Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ripping Yarn

I've reached the ankle of the still-nameless sock that was inspired by a wallpaper from Upstairs, Downstairs.

Sock in Progress

You must pardon the photograph–I'm away from my proper camera, and used the one that lives in my computer.

After a day of pondering the leg I've decided to rip it all back and re-knit it. What you can't see in the photograph are the flaws and wobbles. They are legion. This is my first sock in two colors, you see, and a new design. I couldn't resist experimenting along the way.

I began on two circulars–my usual method–with the work right side-out. Then came a problem I've never had before: a slight buckling at the transition from needle to needle. No amount fiddling helped, so I flipped the sock inside out. This eliminated the buckling and gave me effortless, perfectly tensioned floats all around; but the flopping ends of the loose needle kept getting in the way of the working yarns. Annoying.

I switched to five double-points. First right side-out (satisfactory), then inside-out (perfect). I get a far looser gauge with the double points (though they're the same size and material as the circulars) and the ankle of the sock is bigger than the cuff.

You may be wondering who on earth looks so closely at my socks that any of this would matter to them. Nobody. Nobody but me, that is, and every time I put it on I'd grit my teeth.

So, my friends, it's rippin' time. But from the smoking ruins will rise a new sock, a better sock, a sock that the other knitters won't make fun of on the playground.

Rip rip rip rip rip.

77 comments:

Bonnita said...

You"re a kick in the pants Franklin!

MollyBeees said...

Cease and desist in Thine evil ways! Do not rip! It's perfect the way it is!!!!!! PS-The picture is perfect too!

Kelly said...

You've given me the permission I need to rip out my own socks. They sit in a drawer all lonely and unworn because I can't bring myself to put them on due to the numerous mistakes that my eyes pick up on. I'm going to rip away, thanks to you! Life's too short for bad socks!

Miss B said...

Oh the joy of ripping out! And I don't mean that sarcastically - I have never minded ripping back a project.

It's rather a zen statement to do so. *smile*

P.S. My word is retto, which I first read as "retro".

Lene said...

Here in Norway we have always used five needles for socks:) Never knew it could be done otherwise. Thanks for making it normal to rip out something that isn't perfect in the eye of the maker. Why should we have to justify it? Keep going, and please keep sharing!

maxine said...

Rather than rip, if it isn't too late, bind off the bottom and attach an icord strap for a nice cell phone cozy. My mom has an ever expanding wardrobe of half sock cozies and can coordinate to most any outfit. She also relishes the fact that her cell phone is always easily found dangling around her neck.

Marseille said...

They look beautiful thus far.....

I have trouble with two-color socks, too--I'll have to try the inside-out thing to even them out. The last pair I attempted....is on my coffee table, awaiting frogging....

Addiopolis said...

Frogging is no shame. When making my first pair of socks I had actually *finished* the first sock. After getting past the heel with the second sock and doing it the way that a friend advised me to I realized the first one could not remain the way that it was. (I had moved the yarn to the front before slipping the yarn purl-wise in the heel- I didn't need to do that and it looked much better on the second sock) I undid the toe and ripped all the way back to before the heel, redid it, and was sooo happy.

Chantelle said...

oh gawd that would kill me... i've had to rip back a few times on a number of projects because i was dissatisfied with the outcome and it made me cry every time. the end product always end up being much more of a joy to me though.

Sheeri K. Cabral said...

I love that pattern! I think it should be called "I'd like to knit the world a sock" because it looks like people holding hands all around...except the people are kinda mirrored, like:

head
|
hands holding
|
head

but it reminds me of peace and harmony and OMG SOCKS.

nanaknits said...

I feel your pain... I realized I'd be ripping the sock I just finished after I grafted the toe! Sometimes a knitter's gotta do what a knitter's gotta do to be satisfied with their work.

Yarndude said...

When you say you're knitting the sock inside out, are you actually purling with two colors the entire time, or are you knitting on the far side of the round? (Did that make sense?)

Ciorstaidh said...

Ribbity ribbity rip it... I'm knitting my first socks, an inch down on rib, and undoubtedly I'll have to rip back - the ribbing is too loose - but I want to get more used to dpns and sock yarn first. Yours, Franklin, are something to aspire to!

