Saturday, December 19, 2009

Grandpa's Getting One Sock

A Christmas Story: It's late on December 18 (actually, early on the 19th) and the only creature stirring in the house is the crazy knitter in the rocking chair. This crazed individual realizes that even Lands End is warning that the remaining time to ship holiday packages is more-or-less non-existent at this point. But that doesn't worry her. Her mother's linen/cotton clapotis wrap is done, blocked and beautiful. And her father's socks are so close to being done that there is no worry about them being washed, blocked and sweetly wrapped and everything packaged for delivery to the Fed Ex counter on Monday.

The crazy knitter is finally getting sleepy and in the time-honored tradition of knitters everywhere, stops to take stock of the evening's progress on sock #2 before dragging herself off to bed. Holding said sock, upon which she has just finished the really fun gusset section (she loves this Oliver pattern) up against sock #1 to see about how much knitting she has to go before toe shaping, it hits her. Sock #2 is a little bit narrower than sock #1.

Keep in mind that she has been comparing sock #2 to sock #1 at regular intervals. She checked to make sure the legs were the same length and that the striping was coming out matchy matchy. (It was.) That the heel flaps were the same height. (They were.) And that her new, documented (on a Post-It) technique for ensuring no hole at the top of the heel gusset didn't create a distinctly different look than whatever she had done, but by now forgotten, to accomplish the same goal on sock #1. (It looked great. More on the genius technique below.)

In all this comparing, she had not one inkling that the circumfrence was different. No reason to consider why this might be so. And not the slightest clue that she had FORGOTTEN TO SWITCH TO THE SZ. 1 NEEDLES AFTER DOING THE TOP RIBBING ON SZ. 0s.

On Monday, she will be shipping the one sock with a long note of explanation and regret.

The good news? I can start Laura's present now!!

Knit on with love and optimism,


P.S. So here's the trick at the top of the gusset. Between the picked-up stitches on the heel flap edge and the instep stitches, pick up two stitches by snagging the sides of the two stitches to either side of the "bar" of yarn that spans the gap. (Check out Charlene Surch's Sensational Knitted Socks for a better explanation.) These two extra stitches belong to the gusset, not to the instep. Then, when doing the first decrease row, do your K2tog on the right side, then K3tog, then knit the instep stitches, then K3tog, then SSK on the left side. You're now back to your original stitch count. The result is beautiful and doesn't mess up the stitch patterning on the instep one little bit.

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