January knitting: Noro Lace Socks
Socks: A straightforward knitting project. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No questions about the basic approach to socks. C'mon, I've read Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd like ten times. It's pretty much memorized. No problems with the toe decreases. I can turn a heel with my eyes closed. Socks, how simple!
I thought all of that was true until this yarn came to visit. "Hey girl, feel me up. I'm silky smooth and my appearance is very, very pleasing. If you hold me in your hand you will start sweating awkwardly* because it feels just that good. When you knit with me you will be mesmerized by the gradual striping and color changes, even surprised when you see a new part of me buried deep inside that you didn't know existed."
I was fooled into casting on quickly, in the dead of night in a different city-- gasp, while on work travel! My choice got the best of me and I believe the cast-on and pattern repeat took 5 tries (at 2am) before I gave up on the initial pattern entirely. That wasn't working. And so I started with the flexible Old Norwegian cast on (alternately called the German Twisted cast on) in the light of morning, and 7 stitches per inch pattern as my reference, adding the faggoting ribs stitch pattern for the cuff. Initially I followed the ribbed pattern completely, but I found the noro did not have enough stretch and left the socks a bit saggy. About an inch and a half into the leg I swapped the stockinette repeats for a 1x1 rib and kept the faggoting repeats as shown. At the instep I altered the pattern and started a 1x1 rib, omitting the lace repeats altogether because I had not lined up my repeats properly, but it still looks ok. I also felt like the foot needed additional shaping and was worried that with lace repeats the sock would be prone to falling and slipping down the foot when walking. At the toe I ceased all ribbed repeats and decreased as normal, trying on the sock (not the first time, mind you) at about the time I reached for my needle to whip that toe closed with the kitchener stitch. Shoot. A saggy, misshapen, time wasted mess. I'd heard about the luxurious drape of the yarn, read about the variations in the yarn weight (noro is full of thick and thin spots), and even worried the entire time I was knitting whether or not it was right. And it wasn't.
Summary: The Faggoting Ribbed Socks are a no-go. I ripped out the knitting and set aside the yarn for some future use. My gauge swatch did not account for the variance in thread size and the sock ended up oversized. And while Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn is so beautiful and soft, it does not make up for the abrupt cuts/knots in fiber that interrupted the color progression. I did not account for the fiber content and lace-y lack of stretch that I am unaccustomed to.
FAILURE. A learning experience.
Size 4 dpns
Noro Silk Garden Sock (40% Wool, 25% Silk, 25% Nylon, 10% Mohair)
7 stitches per inch
*Truly, I'm pretty much hovering between 2nd and 3rd base in my relationship with fiber and with the awkwardness of a 16 year old approaching his/her first love. We made it past the introductions, got pretty intimate with the crochet and knit, and I even played with fiber in it's most raw and vulnerable stages. When I hold fine/beautiful/new fiber in my hands I start sweating with excitement (much the same as my boyfriend when he watches rock climbing vidoes).