Patti said...

I'm incredibly anal about my socks. I keep telling myself it's going to be on MY foot, inside MY shoe, but still if it ain't perfect, I'll redo it everytime. Its one of the few things, maybe the only thing, in life that I have complete control over.

Rebecca said...

You understand I shall now be forced to scrutinize the wallpaper while I watch my nightly dose of Upstairs, Downstairs!

Emily said...

Well, it's gorgeous & well worth the trouble, I say. I once had to rip out the entire back of a coat...in intarsia, no less, so ripping was very slow...and now whenever I have to rip, I remind myself that after THAT, I can rip out anything & be conforted that it's not as hard as that coat was. (The coat ended up wonderful & is well loved by its owner...absolutely worth it!)

silverarrowknits said...

I love the stitch pattern and colors, they compliment one another. I can totally emphasize with the need to rip if things aren't perfect. I always tell myself I can handle the tension problems and/or stitch errors, but I always have to rip back.

String said...

First: I love the colors in that sock, bright blues combined with blacks really appeal to me.

Second: Your cranial ridge is very prominent in that photograph.

chemgrrl said...

You know, that might block out.

I do like the pattern. The little thingies look like aliens with butts for heads.

dana said...

the phoenix sock!

melistress said...

I love the sock...but I had the same problem with my Winter Twilight gloves. As such, only one glove is complete. If you discover the magic formulae, let us know!

Anonymous said...

Your computer has a camera-Ok. It is a bit grainy, that photo, and if I remember rightly, the background to those socks is a burgundy type of red.
What fun though. It is nice to be able to rip and make it right. They will be glorious when you re-knit them. I have ribbing on my very first ever kneehighs to rip and redo tighter. Kneehighs need to Stay. Up. ; )

verification is lumpluis. humm.

Leah

Anonymous said...

What wallpaper -- please tell, or I will be forced to watch my Upstairs, Downstairs dvds ... (tho I have been thinking/remembering how Hazel Bellamy died of Swine Flu lately.)

Marg B said...

NOOOOO!!!

Perfectionists certainly live a tough life. Can't you enjoy anything for what it is (such as an example of you solving a problem?)

Linda Walsh said...

There IS a learning curve to it, but, I find fair isle in the round goes great on a single 9 inch circular. They are hard to find and an 11 or 12 may be what works for you, depending on what circumference you are aiming for. But, having no needle changes and the stitches more or less spread out all the time works great for me. I work inside out so the floats are on the outside and get ever so little bit extra of stretch to prevent tightness.

DianeS said...

I understand, I've ripped more often than I like, too.

Linda W. mentioned using a short circular needle for your socks. I usually use one of them for my socks. For me, the stitches get stretched a bit while knitting, so when they spring back a bit after washing they're just about right. Getting started is a bit fiddly, I like doing the ribbing on dps, then transfer to circ. for leg. I have heard from friends that they have trouble holding onto the short circs...my hands are quite small, so I can easily use them.

Jenn said...

Years ago you hooked me with a Delafield reference, and now you've renewed my adoration with Upstairs Downstairs wallpaper socks. Thank you for being you and for being out there. :)

purleygirl said...

Too bad about the ripping out - it *was* a beautiful sock!

By the way, both Hiya Hiya and Addi make 9" circular needles. These were the only things that saved me from taking a match to my fair isle socks!

Rebecca said...

Just exactly how many times do you need to have seen Upstairs, Downstairs to be able to a) notice a wallpaper and b) be able to reproduce it? ;-)

Alwen said...

Welcome to the frog pond, rippit rippit.

I've done that to socks I thought were finished. Socks I've worn and washed, even. Do I want to be finished, or do I want to be finished with something I'm happy with?

And it's so EASY to rip knitting, compared to fixing a mistake in tatting.

Sneaksleep said...

I can totally identify with the need to have it just right because you know otherwise the thing you spent so much time knitting will just live in a drawer somewhere. What I can't identify with is the talent level to design such an amazing pattern just from looking at some wallpaper on TV!

