Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sock one, almost done

I'm finally making progress with the Trekking socks in K3, P1 rib. Last night, after turning the heel, I passed the frog-point from the very first frogging and am now knitting with fresh, heretofore unknitted yarn. (I always feel so much better after passing a frog-point.) And, since I've had so much to do today for editing duties at school, I've knocked out a bunch of the foot. In fact, with the additional reading and editing meetings I have this afternoon, I might get very close to the toe.

I've been thinking about knitting in general during this whole Trekking sock saga--lots and lots of knitting gives you time to be contemplative--and I've realized that a couple of my personal proclivities manifest themselves in knitting in a fairly stark way. Namely . . .

1. Perfectionism. Every now and then, I'll let a small mistake slide, like when I've split the plies in the yarn so that there's a stray loop that hasn't been properly knit, but is instead hanging off the knitted fabric. I also know that a good friend of mine is wearing a pair of variegated-yarn socks where I accidentally slipped one stitch in a round without knitting it, so that there's a break in the variegation/striping. When I find relatively small mistakes like that after lots of knitting, I'm usually unwilling to rip/tink all the way back to fix something so minor.

But, for the most part, I have pretty perfectionist tendencies while knitting. If I make a mistake, especially one that's fairly visible (which is a debatable point between knitters and non-knitters), I'll go back and fix it. As the Trekking sock saga suggests, I have no qualms about ripping anything out if it doesn't look or fit right. Perhaps I've become a perfectionist knitter only as my knitting has improved; I don't know if I was like this as a beginner, for instance. But now, call it neurotic, call it what you will . . . I like for things to be as perfect as I can make them.

2. Willingness to work more/harder for a (debatably minimally) better result. I knit my first complete pair of socks out of Cherry Tree Hill yarn on US2 needles. There's nothing wrong with them, but they have certainly gotten loose and stretched as I've worn them. As a result, I'm knitting these Trekking socks on US1 needles for a denser, tighter, longer-lasting fabric (I would have knit them on US0 needles if I had them). Even though I probably have to knit a third or half again as much on size 1 needles as I would on size 2 needles, I'm really happy with the way the socks are shaping up, and the difference between US1 and US2 is much more perceptible to me now than before. I expect I will probably continue to knit socks on size 1 needles (or size 0 needles if I ever get them)--and I have a lot of sock stash to work through.

It's too bad that these proclivities don't really manifest themselves in other parts of my life (for instance, in my (un)willingness to tidy up my apartment). And it's also somewhat unfortunate that they get amplified in knitting, so that I spend weeks spinning my wheels on one project, knitting and re-knitting and re-re-knitting, when I could be spending that time 1) on a more useful knitting project, or 2) a more useful non-knitting project. But, it is what it is, and at least these Trekking socks look like they'll turn out okay.


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