Category Archives: Chest of Knitting Horrors


Another week of low inspiration here. I’m half way through the brown/tan/ecru entrelac socks. They’re working up nicely, but as I mentioned last week, the yarn has had lots of knots in it, one or two interrupting the color progression, but most clearly knotted before the stuff was dyed. I’m not pleased and will consider greatly before buying Berroco Sock again, even though I like its other properties that are so similar to more expensive European label sock yarns.


I’ve also picked up my olive tablecloth again. Rounds are still interminable, and nothing much interesting has happened since I put it aside last year. I’m still in the spiderweb section, with at least eight more rows of that two-row pattern before I have enough width to consider moving on to the final design element. I share my last olive picture again. The piece now looks the same, except the spiderweb around the outer edge is now about twice as deep.


And finally, in yet another traditional blurry String picture, I show off a partially completed embroidery. This one is a true sampler – a piece that exits only to try out random counted patterns. I had no particular goal in stitching it, it wasn’t intended to be displayed and remained a work in progress. The super long repeat in maroon shown separately is one of the design candidates for my curtain project mentioned here before. That work is still in the larval planning stages, mostly pending finding an affordable close to even weave linen or linen look alike.

misc-embroidery-1.jpg misc-embroidery-2.jpg

Gauge on this sampler is approximately 15 stitches per inch on 30 count linen, in DMC Danish Flower Thread. Stitches used are cross stitch (green at top left), double running (grapes down center of piece and the two-tone framed flowers bit), and long-armed cross stitch (the extra long repeat). At this gauge the red repeat is just under 3.25 inches wide. To make my curtains less of an aeons project and to achieve the heft I want for my curtains, I’m looking for a plain weave even weave of about 12-15 threads per inch. That would make my stitched ribbon about six inches wide. Considering that I would need four panels to cover my windows, each 71 inches long x 35 inches wide, the six inch strip width would be in proportion to the rest of the project. But I haven’t found the linen yet, and certainly haven’t had the time to start, so my embroidered curtains remain a mental exercise for now.


Graphs for all of the patterns on this piece except for the small bans of field filling squaring out the area immediately to the left of the frame flowers can be found in The New Carolingian Modelbook. DMC DFT is now discontinued, which is one of the reasons why my play sampler ended up in my Chest of Knitting Horrors(tm).


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Knitsy asked two questions – what was my first lace project, and why lace at all since I’ve said I am not really the lace-wearing type. I’ll try to answer.

First Lace Project

In the best tradition of flinging one’s self off the end of a pier in order to learn how to swim, my first lace project was the Rose of England cloth from Kinzel’s Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting. It was back in the days BI (before Internet), when aside from my mother, I didn’t know anyone else who knit. While I had no one to ask questions or provide help, I also had no one to tell me that I might be just a bit overambitious for someone who had just picked up needles a year or two before.

It turns out that I wasn’t overambitious at all. The pattern was clear and logical, with no errors. All I had were simple increases and decreases to worry about. Yes, the project was big, but even so it wasn’t a bad choice for a first timer.

I have to admit however (sheepishly) that the thing isn’t finished. I have one more round of petals to do and I have to end it and block it. Why has it sat in the closet all this time? Several reasons. First, it was a first project. While there are no structural errors in the thing my stitches are less than even. Second, lace yarn wasn’t readily available. I used cotton crochet thread, and didn’t have a clue as to how much I needed. Even that was hard to find. As a result there are supposedly similar weight white cottons from three makers in the piece, bought at three different times. And I still need more! The spots at which I transition from one lot of thread to another are very evident both in texture and even color (not all white is white). Third, until recently I had neither dining room nor place to block something so large. I can’t use this excuse any more because now I have both (although the table is rectangular rather than circular).

My long time pal Kathryn has twitted me many times about letting this one languish. But I’m not entirely sure it deserves to be finished. Sure, I’ll have finished off the piece, but I won’t be happy with it. I know every time I look at it I’ll think of what might have been or how it could have been done better. Is it worth it to invest the extra time if the result will be only disappointment? What would you do?