Anonymous, too said...

Ripping can be very therapeutic and calming if you're in the right frame of mind and get the right rhythm going.

It can also be quite entertaining if there's a kitten around.

The pattern is gorgeous, tho. Reminds me of the pattern in a store-bought hat one of my teenaged nieces loved back when she was in grade school. Her hat, however, was in Barbie Pink and Barbie Purple.

My verification word is "ablyporm." Sounds like some obscure Cockney euphemism, doesn't it?

Kristen said...

I would never make fun of you on any playground ever. Of course the fact that I can't even knit mistakes as beautiful as yours may have something to do with it.

Bethany (yarnorgy) said...

Great pattern! That's amazing getting inspiration from wallpaper!

the fiddlin' fool said...

Sounds like Aidan got to you. :)

pdxknitterati said...

Go for it! Ripping is ever so cathartic. And the new sock will make you that much happier.

kmkat said...

My theory, formed whilst ripping something myself, was that willingness to rip and re-knit is the sign of an accomplished knitter. If you didn't have confidence that you could do it better the second time you wouldn't bother to rip. ::massages shoulder injured during intense self-back-patting::

btw I just learned how to do stranded knitting inside out -- what a stupendous idea!

Kimberly said...

I think the sock is a beautiful pattern. and amazingly funny that it was inspired by the wallpaper in a tv show. ok a pbs show, but still a tv show. love that perfection trait you have going...

Anonymous said...

Lovely sock, lovely pattern, lovely yarn. Good luck with your perfectionism.

How about an update on 1000 Knitters?

Charlene Schurch

Stickfantomen said...

A knitter's got to do what a knitter's got to do - right.

Syd said...

Rip away! Some projects open us to so much discovery that one has to start over because of those discoveries! Nothing worse then a project that is half crap and half perfect! (not that I am calling your work crap, speaking of personal experience here) I love a craft that continues to teach us to expand!

Oh and that design and color ROCKS!

Seanna Lea said...

Wow. I love the colors in these socks. They will be even more beautiful after the ripping and redoing is complete!

Mary's Sharing Space said...

I know what you mean. I have had to rip one sock twice now. I need some alone time to work on it.

Erin said...

It's nice to see a prominent knitblogger extolling the virtues of knitting fair-isle inside-out! I used to knit socks (even in a single color) inside-out, and my endpaper mitts were also knit inside-out. Somewhere along the line I unconsciously started knitting right-side out, but whenever I have fair-isle to do in the round I still do it inside-out to stretch the floats. :-)

Yarn Princess said...

I am a sock virgin (as in never completing one!) but I do know a lot about frogging things.

Last night I realized that the spiral granny squares I was putting together were in no set order like I wanted them because I didn't pay attention to that when putting them together! So I'm in the process of ripping it all apart (back to the squares themselves) and beginning the connection process all over again.

BTW - I think the design on the sock is awesome!

taelixev said...

I think the design is awesome. The colors are great too. I *totally* understand about the ripping part when it comes to flaws, we as the knitter, see. Much luck with the next set. ^.^

Toni said...

Maybe you should think of it as reusing your gauge swatch rather than ripping out a sock cuff?

Anonymous said...

My only experience with 2 colors in knitting socks left me with a caston almost too tight to pull on, and very baggy legs.
Yours looks great to me. But you are our inspiration for ripping as needed, and I'm getting to be a so much better "ripper" Thanks.
Don't downplay your picture, though; it's great.
Dee

tricotchick said...

Don't you love being a perfectionist? How we suffer for our art!

If you're getting the ladders between dpns, pull your yarn a little tighter on the first and last stitch on each needle. It eases out as you continue knitting, but helps avoid those nasty ladders!

Good luck! It looks like a glorious pattern and your colors are awesome!

Randi said...

Yes! Rip away. I'd feel better if I were you. Although I can't come anywhere near to matching the perfection that I see already, I've found that once I rip it back and re-do I'm always glad. Good luck!

FiberQat said...

You and Steph with her sumo wrestler socks.

I found colorwork in the round on a small scale (hats, socks) to be tougher to keep even. Good luck; I love the rich blue against the black.

