Friday, April 15, 2016

Greater Than the Sum

As per usual, there's been much busyness roundabout Exit 151 that has taken me away from blogging, also from knitting. So it took me 11 days to finish the Sock Madness Round 3 socks, Waimakariri by Sonya Newstead. Named for a braided river in New Zealand, the pattern masterfully explores sock architecture with its wandering cables.

Waimakariri FO modeled

The elements that comprise Waimakariri are simple enough. The sock begins with a cabled tab.

Cabled tab

One knits around the tab, increasing for the toe. A Kacha-Kacha is extremely helpful.


Then things get a bit complicated. Even with a Kacha-Kacha I had to pay such close attention that suddenly (!) I had a singleton. The techniques involved are simple enough – there's nothing particularly difficult or unusual – yet the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Between the need for attention and the need for competition speed (and the busyness) there's a woeful lack of intermediate pix. Sorry about that.

Waimakariri singleton

The pattern as written is difficult to modify and, alas, also does not fit over my heel. After discovering this inconvenient reality and frogging my first attempted leg, I solved the issue without otherwise altering the pattern by knitting one gauge on the foot of the sock, a much looser gauge on the leg, and a much tighter gauge on the cuff. YMMV – some Sock Madness knitters say this sock fits them very well without any gauge acrobatics.

Because the many increases and decreases and changes in stitch count introduce significant strain into the knitted fabric, the untenanted sock puckers and the tenanted sock has a few holes. Other Sock Madness knitters say both are mitigated by washing and blocking. I've not had the time nor the leisure to do that yet, but I hope that also works for my socks. I found knitting the strained fabric put more strain on my hands and wrists than most cabled fabrics.

My sock has variable gauge not only on purpose, but also inadvertently in places. The yarn used, Zauberball in colorway Grashalm, is a loosely spun singles that varies in weight from light fingering to almost-DK, which was annoying in the extreme. I mostly liked its variation in color, a subtle ombré for the most part, except where it's not (sigh). At least the dye job is so regular that it took no effort to knit matching socks. Unsurprisingly for a loosely spun singles, the yarn was splitty and pilly, and a challenge to knit. I doubt I'll use it again.

While I was occupied the bloom season in Branch Brook Park galloped by, one of the earlier and faster seasons in memory. Happens sometimes. Lacking cherry blossoms to view, next is a brief rest for me and my tired wrists, then the Sock Madness resumes with Round 4.

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