Wednesday, July 20, 2016

K'done: A Song of Beads & Lace socks

Eek! I'm behind!

Pattern: A Song of Beads & Lace, by Sarah Bordelon
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in Charred
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1
Extra goodies: 8/0 Delica beads, in a colour whose name I can't remember right now and I don't see the little baggie handy, it was something poetic like 'Orange Red'. I used all but two from a 5 g baggie.

Tour Rank: #94

Well. I'm behind on my Tour blogging, not my actual participation - this round was the best finish I've had so far! Still, not quite fast enough for extra points. Sigh.

But I got another pair of great socks for my sock drawer. Huzzah!

This pattern features so-called true lace - that is, you do patterning on every round, no 'rest' rounds where you zip along just knitting everything. So, lots of counting, and keeping track, and consulting the chart, and yes, this pattern had large not-really-repeating charts. I did not get it memorized at all, so I was a chart slave. It's okay, though - it felt like it moved fairly quickly, even with the pausing to add a bead to a stitch. Which I still find to be buckets of fun, despite the extra layer of finickiness it adds on.

When I was considering my yarn-bead pairing before the pattern dropped, I was a bit worried about these beads. I was rather severely limited in my selection - this is really my last 10 g batch of beads from that time I ordered a bunch before my first Tour, and my sponsor yarn stash is also severely depleted, thanks to budget-related restrictions on yarn acquisition, the weak CAD/USD exchange rate on my end, and the absence of both Sweet Georgia Yarns and Indigo Dragonfly as sponsors this year. (I won a skein of Indigo Dragonfly in a random draw last year. It is awesome and I was looking forward to putting it to good use for sponsor points this year. Maybe next year?) I knew I wanted to use the Charred yarn, because my other yarn options really didn't go well with my available beads. But I worried that the orange-red of these would stand out too much against the grey yarn, maybe I wanted something a bit more subdued? I strung one on, and stared at it, but couldn't arrive at any sort of conclusion. I rustled around in my bead remnants, and discovered I had at least 5 g (but not 10 g) of a darker burgundy sort of colour - like garnets. (Oh hey. I just took a peek at the packet and sure enough, it says that the colour of these beads is 'Garnet'.) I strung one of those on and stared at it. I put one of each of the beads on the yarn and stared at them some more.

Then I stared at the materials list for the socks. It called for approximately 180 beads. Sure, I thought, but how many beads are in 5 g? I spent a few minutes peering at one of the bags, a partially full bag of the Garnet beads, trying to count how many were in there without dumping them out and potentially losing a few. I got a count of 47. Then I weighed the baggie. I think I got 2 g? Memory's not awesome on that detail. Either way, I stood there, in my kitchen (because that's where the scale is), holding this little baggie with 47 beads in it, worrying about how much the baggie itself might weigh - since I didn't want to empty it to weigh it, since that would again potentially lead to bead loss - and trying to do some mental math. If 47 beads weigh a bit less than 2 g, then how many beads would be in 5 g? Roughly 140? Add that 140 to the 47 in the mostly used up baggie, and I'd have 187 beads. That made me super nervous about potentially running out of beads before being done with the socks.

Then the pattern dropped, and I looked at how frequently the charted section placed beads, and decided I'd better err on the side of caution and use the beads I have plenty of, in case my smaller gauge required more pattern repeats than the designer figured on when providing the materials list. As it turns out, I really like the pop of the bright red beads against the dark grey. It reminds me of something, though I can't quite put my finger on what, precisely. To my eyes, they're a bit like small, bright red jewels scattered through some sort of rocky backdrop. This pattern was code named 'Stark', and somehow the yarn and bead combo seems very Winterfell and Stark to me. (Full disclosure: I have not read the books. My impression of both Winterfell and the Starks is based entirely on the TV show.)

Also, I would have had enough of the Garnet beads. Oh well. I'm quite pleased with how they came out.

The pattern also features this intriguing pull-a-couple-of-loops-from-below sort of stitch that I really like, and will be looking to incorporate into other socks. I didn't get a nice up close shot of it on these, but maybe at some point in the future. Trust me, it's nifty.

We'll see how they wear - the beading technique has you slip the stitch that gets beaded, with the working yarn passed behind, so you end up with a layer of yarn between the (potentially cold!) bead and your tender leg and foot skin. I'm not sure it eliminates all skin-bead contact, but we'll see. I don't mind beads against me with my socks - the glass does warm up, and I don't really notice them after that - but this might work out well for my sister, who has expressed appreciation for the look of beaded socks, but is troubled by the cold-glass-on-skin potential. (There's also the hard-bit-squished-by-shoes problem, but that can be solved by restricting the beads to just the leg, and just the part that is well above any footwear.)

Four down!