Friday, May 29, 2009

On illiteracy

A while ago, I was reading through the archives on January One and happened across her strategy for avoiding Second Sock Syndrome - when you finish one sock, set the yarn for its mate aside, and instead cast on with a different yarn for a different sock. This switches things up a bit, so when you return later to that second sock, it no longer feels like a second sock. So no SSS.

I read that and thought, Brilliant. So I decided to try it out.

First sock - a Leyburn Sock, done up in Fleece Artist Nyoni (Somoko, but in a jumbo hank) in Indian Summer. Knit up in about a week or so. Set aside.

Next up - an Anastasia Sock, done up in Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Ebony. Knit up again in about a week or so. Set aside.

Return to second Leyburn Sock. The strategy worked well in that it didn't feel like a second sock. Awesome.

The problem, though, is that I like for my socks to match - I don't insist that they stripe and have colour move through them in precisely the same way, something that I suspect is impossible to achieve with handpainted yarns, which I love probably more than I should, but I do want the socks to be identical in terms of the number of stitches involved in them.

Okay, that's not really a problem. That's reasonable.

The trouble is that I've been knitting socks long enough to have developed some arrogance with respect to my abilities. I believe that I can read my knitting, and therefore don't need to take notes on what I do to make sure the second sock comes out identical - I can just look at the first sock and divine the answer.

This assumption has turned out to be false. With both second socks. For whatever reason, I just can't get it right on the first go. There's been a fair amount of ripping back and trying again.

The worst bout was today, when I ripped back about a third of the leg and the heel because I determined that I'd shorted the foot, and the spirals of the pattern weren't quite matching up. They're still not quite matched up, because I can't read my knitting worth beans, but it's better now, and I'm not up to another rip back. It's only one row off. I think I can live with that.

I think.