Monday, June 15, 2009


Well. Having a yarn in the stash for 2 years before getting a FO is not uncommon. Nor is working on a project for 2 years before getting a result you like. Right? It might seem a little crazy to non-knitters to struggle to find 'the perfect' design, to work hard at versions that only get ripped out, but you knitters understand, right?
Two years ago, after my breast reduction, a local knitterly friend dropped by with a ball of beautiful Socks That Rock lightweight, already wound up ready to knit. For awhile I let it brew and steep, usually on my desk where I could admire it frequently. STR (at that time) was not easy to get in Ontario, and I'm not a big internet yarn buyer. My attempts at perfect socks with other high end sock yarns did not turn out as desired. So, I was cautious. I spent hours looking at patterns. Finally, the day came when I dropped a tin of apple juice on my toe and headed for the ER. I printed up a pattern, grabbed the yarn, and went off.
The pattern I picked was "Drunken Bees". It took me only a couple rows to realize it was not right with this yarn, and I did eventually knit it as the olive Kroy socks I posted here and on Ravelry. I ripped out the few patterned rows and kept knitting in the ribbing, as I was still at the ER. I was enjoying the yarn, the easy pattern, and the way the yarn striped diagonally.

Until. It changed. Suddenly there were vertical pools of colour. I kept knitting, hoping that the change was only temporary. These pictures are of one sock, 'front' and 'back'.
You can see how each colour area is actually made up of one row stripes of two colours. I liked the two shades of blue/turquoise, and the blue/fuchsia, but the yellow/lavender wasn't doing it for me.
I had an idea to try entrelac this time, and started off based on those cover socks from Interweave Knits a few years ago. Gauge was a bit of an issue, but I didn't want to alter the pattern too much. Getting the heel in the right spot was a bit of an issue. I started changing needle size as I felt I had started off too small and tight. The 'pooling' was really neat at the beginning, but then suddenly changed. I kept going for awhile, hoping it would change. But coupled with all the other issues (I hadn't kept track of the needle changes, size wasn't perfect, they felt too lumpy and not stretchy), I gave up again.

I felt a little defeated. I'd knit a whole leg, ripped it, knit a whole foot, ripped it. There definitely seemed to be something funky with the dye job that changed how the colours patterned partway through the skein.

But, I wasn't giving up. This time, after learning two at once on one circular needle, I started toe up; both on one needle. I just knit plain. And loved it. I did a few increases on the top of the foot--and both socks were the same now, LOL. Then it came heel time. I don't really like short row heels, but I thought the adding the extra sts to the top of the foot would help. But I suddenly changed my mind and thought I should try one of the toe up, heel flap style heels out there; many found on I picked the slipped stitch heel because it was most similar to the top down heel flap I do, and the stitch numbers matched mine. I worked the heel on both, then started up the leg. I had tried it on right after the heel, but it's hard to tell exactly how it'll fit. After a bit more, I realized the heel was clearly too big, so I ripped them both back again. This was at Easter. Or was it March Break? I was at my parents....let's split the difference and call it end of March, LOL.
Because of the type of heel, and adding gusset increases, the colour patterning does change. The socks had looked totally different than what I had been knitting the other two times!
I switched from the slipped sts of the heel to ribbing those sts to go up the back of the leg for some interest.
And again, the yarn suddenly changed!! You can see on my calves where it goes from little stripes to an arrow shape. Oh well! LOL.
To blend the back ribbing in with having ribbing all the way around, I gradually shifted the ribbing over two sts on each edge. I did it like doing a two stitch cable--without a cable needle. I had envisioned the whole ribbing becoming angled, for some reason, but that didn't happen; it just moved over on an angle. I did increase needle size as I went up the leg instead of increasing sts, but the colour changes happened before that anyway. I don't know if you can click to make the picture bigger? You can certainly see the colour change on the legs! Oh well.

The feet are still a little long, and I do have some ankle wrinkles, but I'm not changing anything now. They are warm, and cosy and soft and squishy. They've actually been done for a month or so. The feet look so different than the other two attempts! I love them!
I think next time I try toe up, I will start with the full foot sts as a provisional cast on. Then, after doing the heel and some of the leg, I will go back, and knit the toe downwards, for a perfect fit. Then go back and finish the leg to use up all the yarn. With these socks, I had just a little butterfly of yarn left; hopefully I won't have to use it to darn, but I'll keep it just it case.

Thank you again, Cindy, for the great yarn, and the great memories of trying to get the perfect socks. When I wear them, I think of you, the surgery, the apple juice, the second cruise (worked a little bit but I didn't have the right page of the pattern with me), time at my parents...and that it IS okay to change your mind, and that it IS okay if you still don't get exactly what you expected, LOL. If you're not happy with a project, rip it out and try again! I'm glad I did!!

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