Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hitinis, the first knitting

The text and photos below are from an entry I posted in September 2011.  I was raiding it for the photos when I noticed that it doesn't display properly.  Since this is the first I blogged about my now finished design, I have reworked the entry and placed it in 2014.  I'll continue writing about the development of my Hitini sock pattern in my next post.  Here's what I first wrote:

Sometimes, as I knit, I think about knitting. I'm not usually that obsessed. Usually, I'm watching or listening to something or someone and my hands are knitting. Occasionally, though, I will look down at what I am knitting, hands still moving, and think of knitting something else entirely. Often, this thought becomes a puzzle. Even after years of knitting, I can't visualize the stitches. I think of the stitches that are required to form a shape, but I can't see the shape until I knit it. I become curious about the shape I can't quite see. I want to know how my idea will look in reality. I want to put down what I'm knitting and cast on this new idea.
I try to make myself wait. I try to focus on what I'm knitting. Usually I have something else on the needles that I ought to finish. I may be able to postpone casting on the new idea for days, even weeks. I have to fight it, because I know that once I give in and cast on, I will be obsessed. I will drop my other projects, or at least give them very limited attention, and devote my available time to the new idea.
My latest new idea is, no surprise, a sock. Even after I cast on, the design was slow to evolve. At the beginning, I was thinking about the Double Heelix pattern in the latest Knitty, a sock pattern that uses the heel shaping to create a design on the heel. I began to consider how the same concept would work for a toe. My first thought was that since toes and heels are basically the same, the same set of spirals could be worked and used as a toe. Since knitting a heel and using it as a toe didn't seem very challenging, I considered what other patterns might evolve from a toe. The longer I postponed knitting this project, the more curious about it I became. I knew I'd better start with the toe. After all, I'd never be able to last while knitting a leg, heel, and a foot!
Thus I began, simply, with a toe.
I cast on from the toe up and began shaping the toe with increases. After a few rounds, I had enough stitches to begin a pattern. I used the shaping increases as part of the pattern. I had found a chevron design that includes the same increase I was using the the toe. I modified the pattern to make it fit the stitches I had on the needles. As I added more stitches, I worked them into the pattern. Once the toe was done, I had to decide how to knit the foot. I was working with leftovers and couldn't find a yarn that worked with the first two bits. I had reluctantly sacrificed one of my favorite hoarded sock yarns, some Koigu KPPPM in beautiful light greens, hoping one hank might be enough for a pair if I used the bits for the toes and heels. I must not have been completely happy with this choice for the foot, because I let it sit like this for days. Nothing in my sock yarn stashed looked good with the toe I had knit out of leftovers. Once I realized I needed to continue with the design as I had begun it, I reallized how to knit the foot. I ripped out the hoarded yarn and put it back in the hoard. With just a basket of leftovers and enthusiasm, I finished the sock in a few days.
There's just one sock, though. This prototype has some features I don't like. I'm going to start another with a different set of colors and an altered pattern. I'll start this one from the cuff and work down to tackle the problem I'm having with cuff sizing.

No comments: