Friday, July 6, 2018

It's Not Going to Work

Or, A Tale of Two Toes, if you prefer.

Once upon a time I purchased this orange sweater second hand with the intent to harvest its wooly blend goodness.
At another time, I found the same sweater in pink, like bubblegum pink.
I used the orange for a pair of socks already (this pair) but I always had the secret wish to use them together in an awesome, albeit eye-searing, project.

When I saw a project from the book Op-art Socks, I thought I may have found my muse. I got the book from the library, carefully considered many projects and then set my heart on this swirly masterpiece:
The designer, Stephanie van der Linden, has conquered my knitting heart with this masterpiece of a design. Look how the swirl moves seamlessly from one sock to the other. Incredible. How much more awesome would it be in orange and pink?

So I set about casting on the sock - I figured I could use the toe as a gauge swatch.
First I tried it with one strand on my smallest dpns (bottom sock above and right sock below). Then I tried it with a double strand on slightly larger needles (top sock above and left socks below).
I calculated my gauge as the following:
  single strand: 41st/4" and 72 rows/4"
  double strand: 34st/4" and 52 rows/4"

What the pattern called for was 34st/4" and 46 rows/4". It looks like the double strand was pretty close, right? It's right on for stitch gauge, which determines how wide the sock is (the fit around the foot); but the row gauge is off (determining the length of the sock).

I debated about reworking the pattern to be knit from the top down so I could adjust the foot length as needed after the colourwork section was done, but the pattern has an unusual heel and it was going to be more work than I wanted.

I went to bed and hoped for inspiration to strike overnight.

It did.

I had the brilliant idea of doing a provisional cast on, working the sock toe-up (as written) starting with the colourwork section, and then coming back to knit the toe as long/short as needed at the end. Ok, now I was set...

I knit happily for the morning and got this far on the colour chart:
It was enough to see 1. I love pink and orange together. 2. It was far too big around. I had had my fears beforehand because the pattern calls for 72 stitches and I don't ever use that many stitches for my own socks, but the maths said otherwise. I followed the maths and obviously was led down the wrong path. (Happens more often than you would think.)

So I gamely ripped it out. No easy task since I had to separate the strands that had been knit together, but I persisted.

I cast on again, with one strand and smaller needles and knit the early afternoon away.
I got most of the way through the colour chart and I saw two things. 1. It is the right size to fit around my foot. 2. It's way, way too short. Where I should have about 4.5" of knitting, I have less than 2".

That is where I stopped.

I have two thoughts: 1. I could knit the chart repeating each row so that it is effectively double tall. This would be a pain in the butt to keep track of because many of the rows are already the same and I'm not convinced it will be tall enough even with that modification.

2. These yarns and this pattern are just not meant to go together.

That is where the project sits. My knitting time that day ran out and I haven't picked it up again. But after a few days in time out, I'm leaning toward thinking it deserves one more try.

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