So close to meeting my goal, and yet so far.
Pattern: From A Distance, by Meagheen Ryan
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, in Ginger
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1
Beads: Approx 8 g each of 8/0 Delica beads, in Cranberry on one sock, and in Auburn on the other
Tour rank: #92
I really wanted to meet my top 90 goal on these, even though I know from past experience that beading, while fun, slows me down. Alas, life did not cooperate with me. Again. Rather than whine in detail about how things didn't go my way, I'll just sit back and admire my new socks. Because I am super thrilled with these beauties.
For starters, can I get a big YAY for memorizable charts? Seriously, that chart was in my head by the end of the second repeat of the motif on the leg of the first sock - meaning I'd executed it four times by that point, twice on the front, and twice on the back. It's not the smallest chart in the world, but it has a nice smooth logic to it. It felt like it whizzed along.
Which is good, because Tour specs demanded that I do seven repeats of the motif on the leg before beginning the heel. Tour minimums also demanded six more repeats down the foot, but I knit these at my usual super tiny gauge, so my socks aren't crazy tall, and I ended up needing an extra repeat on the foot - there are fourteen total repeats of the motif on my socks, and all of them are beaded. (Beading on the foot yielded bonus points!) In fact, the beads don't match, because I didn't have enough in one colour to do both socks with beads all the way. Had I decided to omit the beads from the feet, it would have worked out, but who am I to say no to bonus points?
I initially thought the bead mismatch between the two socks would make for an interestingly fraternal pair. Once the beads were on the yarn, however, their colour differences blended away pretty effectively. I can pretend the socks actually match.
The pattern calls for a tubular cast on, and I used the Italian method shown here. I quite like tubular cast ons for 1x1 ribbing, but I rarely choose 1x1 ribbing for socks anymore, so I don't often use it. True to form, I had to do it three times for the first sock - tail too long, snagged a stitch working the first row and lost it without being able to recover it, third time's the charm. The second sock only needed two cast on attempts - again, I snagged a stitch while working the first row and lost it.
The yarn was quite pleasant to work with, but I did find this skein to be more loosely plied than I remember other skeins of Tough Love Sock being. There were many instances in which I would slip a stitch and instead of a nice rounded loop of yarn on my needle, I'd have a flat ribbon of three adjacent plies. That looseness also meant I'd often pick up only one or two plies when working a stitch, or I'd snag a ply of the next stitch while working the previous. Still, nothing rage-inducing - I definitely have plans to replenish my Tough Love Sock supply! I also plan to use my last precious skein (and remnants) for the last two socks on this year's Tour. (See? I totally need more for next year.)
Bring on the next pair!