5 And A Beagle

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon

Thursday, August 02, 2007


File this one under What the * * * * was I thinking?!?

Dear Sockapalooza Pal,

I was so excited when your information came up and you mentioned that you had a preference for cables over lace. I'm not overly fond of knitting lace socks, and I had in mind the perfect sock pattern that incorporated some interesting cabling. I ordered up the pattern and when it finally arrived, I dug right into my stash for the indigo dyed yarn that I'd made up last summer. I was a little concerned that it might not be enough for the pair, but because I was sooooo anxious to start, I reasoned that if I was shortening the length of the socks by at least 1.5 inches per sock, the 440 yards that I had should be enough. After all, the pattern called for between 3 and 5 skeins of 185 yard yarn. And as I've tried to convince my kids, I can do math. Let's see 3 times 185 - okay 5 carry the 1, 5 carry the 2 - - 555 yards. No problem, I'd shorten the pair and 110 (or so) less yarn would do.

Of course I didn't calculate just how much yarn I would save with 3 less inches overall. That would have taken time and I obviously wasn't wanting to invest the time or I would have shopped for yarn in the precise amount the pattern called for. Nor did I really think about the fact that your measurements would put me in the middle of that 3 to 5 skein estimate. (4 times 185 is a lot farther away from 440 yards). The little voice inside my head kept saying "just start the sock already."

There were hiccups along the way, signs that perhaps I should have made the time to hit a few yarn shops and scout out the perfect yarn with more than enough yardage, but no, I frogged and started over a least three times.

Finally the patterning, decreasing, shaping, it all made sense and a sock was taking shape. Every once in a while I'd look at the slowly shrinking cake of yarn and tell myself, "sure, you can squeeze that second sock out of what's left."

About 4/5's of the way into sock #1, I put it on the postal scale at work. Then I put the remaining yarn on the scale. The feeling was akin to when I step on a scale. YIKES!

Almost one month into the knitting and one month away from having to mail the completed pair to you, I went to a local yarn shop and picked up what I thought was a pretty close match. I figured if I did the second sock in alternating rounds of old yarn/new yarn, I'd be away to the races. I sat out in the lovely sunshine and knit away. Not bad, I thought to myself, this turned out pretty good! The colours are so close. Then one day, I took it to work with me and when I slipped it out of the knitting bag, I couldn't believe my eyes. The two yarns were no where near as close in colour/shading as I'd thought.

Optimistically dilusional as alway, I kept knitting, not able to bear the thought that I really should rip back both socks and do alternating rounds on both. A possiblilty that MIGHT have been easy for me to accept if these had been ankle socks, but they're knee high! And 122 cast on stitches!

Overdying was my only option. The "intellegent" voice in my head (the one that is like a poor neglected child for all the times I ignore it) said, they're already two different socks without any overdying, what makes you think they'll react to the colouring in an identical manner? The same voice that told me 440 yards would be enough was saying, "Sure they will, why wouldn't they? Both yarns are 100% merino, both are indigo blue, what could go wrong?"

First I tried Koolaid- Blueberry Blast. Good grief! Shades of an okay blue on some sections and blueberry NEON on others!

Then I figured, get away from blue, go raspberry. Good grief again!

Forget the Koolaid!! Next step, Michaels for some Wiltons BLACK.

Eight, count them, eight trips to the dye pot and an entire jar of Wiltons gone, this is what I've ended up with. What should have been the beautiful, subtle colour changes of indigo has had to become .......Black! Well not quite black, but brown/burgundy/black

I even picked up some yarn when I picked up the dye because I figured my only solution would be to knit another pair. I felt like weeping last night, when after 3 hours of knitting, I had only 4 inches.

I'm hopeful that you'll open the package up in the bright Ottawa sunshine, and you won't see the subtle (I don't think so) differences between your right and left socks and if you do notice them (as you are likely to), I hope you'll like them just the same. Keep in mind they'll keep your feet warm in the cold Ottawa winters!



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