(verif word is undiam, which I think is an Italian telling you to hurry but got slapped before he could finish)

Debknits said...

Having knit both socks and mittens in colorwork on four needles, I can tell you that as long as the floats on the back are sufficient, the slight tension issues will go away after a couple of wearings and washings. Everything settles in and it looks perfect.

It's something I learned from EZ herself in a workshop in the 80's.

Spinneret said...

two colors. twining. no floats to catch your toes on. color work isn't as stretchy anyway.

Kate G. said...

Sorry, Franklin, I should look this up, but I'm confused about inside out color work for even tension. I get the theory of it, but it's all purling right? When I tried it (on a sock) I failed miserably. Is there a trick I don't know?

Anonymous said...

This pattern has made me de-lurk. I'm quite taken with it. Would you consider sharing it with your faithful readers? Your creativity is fabulous!
MaggieMidwife

New Jersey Laura said...

there's always the option of gifting that incredibly lovely sock to someone who has swollen ankes due to ankle surgery or some other reason.

Heidi said...

I'm a brand-spankin' new knitter. I did a full skein of a seed stitch scarf, knit one, purl one. I deftly added a new skein and was on my merry way--until I wasn't. I didn't mind ripping back to fix it, but I couldn't figure out how to get the stitches back on the needles properly. Rip. Try. Rip more. Try again. Now I'm back to two lovely balls of yarn.

Anonymous said...

noooooooo dooooon't doooo iiiiittt!

Kelley Petkun said...

Yes! Rip! Excellent lesson in ripping as part of the "process". But, only when you really can't stand the "error" or "mistake" or whatever you want to call it.

junior_goddess said...

Wuss. Don't you have any faith in wool and water?

Jan said...

I always say to myself when I rip out happily ;-):
The road to it is more important than the result.......

Miss Sandra said...

If all else is failing try the magic loop method--I promise it won't hurt. One set of needles Franklin!

Eileen said...

You know about the orange lace socks I knitted almost two years ago, don't you? (Didn't find the mistake till after finishing the second. Can't stand to wear them, can't bear to rip...yet...)

saskatoonstitcher said...

I can totally relate. No one looks very closely at our socks, except for another knitter. It would not do to have less than perfect knitting adorn our toes. Rip away and I look forward to seeing the finished pair. (Beautiful pattern, by the way).

Shelda said...

What a fabulous sock, Franklin! I'll be anxiously awaiting a second glimpse at it. And I applaud your experimentation and willingness to rip and tear in search of a better sock.

I've long been interested in how people work out color work in small circumferences, so this was good to read. I should try a similar experiment.

Anonymous said...

I bought a couple of pint glasses from Ravelry: one says RIPPED and the other says FROGGED. I persist in believing I can get it right, and knit without lifelines. Hence the need for those glasses. Lee

falconpharmer said...

rip- rip in peace

catspaw said...

I understand completely - you did the right thing.

Shari said...

I don't even knit and I'm hooked to your blog. Funny and lovely. I'd like to see a picture of you in your perfect socks. Share such perfection with the world!

Michele said...

Franklin, I think you've got it right... "...it's allright now... Lalalala... You've learned your lesson well... Lalalala... You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself."

soxanne said...

Update, please?

I LOVE the pattern and I am amazed by the inspiration

(must. watch. now. and. see. wallpaper.)

String Bean said...

Gosh, I really misinterpreted that stitch pattern! Ahem. It looks great. Really really great. Have fun re-knitting!

fiona ellis said...

What are you going to call the pattern when it is finished...Hudson maybe?
love Fiona XX

Jenny said...

ran across your blog while i was surfin' around some others. and you have some great content here. there's lots to check out and i'm really enjoying my stay. i'd like to invite you for a pop on over to my blog if you'd like. i'd love to have you. :) i've subscribed to your feed so i'll be coming back for sure.

Pupcake said...

Love the pattern - love Upstairs, Downstairs, too. Hopefully you remember this red-headed Victorianist from Huntsville....

knitsnwovens said...

You've got a great eye for fair isle design!! The bonus about ripping out? You get to knit that gorgeous sock again!

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