Friday, July 29, 2011

A Tale of Two Socks

Some projects fight you all the way through.  Others go well from start to end (those make me nervous because I keep wondering when they'll go wrong).  Some start out with problems, then give up and give in and go well.  Some go well from the start and then turn on you. 

Mom's socks were in the last category.

Many years ago I knit her a fancy pair of wool and silk lace socks.  And they finally got a bit holey, so I figured it was time for another pair.

The spinning went well.  My post last December showed my setup of spinning wheel, book stand, and warm fire.  Knitting the first sock went well--despite the fact that my main knitting time is in the car when Bob and I are carpooling, which may not be the best time to try to knit lace with wee tiny size 0 needles.

The problem with knitting socks is that when you finish one, you have to turn right around and make another one.  Some people get around this by knitting both socks at the same time, either with two sets of needles or a weird convolution with both socks on a long circular needle.  One friend simply never bothers to make matching socks and just wears whatever two socks strikes her fancy at a time.

But I hoof it old school--finished one sock, cast on and started the next.  Everything was going well until I was about halfway through the foot and realized that I was knitting the lace all around instead of just the top of the foot.  Oops.  Nothing for it but to rip it out and start over--in a few weeks.  Guilt finally overcame annoyance and I started the second sock.  It went well--through the foot, over the heel, and halfway up the leg.  That ball of yarn ran out and I spliced in my second ball.  After three rows I realized that the second ball was spun much finer than the first, and the difference was obvious.  I laboriously unpicked the three rows and then eyeballed the too-skinny yarn--and decided that I could use it if I doubled it.  So I ran it through the wheel and got back to knitting.  It worked--because I know there's a difference, I can tell where the new yarn is, but I don't think anyone else could if I didn't point it out. 

But now there was another problem--by doubling the yarn, I had halved it's length.  As I knit along, the sock grew slowly and the wee ball of yarn shrank quickly.  I found myself doing marathon knitting, thinking that if I knit fast enough I would finish the sock before I ran out of yarn.  I *almost* made it--there's not quite as much ribbing on the second sock.

So I didn't quite get them finished by Christmas . . . . .   Mom will get them today.

Love ya, Mom.  Wear them in good health.

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