Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Knitting (a.k.a. why I should weigh my yarn, or knit socks from the toe-up)



I am knitting a pair of bright, self-striping socks for my SIL for Christmas. We have a big-ish family and draw names for gift giving. This year I was lucky to get DH's younger sister. She is fresh out of college, just moved to our town, is writing a novel, has a steady job at a bookstore and has just entered adulthood. What a cool stage of life to be in! (Ok, maybe that is just my mid-30's, kid-raising mind rambling some BS. I think I also remember that stage of life being plenty full of longing, uncertainty and confusion too.) Regardless, I think that she'll like the socks. I think they are suited for a 20-something.

The thing that I didn't account for before starting the socks was her foot size. She wears a shoe that is 3 sizes larger than mine and I didn't make any changes to my pattern to accommodate. Yikes. And how many days until Christmas again?

There are a couple of things that I could have done to make this error easier to deal with, before I even started knitting. First, I could have split my skein into two balls and weighed them, thus ensuring that I had equal amounts for yarn to work with for each sock. I would have very quickly realized I was running low on yarn on the first sock before finishing it and could have made changes then. Secondly, I could have knit these socks from the toe-up. This makes adjusting the leg length much easier technically speaking. Since you are assured of having the proper foot length you just knit the leg until you run out of yarn.

But instead I am doing some magical knitting wizardry.

The leg of the finished sock on the left was WAY TOO tall if my yarn was going to accommodate the length of the foot. I realized this when I got half-way down the leg of the second sock and started running out of yarn.

So I had to do some emergency sock surgery to steal yarn from the finished sock for the unfinished one. This caused me to stop for 2 days and really think about the most efficient way to go about this. Here are my steps:

First, I snipped a stitch just below the ribbed cuff and unraveled the leg a couple inches. Then I unraveled the cuff and wound the yarn into a mini-ball. [You can't unravel a ribbed cuff from the top-down. It just doesn't work.]



Secondly, I re-knit the cuff on the finished sock, going up the leg this time, and bound off.



This allowed me to take 3 inches off the leg of the first sock - theoretically freeing up 3 inches of yarn for the foot of the second sock.

It's not the most elegant of solutions, but it works and it got me back on the road to finishing the socks on-time. [The cuffs on the socks won't match exactly since one has a cast-on edge for the cuff, and the other has a cast-off edge, but I don't think she'll notice.] I also debated on just ordering more sock yarn in the same colorway, but given my stash challenge I diligently encouraged myself to find a different solution.

Here was my stopping point last night. The returns are still out, but I am feeling pretty confident that I have enough yarn to finish off the second sock, albeit with a much shorter leg length.



Once the socks are done I will take pictures in the daylight. The colors remind me of a winter sunrise in WI - how the pinks and oranges in the sky above blend into the white and gray of the snow below.

1 comment:

fivegreenacres said...

Wowee, Girl! You are now my Go-To Knitting Genius!!! Well done. Do you knit in French, by the way? I've been coveting this ravelry free pattern, but speak (nor knit) not a word of it. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/grand-chale-ajoure---large-openworked-shawl

Mmmmmmmmn. I've emailed her for a translation and she's working on it! Yippee!