Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Downward Spiral

Most of the time, my socks fold evenly at the heel. It is my preferred length for socks.

There is about 9 inches from cuff to base of heel, and another 9 inches from turning to toe. When folded, the tip of the toe is just about even with the top of the cuff.

I sometimes make shorter socks, and sometimes make longer ones—but 90% of my socks are with in a round or two of being even.

So, the heel, logically is the half way point. But it never feels that way! I always feel that the foot, is faster to knit! Once I pass the heel, a sock is rapid downward spiral!

Yesterday, on the way home, I got the flaps finished, and turned both heels (and still have a few yards of grey yarn left over!) and got all the gusset stitches picked up--all of this on the subway.

The tails of the grey yarn were bothering me—so last night I wove them in. I love doing these pre-finishing details-and having socks finished when I graft the last stitch, and weave in the bind off tail.

The heel flap doesn't look like is has been worked in a slip stitch pattern, but it has. The uneven semi solid grey hides a good deal of the texture.

So, while I had them out, (and tried them on, and worked in the tails--) I petted them, and was pleased, and forced myself to get a few rounds of the gusset done. To start the downward (in stitch count to begin with) spiral to the toe.

By this morning, the gusset is 2/3rds done!

The stripe pattern is slightly more compact across the first long rounds of the gussets. The repeat there is a scant inch—where as elsewhere it is an 1.25 inches. But it is not an obvious change. No one will notice. Can you see the difference in this view? Maybe if you click on the image and enlarge it. But, as is, or from 5 feet away no one will.

Managing the stripes on self striping sock yarn is one of those details I alternately obsess over, and then totally ignore. I almost always start as close as I can to perfectly matched. These skeins, unlike most, started out at the same point of the stripe pattern when I found the inner tail-- well that is almost true. I wasted about 10 inches to get them at the same point.

The striping is slowly going off—I started at exactly the same point in the color way, and now, I am about 1 round off a perfect match. I don't think it is me—I think it is the quality of the manufacturing.

To keep the stripes perfectly even, the tension on the yarn as it runs through the dyer has to be precise. Like gauge (what, I am just ½ of a stitch off!) the effect of a small difference get magnified. 8 stitches per inch vs 8.5 becomes significant when you cast on 100 stitches! A stitch or two difference in a single row doesn't seem like much—but 80 rows later—it creates a very noticeable 80 stitch change. It is one of those quality control issues that are better managed with more expensive yarn--(but it doesn't matter enough to me to make me want to spend more money for sock yarn!)

The difference is noticeable as you knit, but it it won't be very evident in the socks until the toe shaping and grafting. And, for me, at least, that just doesn't matter at that point!

But with this sock, I might just even them up. I don't have enough grey yarn left to work the entire toe in grey, but maybe I'll add a grey stripe before I start shaping the toe. After the grey stripe, I'll start again at the same point in the repeat, and end up with matching toes.


JelliDonut said...

The foot does seem to go faster, doesn't it? I always feel that way too.

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