One sock bad, four socks good!
Those socks are now 99.9% finished. Only the ends have to be snipped. I finished both of them yesterday. Hooray for me! I only have what 18 lonely socks now? (If I can count I think I started off with 20 lonely socks not the 18 I thought I had in that post!) So that is a pair of Socks that Rock 2006 Sock Club "Marble Arches" and one pair of husbandly socks in Trekking in a pattern nominally known as Thuja from Knitty. As always, I changed both patterns. The STR pattern was done toe up and I played with the order of the mock cable pattern so the socks don't actually match. The Thuja pattern has extra ribbing and stuff, and I should go see if it was a toe up or a top down - I like toe up when I have no idea if I'll finish the socks with the yarn available....
I did a different cast off on the STR socks. Normally I do the knit one, knit one, pass the first stitch over the second, etc - a really really common cast off. This time I did a sewn cast off. It literally took hours (about 140 stitches at the top of those socks) but the results look better than my normal cast off. I got the idea out of Montse Stanley's "Knitter's Handbook." I can't find an equivalent online source at present.
Here's the cast off.
Grab a darning/wool needle (it would be easier if you didn't have a needle as big as your knitting needles and don't even think about using a bodkin with that big lump at the end). You'll need about 4 times as much yarn as your knitting is wide.
Push the needle through the second stitch from front to back ("knitwise"):
Pull the yarn through. Then push the needle back through the first stitch from back to front ("purlwise") and under the loop of yarn laying at the front of the cast off.
Pull the yarn through and snug it. Drop the first stitch off the knitting needle. Repeat until you reach the last stitch. It isn't really a stretchy cast off, but if you want to do it at the top of a stretchy item leave the stitches a little looser. (I guess that goes for almost any bindoff - a little looser means more ease.) I got away with this cast off cos these Marble Arch socks have a ruffle at the top. Also for circular items, make sure you do step one for the stitch that was the first one to be dropped off the knitting needle - the stitch that you started the cast off on is less obvious that way.
Hope this makes sense. I think the resulting edge looks nicer than the normal cast off, which sorta rolled and looked icky on the sock.
Sherri asked about how I made the bullions on my lurid green, purple and pink yarn. I'll do a little tute on that - not that I am an expert by any means - and show you chaps when I get some colourful stuff on the bobbins. At present I'm spinning some grey fleece with the intent of overdyeing the resulting yarn. It is lovely fleece but I think if I am doing weird plying tricks it is easier to show how it is done with two different colours.
I also have many pics to update my shop with. More sock yarn will be online soon! I've been so flat chat recently looking for jobs, helping DH with thesis (don't ask about the thesis - it is horrid and his supervisor is being a complete PITA), calming DH down about the upcoming trip to the US, flogging myself in the gym (ok, once only but after a hard bike ride it really knackered me), dyeing stuff, spinning stuff, visiting the spinners' guild and chatting, visiting a friend's place on the night of their house auction (twilight auction, house passed in) and catching up with their whole family, meeting one friend's new squeeze, even getting a little singalong round the piano!
Oh, for those who would like to knit a chemo cap or two in memory of Marta, headhuggers has some good patterns. I am told that woollen caps are not good for chemo-sensitized scalps - apparently the really soft synthetics and things like the Yarn of Satan (we call it Feathers here - the tape like yarn with the fringe of polyester sticking out one side) are good. If you happen to have any silly fun fur type yarn hanging around, you could try the no hair day cap - apparently popular with kids and outgoing types.
If instead of knitting/sewing/crocheting a cap, you would just like to leave a comment about your memories of Marta and her shop, the impressions you first received when going there, etc, I will collate the comments and bind them up into a book for her family.
Now for something nice to finish off with.
Cheshire "We are not amused"
Or maybe we are...