sock it up

Yarn and I  do not have a great working relationship. You might say it’s tangled. I remember knitting two items as a teenager (with my mother doing the ‘specialty’ tasks like casting on and decreasing stitches). One was an orange orlon cardigan, and the other was a fantastically bulky and gruff ‘manly’ turtleneck sweater for my first ‘boyfriend’. Does anybody *not* knit a sweater for a boyfriend?? His mother, who actually liked me, ruined it in short order by, apparently, hanging it on a line to dry after washing it. I didn’t take knitting up again until two years ago, when I went to my local knit shop and took two courses. The first was an intro in which we knit scarves and hats, and the second was a sock-knitting course. I knit a perfectly fine hat in a lovely teal-coloured wool in the first class, but then realized I don’t like toques! I gave the hat away, in an uncharacteristic act of generosity. When I found some strange kind of unrefined and undyed yarn in a thrift store — it looks kind of like straw with hairs sticking out of it — I decided to try again. This time I knit little holes around the edge and threaded a leather thong through them. Not bad. Not sophisticated, but not bad. 2015-04-23 11.54.24 I’d found a big ball of yellow and pink spotted wool at a thrift shop which I used for the socks. They look lovely, I couldn’t have asked for better. But when I wear them I really feel how they don’t clasp my foot as store-bought socks do. I keep them in my drawer and admire them more than I wear them. 2015-04-23 11.53.44 Then I knit a sweater on my own. It called for a little waist shaping, and I thought I was being clever when I altered the shaping to fit my high waist. Now I have a bulky wool sweater that looks like it has an empire waist. Not good. 2015-04-23 11.51.40 Then I knit three quarters of another sweater with a whole pile of yarn my mother donated, at which point I realized the sweater was ALL WRONG. It seems you do need the right number of stitches both horizontally and vertically in the gauge. I put everything including a brand new complete set circular needles away. But this winter when I was travelling I spontaneously picked up some balls of lovely baby merino wool and started knitting a scarf that’s wide enough to be a shawl. I love it. And I realized I like knitting. Knitting allows me to empty my mind. And believe me, I really do need regular de-cluttering above the neck. So I pulled out two balls of sock wool that I had bought two years ago. It was a bit pricey, but I loved the look of it. Such a soft red, I thought. There were no pictures of how the yarn knit up, but I love red as an accent colour, and this seemed like such a soft red, a baby red if there could be such a thing. I figured if I could remember how to knit socks, and remember how to read the pattern, and remember how to knit with four skinny needles, it would “prove” I was ready to return to knitting. I did remember all those things, and was able to confirm by watching youtube videos. 2015-04-23 10.26.02Now that I look at the ball I don’t see it entirely the same as I saw it before I knit it up. I swear it looked like a soft, warm, soothing baby kind of red. I thought I’d get an irregularly patterned red sock. Here’s what I got. 2015-04-23 10.22.51Look at that horrible rusty orange. And what’s that awful spotted green doing in there? I didn’t see those colours in the ball!? And the stripes are so rigidly regular. I wanted spotted, not stripped. This is not my sock. This is some country grrrl’s camping and hiking sock. Pout. So what to do? Well, first knit the second sock. I’ll just pretend I’m a country girl next time I hike into town to catch an opera. Then look for a good sweater pattern and STICK WITH IT. No adjustments, no creative touches. But that’s so not me ….