The Rewards of Arbitrary Persistance

It has officially taken me as long to blog about November’s socks as it took me to knit them. You have no reason to believe me, but I did in fact finish these socks on November 8th. Though I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that most of the reason I waited to blog about them is that I was hoping to make a fantastic Greek Salad with which to photograph the “Feta Cheese” socks.

Feta Cheese: The Other Reason to Own Sheep.

I am very pleased with how my chosen color combination turned out. The greens are from two different skeins of the same Wullenstudio colorway “Bungle in the Jungle” (I think it was a new color she was experimenting with), the dark purple is leftover Ultra Alpaca Light from Serra, and the pink is a ball of Elle Sock that I didn’t use on Norway in July. The white is just a blank skein of Plymouth Yarn’s Dye for Me; it’s the sock yarn I use for my hand-dyes. It’s a slightly yellowish natural white, which plays very well against the yellow in the rich green of the toe. I am deeelighted.

Pattern review: I won’t lie. In the whole Folk Socks book, this is the one pair that I actually didn’t really like the look of, and that made me think about not being so anal as to really do every pair. But with the right colors, they turned out really unique, lovable, and kinda cool-looking. As to the pattern itself, it is quite well-written. It is very odd to make a united color pattern out of two techniques – fair isle and duplicate stitch – and I won’t say it’s not impressively fiddly. But the reason Ms. Bush designed them this way is so that you never have to do three-color fair isle. Especially on the heel flap, when you’re working back and forth, I was grateful for this pattern decision. A couple of things to be aware of – you will have lots of very long (~10 stitch) floats to deal with. That’s just part of the package. Also, since you have so many colors being applied at two different times, you can end up with more ends to weave in than you have space in which to weave them! This might make the inside of the heel and toe rather uncomfortable. To reduce the number of ends, when you work the fair isle colorwork, leave yourself some long tails at the end to use for the duplicate stitch rather than duplicate stitching with a new length. After trying both ways, duplicate stitching with long tails left from the fair isle is less painful all around.

I feel almost like these socks were a gift, a little reward for sticking to the program. Which is ironic, since the “program” is entirely arbitrary, self-inflicted, and made up by myself.

As weird as it is to inflict an arbitrary discipline on oneself, especially with a hobby as superfluous as knitting, I think programmatic-ness is why I got these socks done so quickly. My life is so impossibly jam-packed right now that, as knitters often testify, knitting is the one orderly thing in which I can see real progress, even while it is the one area where no one is making any demands on me, where I have no one to please. Adding yet another layer of discipline by making myself do a pair of socks in a month only enhances this – giving me something I can accomplish on a deadline just to please myself, which as a little people-pleaser is remarkably self-affirming. And is it really that different from setting yourself a goal in exercise, or in any other craft that you love just for itself? When you pick a goal that is challenging but achievable, that can be nothing but encouraging when it seems like everything else is chaotic and held together by duct tape, bubble gum, and a serious abuse of caffeine.

A few days ago, Mom suggested that I should not be complaining about lack of time for knitting Christmas presents, that in fact I have been knitting one present a month with my pairs of socks!

This would be true, if I had any intention of giving these away….

2 thoughts on “The Rewards of Arbitrary Persistance

  1. Oh my goodness, the salad looks amazing! The socks look amazing too, but in less of an eating way and more of a wearing way….if you know what I mean…


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