Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hubris and Humility

A little over four months ago a sprightly, optimistic knitter posted this WIP photo.


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Yes ladies and gentlemen that there is four stranded sock projects. Four. The hubris of said optimism has faded, but it was a lovely, blissful thing. The memory of it is made all the more sweet whilst I've had to digest the following crow pie.

The narrower of the two grey/black socks was frogged not long after the photo was taken. It seemed nonsensical to have two nearly identical projects. The remaining three projects have suffered some indignations.

Sock one, named Fire on the Mountain, is knit from regular Wollmeise sock yarn, Schwarz and Kurbis colorways.



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What did we learn (or relearn) knitting Sock One?
  • Knitting stranded socks is fun!
  • Wollmeise sock yarn is a friggin' twisty twisty twisty yarn
  • Wollmeise sock yarn is gorgeously dyed
  • Unlike single yarn socks, you must knit every stitch of the heel flap. The edge stitches (bottom sock, not visible in pic) will be flabby if you pass over them. This "airy" gusset seems unstable. Only the test of time and wear will confirm this suspicion.
  • If you knit every stitch of a heel flap, your gusset will be ridiculously GINORMOUS (top sock, very visible in pic.) I need to find a way to get around this.
  • For socks with alternating sections of plain knitting, the "intuitive" -ly designed and knit heel looks crappy.
Sock Two, named White Ribbon, is knit in a pale limey yellow madelinetosh sock yarn, colorway Ivy, and a lovely magenta Malabrigo Sock yarn, colorway Tiziano Red. The Malabrigo is definitely thinner than the madtosh. Conventional wisdom has it that the yarns used should have the same WPI (wraps per inch) but my hubris extends to yarn choice, as well. Sue me.

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What did we learn (or relearn) knitting Sock Two?

  • Knitting stranded socks in fabulous yarn is fabulous.
  • As much as I think I prefer the flabby fabric I get when I use 2.75mm/US2s, I don't. Use 2.50mm/US1.5s needles for conventionally sized sock yarn.
  • I don't like the look of provisionally cast on heels.
  • Don't knit the provisional cast on in pattern. I don't yet have the chops (and patience) to pick up stitches cast in two different colors (see below).
  • Adding stitches to the picked up heel area, in order to hide the systemic holes heels generate, is not a good idea. The subsequent gusset looks ridiculous.


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On Left: provisional cast on in pattern / On Right: provisional cast on in one color

Sock Three may never be a sock. Sock Three is knit in madelinetosh sock, colorway Denim, and Sundara sock, colorway black. Sock three will either be frogged or be redesigned as fingerless mitts. The jury is still out. I picked this project up yesterday and knit a row or two. The project limitations are clear.


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What are we learning (or relearning) knitting Sock Three?

  • The vain pride knitting stranded socks on size 2.00mm/US0s generates is fleeting.
  • The fabric made knitting stranded circularly on the 2.00mm needles is very dense, leaving the fabric gorgeous to look at but with absolutely no give.
  • Usable socks need considerable give.
  • Lack of give means more stitches are needed to make sock fit, knitting socks with rows in excess of 75 stitches creates a psychological knitting impediment, thus this project may have to be frogged.
  • Stranded sock knitting is fun!

Summary
Was it a good idea to finish these socks with all their flaws? Am a good-for-nothing lazy bum-of-a-knitter? Am I a grade-A moron for wasting perfectly perfect sock yarn? Yes, yes, and Yes. No, no, and no. The answer is yes if my inner judgmental Prissy Mcprissypants has her say. The answer is no if I assert that knitting is my hobby, not Prissy Mcprissypants. She should STFU and go find another sandbox to play in. I'm allowed to make bad decisions about my hobby. I'm allowed not to feel bad when I make foolish decisions. Life is too short, let's have more foolish knitting and less Prissy Mcprissypanting.

Yeah, that's the ticket.
 

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