Thursday, June 18, 2015

K'done: Far Into the Forest socks


Pattern: Far Into the Forest, by Kirsten Hall
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Adventure, in More Power (pink), and Knit Picks Stroll, in Basalt Heather (grey)
Needles: 2.5 mm / US 1.5

Tour rank: #90
Actual knitting time: 44 hours, not a word of a lie

I'm feeling really good about these socks right now because I was so sure I didn't make my top 10% goal when I submitted the finished sock pictures to the Tour Director yesterday evening. There had been so many finishers, and the leaderboard hadn't yet been updated beyond finisher # 75 or so, and I just wasn't up to spending the time trying to figure out if I made it or not - I was so sure I hadn't.

Then I woke up this morning, and checked, and it had been updated, and there was my Rav name - in the very last possible position to get more than completion points. Instant euphoria.

Because these socks had teeth hiding behind those spooky leafy eyes.

Charts don't scare me, or bother me - in fact, I usually prefer them over written directions now, great big walls of text can be hard to parse, but charts you can sort out what's going on fairly quickly once you've got the symbols in your head, so you can usually just give them quick glances as you work your way through. Even large charts - I see them and have a mental ugh moment, but once I start working it comes together nicely fairly quickly.

These charts, though? I don't know why, but I had a really hard time with them. I had to stop and count more than I thought I should. I lost my place as I worked through them many, many times, leading to much tinking back to correct errors. All made the more frustrating since I was trying so hard to be nimble and quick, knowing that I am wickedly slow with colourwork due to lack of practice. The most frustrating thing that happened, though, was on the leg of the second sock - I missed the first double decrease on one side of the calf chart, and didn't realize it until the chart was nearly complete. Some 21 or so rounds later. That led to this:

To correct the error (and prevent my socks from becoming an exhibition only pair), I dropped a few stitches down to where I figured the chart began, to rework all those stitches as they should have been. I dropped more stitches than I needed to, because I didn't think that part through very carefully since I was trying to hurry, and about halfway through the dropping process I realized I should probably figure out how far I needed to go. I took a good look at my knitting, and isolated the row that I needed, then told myself this was no time for silly errors and went back and counted the rows down to where I needed to be - one row lower than my eyeballing had picked. Except, I did something wrong in the counting process, because when I got back up to the top, I realized I had actually dropped down one row too far. I'd been right when I eyeballed it. Back down I went, dropping stitches all the way back to where I'd been before, working a plain row, then doing the chart as I should have the very first time. I didn't time this bit specifically, but I'd guess it took about 2 hours - it felt like FOREVER.

It was really gratifying to see today that I met my own little goal on these socks after all!

Colour-wise, I ended up going for the grey and pink contrast after all, despite the similarities in values. I did this because when I saw the sample pair in the pattern, worked up in super high-contrast yellow and black, I looked at that column of leaves looking like wicked eyes marching up the fronts of the socks in pairs, and I felt the beginnings of a whimper start in my larynx, and reasoned that making myself a pair of socks that will make me yelp every time I open my sock drawer is not a good plan. I hoped that a less stark contrast between yarn colours would make for an overall friendlier looking pair of socks. I think the plan worked out - these don't make me want to fling them away and flee in fear.

Despite the fact that these were more demanding, effort-wise, I really enjoyed working the pattern. No big crazy long floats to manage - in fact, the colours alternate so frequently that the floats seemed to sort of manage themselves. The strong vertical patterning also makes my feet look rather narrow and dainty, instead of the odd oars attached to sturdy ankles that I know them to be. The heel turn and heel flap were a bit cumbersome to work because you have to purl while still alternating colours, and the way I hold the yarn for purling doesn't work for more than one yarn strand, so I had to switch to a two-handed practice for those, which felt a bit awkward because I haven't carried yarn in my right for so long now. On the second sock, I tried continuing to work two-handedly on right side rows for the heel and up the leg, wondering if it might be faster, then gave it up - it didn't seem to be speeding me up any, but it did seem to be tightening up my work a little, the dominant yarn wasn't 'popping' as much as before. I don't think it's a super noticeable difference in the finished socks - didn't affect the fit in any way that I can detect - but I don't think I'll bother with that in the future. It actually started giving my right hand a bit of a cramp!

I probably used about 50 g of each yarn for these socks - that one 50 g ball of the Knit Picks was nearly completely used up. I haven't weighed the remnants of the Invictus yarn, but there looks to be a goodly amount - certainly enough for another pair of stranded socks!

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