The learning curve

April 8, 2008

Ten days, cast on to kitchner. This is a very cool thing.

Let me digress for a moment. I started knitting socks last year. My first pair has not been documented in photos because they are un photogenic. And in my normal, fitting two pounds of shit into a one-pound bag way (as the resident non-knitter tells me I am prone to do), in addition to learning sock construction, I also taught myself magic loop and knitting socks on two cable needles. If that wasn’t enough to throw at my first pair of socks, I tried two different heel styles, ripping out the first, a Dutch heel, and settling on the second, a German heel. Plus, to top it off, I started teaching myself how to knit continental style.

Whew. No wonder they aren’t photogenic. Pairs two through five were all still on the steep learning curve. Modify pattern for size? You bet. Toe up, top down? No worries. Tiny cables, lace patterns, traveling stitches. Continental-style, American-style. I threw the book at my sock making and in spite of it, all four pairs turned out OK. However, every one of them took ages to complete because of the extreme amount of frogging required to get through the patterns.

Pair six, I started to wise up. Buy a good pattern and more important, follow it as written. Duhh! This pair took far less time to knit and turned out even better than the others.

Pair seven was the pivotal pair even though no one would ever be able to tell it by looking at them. I posted this pair as my first quarter Loopy Ewe challenge knit because this was my first pair of socks knitted without a pattern and now that they are done, I realize this pair has made a bigger difference in my understanding of knitting than any of the other projects I have worked on. Sheri is probably thinking I missed the point of the challenge entirely! (Really Sheri, I didn’t. It’s just hard to show the “challenge” behind this pair in a picture.)

Simple, self-patterning yarn. No fancy stitches. Easy top-down construction. I used what I learned in all the prior pairs to shape the heel and toe. Having no pattern to follow was the only aspect of making this pair that held my interest. In the main, these socks were flat-out boring to knit–stockinette, simple top-down construction, basic heel. uhhg. But, after washing, the yarn softened, they fit very well, and they look nice. What a concept.

A light bulb went on. Simple can be better! Elegant knitting can be also be easy knitting. Good knitting isn’t a skill display; no fancy stitches required. Good knitting involves making something that fits well, serves its purpose and looks nice. The skill comes in knowing what to do, when to do it, executing what you do well, and making it look simple in the process. Design should enhance knitting, not hide it. I get it. Wow.

So, with that, back to pair eight. 10 days. The entire process, from start to finish was enjoyable, easy and fun. And if I do say so myself, well done.

And pair nine, which I actually started before pair eight, is going really well too. I just set them aside because of the metal needles and the airplane thing. That little bitty cable needle wasn’t really much fun and I didn’t want to risk having my metal DPN’s confiscated by the airport security crew.

So, without any further ado, I present pair eight. What do you think?
Zitron Lifestyles

Zitron Lifestyles

I am pleased with the way the stripes line up, making these only slightly fraternal socks, and the differences only showing up at the very toe, where for some reason, the yarn no longer matched up. You can barely see the tiny cable pattern that runs down each side, splits around the gusset and then resumes on the foot.

Zitron Lifestyles

I loved the way the yarn looked more in the skein than it does knitted up. But, really, that’s my only complaint on this pair. I did some heel reinforcement which looks a bit ugly on the inside. I’ll work on that for the next pair. That’s what I love about knitting. There is always something else to learn.


2 Responses to “The learning curve”

  1. 2paw Says:

    Fantastic!! Your socks look great. Isn’t it weird that the stripes don’t properly match up sometimes?? I found the right amount of stitches for me, and then I just add a cable or lace etc and Voila! socks that fit every time!!! If at first you don’t succeed!!!

  2. Kimberly Says:

    Those are really nice! What yarn did you use? I love the colors and the little cable.

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