In a conservation of things lost moment, my copy of Heirloom Knitting being found, the bag with my unfinished Rose has now disappeared. Otherwise I’d show a picture of that sad resident of my Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM. Instead I’ll give you happier eye candy. Here’s a link to the incomparable Judy Gibson’s finished Rose. I melt in shame for my own shortcomings. I still love that pattern, but perhaps it’s time to toss in the towel on attempt number one and re-knit the thing for real.

Why Lace?

Why not? Actually, there’s more reason than that. I find the way patterns build in lace fascinating – how the charts or prose directions translate into the visual impact of the actual work. The more involved or complex the design, the better. Even more so if there are almost no row for row repeats in the piece. Plus I have to admit that making things with no garment shaping or final fit to worry about is wonderfully relaxing. So what if my flat lace pieces end up being a bit bigger or smaller than target? They’re splendid just as they are.

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Yes, it’s true. I made this:

My excuses:

  • It was 1970
  • Limited yarn budget, using whatever I could find in the 25-cent bin, or beg or borrow from friends, relations and people with a grudge against me
  • Unlimited time
  • Not yet knowing how to knit
  • Hating the seaming and end-darning common to standard issue granny square blankets
  • Having no concept whatsoever of what a useful size might be
  • Being 14 years old at the time

I came across it on Saturday, at the bottom of a box of first apartment leftovers I rescued from a narrowly averted basement flood. I did actually use the thing. I did most of my Junior High School and High School homework while wrapped in it. It also accompanied me off to college, where it kept other people from sitting on my bed, or provided a modicum of insulation when hung up against a very cold cinderblock wall.

I will say the haphazard design and awful colors sort of grow on you after a while. Kind of like fungus, or a particularly gruesome looking pet. My kids want to use it as our TV room sofa throw. Maybe you have to be pre-adult to appreciate it. Plus it’s absolute proof that Acrylic Is Forever.


Several people have asked about the blocking board Laura used for her
Paisley. I’ve sent the question to her, and will post any reply.

the mean time, here’s another suggestion. When I’m not being lazy
slinging things down willy-nilly on towels, I do follow a bit more of a
method. First, I clear out furniture in the room with our largest area
rug (I’ve got no wall to wall carpeting). Then I lay down a heavy
cotton quilt type blanket to protect the carpet from any moisture, and
to give me more depth into which I can pin. Finally I cover the blanket
with a rally check patterned sheet, one of two I stumbled across in a
discount store. Once all is smooth and ready, I pin out my item, using
long rust-free pins:

item above is my Spider Queen shawl. It stretched out to be about 7 feet
across. I began with a rough estimate of how large my finished item
should end up being, then I started at the center points of each edge.
I pinned them first, working from side to opposite side and tensioning
the piece across between counterpoised pins. Then I stretched out the
corners and did them, too. After that I just zipped back and forth
across the piece ping-pong style, pinning in the middle of each
remaining unpinned length until I had placed a pin in each of the
edging’s points:

the only caution I offer (beyond being prepared for the labor
intensiveness of this effort) is that the cheap Dritz pins I used were
long enough and rust-free enough, but they were too thin and too
fragile. They bent going in and the little bead heads pulled off when I
pulled the pins out. Not fun.

I know that rally check print
sheets are not an every day item, but any even check or Tattersall or
windowpane style plaid will work equally well. So would yard goods in
gingham or similar "graph paper" type patterns.

My friend Kathryn gently chides me about blocking my Kinzel Rose of England, languishing in my Chest of Knitting Horrors?
since 1991. While the method above would work for that piece it’s not
on my current schedule. ROE was the first bit of lace knitting I ever
attempted. It’s a testament to the precision and logic of that pattern
that I was able to do it with no prior lace experience.

