It's a rather strange holiday if you ask me... Groundhog Day? The sole purpose is for an excessively pampered pet Groundhog to emerge in the early morning hours in Punxatawny, PA and the pompous men in top hats then declare whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow...or not. A shadow is not good news, as it means 6 more weeks of winter weather. And so the celebratory folks gathered in the cold morning hours this morning, declared a shadow was not seen, and theoretically spring is just around the corner. Yeah, right. It all sounds quite silly, but as a kid it was something fun to cheer up an otherwise dreary winter day. That turns silly stuff into a good thing in my eyes since I am plagued by seasonal depression.
I'm continuing to work on the edging on the Mystic Waters Shawl, but I did grant myself permission to take a couple of days off as the work on the shawl was beginning to get to me. But the top is fairly mindless knitting at this point, so it was good company as I watched President Hinckley's funeral on BYU-TV today. The services were lovely and I maintained my composure surprisingly well for a woman with a mushy heart. I didn't start crying until the end of the graveside service when a lone bagpiper emerged from behind an enormous 100+ yr old pine tree in the Salt Lake City Cemetery playing first Danny Boy, then Amazing Grace. Pres. Hinckley so loved Danny Boy! There's something about the plaintive, rather mournful sound of bagpipes that just can't be duplicated. It was a fitting tribute to the man who's ancestors hailed from the UK, a place he loved so much.
I finished the 1st Volunteer Spirit Sock very late Thursday night and have cast on for the 2nd sock. While their are still some aspects of the design that are a little rough in my eyes, overall I'm quite pleased with how they are turning out. I have a new appreciation for the challenges of creating a lace pattern from scratch. I looked for an existed pattern that would communicate the Volunteer V, but found none suitable for a top=down sock. That left a sketch book and pencil and swatching.
I wanted the eyelets to be the important feature of the V lace pattern, rather than the lines formed by a series of decreases. This idea has it's strengths, but I'm not certain it lends itself to self-striping yarn as well as it does to a solid color. The half-pattern offset gives a diamond appearance to the fabric from a distance. I like this look, but it adds significantly to the difficulty of the knitting by placing YOs at the beginning and end of each needle. I may write an alternate version of the pattern which eliminates the offset and goes with just the simple V lace pattern--a better choice for beginning sock knitters or those not experience in lace knitting techniques.
I would have preferred to knit the cuff with a larger needle, but the yarn demanded that it be knit on sz 2.25mm dpns. I'm not all that impressed with the J Knits Superwash Me sock yarn. The yarn is skinny, a light fingering weight similar to Schaefer Anne, but without the body and cohesiveness of Anne. I found it to be surprisingly splitty and easily snagged, even when using nickel-plated needles. At $25/100g skein I expected a better performing yarn. Even still, the true test of durability will come with wear and washing so I'll reserve final judgment until I see how well they hold up. I may look for another mostly orange yarn for a second test-knit of the pattern. I saw one on The Loopy Ewe that looks promising.