Pattern: Lebowski, by Star Athena
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, in Royalty (purple), Summer Blooms (pink), and Eggplant (very dark purple - this one's not tonal), all remnants from other socks
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1; 2.75 mm / US 2 for stranded portion
I want to say this was a fun knit. A plaintive voice in my head wants me to put a big qualifier on that, though, because while I enjoyed the two-row stripes, and the mosaic curlicue pattern, and the stranded darts, I most definitely did NOT enjoy the intarsia on the heel flap.
Except, that's not actually true. Yes, the first flap was ridiculously slow - but probably because it was the first time I've ever done intarsia. There are lots of strands to keep track of and manage, and lots of switching of working yarns as you go, so the first time takes some additional time and concentration. The second heel flap still required a lot of attention, but it did go quicker, I think. The actual knitting of intarsia isn't really that bad.
It's the finishing that'll get ya.
This is the wrong side of the heel flap on the second sock - tidier than the first one, because I wasn't so hyper about running short on yarn, I left the tails too short to comfortably weave in on the first one, so I ended up using a small crochet hook to try to secure the ends, and that got tedious in a big hurry, so I ended up weaving in the tail over fewer stitches and just leaving the end so that if disaster struck and the end worked itself loose, I would have enough tail to re-secure it. With the second sock, I could clearly see that there would be no yarn shortage, so I left longer tails and used a tapestry needle like usual.
With all the ends tucked away, it doesn't look so bad. But I also took a shot of the first sock's heel flap, before securing any ends:
So. Many. Ends. An image to strike fear into the heart of anyone who, like me, dislikes that part of finishing that requires securing the ends. As I did so for the second sock's heel flap, I counted the bits of yarn that I trimmed away. The total count? 22. That's right. Twenty-two ends to secure. On a single heel flap.
A-yup. If I can help it, I'm never doing intarsia again.
Now, I realize that some motifs just don't lend themselves to other techniques - that's why we have intarsia in the first place, right? So if the motif is one that you just can't live without, then you have to suck it up and do the intarsia. For my personal taste, though, that eagle on the heel flap isn't a sufficient payout for the intarsia finishing cost. The only reason I knit these socks exactly as written is because I had to for the Tour.
When I do 'em again - because I probably will, I liked everything else about the pattern quite a lot - I'll switch that heel flap out for a standard one with slipped stitches.
For now, though, I'm done with Tour knitting until next week, when Stage 4 begins at 5 AM local time. I will not be waking up early to begin knitting, and that's a Sunday, which means I likely won't be able to start knitting until early afternoon - I'll have a handicap going into this stage. It's okay - I'm in this for fun, and really? I haven't a hope of winning any of the big prizes anyway. I just want to keep up and finish the Tour.
Now. What to do till next Sunday?
Oh. Right. I have work-related stuff to do that I've been procrastinating on in favour of prioritizing sockracing time.
Well, they say balance is the key to everything, right?