September 6, 2009
The idea for this latest knitting project of mine was to make some simple socks from one of the Opal Harry Potter Collection yarns in my stash, ideally in time to wear them to see the latest HP movie. The first problem with this plan was that I did not come up with it until six days before The Half-Blood Prince opened. There are people who can make a pair of socks in six days, but I am not one of them. Six weeks is more my speed. Okay, so I likely wouldn’t be wearing them the first time I saw the movie, but I’d for sure have them for the DVD release.
The second problem came early in the execution of the plan. I cast on one evening and worked almost an inch of the toes, thinking the whole time that the stitches looked pretty loose but I kept on going because I had swatched to decide on a needle size so surely I was just worrying for no reason. The next morning I worked a couple more rounds before I realized that I was using the wrong needles. I’d swatched on several different sizes as I usually do and decided on the 2.5mm (US 1 ½), but when I’d cast on I’d picked up the ones from the Potpourri socks, which I had not properly returned to storage yet, and I those were 2.75mm (US 2). The really stupid part of this was that I’d double checked the needles with my needle gauge before I cast on and they didn’t really fit, but I decided that was because my gauge doesn’t have the half sizes. Okay, so I had to start over on the correct needles.
I got all the way through the toes on that second attempt, increasing to 74 stitches instead of the 72 I had calculated I needed based on my stitch gauge and foot size because 74 worked out even. It was only when I was ready to start a simple wide rib on the foot that I realized that 74 is not divisible by a whole lot. I could do 2 by 37 ribbing (I don’t think that’s even a thing), or I could just work plain until the heel (at which point I could fudge a bit and get to a number that worked). While I was pondering those options, I considered the lump on one side of one toe where I’d missed an increase one round and made up for it the next in a non-invisible fashion. I decided I’d be happier if I got rid of that lump. I tried ripping back to just before lump, but it was hard to make sure had both socks back to same point, so I just started over. Again. The third time was the charm; I increased to 70 and worked nice 5 by 2 ribs all the way up, doing a short row heel on the way.
While working my way up the legs, I found two knots in the yarn. That meant eight extra ends to weave in, because I wanted to keep the stripes matching and so had to break the yarn in the non-knotted ball to match the knotted one. Even so, I still had plenty of yarn to make reasonably tall socks; I even had a fair bit left when I decided they were tall enough. I have one more ball of this collection in my stash (in the Hedwig colorway); I’ll be interested to see if it also has knots it whenever I get around to using it up.