Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stupid Knitter Tricks

I've been knitting for almost 20 years now. I've done just about every kind of knitting there is, from lace, to cables, to intarsia, to complex fair isle with steeks, sweaters, scarves, socks, you name it. One of the problems with having that much knitting experience is that it sometimes leads to a little hubris.

I really should learn that the thought "Oh, heck, I can do that without even thinking too much about it" often leads to "Oh, crap, why didn't I actually pay attention to what the pattern says instead of thinking I know it all?"

In this case, it's my Kieler Sprotte socks. In my defense, the pattern is written in German, a language I do not speak beyond a working knowledge of Wollmeise's color names. The sock is charted, so I thought I could basically go from the chart and figure out the rest. Cuff -- single color. Easy. I don't like K1tbl, P1 ribbing, so I'll change it to K2P2. No problem. Chart -- easy to follow. Continue chart until you're ready to do the heel, then do a short row heel. Ha! Child's play.

So that's what I did. I cast on 60 stitches, did my K2P2 cuff, started the colorwork chart, being careful to knit at a slightly looser than normal tension, because colorwork reduces elasticity and I wanted to be able to get these socks on over my ankles.

Every now and then I tried the sock on. It was a bit snug. Required a bit of tugging and maneuvering to get on, but it went on. I continued knitting. This is a fun pattern to knit, a 10 stitch repeat over 4 rows. I got to the point where I thought I wanted to stop for the heel turn and tried it on again.

Ugh. It went on, but it was a struggle. And while I like my socks snug, with negative ease, I don't want to have to fight to get them on. What was I doing wrong? I was knitting pretty loosely. I didn't want to have to go up a needle size, because I was afraid the socks would fall apart after two wearings. I wondered if I should add another repeat.

I asked on Ravelry, where people have knit this and other colorwork socks. How many stitches are you using in your sock? one person responded, Because I just knit the sock as written and didn't have a problem with it.

As I was thinking that I was knitting on the customary 60 stitches, which is what the pattern told me to cast on, I thought I ought to look at the pattern again. Even though it's in German, I could clearly see that the stitch count listed for the colorwork part was higher than the number of stitches for the cuff. By 10 stitches. One repeat. Duh.

So I ripped the whole thing out and have started again. This is what it looks like:

Only with 10 more stitches.

Sigh. I haven't really gotten far enough yet to be able to try them on and see if these modifications work.

Yarn Show and Tell

I promised I'd show you some recent yarn acquisitions, so here we go. First up is Numma Numma's the Usual, in the Pie, Please colorway, received in a Ravelry trade:

The base of this yarn is very similar to the Wollmeise base. I love the color, too.

Here's more Ravelry yarn, from vampy, who dyes gorgeous yarn and rovings and sells them in her etsy store:

Finally (for today) is some more Yarn Chef:

On top is "Goth Girl," self-striping sock yarn. In the middle is "Grape Hyacinth," also a self-striping sock yarn. On the bottom is "Artemis," in cashmere lace. Yum.

My Mother's Day present to myself was catching the latest Wollmeise update in the wee hours of the morning. Claudia had lots of new colors and some old favorites, so it was a very nice Mother's Day treat, indeed.

1 comment:

kippi said...

Wow. I love your honesty in this post. The sock is beautiful, the fit part aside. The colors look great. Am totally with you on the ribbing.

Oh, your yarn choices are fantastic! The Pie, Please yarn is so beautiful. Can't wait to see the "Goth Girl" yarn knit up as it will be fabulous.

So funny about your 3am adventures. Hey, there are worse vices.