At the time though, I wasn’t very appreciative though of my materials.
I used a mish-mash of size 30 white crochet cottons from various
makers, bought at different times. You can see where each purchased lot
begins and ends, some by slight color difference, some by texture. I
got about four courses of leaves into the final outside area and
stopped at the point where I ran out of thread (again) and when I was
no longer able to delude myself that the thread lot problem wasn’t
noticeable. I’d need to figure out where I was, buy more mis-matched
cotton, finish out another course of leaves, and do the final
crochet-off finish before I could even think of blocking. Either that
or ravel out a course or two of leaves and finish the thing from that
point. So you can get an idea of what the (eventual) goal is, here’s Judy Gibson’s ROE.

I know some people are asking about when I will be blocking my Alcazar shawl. I’m afraid the Larger Daughter took a fancy to my loud rally check sheets and took them off to sleep away camp. No large item blocking will happen here until she and my sheets return.


All good things must come to an end, and it’s nearing that point for the baby blanket I knit 14 years ago for The Larger Child. It was the first piece of lacy knitting I attempted, and?is a combo of the double star keyhole motif from Phillips’?Knitting Counterpanes?(slightly modified); plus a perimiter trim I tinkered up from a standad leaf edging.

Pink?Blanket?wrapped?said child when we brought her home from the hospital, slept with her every night until she was?in Kindergarten,?accompanied us on every family vacation, served as a cape, costume, and tent, survived countless wash/use cycles, and even went off to summer camp with her for the past?four years. Now the nameless cotton it’s made from is finally giving up the ghost.

The simple slits between motifs where the stiching has come undone are quick and easy fixes. I’ve even grafted and re-knit bits of the border before?where it got snagged. The other holes in the ladder lace upper part of the trim, and in the motif in the lower left however are bigger deals. I’ve still got some of my nameless cotton if I want to try fixing Pink Blanket again. Amazingly, the piece has not faded over the years, so the color match is still good. Still, 14 years of hard wear for an odd-lot yarn bought at a long defunct yarn discount store in Maryland, and a first attempt at a knitting style – that’s not a bad return on my investment.

Follow-up – Blauband Blanket

To follow up yesterday’s Chest of Knitting HororsTM post, the fragment you see is about 80% of the finished blanket. I have enough yarn for two more courses of hexes, plus half-hexes to finish out the sides square. I’m looking for a coordinating yarn just to do a trim around the entire edge. But Nancy’s "outside the box" idea of edging with satin blanket binding rather than more knitting is well worth considering. Thank you!


A friend sent me a link to this game. If you’re into sheep and have time to kill, you can waste hours there.


In an effort to use this space to productive advantage while I’m still plugging away at the Dragon and de-plying my poncho yarn, I turn to yet another embarrassment. Here’s another dweller from my Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM.

This pieced motif blanket is knit from Special Blauband, a fingering weight sock yarn. A long time ago it came in an striking color preparation.All of the?consituent plies that made up the yarn were dyed in several colors, then spun together in the usual way. Color repeats on the plies changed quickly, but the cycles were very long. The long cycles plus the random matings of the colors produced by spinning together multiple plies meant the?total color sequences varied greatly – never repeating exactly even in the same skein.Although one color usually dominated in the yarn’s tweedy presentation, each and every skein was different. Socks made from this stuff were always fraternal rather than identical. You either loved or hated the unpredictable results.


All of the motifs in this blanket are knit from the same color number of Froehlich Wolle’s Special Blauband?Longue Degrade Multicolor, but as you can see – they are all very different. This particular lot is mostly brown, although neither of the photos on this page are true, the one above being too blue, and the one below being too yellow/red.

This lot came as a kit. It was called the Kaleidoscope Throw, and was designed by Anne Grout. I posted a review of the pattern on the pattern review pages (you’ll have to scroll down about 3/4 of the way to get to it). I haven’t seen other Kaleidoscope kits on the market for several years, both it and the Blauband yarn may have been discontinued. The idea was that the variations skein to skein when knit in the round like this would produce a striking set of coordinating but all distinct results.


