Tuesday, May 10, 2005

two stranded sock progress

So, I'm working this stranded sock pattern kind of in the spirit of Judy's Kick Back Socks Cyber class (on Sock Knitters). It's my first experience with stranded knitting, and it's been interesting. The fabric is puckering slightly, even though I've been very careful about keeping the floats loose. I'm hoping that blocking it will resolve this problem (fingers crossed).

One interesting challenge that I ran into rather unexpectedly occurred when I decided to deviate from the patterns Judy recommended. I opted for this fair-isle pattern from Sheila McGregor, adapting it to preserve the stripes found in the kick back socks and adding a background padding row to either side:


-------
--xx---
-xx----
xx----x
---xx--
----xx-
x----xx
-------

Since there wasn't background "whitespace" between the creeping diagonal lines, this led to some interesting issues at the seam. I didn't realize this would be a problem until I started the pattern, got a few rounds into it, and it looked like this:

               Round
-------|-xx--- 8|7
--xx---|xx---- 7|6
-xx----|x----x 6|5
xx----x|--xx-- 5|4
---xx--|---xx- 4|3
----xx-|----xx 3|2
x----xx|------ 2|1
------x|------ 1|0

This confused me a bit. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized that the color bleed on round 2 was because I was trying to use the jogless jog technique when round 2 switched back to the other color! So the jog was still eliminated but the pattern bled into the background padding. The other issue was the split of the pattern in round 5, since the seam split this down the middle. I tried shift where the seam would occur on some charts and that caused even more issues. It was clear that Round 2 still needed to start with the xx pattern.

So after much brooding, I decided that the first x on Round 2 wasn't that necessary and could be a background color instead. This is much less noticeable than the color bleed. So the amended pattern made it look like this:

               Round
-------|-xx--- 8|7
--xx---|xx---- 7|6
-xx---x|x----x 6|5
xx-----|--xx-- 5|4
---xx--|---xx- 4|3
----xx-|----xx 3|2
x----x-|------ 2|1
-------|------ 1|0


So, I ended up swapping the pattern for the one column right near the seam on Round 5 with the one on Round 6 and dropping the first x in Round 2. This seemed to take clear advantage of the background buffer.

Then I did the salt-and-pepper heel, which was nice, but my slipped pickup stitches were absolutely gigantic. I had holes the size of dimes after I picked up the gusset stitches! So I backed that out and picked up in the row below the holes to get a tight join. I have no idea what I was doing wrong... maybe I wasn't pulling tightly enough when I slipped the first stitch on the heel flap? Looking at right (i.e. not wrong) side from the back of the sock, the stitches were much huger on the left than on the right... about twice as big.

The gusset patterning went really smoothly, and I thought she explained that well. The pattern worked out perfectly and I am almost to the toe.

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