Saturday, January 26, 2008

Forest and Trees; On Leftover Sock Yarn

I talk about this in my classes, particularly in sock classes... when you're knitting, you tend to focus on your immediate problem --- your next stitch.

And it's possible that your stitches are all correct, but your larger knitting has gone sideways. It's fairly common in a group of 6 or 8 learning to knit in the round for the first time that at least one will turn the sock inside out at some point. This is a classic example a knitter getting so focused on the short game that the long game is forgotten.

Sometimes, you need to step back and think more broadly about what you're doing.

And sometimes, I need to pay attention to my own lessons...

I've been bitching and moaning about that Clown sock yarn for a while now. I finally finished the sample, and didn't even bother taking a photograph. I took it to where it needed to be, and I'm done with it.

But I still had the yarn on my desk.

M. came over last night for takeout and a movie. She brought a knitting book she'd found in a bargain bin somewhere.... She had a baby to knit for, and wanted my advice on a particular design and suggestions for which yarn to use.

I leafed through it -- there are some very cute patterns, easy to knit and attractive. It's called "Quick to Knit(TM)" Knitting for Babies, by PIL Publications. (No author listed, and it's clearly a "Quick to Publish", too.)

And right there, on page 46, I find it!

The obvious honourable solution to the horror of the Clown sock yarn. A baby's hat knitted in a sock yarn.

And because we were watching a movie, and M. had not brought any knitting with her, I immediately handed her the yarn and needles.

What might look horrible on my feet is going to look pretty damn fabulous on the head of a baby, no?

And just before I drift off to sleep last night, it occurs to me...

How many socks have I knitted in my life?

And how many partial balls and skeins of sock yarn have passed through my life? Some have been passed onto other knitters, some have disappeared into the mists of time, yet others remain in my cupboard, with the loose idea that one day I might make multicoloured socks. And yet never have I once thought about doing something else with the leftovers.

Sure, I'd read about making sweaters with sock yarn, but a) that's insane and b) it's not a project for leftovers. And I've seen really wonderful blanket projects using sock yarn. And sure, great for leftovers, but you'd need a heck of a lot, and it's a big big project. Plus I have Lizard Ridge, and I don't think I'll need another blanket ever again.

But for some reason, despite the baby hat knitting classes I've taught, the hat designs I've written, the hats I've made for myself (even with small gauge yarn), it never occurred to me to make a hat with the sock yarn.

A forest of hats, maybe?

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