Sock It To Me Thursday II: Sock Science

Despite – and perhaps because of the near constant 90 F (32 C) weather, I had a marvelous holiday weekend/week. I abhor the heat but have enjoyed finding creative ways of keeping it out of our ancient, tiny apartment. This has mostly consisted of us changing our clock. I’d forgotten how much I love staying up into the wee hours of the morning, the missus and I working away on our respective projects while sharing music on the couch. I have to admit that I’m glad we’re not working on school projects/deadlines, though do weirdly miss that too. What fascinates me is that the late evening/very early hours is not only when I’m at my most creative, but also when I’m at my most scientific* – if these socks are anything to go by anyway.

*I realize creative and scientific are often played as opposites when they are more similar than different. However I couldn’t think of another word and “meticulous” or “researchy” just weren’t what I meant.

It took me a while to start knitting them in this heat but once we re-learned how to cool our tiny place without AC, I began reading up on the different material combinations of the two yarns I chose for the Monogram Socks. Once I felt like a 25% difference in wool content would be okay, in terms of size, I read up on the new techniques I’d need for this sock (in addition to the short row heel, I signed up for something called Intarsia knitting), studied the pattern and drew up my monogram to make sure that the Periodic Table square idea would work.

Why all the fuss Maggs? Are you stalling?

Only a little. The whole “clueless heroine” thing from my last sock started to haunt me a bit. It felt slightly irresponsible to go into this as unprepared as I went into the last sock since I had a list of things I wish I’d known before I started. I was hoping that studying the pattern I could get to that magical moment where I understood these techniques and I could see the sock taking shape as I read the pattern. Nope. Turns out that kind of zen moment only happens when I’m in the thick of things, the same way as a chemical reaction I’m working for the first time does. Granted, it’s a lot easier to understand the reactions with some practice, but you don’t really get them until you’re making your compound and writing it up. Or at least that’s how it works for me and I’m guessing socks are the same way. I get the idea and I know how to do it safely after reading the procedure, but like chemistry, you have to get your hands dirty to really know how to do something.

Anyway, once I realized this, it was time to finally knit up the swatches. Now, the last time I knit a swatch (a first for me), I ended up having a conversation about scaling down the traditional 4 inches to two but the instructions in the pattern seemed to call for only 8 sts X 10 rows = 1 inch. I was torn, I wanted to get started but I was determined to prepare for this project properly so I split the difference and went with a 1.5 inch swatch for both. This way, I’d get to see how the yarn knit and be able to get an accurate 1 inch measurement from the middle of the swatch.

At first glance/feel, I thought the flax colored swatch was a lot bigger than the deep brown one, or I did until I got out the gauge ruler.

I am kind of stalling because this sock kind of hits the ground running with the new techniques and I want to have something a bit simpler to knit during the virtual knit tomorrow. As of right now I have another 5 rows of ribbing to knit before I get to the Intarsia knitting, which is a way to knit in the round using two yarns without having to cut the yarn to change colors. It’s hard to explain, and looks to be a bit complicated so I’ll save that until after the live knit.

Thus far...
Thus far…

So how are your socks going?

If you’d like to knit along, check out the pattern on my Free Patterns page where you’ll find another free pattern if you just want to start knitting socks in general.


2 thoughts on “Sock It To Me Thursday II: Sock Science

    1. It’s so weird that they’re often put together as opposites. You have to be creative to solve problems and I don’t know a single scientist who doesn’t have some creative hobby. I think said hobbies keep our wits sharp and keep us on our toes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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