Sunday, July 25, 2010

Knit Again; Second One = Better One

Having completed a second pillow cover has convinced me that my ability to combine colors and patterns can improve with practice.

Although there's more striping and fewer two-color rows on this one, and although I did use a **cough** novelty **cough** yarn, the end result is pretty good. Other than mirroring the outside patterns, so that the swirls slant in opposite directions, there's not much I'd change on this one if I did it over. I really like the way the outer patterned strips seem to float above the blurred background of the novelty yarn. The blue border makes them pop out. I'm not as crazy about the middle strip. I like the pattern and the way it works with the other chart, just not the way it starts and ends. A green border might have helped, since it would have anchored those partial swirls at the beginning and the end of the chart.

I followed a pattern for the first pillow, using an all-over fair-isle chart. The only change I made was to shorten it a few rows to make it a square (Since it was for a purse, following it exactly would have made a rectangle.) I used different colors, though. That made a huge difference. I don't like the first pillow nearly as much as I like the photo of the purse. The color changes in the pillow are too abrupt.

On the other hand, sometimes abrupt, jarring color changes are just the ticket. At least, they are if you want attention-grabbing socks.

After finishing a version of my Burning Stripes socks pattern in Mini Mochi, I can say that I'm done with striped socks. At least for a while. Although I did start out to prove that the Mini Mochi yarn makes an acceptable substitute for the Zauberball, I couldn't help "improving" the second sock. I think my irrepressible urge to change things is the main reason I don't knit socks two at a time. I don't care whether they match or not, I just want the second one to be better.

I brood over whatever I see wrong with the first one. However, rather than reknit it, I just make sure I don't repeat the flaw in the second one. In this case, I wasn't happy with the turned picot hem. When I started the first sock, I thought I had size 1 1/2 needles. Since I planned to knit the leg of the sock with size 2s, I used needles that were a little smaller for the hem facing (the part before the eyelet row) to make it lay flat after turning. Instead, after knitting the hem facing, I realized I had used size 1s. Oops, too small! My gauge was too tight, making the facing was too tight and too short. When I turned the hem, the outer, larger part bulged out.

I was careful to use the 1 1/2s when starting the second sock. That hem is perfect. It's the one where you can actually see the picot points on the top of the sock, on the left side in the photo above.

The other thing I didn't like about the first sock was the color combination. The two colorways (101 and 108) both changed to less contrasting colors at the heel, the boomerang rows less obvious. Altering the colors in the second sock provided a little more contrast between the stripes at the expense of making it look very different from the first sock.

Another difference between these socks and the pattern is that I knit all four rounds of the stripe at the heel as boomerang rounds, rather than knitting one before and one after the heel. I've been wanting to try this variation. Now that I have, I think I prefer the original pattern instructions. I also knit a smaller heel, on 34 stitches rather than 38. I don't like that mod, either. A larger heel would fit me better. Since these socks are for someone else, the smaller heel may work.

As far as the yarn, the Mini Mochi is fuzzier and softer than most sock yarns I have used. It makes a very warm and comfy pair of socks.

I've got another couple of pairs of socks in progress. For these, I'm going to knit one sock and put it away for a while, in the hope that a break will give me the patience to knit a matching pair. This is quite a gamble. Not only will I have to resist the temptation to improve the second sock, I'll have to remember how I knit the first one. Thank goodness I have my blog and my Ravelry project page to help my poor memory.

While I'm feeling grateful, I must also say thank you to all who commented on my finished sweater. I no longer respond to comments individually, but I do enjoy getting them. Thanks for commenting, thanks for reading!

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4 comments:

Wool Winder said...

I wouldn't change a thing on the pillow. It's beautiful!

vlb5757 said...

I love the pillows. I really love the socks. I like the strips whether or not they match. They look good and comfortable.

Emily said...

Despite your reservations, I love those socks - the stripes really pop, and I think their fraternal nature is actually super cute. Well done!

Mardel said...

The pillow is fabulous. Both pillow are fabulous. And I love the socks, the colors are gorgeous and the fact that they don't match makes them even more appealing. I personally like a narrower heel as my own heels are pretty narrow, but it is not as attractive when the socks are flat on the table. But that is the wonderful thing about knitting socks, we can make them just right.