As you can see, that part of the thing worked well. The motf pattern was quick to knit and quit simple to follow. I could knit about one and a half motifs per night. Piecing this throw was easy, and deciding where to put the various resulting color combos was fun.

So why did I stop?? It’s not hard to say. First, I was very disappointed that the blanket-sized throw shown on the kit’s cover required more yarn than was packaged in the kit itself. The kit alone was purported to be enough for a small lap-sized throw, and even then came up quite short. More of this particular yarn was plain old not available. Second, I decided I didn’t like the edge treatment of the kit. It left the hex sides loose and floppy, as in the half-done bit above. They do have a tendency to ruffle when they’re not under stretch, and I thought it looked sloppy.

So I decided to change gears a bit, working out a half-hex and finding a complementary knitted edging to make thing into a true rectangle. That meant I had to find a complementary color yarn, also in fingering weight. Ever since I’ve been keeping my eye open for something suitable. Special Blauband is among the lighter weight of the fingering/sock yarns. Brown Sheep’s Wildfoot might work, but so far I haven’t found **the right** yarn?or color?to finish this piece. Plus to compound the problem, I’ve mislaid my pattern original, and will have to work out the motif again?from my already-completed hexes. [Memo to self:? Remember to make a working copy of?an irreplaceable pattern, then store the original someplace safe. Destroy the copy or staple it to the original when done.]??

I do have another bag of this yarn in a different color that’s not brown. (Brown’s nice, but it doesn’t go particularly well with the stuff in my house.)? Some day I’ll revisit the Kaleidoscope idea, using it with a pattern entirely of my own devising. In the mean time, this bag of discontinued yarn sits in my stash. Just waiting, along with all those little cards of heel-reinforcement yarn that came with the brown Blauband.

There’s one more thing that makes me feel quite guilty about this particular UFO. It’s a surpise gift is for a dear family friend who lived nearby when we were still in Maryland. She loves browns. It was supposed to be a holiday present for her last year, and now with the holiday season this year approaching is nowhere near being completed.


Remember I wrote about a trove of patterns from the ’50s and ’60s, given to me by someone here in town who knew I was interested in knitting? Well that priceless box was accompanied by the remnants of yarn stashes she had picked up at local yard sales. It was a huge bag, mostly ’70s vintage acrylics, andis now destined for charitable donation. Schools in particular are always happy to receive acrylics for weaving and crafts projects. Other causes I’ve donated to include groups knitting for Project Linus; local elder care day centers and residential homes; and groups associated with hospitals and animal rescue leagues.

Buried in the bottom of the yarn bag were a couple of sad little UFOs (unfinished objects). This one in particular is worthy of inclusion in someone’s Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM for many reasons:

First, lest you think I’m picking on some poor unfortunate unknown knitter, I really do feel sympathy for her (or him). I do think though that the best purpose this toddler-size piece can serve is as an object lesson because it embodies SO many problems.

Yarn Choice. You can’t touch this item, but if you could you’d be surprised at how coarse and scratchythis yarn is for an acrylic. It’s a standard Aran weight of the type that gauge creep in the lower priced yarn bracket is now calling "worsted." However, the hand is harsh and stiff, especially for a little kid’s sweater.

Yarn amount. Yup. You spotted it. The knitter ran out of the original yarn and tried to use another yarn to finish the top of the raglan sleeves and to seam the piece together. This second yarn is VERY different in color and gauge from the first.

Gauge. The yarn should probably be knit at around 4.5 to 5 stitches per inch, especially for a design with embossed patterning like these bobbles. It’s knit at a very uneven 3.75 to 4 stitches per inch. On the inside of the (mostly) reverse stockinette body you can see the giant gaps left by unevenly worked knit and purl rows. The purl rows are MUCH looser and gap.

Texture pattern. Although all the bobbles look to be there, they are not all formed in the same way. The knitter apparently forgot to do the extra bulk-building rows on about a third of them. In others she or he forgot to do the closure stitch that gathers the thing together neatly, opting instead to drop the stitches or put them on a holder, then go back later and do the gathering with a needle and thread.

Garment pattern. I don’t have the original pattern for this piecein the box of goodies, so it’s tough to say how off it really is. Thelength and width are about right for a 4-T/size 5 kid’s sweater, although the sleeves are a bit short for that size. The front and back however are of different lengths, even without taking the neckline cut into consideration. I haven’t counted row by row, but it does look like the knitter forgot a couple of rows after the ribbing on the front. There’s something screwy going on in the raglan decreases, too as the sleeve raglan areas are three inches longer than the front or back.

Knots. Everywhere two strands of yarn meet, they’re tied together in a loose knot, and clipped about a half-inch away from the knot. Even if you wanted to untie the knots and end off the danglers properly, you couldn’t as there isn’t enough left to darn in.

Seaming. The seams are sewn haphazardly, with no attempt to match sides, stitches, or pattern. In some spots, they’re just overcast (in the contrasting color yarn). In others they are back-stitched. In a couple of places, an attempt was made at Mattress Stitch, but it was done inside-out so that the seam allowance ended up on the outside of the work. The extra length of the raglan areas on the sleeves were squished down to fit on the shorter raglan areas of the front and back.

Spill. Again, you can see the color variation on the unseamed sleeve. I don’t know what spilled on the piece (possibly bleach), but there are discolorations up and down that sleeve. It also smells terribly of mildew.

Now I have no idea whether this piece was produced by the lady whose box of vintage patterns I received. I rather suspect not, as the piece doesn’t belie skills commensurate with her level of interest. It might be a kid’s project, rescued by Grandma and lovingly stored away in spite of its flaws. It might have been a beginner’s first sweater, abandoned but never tossed that eventually ended up in a yard sale. Whatever the provenance, you have to agree it’s a bittersweet little piece. I have no idea what I should do with it. The yarn can’t be saved (even if I wanted it); the piece is unfinishable. Perhaps I’ll stow it away to illustrate Things That Go Wrong when I teach. I have to admit, I am tempted to toss it.

Moral of the story: Buy enough yarn; work hard to get gauge; follow the instructions; seek out help for the hard spots, like seaming if you’re not sure how to go about them; and don’t be afraid to rip back and start again.


I mentioned my experience with this project before. Tatania is a pattern by Berroco, written for now discontinued SensuWool. Berroco probably won’t like to hear this, but I used a different yarn – the confusingly named King Australian Merinos/Rosina Stampata. That was the yarn with the ambiguous label I wrote about in March.

Tatania has had two visits in the Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM. The first happened while I was knitting. The Berroco pattern has a glaring error in it. The piece has a neckline of unusual shape, although it’s hard to see here:

It’s sort of a squared off reverse Vee. It’s a neckline found in late Renaissance gowns, and one that looks quite good on me, so I bit and made the thing. But if you read through the pattern, you’ll discover that the directions say to DECREASE during neckline shaping. That leaves too few stitches on the needles to make the shoulder join, and inverts the shaping of the neckline. Here’san excerpt fromletter I wrote about it to Berroco:

Dear Berroco,

Thank you for making your website so complete, informative, entertaining
and easy to use. I especially like the way you have associated your
patterns and yarns.

I am in the middle of working up your Tatania pattern. I am
enjoying it immensely and am looking forward to wearing the final product.
I did however find what I believe to be a rather serious typo in the
version available at this URL:

The problem is in the front, at the point just after the bodice stitches
are bound off across the front of the squared neckline, as you are
beginning to work the sides of the neck opening.

Here is the problem statement:

DEC ROW (RS): Work in ribbing to 2 sts before marker (dec 1, k2,
p3). Working in ribbing as established, dec 1 st before marker every 4th
row 4 times, then every other row 8 times…

I did this, and ended up with far too few stitches to mate the front and
back shoulders properly. Plus, the piece I ended up with reversed the
angles of shaping for the neckline – with the two shoulder parts sloping
outwards instead of inwards.

When I did the computation of stitch count by gauge it became obvious that
I should have INCREASED instead of DECREASING each time "dec" is specified
in the pattern.

I am now proceeding to finish my Tatania, using increases in place of the
decreases in the pattern.

I thought you might like to know about this problem so you can correct your
on-line pattern. The design is striking and it shows off the yarn to good
effect. It would be a shame for knitters to get so far into the thing only
to face frustration. I am sure you would not want that frustration to attach
itself to your sterling reputation.

I’m afraid I never heard back from Berroco, and the pattern is still uncorrected on their website. (I’ve since learned that the hard copy edition in Book #188 – Holiday also sports the same error.)

As you can see, I did muddle on through and produce the final piece. As expected, the welted center panel does draw up a bit in the center. That’s probably why the model was posed with her hands covering that spot. Even so, it’s a striking, form-fitting and very flattering piece.

O.K. So why did it go back to the Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM?

The yarnI used isjunk.The color is beautiful – a combo of deep blue with a ragg-type strand of brights twisted in. It’s wear-against-the skin soft and luxurious. But since knitting it has begun disintegrating. Without provocation (no moths, no mold, no laundry stress, no rough handling, no careless storage, and after only two wearings), spots here and there have broken. I’ve got a half-dozen safety pins in the piece right now, holding stitches to prevent them from laddering down. I need to find my leftovers and do some aggressive duplicate-stitch style darning, in effect Kitchener grafting the broken bits together. I’m especially annoyed because I had no clue this would happen as I was knitting. Grrrr.

More on Yarn Names

In response to yesterday’s rant about yarn names I got one note that pointed out something I didn’t know. It was from someone who works for a yarn manufacturer. That person pointed out that there are very few ways for a committee thinking up yarn names to check to be sure that the name they pick hasn’t been used recently. One way is to look in the index of Valuable Knitting Information, a twice-yearly spiral bound volume listing yarns going back abouta decade or so (the recent 40th edition goes back all 20 years). VKI although large does not list all yarn manufacturers, and does not associate yarns with any sort of date, so it’s tough to see how old an entry might be unless one checks through back issues to spot when it appears.

Another way they’ve been using lately is to look up the name on wiseNeedle. Although our list is smaller and dates aren’t precise, they do exist and can give a clue as to whether or not the name under investigation might still be on the shelves. Interesting! This is a use for wiseNeedle I didn’t consider. The note went on to say that the maker the author works for does check the yarn reviews for their products and greatly appreciates both positiveAND negative comments.


I’ve mentioned this resident of my Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM before. It’s my Fortissima Colori/Socka Color Mexiko pullover. This yarn has since been renamed Fortissima Colori/Socka Color Mexiko Disco, and the fiber content has changed. No review yet under that entry.

The pattern was issued by the manufacturer. It’s one-size-fits-most with the sizing limited by the width needed to express the yarn’s flash patterning, and I’m at the upper end of the fit range. I bought itkitted with five 100gballs of the stuff. Here’s what I’m supposed to end up with. Thankfully, braids, salt,and the forced toothy smile are not required accessories:

My copy is a bit worse for the wear, but you can see the happy striping. This effect is achieved by worked flat from one ball for front and back and from two balls for the sleeves (2 rows A, then 2 rowsB). Thrilled to have a fine-gauge pattern and to be using sock yarn for something larger than socks, I took the plunge. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Just to be annoying, Idecided to knit the front and back side by side, althuogh each is knit flat from its own ball of yarn. I wanted the patterning to sort of match at the side seams. I’m not going for absolute fanaticism on this, a rough approximationis good enough. I found comparable spots in two skeins and started on in. It went o.k. for the first six inches or so. Then the problems started.

