Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Yarn Harlot is coming...

..and I want to be ready for her. So I'm knitting socks.

I wanted something that I could knit while I was listening to her. Which meant something plain, so I could just do stockinette stitch (knit all the way around.) I'm afraid that I'm not good enough yet to do much else without paying close attention to my work.

So I looked for a plain sock pattern on Ravelry and found one that was designed by the Yarn Harlot herself!

The thing is, in the pictures she looks fairly small. I'm not small. My legs aren't small. My feet aren't small. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I probably wouldn't use small amounts of yarn to knit socks that would fit me.

I had already figured out that I could use the same stitch-counting techniques that I used to make the mitts fit Michael to make socks that would fit me. But I bought the yarn when I'd only been knitting for two weeks. (I will have been knitting for seven, when I go to see the Yarn Harlot, so of course I'm much more knowledgeable now.)

Back then, when I was just a beginner, I'd gotten two 110 yard balls of Crystal Palace Yarns Merino 5 in the Seascape colorway to knit socks. (I thought I'd use Good Yarn, since it's going to be seen at a Knitting Event.) But after having done a couple pairs of mitts, and seen yarn consumption, I wasn't sure that was going to be enough to make two "standard" length socks for a foot the size of mine.

So I did a little research, and found The Sock Wizard, which I've heard good things about, and which has a version for the Mac!

It's also very reasonably priced ($34.95), and I could pay with PayPal and download it instantly, so that's what I did.

I put in my measurements, looked at the Estimated Yarn Use, and made the sock shorter until I could probably get two socks, only a tiny bit small for me, out of 220 yards of yarn.

And then I came upstairs and unknit seven rows of stitches.

I'm making ankle socks. Fairly short ankle socks. Ankle socks that are almost entirely cuff and foot.

But I should have enough yarn, so I started to knit. All was going well until I turned the heel, which I did without counting carefully, because it's so easy to see where the stitches need to be closed. And then I was finished, and the pattern said there should be 16 stitches remaining, and I had 14.

I had not a clue how to unknit that, and didn't really like the heel flap reinforcement pattern I'd chosen (pigeon eye, or something like that. I can't check now, because I have a cat lying on my arm, and the bag with the knitting is out of reach.) So I frogged it down to the beginning of the heel flap, and did it again, counting carefully.

Same result.

So I frogged it down to the end of the heel flap, and tried again.

Same result.

So I counted the rows in the pattern, and realized that there were two extra reducing rows there. If I left those out, I'd have the 16 stitches I was supposed to have. Or maybe I was really only supposed to have 14, and that was the error.

Not knowing for sure, I unknitted two rows, and went with that one. There were still more edge stitches on the heel flap than there were stitches I was supposed to pick up, so there are some holes in the sock. I suppose when I'm a more experienced sock maker (which I fully intend to be) I'll be able to tell at a glance which ones I should grab, or if I should just make a longer gusset or something.

But, in the meantime, I have a sock that I'm ready to take to the talk tomorrow. (Well, later today, really.)

I'm just doing stockinette on the sole and instep at this point, so I should be all ready to listen while I knit.

Thank goodness my foot is large, as I may have mentioned, so I've got plenty of rows to listen with!

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