Monday, December 05, 2005

Sock on a walk

Claudia's photo this morning inspired me to take the camera and a sock on the walk to the bus stop. Winter is being kind today, though the tide was coming in and with it a bracing ocean breeze. I almost got a photo of a sea lion, but he dove and came up out of range. I need to work on my quick draw with the camera.

These are Mellenweit Multiringel, k2p2, knit on US1's. It's lovely yarn; when I drop a stitch it ladders incredibly fast, so I'm curious to see just how much it will full when washed. I suspect it will stay pretty crisp.

Claudia brought up an interesting topic about color striping. Have you gotten to the point where you can look at a self-striping ball and have a pretty clear vision of how a sock will appear? Can you see whether it will work up better as ribbing or stockinette, whether the color repeat will pool, swirl, or zig-zag? What startled me as I worked my way down the shank on these blue socks wasn't how much blue there is, but how long the color repeat is (about 2400 sts). It really isn't much different from many other self-striping yarns, but the uneven striping makes it appear longer. I am fascinated by the behavior of various color periods.

When I first started knitting with self-striping yarns a few years ago, I was so excited by the colors I'd just knit away. I have become fussy. I wind off the first few yards to get to just the stripe I want for the top of the cuff. I often use that butterfly of yarn later to make the heel cup end on the right color or to widen the first stripe around the gusset/pick-up. I will edit out a certain color if I don't like it as much. I will make a longer or shorter shank to set up the heel flap in a more pleasing colourway. I become a truly happy person when the yarn makes a thunderbolt on the heel flap. If the yarn has a motif that needs to be knit at, say, 68 stitches around in order to be properly synchronized, I will save that ball for someone with a shank and foot that are 68 stitches around.

Am I obsessive? Probably. Will I outgrow this in a few more years? Perhaps, or I'll learn to look at a ball and see what I want ahead of time, as I can with solid color yarns. Frankly, I hope the dyers continue coming up with new colourways!