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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

Socks, Again and Again

The only knitting project I took with me on vacation was a new sock. I had finally found a use for the Tofutsies I bought a few months ago; Quill Lace from Knitty. I had a hard time finding a good pattern for this yarn; it's very thin, and I was getting about 12 stitches per inch in stockinette. Anything looser than that felt too loose for socks. This was only a 6 stitch repeat, so it was easy to get the right circumference.

As you know, I am not a big fan of cuff down socks, but I absolutely loved the lace pattern after swatching it, and it just didn't look right upside down. So I swatched, I loved, but I decided I was not a big fan of the zig zag ruffly top. I swatched some ribbing, decided that a 2x1 rib with 2 purls and one twisted knit stitch was perfect. That's where it all got a little too cute.

I tend to have a problem with cast-ons being too tight. I know that a tubular cast-on is quite stretchy, and I absolutely love the clean look of it. Also, you can thread elastic right through it, which I thought would be great for the Tofutsies, with all the cotton content it has. But of course, a tubular cast-on looks best with a 1x1 rib. I thought (the thinking is where it all tends to go awry) that I could make it work with my 2x1 rib. Normally you cast on 1/2 the total stitches + 1, knit a few rows, then K1, pick up 1 in purl. I thought that I could cast on 2/3 the total stitches + 1, knit a row, K2tog all the way around, then K1, pick up 2 in purl.

This is what I did on the way to Martha's Vineyard. The whole way. And I didn't finish. Remember the whole 12 st/inch thing? Yeah. It was hard. And slow. So that's what I was doing the morning I got busted knitting on vacation; finishing my cast-on. I finished, knit a row in my ribbing, ripped out the provisional cast-on. And it didn't stretch. Really, not at all. So I ripped it. And I laughed at myself a little bit, and decided I would try again with a knit cast-on. Also pretty stretchy, and way, way easier. And when I laughed, BBMM looked at me (his look seemed to imply that he married a madwoman) and said "You are such a perfectionist; how come ripping stuff out never bothers you."

Well that's a stumper, isn't it? My off-the-cuff (tee hee) answer was "Because it can always be reknit." But I've been thinking about it ever since. Is it because knitting is all about the process, not the product? I don't think so. I do love the process, or I wouldn't do it, but I also love finished objects. In fact, I don't have a single UFO that's not being actively worked on. If I don't like something, I rip it out and put it away; nothing sitting on the needles untouched here. I think it goes back to the OCD and perfectionism, actually. I put time into this, and time is the thing most at a premium in my life. I want it to be perfect. And yes, anything that's not quite right can be ripped out and re-done. Perfectly, of course.

So back to the sock; I ripped it gleefully, and started again on the way home. I got this far by Wednesday.

Just long enough to be tried on, so I did. And while the body of the sock fits perfectly, I couldn't get the cast-on over my heel. I stretched, I squirmed, and I couldn't make it happen. I took it to my Wednesday knitting night and asked Elaine whether she thought I could pick out the cast-on an then do a sewn bind-off. (Elaine, incidentally, is my knitting guru. She is sadly blogless, but she is a great knitter, and she must know every technique there is.) Her reply was that of course I COULD, but what a pain in the ass; it would be easier to rip it out and start over. Heh. Well, I fussed, and I stared at it. And suddenly I didn't like the ribbing so much anymore. It made a weird ridge where the pattern started. And maybe the wavy top wouldn't be so bad... So I ripped again. And this time, not only did I not mind it, it thrilled me. It felt liberating.

So the reknitting has begun. I'm only 8 rows in, so not enough for a picture. But we're looking good, and the wavy cuff isn't bothering me. It's not as frilly & girly as I expected. I think this time we will have a winner. And if we don't, well, we all know what will happen.

PS: Miss Violet, from Lime & Violet, left a comment on this post. I feel like a freaking rock star.

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