Monday, April 16, 2007

A Good Turn

Here is the current state of the Stick a Sock In It Socks. Over the weekend, I managed to turn the heel (rather painlessly) and have worked the gusset. If you look closely, you will see that the surface showing is reverse stockinette. The two socks here are being knit right sides facing. Or, to put it another way, one is being knit inside-out. Here is a picture of the "inside sock" (the needles prevent me from opening up the socks completely.)
Why one inside out? Here's where I differ from the instructions I started with. Call me picky, but I see no point in this technique if it doesn't gain you anything. If it's not faster, or provide a benefit to offset the the extra time and effort, why bother? Then it truly is a knitting parlor trick, good for nothing but showing off. Ok for some, but not really my style. If you read the instructions you'll see that the two yarns used are separated on either side of the needle. One is already in a position to purl, and one to knit. So why not work them that way? The instructions have you knitting with both, a feat which involves moving the working yarn for the facing (outside) sock from front to back to front again every time you work one of these stitches (every other stitch), thereby increasing your time and effort by about 2.5. And why? Reverse stockinette (all purl) works as well as stockinette. So I decided to just purl every round for my facing sock, and knit it inside out. I also changed the heel, the instructions are for a short row heel, but I'm more familiar with a heel flap, so that's what I did. Decreasing is a snap, as long as you remember the purl equivalents to K2TOG and SSK. Decreases are worked very similar to cabling without a cable needle -- just have to rearrange the stitches before working them. I think I'm going to do a Star Toe shaping, and that way I can finish the pair off without having to separate the stitches (I believe, I'm going to have to try it out.) The one problem I see is that the outside sock ladders horribly at needle changes, and I haven't been able to solve this yet. I believe it's because of the extra distance between stitches (there's another stitch in the way). I'm working on possible solutions.
My final opinion on this technique is that I like it for plain stockinette socks (the majority of the socks I knit) and worked my way there is only a very slight decrease in efficiency (after an initial learning curve, of course). This is offset by the fact that both socks will be absolutely the same size, always. (This is something I've struggled a bit with in the past, as Older Son pointed out to me when I was expounding on the technique to my captive(ated) family in the car on a recent outing.) In my opinion -- it's worth it.
On a knitting difficulty scale of 1(easy)-5(really, really hard), this is definately a 5. I wouldn't say it's beyond an adventurous beginner, but they have to be willing to "try, try, again" to get it right. Prerequisites would be knitting with two yarns (colors), a thorough knowledge of sock construction (you've got to be able to make one inside out), and cabling without a cable needle.

In non-knitting news, it's Heather's Birthday! I may be giving away some State secrets here, but I'll reveal that she's over 25. Go wish her many happy returns on the day!

And finally, here's a picture of Older Son getting ready to present his Senior Project (which he did great on, btw!) He's tying his own ties, and he shaves now [sniff] Where'd my baby go?!

1 comment:

Heather said...

You are truely amazing! Talk about being able to entertain oneself!! I can't wait to see your socks in person!
And you haven't really given away any state secrets... my boys have been broadcasting it for days. But I am still younger than the Mister!!