Friday, August 31, 2012

The joy of practically matching socks

I have been thinking about socks lately and how tricky they are to knit. They require quite a few skills: knowledge of the dpn or Magic Loop, tiny gauge yarn, literally thousands of stitches and the patience to complete one item then immediately start again to make the same item all over again.

I haven't knit many socks yet. I am knitting my third pair right now and I am very hopeful, although not to the point of holding my breath, for a pair that actually match this time. 
Plain sock made with Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock
in Reaggeton.
I heart self-striping yarn!
My first two pairs were challenging. Step one was figuring out double pointed needles. Managing 4 to 5 needles at a time seemed supremely complex until I understood that, really, it was no different than using 2 needles and letting the others dangle while holding stitches. that. Check.

Next: figuring out if you knit on the inside or outside of the double pointed needles. The really important part being able to tell the difference when you accidental flip it around. You see, my first pair was a heavily pattern sock which formed complex ribs with moss and seed stitch in between the ribs.  I kept switching, accidentally, between the inside and the outside of the sock causing my moss and seed stitch to form ribbing when I was knitting the outside pattern on the inside. But different ribbing from the pattern. I was easily 1/3 of the way through my first sock before I got this issue resolved. That first sock was oddly... stripey. And you guessed it I did not rip it out to fix it. That's what pant legs and shoes are for! Okay... knit on the outside. Check.

Next: turning the heel. OMG you feel like a genius when you get this figured out. Getting them to match can come much later but just getting yourself around that corner is one of the most awesome things is all of knitting. Okay... heel turn. Check.

Next: toe decreases. Figuring out the slope and pitch of your own toes does require some trial and error. I'll admit that my first sock has a very nipple-like genie slipper curl to the toe. The second one was much more natural.

Lastly: doing it again! You have two choices for your second sock: intentionally make the same mistakes as on sock #1 or try to figure out what you were supposed to have done the first time and do that. I like to think I am learning something and have, so far, stuck with option #2. Try to get it right the second time. So I guess, technically, I am intentionally make different socks at this point. There are just so many variables to making socks.
#1 socks- I called these my Ottawa socks
made with Spud & Chloe, Fine , in Lipstick.
I am hiding the nipple toe.
I decided that my second try should be a simple plain sock. In my mind that was a better strategy to getting matching socks. Can't go wrong with miles of stockinette stitch, right? Wrong! This pair has perfect toes but the heel flaps and heels are completely different on each sock. Different patterns, different textures, different widths and heights. Um... these socks are even different lengths in both foot and shaft.
#2 socks- my Halifax socks
Malibrigo sock yarn
Thankfully I've never been a person that is too concerned with having socks that match. Not that it wouldn't be cool, every once in a while, to have two that are practically the same.

We'll see how #3 turns out.

But it's a process, knitter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm a process knitter and that's okay by me

Where do I start? And what can I say...

My name is Jennifer and I'm a process knitter. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

A friend has, kindly, referred to me as precise knitter. (I think that in her mind knitter is one step up from nutbag but that is a conversation for another day.) I think she was trying to find a kind way to tell me I am picky but, clearly, not a perfectionist. I am a firm believer in good-enough.  I will NOT even contemplate frogging 10" of sweater to fix that one small error. Truthfully, I probably won't even go back a couple of rows if it can be easily ignored  avoided.  I will blindly continue knitting a project that is obviously too big/small/short/long until completion. And then act totally aghast and appalled at the monstrosity I have created. Then I'll find someone that that item does fit and then give it away.

I instead choose to say I am making "an interpretation" of a designer's pattern. I'm just happy to knit.

The irony of all of this is that I am a planner and problem solver by nature. Don't get me wrong, I read the entire pattern before attempting the project. I sometimes swatch. I have a tape measure and I know how to use it. I am very good at math. And still...

I have been knitting long enough to have had some moderate successes but let's just say I have also had some spectacular misses too. I can always count on the item to look beautiful when finished but sizing seems to be my major issue these days.
And, still, I keep knitting.

This blog is a running commentary on my adventures in knitting. The good, the bad and the funny.  I aspire to actually make something that fits me, at least occasionally.

But it's a process, Knitter.