Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow Knitting

Have you heard about "slow sewing" and "slow cooking"....taking your time to enjoy the entire process, not rushing through just to get the end result.  I think knitting lends itself to this idea because it is difficult to take short cuts, when each stitch forms a crucial part of the fabric.  Yes, there are some shortcuts--in the round, vs. seamed, 3 needle bind off vs grafting, etc.  But you generally don't knit for instant gratification.
Even when your intent is to knit some mindless socks, there's still quite a bit of process to go through.
Add in my inability to do mindless because I find it boring...LOL.
I really wanted to use Noro Sock yarn, back when it first came out and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (I'm reading "Wheat Belly" right now...OMG...never eating wheat again!). 

When I went to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair in September 2008, one of my goals was to get some.  The cheapest place I found it had poor colour selection.  Oh well, I opted for the bright "Clown Vomit" colourway.  It sat in my stash for three years.  I thought maybe I'd knit up simple socks on the machine, since the yarn didn't feel very soft to touch, and obviously, any pattern details would be lost.  Then, the two colour Noro scarves were so popular, and one of my friends was knitting sock versions, using a solid colour and a Noro.  I thought I might do that--almost mindless, but not quite.  However, Noro has a unique texture and I didn't like pairing it with plain sock yarn.  I thought about something using short rows.  I saw some patterns for socks where they are knit in a sort of spiral, joining as you go.  Cool, but I wondered how that would feel on the foot, and then you have the small ridges going around your foot where you join as you go around.  I found an interesting pattern and adapted it as I already had the toes started, before deciding on a pattern.

I started with using just one end of the yarn, but found  the colour changes were too long so the diamond pattern wasn't showing.  Switched to using both ends of the yarn, and that created some issues (maybe not if I was actually following the real pattern).  In short, I wasn't very careful with being accurate between changing each diamond, until I got around the heel.  Also, there comes a point when you don't like the two colours you've been given, or one colour seems to be taking forever to change to another colour.  And then, since you can't knit both at the same time on one circular, to start the second one meant breaking the yarn and the colour progression.  Next time, weigh out and wind two balls, and use two circulars.
See how you can't see the diamond on the top foot, near the toe?

I dont' like short row heels, but that would obviously be the best design for this sock.  To get more length in the back of the heel, I add some extra short rows.  The first sock turned out fine, but I had a nagging feeling something was off with the second one.  By the time I got around to trying it on (I was working on it at swimming lessons, didn't want to scare anyone), I was long past the heel, which was not in the right place, and had a weird double chin effect.
 Progress on these socks was slow.  I started in early October, not sure when, but I do know I was working on them on October 11 when Hugh was hit by a car.  They went on the cruise.  They got tossed aside so I could finish Sheldon, and Duck Feet, and the shawl, etc.  Finally, I just got to it and got them done.

 I thought I'd finish up all the yarn, but they were getting high and I was down to small butterflies of yarn from where I had given up on certain colour combinations (hate the orange and turquoise, so when it came up again at the end of the second sock I just chopped it out).

 Yeah, I know.  Using the self timer helped the self-sock portraits only slightly.

Even though I had figured out the pattern by the time I did the heels, I made a mistake on nearly every diamond of the legs.  You have to carry one of the yarns up while working on the other diamond, but you don't have to carry that yarn up for the other diamonds.  You do have to work around to the other side of the sock before starting the next diamond.  I would either forget to carry the yarn up, meaning I'd have to cut and weave ends in, or, almost every time, forget to work around to the other side and started the next diamond where I'd finished the last.  I blame this on the dim lighting in places! 

They were very lumpy, scratchy, quite ugly before they were washed.  Sock blockers would have helped even more, but just a wash and a pat made a big difference.  One of the toes is too square, but I'm okay with it.  They are a great addition to my "happy day" sock pile, and great in my skates.  I doubt I'll use this yarn again, unless I find a colour I really like.  I do like the pattern though.  I would recommend it for a yarn with short colour changes, and not the fake fair isle yarn either.  If the changes are short enough,  you could just use one end.  If you're dyeing yarn, I'd knit up a swatch, figure out the length of each diamond, and dye it accordingly.  Fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You crack me up.. but hay! I love the socks.. I'm into weird socks so what can I say :-)