It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the last post, what with Halloween and then Bonfire night to contend with. For the first week of the month I was mostly working away on the sock I’d charted for last time, and once again found myself learning a new skill. I got to the end of the pattern I’d charted (it did change somewhat, in the end), and was chugging my way in blue almost to the point where I needed to start my heel when I noticed that not only had I neglected to switch the dominant yarn from blue to white when I switched them as main/contrast colours – but only for the first few rows. I’d obviously put down my knitting, and then picked it up and started doing it properly, just to make my mistake even more obvious. It’s possibly not so obvious from the photo, I don’t know, but it bugged me. (Apologies for the iffy lighting – it was a gloomy day, and I was sat by the smallest window in the room, too!)
However, as if this wasn’t bad enough, this closer examination meant that about 25 rows down I spotted a dropped stitch. I’m thankful that I spotted it then, not when I’d started the heel – though the discrepancy in stitch counts might have alerted me to it I suppose. If I hadn’t also got the dominant yarn thing freaking me out, and the sock had been for me rather than anyone else, I’d likely have attempted ‘making’ a stitch in all those rows and pulled the stitch up the ladder between the existing stitches with a couple of DPNs. It was just one stitch out of 72, but I was convinced that doing so would make a difference to the overall tension, so I ripped the whole thing back and started again.
Now, up to this point I’d been keeping my longer (like, more than 3 or 4 stitches long) floats tidy by bringing the yarn over, as I’ve always done. It’s always worked fine, but seeing as I’ve now got the point of taking one above/one below with the whole yarn dominance issue, and learned to knit stranded with both hands, thus speeding the whole business up, it was annoying me that the little float catches were throwing the whole thing out. I was having to stop at the end of each round and untangle the yarns as I’d been having to previously, and it occurred to me that, knitters being ingenious and all, this had to be a thing that I could also find the answer to out there on the internet. And, lo and behold, Youtube came up with the goods. There are a bunch of how-tos out there, as you might expect, but this is the particular one I used. I don’t know if it’s as obvious to anyone else, but I can definitely see the difference between that first sock and this one, in terms of the contrast yarn standing out better –
I have to confess, these three new techniques alone have basically transformed my stranded knitting. If only I could learn to pay attention better (the perils of knitting while watching tv, I suppose), because even then I still had to rip back a couple more times after putting the wrong number of blue rows in between my snowfall rows before finally getting past the stranded section, and for the sake of my sanity (and because I was starting to feel less than charitable towards what is, essentially, an inanimate object), when I reached the heel I put the blue and white sock down, and cast on a nice DK weight pair, with a simpler chart.
As you can probably tell, these have been moving along much more speedily (though my jogless stripe is still definitely the start/end of the round). Heyho.
The second sock was half done when we took a trip to my inlaws in Aberdeen at the weekend, which boded well for having a second pair of finished socks to show you… However, at some point on Saturday night I set the second sock down – and when I went back to carry on with it, discovered that one of the needles was snapped in two right by the metal joiny-on-bit (how this happened I’ve no idea, but they are made of wood, and not very thick). There was a bit of rassafrassing, as I thought I’d neglected to bring my needle bag with me (I hadn’t, but I’m not sure I’d have been up for switching to my 3.5mm DPNs at that point). So they’re currently still mid-heel.
Sunday morning I picked up the blue and white sock again, which is now very nearly finished, I’m on the toe decrease (a ‘star toe’, I think?). Once I’ve finished that I’ll cast on the cuff for the second and then return to the red pair with my DPNs, which should only take a little while as it’s just finishing the heel and a bunch of nice happy stocking stitch. And then I might order some metal 3.5mm interchangeables, while I’m at it. In the meantime, here’s the purple/damson socks, still not washed and blocked, but hey, at least there’s two of them!