Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Dilemma Of The Traveling Sock

Well, I'm in the final few sessions of my Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S) training. Sadly, once the school year begins in September, I will have to return to my hermitish ways. The departure time from home if I am going to make it to my classroom at a reasonable hour is 6:15 am. This means that staying out late on a school night is simply not going to be considered responsible behavior.

This makes me sad. I've enjoyed having the chance to knit out in the wild. The travel time is tricky and involves a great deal of patience with the summer tourist traffic, but it hasn't been unmanageable by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there have even been a few bonuses. Tonight, for example, there were two incidents requiring the presence of fire trucks on Route One southbound. Fire trucks mean firemen...and I really like firemen. A lot.

Yes, S.O.C.K.S has surely been good for me. I have had to wear shoes at least once per week and clothe myself in something other than ill-fitting sweat pants. I get a great deal of knitting done, too. Imagine that! If you just sit and knit for a couple of hours rather than interrupting the activity every few minutes to engage in Kitty Aerobics For Fat Cats or to answer the call of the fridge, you can actually make real progress with the stitchery.

I'd say that there is only one real dilemma involved with the whole process and that is determining the traveling project itself. I so admire those people who can sit in a room filled with people and knit happily away on an heirloom lace project comprised of three thousand repeats and of their own design while engaging in a lively political debate with the other knitters. I admire them unreservedly...but am maybe also a little intimidated by them. I know that I can't match their knitterly talent. It's not even worth trying. If I am doing anything other than straight stockinette, then I demand silence and a lack of distractions somewhere on the level of "Performing Brain Surgery," as opposed to "Knitting A Scarf." Socks have, thus far, been my best bet. I can knit in the round, make decent progress, and who doesn't love sock yarn? Seriously...we all love the sock yarn. We love it in a way that the Muggles will never understand. We can talk about it endlessly. And do. A good sock yarn will go a long way towards distracting the General Knitting Assembly from the fact that you have been knitting the same stockinette pattern sock since you started attending this group back in December of last year.

I took a little bit of a calculated risk tonight. I decided to try a sock with a 3x1 ribbing. Crazy, right? And, to make it all the more exciting and dangerous, this pattern has a short row heel! I've never done one of those! This is nuts! I'm like a madwoman, here!! In an effort to tone down the crazy, I opted to knit this Sock Of Sheer Madness in a yarn that I didn't feel was all that exciting. I've never used Sockotta before and, frankly, the yarn in its balled-up state is nice...but not anything that makes you want to keep it safe, secure and free from Sheep-related knitting errors. I threw together the top ribbing before heading down to Knit Night and worked on the cuff while there. Imagine my surprise...

This sock is quite stunning. Several people commented on the beauty of the sock and asked about the yarn. I have to admit, I missed the potential here. The self-patterning yarn lends itself to a ribbed sock far better than I thought it would. The colors, so tame on the ball, have come to life and blended themselves in such a way that the whole thing just...works. Works really, really well.

So now I have to ask myself: Am I really going to do a short row heel with all those weird wrappy things that I've never done before on the pretty new sock? Can I bear to make a mess of what is, in its current state, so pristine?

For the time being, I don't really have to worry about it. The Bripple Socks, who stayed home tonight due to their not-stockinette-status and the requirement for more concentration, will receive the bulk of my attention for the remainder of the week. By the time my next S.O.C.K.S. session arrives, I will still be on the cuff of the new sock and will have little to do but appreciate the way the pattern is unfolding. I'll ponder the whole matter for a while and make a heel-related decision when the time comes to make it. Do I go with the short row or stick to my regular heel knitting strategy?

To flap or not to flap? That is the question...

SA

13 comments:

Kris said...

hmmm, I've only done one shortrow heel before and that was on toe up socks.

I love the magic of heel flap constructions. Why not try out the eye of partridge or something fun? Just not in public 'cuz it is a bit more than stockinette...

trek said...

Not to flap!

I don't like the fit and you can get mitered heels in any old store sock. :o)

Anonymous said...

Have you considered an afterthought heel? It's easier than a traditional short row heel. Basically you knit to where the heel would go, put in a piece of waste yarn and then finish the rest of the sock. Then you go back, remove the waste yarn and pick up the stitches and knit what amounts to a toe for the heel. The only tricky part is knowing when to knit the toe but by measuring a sock that fits well you can figure this out.
Karen: the afterthought heel advocate
http://nothingbutknit.blog-city.com/

Mia said...

ok, you're starting to get me inspired.. but hey.. where's the picture of the new beautious sockie??

Did ya get your final Harry Potter CD yet? (saw your post to catsmum)... Harry Potter is cool :)

Teri S. said...

What, no pictures of the stunning cuff? I'm so disappointed! Since you are throwing all caution to the wind, I'd say stick with the short-row heel. However, be aware (very aware), that the first time you do it, you'll probably end up tossing the sock in the corner, cursing the day you decided to do a short-row heel. You will need quiet and you will need to count accurately. A couple of tips for said heel:

--Wrap loosely to ensure that you can see the wrap when it's time to pick it up
--Do slip-wrap-slip-turn. If you turn before slipping back to the needle, you might find yourself knitting the slipped stitch, which is not a good thing.

Good luck!

Julie said...

I like me a good heel flap, but it can disrupt the great patterning you've got going on. I say go for the afterthought heel. (Easy for me to say; I'm not doing it)

debsnm said...

Seriously, that short-row heel thing? Way, WAY over-hyped. It's so easy, you've probably done it a million times and didn't even know it. Rememeber when you first started knitting, and you'd stop half-way through a row (probably for BFK aerobics), and when you picked it up, you couldn't tell which way you were going, so you flipped a coin, started knitting, and after a while noticed your knitting was lop-sided? That was a short row. You can do this stuff in your sleep (and probably have) that's how easy it is! I say damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Kyle Kunnecke said...

I have only knitted 1.5 socks - (turned my second ever heel last night) and the 2 times I have turned heels, I just have to ignore the world - for me, it's kind of like landing the space shuttle; very intricate, must concentrate, can not mess up - cause oh my gosh I don't know what I'll do if I mess up - I'm not sure I'd be able to rip back or pick up those tiny stitches! :)

I know lots of folks are good at sock knitting - but when we're starting (like I am) I think it's best to sit tight, pay attention and be in a calm world getting through the rough parts... as for social knitting, I stick to plain stuff - no complicated "chewing gum and walking" projects for me!!!! :)

kmkat said...

We. Want. Pictures. How can you torture us with a rapturous description of the Socketta sock but not show us, huh?

I vote for a slip-stitch heel flap. My sock hand-knit or purchased, always wear thin at the back of the heel, and the slip-stitch heel seems to me that it would wear better.

Beth said...

I'm with everyone else - where's the picture?! I have some Sockotta in my stash and I was less than thrilled with it, but that's when I was trying to use Addi Turbos. The wooden DPNs work so much better for me. I'll have to give it another go with the Sockotta.

Bobbi said...

hmmm, no answer on the flap (note to self learn to knit socks).

yea! for socializing.

Lorraine said...

I'm a flapper, all the way! I think they fit better(at least on my foot's arch-of-unnaturally-high-elevation and narrow heel).

Why mess with a successful combination?

Kathleen said...

flap