January 2, 2008
Last night, I cast off my second pair of socks. Given that I only had to make two to come up with a pair instead of three like the first time, I’m pleased. Good thing, too, since it feels like it’s been a long process, since I swatched for them back in August (I ended up using the 2.5 mm needles, which KnitPicks calls size 1 but they also call the 2.25 mm size 1, and maybe those other size 1s would have been perfect but they were out of them every time I ordered last summer) and started them in mid-September, but they weren’t my only knitting project most of that time, so I guess it makes sense that they took a while. I wanted to try something different with these socks, so I did them toe up two at a time on two circular needles, instead of top down one at a time on double pointed needles. Just a few changes.
I had a lot of trouble getting started. I found the Queen Kahuna book hard to get used to; it seemed like I had to do a lot of flipping back and forth between sections (I had three bookmarks going at one point), and while there were lots of pictures (which is usually how I learn best, by looking), I couldn’t seem to find ones that cleared up the parts I was struggling with. The “aloha” cast on went fine, and I thought I did the two rounds after that correctly, but somehow I got turned around and ended up with rows of purl bumps where there should have been stockinette and since I’d worked in the tails as I went it was hard to rip back to the beginning so I just pulled out the needles and cut the ends off and started over. My second attempt didn’t go much better. I was thisclose to giving up and going back to DPNs when I remembered the Knitters Uncensored folks mentioned something called the magic cast on, so I looked that up and printed it out and that made all the difference. Thank you, Judy! With this cast on, I could tell from the very start which side was the right side to be working, unlike with the aloha cast on which looks pretty much like purl bumps on both sides. (There is an invisible cast on in the Queen Kahuna book, but it looks complicated so I didn’t try it.) Now maybe it was just third time’s a charm and I would have been fine if I’d tried the original cast on again, but something sure seemed to click and I didn’t have any trouble knowing which needle to use or which direction to work. I breezed through the increases in the Queen Kahuna fan toe and soon I could see the socks starting to emerge.
After I worked the toe increases I ignored the socks for a quite some time while I finished the log cabin blanket and started the pinwheel, but when I got back to them I was surprised at how fast the foot went. I adored being able to try them on at any time, too. I misread the directions for putting slipstitch under the heel (not surprising since they’re scattered about several pages) so started it too early. Oh well. I didn’t think it was worth unknitting to do it right. It would be on the bottom of my foot, after all; nobody much sees that part, not even me. And I’d have to unknit both socks—there’s a drawback to doing them two at a time. Other than the too soon slipstitch, I was doing pretty well following the instructions until it came time to turn the first heel. I did okay with the short rows on the bottom of the foot, but then things went downhill. The directions didn’t make sense to me. I gave up one night after trying the first two or three rows two or three times. I got up early the next morning to try again, figuring it’d be easier when the house was quiet and my mind was fresh. So not true. I ended up having to undo not only the turn portion but the whole short row section on the bottom of the foot, too, just to be sure I was getting back to a clean starting point. It seemed quite appropriate that the book is called “Crazy Toes and Heels”, because I definitely felt crazed. I understand the author doesn’t like patterns with numbers, but it sure would have helped me if there’d been a few more in the instructions at this point. I get that there’s no one set of numbers for every sock, but a simple formula like X stitches between the markers before the row should be X + 1 after would have done me a world of good.
I joined the author’s Yahoo! group at this point and searched the archives for answers and didn’t come up with much. I found what purported to be a cheat sheet for heels, but it wasn’t clear it applied to what I was doing. I could have asked and waited for an answer, but that night I went ahead and just muddled through the best I could, keeping the slipstitch pattern going as best as I could since it seemed wrong to have slipstitch under the heel and on the heel flap but not on the heel turn. Ten pages later, I found a note about resuming the slipstitch, so evidently I wasn’t supposed to be doing it. Sigh. The first heel looked oddly pointy to me, and when I tried on the sock it felt a bit short. I added a couple rows in the short row section on the next heel to try and fix the shortness problem, but can’t really tell the difference. I think next time I’ll skip the slipstitch on the bottom (or not do so much of it).
When I got to the leg part, I wanted to do something a bit more interesting than the plain rib I’d done on my first pair, so I looked at Sensational Knitted Socks and found the twin rib stitch pattern, which looked easy enough for me to manage. It mostly was, though I did have to rip back about an inch when I didn’t pay close attention and flipped the knits and purls for a while. At the very top of the socks, I did some plain 3 x 3 rib because I wasn’t sure the pattern would be stretchy enough to hold up the top. I used the crochet cast off from the Queen Kahuna book. Finishing went much better than starting had; the cast off is nice and stretchy, and I didn’t get confused following the directions.
Overall, I’m happy with these socks. They fit better than the first pair I made, though the ankles are still looser than I’d like. I’ll have to work on that when I do my next pair. I’m not sure if I want to try Magic Loop (one long circular), but I definitely want to do two at once toe up again. I might try a different toe, maybe an asymmetrical one. I’m not sure when I’ll cast on or what yarn I’ll use; right now I’m enjoying pondering all the possibilities.
One year ago today, there was no entry.
Two years ago, I was trying to rekindle my relationship with Distributed Proofreaders. I sort of managed to for a while, though I never got as involved as I’d once been, but now we’re on the outs again. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish a huge project I’d taken on before that, so I’ve been working on that in fits and starts even though I’m not sure where DP and I are going (or even what DP is up to now).
Three years ago, I’d been to a thrift shop.
Four and five years ago, I did not write here.