Rain? did I say rain? It's pouring.
Apparently I managed to grab the only bit of sunshine yesterday afternoon, so there is no "action shot" of this, which is of course the Gaia Shoulder Hug, a free pattern by Anne Carroll Gilmour that I first saw over at Mason-Dixon Knitting.
This is Noro's Taiyo, another of their new-ish sock yarns; it has exactly the same yardage as the Kureyon Sock recommended in the pattern. My label says very clearly "color 5", though it doesn't look anything like any of the 5s I can find online.
I don't think I would ever use this yarn for socks, as it feels like I'm knitting with quilting thread, although in all fairness I'm also working those mitts in Rowan 4-Ply Soft at the same time, which in comparison is like knitting with cloud fluff. I've come to the conclusion that I just don't like Noro that much. The thick/thin goes beyond slubbiness, the twist makes it worm at times uncontrollably, and it doesn't feel particularly pleasant next to the skin -- yeah, the colors are what get you. I don’t buy it with any sort of irresistible enchantment, only a sigh of “well, maybe this time it will be different.” But it never is.
As for the Gaia pattern, it is fairly simple and easy-to-follow, although I did have a patch towards the end in which I somehow kept coming up short on the stitch count, and could not for the life of me find where I'd muffed it, so had to rip it back more than once, an unpleasant chore with clingy Noro. I do like the little wings-of-Horus curls at the tips, I must say.
Dimensions approx. 49 in./125 cm across the long edge, 20 1/2 in./52 cm down the line of increases -- a good neck-scarf size, though not particularly generous.
I had the dickens of a time with this "3-st picot-point bind-off", though, and puzzled over it much of the morning. I don't know if it was my brain that was still trying to wrap itself around the knit-back-backwards concept and thus got stuck on anything and everything, or if the wording in the instructions was unclear, but from the very start I was having problems. I wasn't so sure that the KBB instructions I could find online (as directed in the pattern) were particularly clear either.
(In desperation, I looked at the Swedish translation, thinking that it might somehow make more sense, but the translator avoided the whole issue and included only the knitted bind-off. Insert mild oath in Swedish here.)
I ended up figuring it out by craning over to watch the RS as I worked a few purls on the wrong side -- "okay, so that goes here, that goes there," etc. etc. etc. And, lo and behold, the KBB is a neat little trick: Insert LN into back of last st on RN, wrap yarn around LN from back to front, then catch yarn with tip of LN and bring it through the st (you may have to use your left index finger to pull down on the yarn a little and make it easier to catch), and remove RN from prev st.
Here is Gilmour's version of the 3-st picot bind-off: "k2, b/o 1st st, [k 3x (fbf) into yo, sl1 as to kbb, kbb 2 sts, b/o 3 sts, k 1, b/o 1] repeat between brackets to final st". And here is how I read this:
K2, pass 1st st over 2nd, *K3 into next st (which here will always be the YO of the previous row), sl last st on RN tbl to LN, KBB2, BO next 4 sts (including st currently on RN, and here ending with the K2tog of the previous row), rep from * to last st, cut yarn and draw through last st. Since the sequence on the Gaia actually ends with the 2 K sts of the border, and not the yarn-overs, I worked the end with a K2tog just before the last st to get it to lie a little more smoothly.