Monday, August 07, 2006

Joy by the Foot

After spending most of Saturday indoors wrestling with my muse, and having little to show for it other than a busted lamp and a couple of bite marks, I decided to head downtown and pick on Buzz. That's always good for yuks.

Buzz (cute-and-available-to-boys) is presently employed in the men's department of the Marshall Field's at snooty Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue. Is there, I ask you, a greater joy on earth than a buddy who can tell you when Hugo Boss is going to go on sale? Perhaps a buddy who can tell you when the cashmere yarn is going to go on sale, but we're talking shades of difference.

I arrived near the end of his shift, met his (cute-and-available-to-boys) coworker Charlie, and made him wait on me while I threatened in loud tones of voice to have him fired. Good times. Then we hung out for a bit at a coffee shop in the atrium and dished the world in general. I finished my first sock all the way to the end of the toe, with only the Kitchener left undone.

Knitters: what would you do in this situation, sitting in an uppity bistro surrounded by North Shore housewives and well-heeled bourgeois tourists? Why, you'd do what I did. I took off one boot and tried on the sock.

It speaks to Buzz's remarkable sense of empathy that he, who does not knit, did not even blink. On the contrary, he expressed great joy at my accomplishment and even whipped out his camera phone to record the moment.



I thought the starchy couple at the next table was going to collapse into a heap of Ralph Lauren woven pastel separates. Honestly, some people are too easily mortified. It's not as though I put my foot on their plate of rugelach.

The Kitchener was completed the next day, following the traditional pattern of:
  1. Try it once, feeling confident, and screw it up royally.
  2. Undo it at the rate of three vile oaths per stitch.
  3. Turn off the television, the computer, and the phone; draw the shades; arrange seven reference books on the table; take a deep breath; and get it done right.
  4. Try it on. Dance around. And around and around and around and around.
And here's the sock. I've already cast on for the mate. Merriment is unconfined. Are we sure this is legal?

65 comments:

catbookmom said...

There's nothing in knitting quite like the first successful Kitchener!! Yay for you - and the sock is great!

Bonnita said...

Great legs! ;o) Great sock too!

All the Way With Knitting said...

Not exactly a freqenter of Posh establishments ..that said I'd have done the same and enjoyed every minute. I don't have a hero who shocked the establishment by rolling up his shirt sleeves for nothing..how easily shocked is that !

pacalaga said...

I am confused. Why on earth would anyone care that you were trying on a sock?
Hmm, maybe Tucson is more laid-back on the footwear issues, but it seems like there are more important things to give one the vapors.

Maureen in Fargo said...

Great sock, congrats! May you always have a SIP! I've always had one on the needles since I finished my first. Unlike you, I like bright and funky colors...I just started one in purple and red Twinkle Toes from Joslyn that I bought at Camp...fun! Tiny needles though...

mary e said...

lovely sock! and congrats on surviving your first exposure to the Kitchener stitch! poop on snooty folk who don't understand the thrill of completing your first sock or your ninety-th!

Ted said...

And what a splendid looking sockie it is, too.

AprilBrokenA said...

Super Nice Sock!

Cheryl said...

looks fabulous dahling!

Lisa said...

Nice Job You! And who care what the stuffy shoppers thought!

Judith in NYC said...

Oh, my, another part of your anatomy in close-up!!

Anonymous said...

"How little it takes to shock the sensibilities of the of the public these days," said Sir Robert.

Kudos. A well-turned heel, and, may I add, a well-turned ankle, there, sir. Did you celebrate with a champagne truffle from Teuscher?

Between you and Kate, this seems to be a week for fine fibers at good prices.

Jennie said...

As I knit my last pair of socks about 3 times over, I think trying them on at that point makes perfect sense. Buzz was so sweet to record the moment!

If you're interested, Herrschner's has some fairly muted variegated Regia for not-a-lot at their
online yarn sale
.

Gigi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gigi said...

Congratulats on one smart looking striped sock! I know you see solids in your future, but consider more of these the first one looks marvelous darling!

Mother of Chaos said...

Of COURSE you MUST try on the sock, right then and there. Duh. There was a question?!

They were only collapsing in jealousy, darling. A sock like that canNOT be bought, no matter how many department store cards one has weighing down the old Coach bag...

moiraeknits said...

Beauty! I really like those colors. And it looks fabulous!

jill said...

Shine on, you crazy sock knitter!

Susan said...

I think I have a crush on your blog.

Riin said...

Yay! Go Franklin! You have discovered the joy of the sock! Anyone who would be shocked by the sight of someone trying on a beautiful handknit sock deserves to be shocked.

