Monday, January 3, 2011

I meant well, honest

Remember the socks it was so important to me to knit for my mum by New Year's? I wrapped up so much energy in the idea that it would be a good year all year if only my mum had a pair of handknit socks to start it with (don't smirk, I can't be the only knitter who thinks this way) and also... the idea that if I just focused, it would be in theory physically possible for me to finish a pair of socks in less than my usual six to eight weeks.

And even though I did get sidetracked by some roving to draft out, and some warm things to knit for myself, I was totally on schedule to get the socks done in a mere three weeks. Three! Imagine!

But that devil was lurking in the details. I have knit the top-down pattern for Mum's socks twice before, both times on 2.25 mm needles which produce about a sock that is a little loose and long for me. Mum and I share the same foot and ankle measurements, so I figured I would go down to 2.0mm needles for her, as I did recently with some toe-up socks for myself that fit very nicely.

The top-down socks have six repeats down the leg, then another five along the ankle/foot area, and then you do the toe. By Saturday evening, I had both legs up to the toe, ready to finish and block and present to her today.

And then I tried one on.


Even before I noticed the sock was nowhere near long enough to be starting a toe, I knew I was in trouble because I had to struggle a bit to get my heel through the cast-on opening. Instant dealbreaker: there is no way mum can get on a sock that requires the least resemblance to a struggle. And yes, this is the only sock yarn I have that is subtle enough to suit her needs, apart from some gorgeous denim blue that I really want to save for a man sock but could make an exception for I guess, if I wasn't just a lot more likely to enjoy this excuse to buy more sock yarn.

I went on knitting, trying to be hopeful, figuring that since I wasn't likely to rip out a pair of gorgeous socks that are perfectly functional in every other way I might as well keep them for myself, until they got about here:

at which point I realized I have worked so hard on this one project I have absolutely nothing else to knit in the car today and would have to save them for that or go crazypants. (Seriously, it's like I'm in a fiber desert here, everything waiting to be cast on but nothing new started, even though I spent some time yesterday browsing through my queue and pondering. This whole 'socks in three weeks' thing is obviously not right for me.)

Adding insult to injury: I helped mum with some packing on Saturday and discovered that what she really needs are brown socks, not blue ones. Even if I could give these to her, she wouldn't have much occasion to wear them.

Sunday, instead of knitting anything, I went shopping. I bought mum some stretchy brown bamboo socks. I will give them to her today, and it will be a wonderful year for us all.


Kathleen Taylor said...

And the too-tight socks can go in your Big Tub 'O Knitted Things, for next year (or whenever some small-footed dear one needs a hug for her feet). See? all good!

Brendaknits said...

Dang! Don't you hate it when that happens? Some suggestions - you asked, right? - for easier entry might be a larger needle for the cast on. Or a few extra stitches in the cast on row that get decreased away before you start to pattern. Hope this helps.

Mary Keenan said...

I am so with you on the larger needle for ribbing! But I'm so terrible, I noticed too that had I just lived with the sloppier sock (and by sloppy, I mean perfectly comfortable) I would not have had to add in extra repeats on the foot, so I am now thinking a larger needle for the whole sock sounds awesome ;^) The extra stitches: also brilliant. Sigh...