Well, yes. Here (click on all pictures to get a closer look), in what is record time for me are the beautimous SockaPal2za socks. Considering that I am still part of knitalongs that started years ago, I think I should get a gold star for my singleminded dedication to completing these in a timely fashion. The ingredients for successful project mania included three seasons of Alias, which means I watched a shocking amount of TV in the course of knitting these (apparently spycraft and lace knitting go together like peanut butter and chocolate).
The details: Two and a half skeins of ArtYarns SuperMerino in color 115, a riot of pink, on size 4 Clover Bamboo needles (which were pink by the end of the project – heh). If you wanted to do toe-up socks, you could probably get away with two skeins because you could just end the leg when you ran out of yarn, but it’s not exactly a hardship to knit with this stuff, so I was happy to have a third skein on hand. The pattern was Ellie’s Holey Socks from the Knitlist, well-written and easy to follow, extra points for intructions on ensuring the lace pattern on each sock mirrors the other. That was a nice touch. [note: I didn't use this version of the pattern (I used this one - they're the same), so finding this link was the first time I saw a picture of someone else's finished Holey Socks - isn't it reassuring that mine look like that?]
What’s next? Dude, I have so many UFOs my mail gets delivered to Area 51. I’m about to turn the heel on the second rainbow Opal sock, so I think I’ll plow ahead with those. Two sleeves and a turtleneck are between me and a finished sweater; I’d be lying if I said this was my favorite project, but I can’t wait to see if I can make a sweater that fits – the suspense is killing me. Then it’s back to the Bearfoot Retro Ribs. Once I’m well into the second sock (rather than at the heel of the first), then and only then will I cast on for something new…what will the new thing be? A Christmas stocking (see pattern details here) by request for my husband’s godson (I am his official Fairy Godmother, which puts me squarely in charge of Treats, Surprises and Special Things. Can I finish my first piece of two-color knitting in 80 days or less, plus get some of my many other goodies off the needles? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…Why not? eighty days is a long time, and after all, I’m on a project-finishing roll here.
Or the entry that could be titled “Lace socks keep me humble.” My SOP (standard operating procedure) for sock knitting is to use the Twisted German cast on and the knit one row flat before joining; I use the K2tog method of joining, BTW, b/c IFILF (I find it less fiddly).
In the first attempt at these socks, I neglected to note that because the ribbing for the cuff is not reversible, you will be at the wrong end of the row and your 12-stitch repeat when joining after knitting back. I gamely turned a blind eye to this fact and worked several inches of the lace pattern backwards, telling myself it would work out all right in the end. This is what it looked like shortly before I frogged, not happy with overall quality but wanting proof I was actually knitting.
Now, I’m at the heel of sock #1, and here is what I know: Fear has no place in knitting; being afraid of screwing something up is your subconscious saying “this is a technique you should practice more.” Before I got into the swing of things again with my cabled sweater recently, I disliked working on it – too fiddly, not as much fun as more mindless knitting. Then my hands and my brain tapped into the fun again, and I enjoyed the cabley goodness like we had always been best friends.
The same thing is happening with this lovely sock. At first, with all my difficulties, I resisted the charms of the lace even though I find lace beautiful. I said “perhaps this is not for me: too fiddly.” After all, when you drop a yarn over, that little guy is gone, leaving the innocent knitter to say “why do I have four stitches here when I should have five?” What a pain, all this thinking! Then I gave in to the Zen; I dug out my row counter and my stitch markers, admitting that using the right tools would make the job easier. And it has been; these socks have gone from “not my favorites” to ones I want for myself. I’m back on the lace bandwagon. If you want more lacey goodness (and who doesn’t, really?) Here’s a closeup of the eyelet pattern; this is the pattern I’m using after considering many, many others.
I neglected to mention that my trip to Threadbear Fiber Arts included a gander at the ubersocks: the Broadripples that started it all. I think my gushing over these gave Rob a little crisis of confidence: if people love them so much, how can he ever do anything better? Confidential to Rob in Lansing: Creativity is a renewable resource – don’t worry that you’ll run out. That reminds me that I can practice being creative – perhaps I’ll need to look at The Artist’s Way again – after I’m finished with Don Quixote, of course.