Saturday, July 12, 2008

Singular Sock Wrap-up

In a previous post, I weighed my pine and pumpkin sock yarn and determined I had enough left to make one more sock. In a previouser post, I had examined the finished socks and pondered what project could use up the yarn. In the spirit of serious stash-busting, I went ahead and made another Hiiumaa sock, to match the others and use up what was left. I started it last April on a trip to Seattle, using my nice Comfort Zone needles on the plane. (These needles are in my comfort zone because I'm terrified of having my needles confiscated. I figure the Comfort Zone needles not only aren't metal, but can hardly be threatening in any interpretation.) Unfortunately, the sad truth is, while I admire double points, finding them aesthetically pleasing, and they appeal strongly to my vintage sensibilities, I just don't like knitting with them at all. Thus, the entire sock has been a pain in the bum to knit.

Two nights ago I was finally about to start the toe decreases, and the menfolk came into the room to chat. I showed them the sock, along with how much green yarn was remaining.

#1Man, with a sigh: Does this mean you need to buy more yarn?
Me: No, it just means the sock will have an orange toe.
#1Son: That's what I love about homemade socks. You work with what you've got, and they always turn out cooler than any other socks.

Yes, the #1Son does deserve many, many pairs of socks.

So I began knitting the decreases, and immediately discovered a grievous error. While 3 needles had 18 stitches, as they should, 1 needle had 21 stitches. Very, very wrong. The error originated from some anomaly in the gusset decreases, this I am sure. I cannot offer a satisfactory explanation. I can only say that I completed the gusset decreases during a lunch hour at work, sitting outside in the shade during a hot desert noon, listening to Orson Scott Card's Shadow Puppets on my mp3 player. Apparently I was distracted enough not to count thoroughly and notice that while the first decrease needle was at the right spot, the second one most certainly was not.

Then I began to agonize. Clearly, the extra three stitches over the course of the sock were responsible for me running out of yarn. I had a choice: rip back to the decreases, fix, and reknit the foot, or just proceed. I articulated the question:

If I knit forward, making the toe orange, will it be a visual reminder of my failure and mistakes? Or will it be a powerful symbol of my flexibility and adaptability?

The menfolk clearly couldn't see that an extra three stitches on one needle was any thing to get upset about and certainly couldn't see why I would have to rip back. I decided to adopt their casual attitude and proceeded, using what green remained to make an echo of the cuff pattern. And I am very pleased with how it turned out! I'm happy, not annoyed, that I didn't rip back, and delighted with how the toe looks.

These five socks in the photo began with four balls of Knit Picks Essential. All that remains is that tiny little length of pumpkin yarn. Not a bad output from four balls of yarn.

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