Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sock Blunder, Design Wonder!

So, knitting again. I think it’s dominating my thoughts so that the holidays don’t. Or maybe I’m getting obsessed. I’m really not sure.

I just finished a pair of socks for a friend. The first sock turned out beautifully, the colours, the pattern the shaping all in perfect harmony. It was one of those stitch patterns that allowed me to zone a bit as I was confident that my hands knew what to do.

And, for the most part, they did.

As I was moving into the home stretch, though, I noticed an anomaly (aka glaring screw-up) in my work. The heel was the wrong colour. It was supposed to be Autumn Heather, but instead it was Verdant Heather. I had a couple of options: a) I could just make the toe Autumn Heather and explain to my friend that I had made a mistake, certain that she would find it amusing, but still love the socks; or b) I could rip it out and fix the error, leaving my friend none the wiser. I chose a.

At the time it seemed like a good idea. With limited time to get the socks finished and delivered before she left on a trip back east, the extra uniqueness would just add to the fun of getting – and giving - a pair of home-made socks. So, I carried on, knit the toe in Autumn Heather and finished the pair.

I never used to block my socks. It seemed like a waste of time to me. But the more I read and the more I learned about designing and marketing knitwear, my opinion of blocking changed and I incorporated it into my practice. It was at this juncture that I discovered another gaffe, this one of embarrassing and enormous proportions. The socks, you see, are striped and, somehow – likely during one of those zoned moments – I managed to miss an entire stripe of colour just above the heel.

I gasped! I hung my head in shame! I may have even keened a lament!

Again, I had options. A) toss the faulty sock and start again. B) pick out the sewn in ends, rip it back to the mistake, fix it and knit the heel and toe in their proper colours. C) give my friend the socks as they were – severely flawed – and knit a replacement for the defective one. I chose C. I only had two days and I would never get another sock done in that short time. There was another option. I could have just knit the replacement and given her the socks when she got back from her trip and she would have never known. But I didn’t. Hind sight!

It’s all good, though. I’ve learned a lesson – no zoning when knitting socks! Or anything for that matter.

This new rule will be applied to the nth degree in my latest project; a sweater that I am designing from scratch for my daughter. I’ve never actually made a sweater that I’ve designed, so the no zoning rule may be unnecessary as I am forced to pay strict attention to what I’m doing. So far it’s going better than I expected. Then again, I’m still working on the back of the sweater – the easy part.

I have to admit that I sort of cheated on the math. While I love figuring out the gauge and doing the math for socks, a sweater is an entirely different sort of beast, so I purchased a program called Sweater Wizard into which I plugged in all the measurements and the gauge and – voila! – it spit out a pattern. The pattern is not complete in detail. It does, however, give me the basics and to them I’m improvising the details.

As I knit, I’m jotting down copious notes and taking lots of measurements. Adjusting the pattern here and tweaking it there and recording the changes and results. I originally estimated that the actual knitting would take about four months, but now I think I can do it in half that time. Unless, of course, my improv skills are not up to snuff! We’ll see.


  1. Well, more power to you figuring all that out - I just always take the easy way, and find a pattern, then follow it religiously!! It's so good to have you back on here!!!

  2. Thanks, Peg. It's good to be back. I need to take some pictures as I go to post. Hmmm....


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