Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sock it to, uhm, whomever

Helloo? Anyone there? ::tap:: ::tap:: Is this thing on?

Oh, hi! Long time no see! It has been over a month since my last post - and I just realized that I still have a couple more scarves to send off to

I spent much of the month recovering from the October full of introductory classes at the Red Cross to learn about the different type of disaster response services they provide to the community (all free, and all paid for by donations, not by any local, state, or federal funding, with very little going to paid staff, as there isn't much in the way of paid staff, most of the day-to-day work, training and emergency services being provided by trained volunteers) and doing some volunteering myself.

I also got reacquainted with my inner drunk and scofflaw, doing DUI and traffic violation role plays at the Public Safety Training Center in November. For a couple of nights in December, our victims, er, recruits, er, students were park rangers who were completing a law enforcement course for rangers. I did drunk and stupid one night, but the second night I did high risk traffic stops, which involved three rangers and lots of weapons, including the gun (disabled) and knife (rubber) I got to stash in my car and on my person.

All I will say is that there are an apparently infinite number of ways to have your wrists cuffed that hurt! And, well, some ways that don't, or at least not so much, including the time I was able to get out of my cuffs while I was biding my time in the back of a patrol car.

I now have the reputation of being a pleasant drunk who slips her cuffs. Oops! Well, better they learn on me than make that kind of mistake when taking down a truly dangerous person.

Anyway, during this month or so that I've been not writing, I have been working on socks.

I finished these two, one a Regia stripe, the other KnitPick's Sock Memories in the Hawaii colorway. Needless to say, I will not actually be wearing them both at the same time:

I also went to work on my first Socks for Soldiers socks. SFS sends hand knit boot and leisure socks to our men and women in the service, mostly, at this time, in Afghanistan and Iraq. The boot socks have to be black, though a pair of white is okay only when worn underneath--and completely covered by--a pair of black ones. The black boot socks have to be BIG, both in the length of the leg and a little generous through the foot to compensate for shrinkage that will happen to socks washed rather less gently than us sock knitters at home usually wash our own. Black boot socks knit in finer (thinner) yarn can also be worn as dress socks. SFS knitters can also make leisure socks to send along for off-duty times.

Along with the sock pairs banded with size, fiber content, and optimal care information, we send along some darning yarn and needles, just in case.
SFS's founder, Kim Opperman, also stuffs the sock boxes full of all sorts of goodies wanted by our servicemembers deployed far from the comforts of home, like toothbrushes, sunblock, lip balm, snacks, gum, instant drink mixes, etc. The SFS list has a wide range of men and women sock knitters on it, some brand new to sock knitting, others long-time knitters. Some have spouses or children in the service, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others, like me, just want to support the folks there on the ground, regardless of our political beliefs or feelings about what the Administration has or has not done.

If you'd like to help SFS out, check out the SFS site. No problem if you aren't a knitter: cash donations help pay for shipping the sock shipments, and donations of the types of toiletries and sundries (or cash to purchase them) included in each shipment are always welcome. You can contact Kim through the SFS website to find out more.

Anywaaaay.... Ya'll have some sense of how long I have been knitting socks, and how many pairs of socks I have knitted (rough estimate is 50+ pairs). So, plain, simple sock making is not difficult and generally no brainer enough that I carry a sock-in-progress with me whenever I go out. So I do not understand why knitting this one SFS sock has been such a hellish experience!

Forget that I had to rip it out and start anew 4 times - that was just a working out of gauge and fabric-feel. But between stitches getting weirded up (how badly can one mess up K1, P1 rib, I ask you?!) and the ball turning into the Ball From Hell, requiring SIX hours to untangle over the course of two nights, well, it is no surprise that I haven't even finished one leg yet!

That's as of last night. I actually stopped working on it for two nights because no matter how perfect the stitches were when I finished working on one needle, by the time I got around to it again (I use three needles, plus a fourth to work with), the last several sts on the needle were twisted, and managed to drop down several rows while I tried to correct them. After spending more time correcting than I was knitting, I decided the project needed another rest.

So I worked on some other socks:

Lest there be an LIS entry without a cute animal picture, here's one I took on the skid pan on one of my drunken nights:

Let's see how this rather light close-up looks:

And, finally, m'boy Mike. He has become resigned to the shorter days insofar as he no longer stomps into the bathroom and demands a 5 PM bath every night. But he is insistent on some cuddling every afternoon, something that has been hard on my hands. So I got us this lovely manly fleece blanket (2 for $10 at Walgreens).

Now, what's funny is that MIKE HATES PLAID. If he sees anyone wearing plaid, regardless of the size of the pattern or the colors, he freaks out. I don't know if the dark green on this blanket is dark enough that he hasn't really seen the black cross-striping, or in The World of Mikey's Brain, he is the only one who is permitted to wear plaid, but he hasn't freaked out when looking at it, nor does he mind me petting him through it, and he clearly isn't bothered about sleeping under it.

G'night, Mike.

Hello, SFS big black sock #1.

Update on SFS: I finally got that last inch done and worked the 2.5" heel and finished turning the eye-of-partridge heel! Whew! Only had to rip back once, when I was part way through the heel turn, when I found I'd dropped a stitch several rows back. Sigh. Tomorrow: the gusset!



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