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Fiesta Feet Finale

Project: Lucy Neatby's Fiesta Feet
Yarn: Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Fingering Weight, 1 skein hand paint, 2 skeins white
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Double Points, 2.5 mm

The Fiesta Feet, they are finished!  Not quite two months to get one pair of socks finished would make you think that these socks were very challenging to make.  In fact, they are actually not so bad to make and very hard to get bored with since what you are doing changes all the time.  I enjoyed working on them, it's just been my lack of free time since they got started that kept me from getting them finished sooner.

I won't go into all the mistakes, er, design elements in them.  Suffice it to say that I got distracted in a couple of places and since these things happened on the sole of one sock, I decided that no one but me would ever see them and I could live with them.  Life is short, ripping takes time!

20080420_FiestaFeetInstepPa.jpgWhile this sock looks like it might be a complicated, challenging two-color extravaganza, in fact, the only true two color per row knitting is found in the instep and sole of the sock.  Up until that point, the two colors are used on alternate rows.   While I wouldn't say that this sock is the perfect two-color learning project, it isn't all that hard, either.  I did the first sock with both colors in my left hand (I knit continental style) and the second sock carrying one color in each hand because I had a lot of issues with tangling with the first sock.  This is one of the few sock projects where I probably could have made my life easier if I had knit the instep and sole with two circs or using the magic loop method instead of knitting on double points -- I think it's just easier to deal with keeping the rhythm going when you don't have to mess around with so many needles. 

20080420_FiestaFeetSolePatt.jpgThe sole of the sock was very simple -- just alternating colors and every other row was just the main base color, so you even get a little break from two color knitting.  Even though I don't consider myself very good at the whole two color knitting process, it just never felt like the repeats took that long -- probably because I had something to think about while I was working on them, and because I enjoyed watching the color progression. 

20080420_FiestaFeetHeelDesi.jpgBut probably my very favorite design element for these socks was the heel.  I've become a pretty dedicated short-row heel sock knitter, so I don't see myself using this idea on may own any time in the future, but this heel sure is lovely.  And, leave it to Lucy Neatby to come up with a simple heel construction that doesn't gap at the corners.  I could see using this lattice work patterning on special baby sweater -- with bigger yarn, of course!  I really like the "looking though the window lattice" that this pattern creates while at the same time creating a more durable surface for the heel of the sock.

While it's rare for me to ever want to knit a pattern a second time, I could absolutely imagine making a second pair of these (maybe with a dark background color and a variegated colorway that falls closer to my "color favorites").  Even the bobbles didn't bother me all that much -- though I would have probably gotten rid of them if there had been more than one row. 

Probably the only downside to these socks is that I was never able to score any of those see-through plastic Regia rain boots.  They'd be perfect for this time of year in Chicago and for showing off my fabulous new socks!

A Fiesta Foot

One Fiesta Foot ready to dance!  We're supposed to get snow tonight, but today it's actually quite lovely for March in Chicago so this first foot got to soak up some sunshine.  Sock number two is underway.  I'm hoping that the Easter weekend will give me a few more moments to get some work done on the second one.  With all the stranded knitting in the foot of the sock, it's going to be quite warm to wear, so I'd like to get it done before Chicago weather does some abrupt shift from cold to full on summer!

Fiesta Feet at the Beach


20080309_LastStitchesOnMarc.jpgFor this vacation, I did something remarkable.  I got all the things I needed for the vacation in my single suitcase (which is small enough to be carry on when I am on a business trip) and a tote bag.  I limited myself to one book to read (never touched it), one book of Sudoku puzzles (did a few) and one knitting project (made many stitches).  On the way back, there was still a little room in all of our suitcases.  I consider it an ironic victory that we were able to travel lighter with a baby than when we travel on our own.  Maybe just knowing that we weren't going to be going out any place fancy with a 7 month old in tow was the key.  Who needs fancy shoes or clothes that have to live on hangers when you have to find a restaurant that is tolerant of a small child spreading saltine cracker shards everywhere?

Ms. Z did travel very well and I think we were impressed with both her and ourselves when it came to our airplane trip.   My best advice for traveling with a baby?  1) Pack some juice.  And then take twice as much as you think you need.  Take offs and landings can take longer than you think they will and liquids are the perfect way to make a baby swallow so they can handle the pressure changes.  2) Toys. Lots of them.  Sacrifice your own potential entertainment for that of the kid.  As we learned, you might get lucky and get a short nap, or you might get an active baby. An active baby means that you won't be reading that third book you brought (or knitting) anyway.

By limiting my own entertainment options, I actually made my vacation better.  One sock project is easy to schlep around without feeling over loaded.  My usual regimen finds me with much more day-to-day luggage because I worry that I won't feel like working on any given project.  This time, I just had one project to focus on, and, as a result, I got quite a bit accomplished.  Nap time when you are on vacation is just pure bliss time to do whatever you want, even if you can't leave the condo.

If I was only going to take one project along, I decided it was going to be a good one.  I bought my Fiesta Feet sock pattern and Soft Touch yarn from the folks at Shelridge Farm at my first MS&W.   Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking because while I have always been intrigued by color work knitting, I had relatively little interest in doing it.  And when I got the pattern home, I remember looking it over, thinking it looked too complicated (without really reading it over very well) and putting everything into my stash. 

With the start of the color work projects for Z, I got to thinking about what was in my pattern library that might be fun for me, and remembered this pattern.  This time, when I looked over the pattern, I realized that it's no where near as complicated as it looks.  In fact, until you get past turning the heel, all of the knitting is done using either one or the other color.  Once you get past the heel, every other row is a single color, and the two color rows are straightforward, easy to memorize.  In fact, I'd argue that this is a very nice project to "learn" two color knitting on.  And all the different techniques in the cuff and leg of the sock make it impossible for you to get bored. 

I'll talk about those different sections in my next post -- this sock really comes to life under a macro lens!