Sunday, February 24, 2008

Take It Further Challenge, February

The Take It Further Challenge for February is "What are you old enough to remember?"

Who else knows how to pack the wood on a wood stove that so that it will burn evenly long enough for a cake a rise? That's right as a country girl I was taught to cook on a wood stove. Now I have a gas stove and a microwave oven. In winter the warmest room in the house was the kitchen and we had hot water bottles to take bed now we have electric blankets, which to be honest I never turn on because I don't like them - much to my husband's dismay.

I remember washing that involved a copper and hand wringers then in my teens I had a really modern invention--a twin tub washer! Automatic washing machines were the height of luxury. I also remember out door toilets and how in winter had to grab an umbrella to dash down the path to visit it.

So this month stop and think what are you old enough to remember. You do not have to declare your age--but simply what you are old enough to remember.

One thing I'm old enough to remember is when most women made many of their own clothes at home. That's certainly how I became interested in the fiber arts--watching and eventually helping my mom and grandma darn socks, embroider dish towels, knit mittens, crochet pillowcase edgings, and run up dresses on the magical sewing machine.

For February's challenge, I decided I would return to my roots, and make a practical garment. While I've knitted dozens of pairs of socks, I haven't ever made a pair of the sort of fine-gauge knit trouser socks I remember ladies knitting when I was little.

As it happens, I have a big cone of fine-gauge machine-knitting wool. (Princess helpfully provides scale in this photo.) Holding two strands at once, this yarn gives a gauge similar to fingering weight yarn--about 10 stitches/inch on 000 double-pointed needles. This is a type of sock knitting unfamiliar to the nouveau knitters of Ravelry, Knitty, and other hip, fashion-forward Internet watering holes.

Fortunately, for fingering weight wool I can turn to my knitting inheritance, in this case, the 1947 Columbia Knitting Manual (a bargain at 75 cents!). This sock pattern is working very well. I tried half-a-dozen different stitch patterns for "textural interest," but had to give them up. I couldn't manage twist-stitches or cables with such fine yarn held double. This plain broad rib promises to make a smooth and comfortable sock, and that is what I'm old enough to remember.

Columbia Minerva sock pattern,

I'd hoped to have more sock progress to display at the end of February, but the unraveling and reknitting really ate into my project time, and small stitches such as these make for leisurely completion.


Maya Sara Matthew said...

What amazing skill or I should say skills - how to light a wood fire so you bake a cake and your knitting is just great.Such skills should be treasured.

Unknown said...

wow, I'm very impressed by such fine knitting. Like the idea of making something useful

Magpie Sue said...

Wow. Now *that's* a challenge!

Meg in Tennessee said...

How wonderful you socks look, I would never have the patience to knit with that small a gage, never mind having to use four needles. For me, if it doesn't fit on my circular needles fagetit. But, I'd love a pair of socks like that they look soft and comfy.