Dee said...

Nice gams :) and I am loving that sock yarn, it looks terrific on manly legs.

Jon said...

Are you sure that your foot is that big? {snort!}

I love terrorizing coworkers at work, especially in a straight mall. Ooooh, what's more fun is going to the mall in the middle of suburbia with a cute and available to boys boy and act all smootchy. Fun for all around!

Cheryl said...

Your sock finishing ritual is exactly like mine, except in step 3, I also have to lock the cat in the bedroom.

Well done with creating a mild disturbance in the process. And to think, some people are afraid to knit in public.

Beverly said...

Franklin - lovely sock!
I usually manage with ONE detailed reference for Kitchener, but heard of a new technique from Dez at Mambocats. Uses a crochet hook - just start at the end away from the yarn tail, pull a loop from the front needle, then a loop from the back needle through the first loop - continue, alternating between needles. I used it on a shoulder seam, very smooth. Haven't tried it on a sock yet, just thought I'd share.
Happy sock-knitting!Beverly

Sarah said...

I wish I could have been there to see you try it on!

MarQ1 said...

Cute foot, I mean, sock.
Of course you try it on. Who doesn't?
I always get three stitches into the Kitchener, back ut of it and look it up, again.

Joanna said...

Join the crowd!! Way to go ! Nice job - and I need books EVERY time to, we all do, so don't feel bad!

Adele said...

Well of course you tried it on! I once knitted a scarf while wearing the finished portion.

I can't (yet) do Kitchener, so I usually put the toe stitches onto large safety pins, turn the sock inside out, back onto the needles, and do a 3-needle cast off.

Mel said...

There's nothing much like the joy of a well done Kitchener. Admittedly, I still need a visual reference in front of me to get started, but it's still a lovely feeling to see it all come together. One day I hope to be able to do it blindfolded with my hands behind my back.

Deborah C. said...

What a lovely sock! I would have done the same - pulled it on at once. I always do my Kitchener with swearing, and my copy of EZ's Knitter's Almanac open to the diagram of how-to, mumbling under my breath "down, up, down up"...

Sandra said...

First the chest, now the leg? And me, a straight girl. Day-um!
Glad you liked the pic of me wearing the Venus de Knitting shirt - check back on the blog - I also have the long sleeved knitting road signs! I have to wait for the weather to get a little cooler. Oh yeah, I'm in Canada - that could be tomorrow...

Faustus, M.D. said...

FABULOUS!

Congratulations, mon cher.

Abby said...

A very nice sock. Congratulations!

Marilyn said...

That Marshall Fields was the scene of weirdo shirt buying for the Nasty German when we were together in Chicago for a week. He handed me $600 and told me to buy him two shirts but only Egyptian cotton.

They were $250 a pop. I have fond memories of going there on a raw December day dressed in ratty jeans and forcing the asshole saleswoman to show me myriad expensive shirts.

Of course, I used to drag around Henri Bendel's as a teenager, dressed pretty much the same way. And outsnoot them all. To the manner born.

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER yummy yummy yummy photo.

oh, was I supposed to be looking at the sock?

shut up.

nice sock, great legs (smacks lips).

anne marie in philly

meg said...

Stunning sock, Franklin. I have a great solution for kitchenering woes. Teach C. how to do it. Although I can kitchener (with help of Knitter's Companion, that little spiralbound book), I often look piteous and thrust the open-toed sock at J. He gets to be manly and helpful (as much as one can be with a tapestry needle) and I don't have to kitchener.

FiberQat said...

Very nice work Franklin. Congrats on the Kitchener!

David said...

Somehow the expression "Put a sock in it" does not feel inappropriate.

Lee Ann said...

And "Put it in a sock"...well...I'm not quite sure about that either.

Well done, sugar.

knit chick said...

You should have put your foot in the RL couple's rugelach. That would have been an apropos response to their undoubtly mental outrage of "Well, I never!" Fabulous job on the sock. Quite the sexy legs, Franklin! Don't lose any stitch markers in those legs ;)

DK said...

Oh, how I wish I'd been there to see the reactions of the Water Tower crowd!!! To a man, knitting in public, and then trying on his sock with the needles still attached. *sniff* Makes me a little misty at the very thought. I'm probably not going to be dressed nearly as well, and am a whole 'nother sort of "cute and available to boys", but you let me know anytime you need a public knitting buddy!

Kate (whose crazy, sarcastic, non-knitting friends will only let her knit in public at various Chicagoland Starbucks. This is the only thing she misses about her brief life in New Hampshire)

Lynn in Tucson said...

