighter than casting on. Can you guess which is the first sock in the picture?

He tried them on for the first time about an hour before the clock actually rolled over to his birthdate, and miraculously, they fit to a tee. And best of all, he was totally surprised.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Mel-those are amazing. What an accomplishment. Sorry you've been hurting lately--nothing should keep a good knitter down!