It really shouldn't surprise me that I'm still writing 2009 in my date book. In my mind I'm somehow convinced that it's only really September. I've had a wonderful October, November and December, don't get me wrong, and this isn't entirely out of the ordinary, I once bought H a perfect birthday present in July, completely blanking out our birthday celebrations a few weeks earlier.
The thing is, I think I've worked out why.
Wool fumes. Or to be more precise, Wollmeisse fumes:
This is the start of Scadenza, the fourth installment of last year's Socktopus club, which arrived in, you guessed it, September. I swooned over the Wollmeisse, wrote an e-mail to a near and dear knitty friend to make her envious (I'm nice I am!), wound it into a satisfying little yarn cake; and sat it on the cake stand for three months.
There was Christmas knitting, there was Christmas, and then my needles were empty and the daily commute started to beckon and I popped it in the travelling bag with the needles and the patten and set too.
It's fair to say that this isn't a pattern that calls to me instantly. I'm not a great fan of toe-up socks for starters, purl in the round isn't my thing, and if it wasn't a sock club pattern I'd probably have passed over it. However, the whole point of the sock clubs for me is to encounter yarn and patterns that I would never meet in real life, or pass over on the shelf so I set to.
All was going well until I got past the heel turn and tried to make the staggered ripples match up. The pattern as written for the large of foot seemed to give me an extra band of purl stitches which I thought would break the rhythm, and any other alternative seemed to end up with the waves floating gently around one side of the sock, only to crash thunderously when it reached the full circle.
After I knit, and re-knit, and re-knit, and re-knit, and had a half hour discussion with H in which we both concluded that if it could be done we were missing something spectacularly obvious, he suggested consulting the internets.
And lo and behold, Ravelry answered. It isn't possible to make the staggered waves flow neatly around the sock. The 'dark' side of the sock, which makes no appearance on any of the pattern photos, has the clash that I could not avoid. People seem to have either accepted the clash or done something terribly clever involving re-charting and turning part of the pattern upside down.
I don't want my socks to have clashy bits on them so I've come up with a new plan which (one sock down) seems to look ok.
As you see, nothing horribly clashy on this side,
And this side looks pretty good too.
After the heel turn I continued the pattern straight until I got to row 8 on the front of the foot. Then I reversed the gusset pattern and knit that up the back of the foot. Where there was an increase on the gusset pattern going in the original direction, I tailed off the wiggly line by knitting a 1x1 purl cross (slip the knit stitch to the cable needle, hold at the back; purl the next stitch then purl the stitch off the cable needle - except that I don't bother with the cable needle).
Then when I got to the top of the sock, as the change into ribbing came around the front of the sock, I switched to ribbing all across the back at the same time as the last section of the front transferred.
From the back the leg looks like this:
And from the front the swirls continue uninterrupted.
The pattern is based on the tube lines in Rome I think - well you know the underground is always subject to last minute disruptions - why should the socks be any different.
Now all I have to do is knit the other one!