Lovely! The yarn is beautiful and you wear it well. It couldn't hurt to stretch the boundaries of the sock drawer a bit!

LornaJay said...

Heh. I get similar responses here in the UK if I go out barefoot. You'd think it was topless....

Perhaps more people have a foot fetish than we realised!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the sock! Tres chic!
You might like to check out
(1)http://www.astridsdutchobsessions.com.
Astrid still has some German sock yarn on sale for $6.50, enough for one pair of socks. Her new winter stock is also arriving.
(2) http://www.bastelundhobbykiste.de

Their regular prices are even lower than Astrid's and they have some great promotion packages. As well they have Addi circulars that Cat Bodhi recommends for knitting socks sans ladders.

janine said...

What on earth is wrong with trying on a sock in public? I do it all the time( what? oh I'm considered eccentric apparently).Nice colourway. I think my DH would be interested in a apir of those. I shall have to go on a yarn hunt:-)

the fiddlin' fool said...

Awesome sock! You know that the fun never stops with socks. Pretty soon there will be dozens around the house, and your significant other will occasionally have the gall to yell, "Enough with the socks! They're getting into everything!"

denny Mcmillan said...

It is totaly legal.But not while driving.

Liz said...

Pretty pretty pretty! Good job!

Diane said...

Now if you tried on the sock and then jumped up on the table doing a happy dance and chanting, "It fits, it fits ..." that would be inappropriate.

Great looking sock. I use to kitchener the same way. lol

marg said...

Very nice sock knitting - And as you knit, and you spin, you could also dye your own sock yarn - then you would have any colour you wished! Just buy a cone of white and go crazy!

Mary Peed said...

Well of course it's illegal, why do you think the suburban housewives were horrified?

Jax said...

Try the spiffy "toe chimney" trick in Lucy Neatby's Scintillating Socks book. Takes all the terror out of Kitchener. Of course, if you live for the thrill of living on the edge, keep on grafting those live stitches

Elizabeth said...

I'll delurk from my long-time enjoyment of your blog to say that your sock came out beautifully! I know you weren't keen on the self-striping business, but that colorway is subtle and handsome. And the sock is so expertly stitched. Hooray for you.

Knitress said...

Well, I'm not a housewife.

But I grew up in Barrington so I have pretty good suburban matron creds. And if I'd seen you there outside the Water Tower Fields' I have said

"Wow! Great sock!"

which it is. Just wait till the snow flies. Handmade wool socks make all the difference in a Chicago winter.

Rogue Knitter said...

So simply one succumbs to the siren song of socks...

Geogrrl said...

I just finished my first sock a few days ago and experienced a similar euphoria. Also similar swearing during grafting. No matter how many times I do it, I still screw up the first attempt.

Anyway, I've started the second sock but still keep trying on the first one just to stare at it.

mc78 said...

Disrobed feet in public. Gross. I hope you had a pedicure.

Pat DeLeeuw said...

Your sock is gorgous! As far a the kitchner stitch goes I have found that if you have someone read the steps outloud to you as you stitch it is much simpler to accomplish.In, fact the same goes for any complicated stitch -say the first few rows of lace knitting.
I love Chicago-are there any knitting shops around the Magnificent Mile area????
Pat

Vicky in Vancouver said...

"A well-turned heel, and, may I add, a well-turned ankle, there, sir."

Well-said!

Diana said...

I'm doing my first socks too...both at once, toe up, in the Queen Kahuna manner. It's empowering! As for sock yarn that's masculine enough, how about Opal's Crocodile? I'm knitting in the browns, and I think it's sufficiently butch that my hubby would wear it, but then, he's very in touch with his fem side. ;-)

Sean said...

Ahhhh, the joy of socks. I'm so glad you found it. You know there is no going back! LOL Great job by the way.

Tallguy said...

Your first sock!.. looks so fine!! I'm just a little verklempt here ----

Lola Lee Beno said...

The best explanation of Kitchener's stitch is from Beth Brown-Reisel's Knitting Gansey, complete with photos. I've got a xeroxed copy taped in my knitting journal for quick access.

Sorka said...

you know I love you even though I am married and you are only available to the boys..
It's moments like these that remind me just why!!

Scheherazaad said...

Gorgeous sock. I think my husband might even wear one of those!! He generally doesn't like hand knits as he finds them unsophisticated. He does like Hugo Boss and has friends who tell him when its going on sale. Now if there was a line of Hugo Boss sock yarn....