Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In the light of a dying sun

My left hand is challenged. We've upgrade to "challenged" from a number of other curses and insults over the past few days.

I've decided to try two-color knitting, as it's the last big knitting technique I have yet to take a stab (ha! knitting pun) at. I bought this pattern the last time I placed an order with knit picks, as it seemed like a pretty simple place to start - plus with the variegated yarn as the second color, it should end up looking much more complicated and lovely than I really deserve credit for.

I had the forethought to give two-color knitting a go first with a simple hat project, no pattern, just cast on some stitches and alternate colors. (it's cold here, and a double thick hat sounds great right about now) Of course, I didn't start by reading about two-color knitting, I didn't even start on a flat swatch, or with a simple set of needles, or even with a small repeating section. Nope, 70 stitches on two circular needles (I didn't have a 16" circ needle of the right size), with clingy unforgiving wool. Oh, and I've never even tried to knit continental before. After ripping and restarting three times, I decided that maybe I should take advantage of the internet.

Ahhhhh. My intuitive little technique was a bit of overkill. That was the problem.

With this little bit of schooling I sat myself on the back stoop, in the dying sun of a wistful late fall afternoon. I picked up the sock and went at it like we should cruise along smoothly. Cabling and lace had come so easily, surely I had the tools necessary to master this latest technique.

Unfortunately, every knitting thing I've done up until now has relied almost solely on my right hand. The left hand just sits there holding the needle, sometimes guiding an errant stitch back onto the needle. But it turns out that Mr. Lefty has been getting jealous. He's been watching that right hand steal the show, and when given the opportunity, he was a bit too helpful. Think of the awkward chubby little ballerina who tries to upstage the graceful lead dancer. The left hand and I had some conversations. They mostly went something like this:
Me: Stop moving. Just stay right there until Right Hand moves the needle toward you.
Left hand: (drops yarn)
Me: Damnit! I said don't move! (replaces yarn)
Left hand: (drops yarn)
Me: Argh! (throws needles on steps)

It's been a couple days, and the conversations have continued. I can't say that my left hand is getting anywhere close to adequate, but we're improving.

two color sock
notice the change in tension? see how it's all poofy right under the brown ribbing, down through the blue part? that was Sunday. further down where it's tighter? that was Monday.

I have mixed feelings about this sock. I know the appropriate thing to do is to frog back to the start of the two-color section and start over, now that my guage is improving (though it still varies considerably, from section to section, and depending on how well my left hand listens to me). But A) I don't really like the colors, they're much more contrasty than anything I ever wear; B) the pattern is boring, and although a good exercise to practice on, it's kind of like going to a piano recital to listen to someone play scales all night; C) I like having a record of my improvements; and D) there are so many other great two-color patterns I'd like to try (see this, or this, or even something I design myself). I am capable of ripping and reknitting something that is desperately wrong or that I really care about (Brant's x-mas socks took three restarts to get the guage and size right for his foot), but this sock is a sock. If it's a bit goosey in some sections, they might work themselves out, or they might not. I need the practice, so I'll push forward, but I'm totally fine with wearing the wonkiest sock ever knit.

In evidence of my capabilities in other things knitting:
maslowski mitts
Maslowki gifts.


Post a Comment

<< Home