See all those balls hanging off the ends? Those are out-takes where the yarn’s color repeat went off-phase, got muddy enough for long enough to interrupt three or more full rows, or disappeared entirely. My intent was to loop out such annoyances, then later go back and use them on the sleeves. (I kept them attached to the work so that in theory – when I went back to re-use themI would have a better idea of where they fit in sequence.)

I’m still hoping to eke out a semblance of matching until I get to the point where sleeves are introduced. Since the front and back will no longer butt up against each other, mismatches will be easier to ignore. I long ago gave up any thought whatsoever of color or pattern-balancing the two sleeves.

As you can see, the problem is getting worse. What started out as a fun lark in fingering weight has turned into an agonizing slog on #3s, with all too many excised bits. I put it down when the fun leaked out. I do hope to take it up again because I still want to be able to wear this piece. Someday…

Moral of this sad tale? If you make life more difficult for yourself, things are not going to be easy.

More Horror and Hands of Velcro

My hands are now officially made of Velcro. Or perhaps they just feel that way. The Better Living Through Chemistry people have managed to devise a set of cleaning products SO efficient that they have scoured me of integument. The only way I could work on the Suede T (made of a super-grabby nylon yarn) was to lather up in enough hand cream to fuel a brothel for a fortnight. Which might have been fun but all that lubrication was wasted on knitting. [grin]

In all the packing, another resident of the Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM has surfaced. I can’t quite figure out why this one has sat unattended for so long. It was started about two or three years ago, shortly after Lorna’s Laces introduced Shepherd Sock in the custom color Socknitters’ Rainbow – a hand dyed yarn in a riot of colors. I loved the colors, but it seemed to me that two skeins of it for a pair of socksmadea heady investment. I wanted to do something that showcased the brilliant Rainbow yarn, yet that leavened the total per-pair cost by introducing another yarn. My intent was to publish the result as a pattern on wiseNeedle. Perhaps stripes? Hmmm….

I played around with some stashed yarn for gauge. The yarn that best matched the Socknitters’ Rainbow was Dale Baby Ull – one of my all-time favorite yarns. This machine washable Merino is soft, very easy and forgiving to knit, and perfect for stranding, so I decided to do a simple stranded pattern instead of plain old stripes. One thing I did remember – I favor toe-up/short-row heel socks. They’re a bit narrower through the instep than traditional square or Dutch heel cuff-down socks, so I’d have to keep the stranding pattern loose and simple that it did not constrain the sock’s stretch. (I found this out the hard way after knitting a pair of socks with peerie patterns, that ended up being SO tight I couldn’t get them on). I did want to carry the stranding up through the short-rowed heel. Here’s the result:

Pattern chart

I like the way the happy chaos of the multicolor yarn is tamed by the solid charcoal black. I also like the movement of the little square checks as the focal points shift from stripe to stripe. (For those of you who are wondering – the little coiled wire thingy is a Strickfingerhut. I use them for all my stranded colorwork.)

I appear to have finished one sock, but pooped out shortly after the toe of the second. Why did I stop?I didn’t even remember beginning this project.My only clue is the bag in which I found the hibernating pair. It looks like I was working on them at about the same time as I lost a job, when Start-up #1 augered in after its funding fell through. That was around January ’01, and is still a painful memory (at the time. I drank the Koolaid, and truly believed that we’d pull off the venture). ’01 was not a good year. Iwent on to another start-up company, that one tooteetered on the edge ofthe Big Death before fall of that same year and canned 75% of the staff. Ever since I’ve been a freelance proposal drone. But that’s neither here nor there and largely irrelevant to knitting.

Apparently this pair of socksmust befraught with Painful Associations because until I found it I didn’t even remember that I had been working on it. My choices are now finish off the things, or dispel any lingering curse by ripping them back and making something else again. Sometimes being lazy is a good thing, as it reinforces the fact that I don’t believe in curses. I’ll put the bag aside instead of packing it off to the cubby, and finish this pair of cursed socks after I’ve tucked in the Suede T.

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