Friday, June 15, 2007

To follow instructions...or not

Originally uploaded by sunasak
I'm a fickle knitter. Sometimes I knit an item exactly as the instructions tell me to, and sometimes I say, "I know a better way," and make changes. For example, I won't pick up and knit a row on the front edge of Juliet as instructed, because I increased one on each edge, then slipped the first stitch on each row, so it already has a beautiful edge.

Sometimes following instructions doesn't work out. the photo of the Mermaid Socks from Lucy Neatby (in Regia Stripe, done in 2004) shows an example. I knitted them according to the instructions, and really liked how the striped yarn made the squares come out. But, I knitted a short-row heel, as instructed. My wraps are fine, and it looks OK, I guess, but the darned heel is so slippery it will not stay put. The sock roams around on one's foot.

I made it for a woman who begged me to knit her a bunch of socks, and she returned them! I don't blame her (made her a few more plain pair, then came to the conclusion that I'd rather knit for me, thanks. She thought $20 was a great payment for a pair of socks, until I showed her the price tag on some of the yarn I was using. Uh, that $7 profit works out to less than a dollar an hour, if I knit FAST!

So, like many sock knitters, I will not knit them for pay again. I may give an appropriately grateful person a pair as a gift. Maybe.

So, on this one, I wish I'd gone with my gut and made another heel.

Now we come to the sock I started yesterday. As I mentioned, I decided to make the fingering weight, gusset-heel toe-up socks by WendyKnits. I started them on the way to dinner at some friends' house last night. I was going to follow instructions, but well, I only brought one circular needle (sock pattern is written for double pointed needles). I nearly always convert DPN patterns to magic loop, because that's how I do socks nowadays.

I could have started with the magic cast-on I used on my placemats. But, I said to myself, I will use the cast-on Wendy describes to see how it looks. It is one where you case on the backward loop way, then pick up stitches for the other side of the sock in the back loops of the stitches cast on. No problem! Well, until I realized that when I finished picking up, one needle was pointing one way and the other was pointing the other way. No way to loop them. Ha ha, silly me, again. So, I sucked it up, pulled out one needle, and stuck it back through the loops the other way. It worked!

So here, perhaps I should NOT have used the called for cast on. OR followed the instructions and used DPNs. You never know.

Now about that Trekking Pro Natura yarn (wool and bamboo blend). It's "rustic" looking, with occasional undyed blobs popping up. That is fine. What I have not found fine is that, at least in the beginning of the skein, I keep running into pieces of yarn that stick out. That is not what you want to see in a sock yarn. I will report back if this continues.

I got the toe complete (messed up a couple of increase rows because it is hard to pay attention riding in the car during a severe lightning storm) and am now cruising up the foot. The navy/dark green is making subtle stripes, which will go great with my high school football watching attire! I'll be working on the sock at work, and finishing Juliet this weekend, if I am lucky and don't have too many home improvement projects.

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