Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sock it to Me

The times I mess up the most are those times when I'm just too damn impressed with my own skill and cleverness.  Oh yeah, and when I'm totally not paying attention because I soooo know what I'm doing.

Like socks.

Like the socks I started a week or two ago, which have been progressing apace.  It's amazing how fast they go when I don't reserve knitting time to being stopped at traffic lights during rush hour. But I digress, slightly.

I more often than not prefer toe-up socks: I make a small skinny garter stitch rectangle, pick up stitches all around the edges and alternate knit and purl rounds, increasing at each corner until I have enough stitches.  The toe is cushy and stretchy, there's none of that pesky figure-eight cast on that's so tedious, or the provisional cast-on that then has to be undone as in the case of short-row toes.  

For reasons too complicated to explain (I just wasn't in the mood) I decided on the more traditional cuff-down approach, which in my case consists of a garter stitch band usually about 24 stitches wide with as many ridges as the number of stitches my sock will need, either grafted together (if my cast-on left me a long enough tail and if I'm in the mood) or a 3-needle bind-off joining cast-on to current row.  Pick up stitches along the edge where the live yarn tail is, work a garter ridge because it's pretty, and then go.

In this case, "go" translated to a 4x4 garter rib.  I was a little concerned that the yarn was a little thinner than most of my old favourite sock yarns (like Trekking or Regia 25/75 blends), and I wanted a stitch with a bit of give, rather than draw-in, as in the ill-fated socks which I described in a previous missive.

My favourite heel is the short-row garter stitch heel over two-thirds of the stitches.  It fits well, is comfortable and I like the way it looks, especially in variegated yarns.
All very well and good, so I worked my lovely heel over two-thirds of the stitches, and as I returned to working in the round, I realised that oh dear, I hadn't centred my heel on the stitch pattern.  You can't see it all that well here but trust me, it's not centred:
Actually, you can see it pretty well, can't you?

No problem, I can do anything where knitting is concerned, I'll just make the ribbing do a bit of ziggy-zaggy, ending up centred on the foot, thereby hiding my blunder.

So I did, for almost an inch, except that I forgot/wasn't paying attention/was too caught up watching The Bourne Identity with my 15-year-old and I ziggy-zagged all the way around.  Yes folks, on my sole.  On the sole of the sock, that is.

No problem, I'm a whiz at fixing mistakes, and besides, Phreadde gave me this absolutely gorgeous very tiny crochet hook, just the PERFECT size for re-laddering all those garter bumps on my sole.

It must have taken two hours (subjective time: fifteen weeks) to ladder about 20 stitches worth of bumps, and it wreaked havoc with my pretty gauge (yes, I know, it'll even out with washing and wearing), and it turns out that it's quicker and more attractive to just rip out ALL those wrong stitches and just re-knit those partial rows.

But all's well that ends well, as I'm about to start the toe.
(No, that's not a misshapen foot inside the sock but a ball of yarn).

Best of all, I avoid the boredom of two identical socks, knowing that I WILL centre the stitch pattern on the foot on the next sock.


Anonymous said... do realize this makes you sound just a little insane, don't you???? creatively insane, but insane nonetheless. :-)

Charlene said...

Now that you mention it, well, yes, which I suppose compounds the problem, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Insane. MY kind of people.

Oh hello out in blog land to the wonderful RachelH.

Oh hi Charlene. nice sock.

Charlene said...

Thanks, though truthfully the ziggy-zaggy bit isn't ideal, but it'll pass the Galloping Horse Test. And I'm a few rows short of Toe Grafting, which means I can do the other sock correctly.

So...does the word "extreme" mean anything to you? As in, going from the Luddite who wasn't sure how to fax to reading (and commenting on!) blogs? Not picking any bones or anything, just amused, in a GOOD way.