Monday, July 7, 2008

Three Times is Not a Charm

Sometimes, no matter how much we want something, it’s not meant to be. After four attempts with three different yarns I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the Stansfield 304 socks just might be one of those things.

When I began to knit socks a couple of years ago Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch was an invaluable resource. My plain socks are modeled after her basic pattern and I have knit a number of the variations from her book. When she came out with More Sensational Knitted Socks I wasn’t convinced I needed another sock book but one pattern kept drawing me back. You guessed it: Stansfield 304.

I loved everything about it: the wavy garter stitch cuff, the textured triangle pattern, and the blue, green, and purple yarn that had been chosen for the sample.

As I wrote in my last post, I had some Claudia Handpainted that I thought would be perfect but the colours ended up pooling and I didn’t like the effect. I was much more optimistic about the Sweet Georgia yarn I’d reclaimed from the ill-fated Pomatomus socks. In fact, this yarn did work very well; not only were the colours similar to the ones used in the sample, they also distributed well across the pattern, with no pooling or flashing. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. After I knit a few inches of the leg I realized that they were going to be too tight and, given my recent experience with the Spring Forward socks, I wasn’t about to ignore my instincts. I cast on again with a 2.25 mm needle but while this corrected the fit, the larger needle size also altered the colour distribution and once again I was faced with unattractive pooling.

What I needed, I concluded, was a yarn that wasn’t prone to flashing or pooling. I had several yarns of that description in my stash and even though I had already designated it for another project, I decided to try again with some Oceanwind Knits. This time, however, I was disappointed to find the textured pattern obscured by the multiple specks of blue and purple. Although it didn’t look too bad, it wasn’t spectacular either so off the needles it came.

I’m frustrated with my lack of production this weekend, despite the hours that I have put into knitting this sock. To me, knitting is all about finding the perfect marriage between yarn and pattern and I don’t like to settle for second best. I’m sure there are dozens of yarns that would make a beautiful pair of Stansfield 304’s but I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t own any of them. I think my only hope is to track down a skein of Schaefer Lola in blue and green. Meanwhile, I’m going back to square one and finding a new Charlene Schurch pattern to knit for July’s Sockdown.

On a brighter note, I ripped back my shawl without incident and have since reknit not only the first pattern repeat but also an additional twenty rows. I’ve also begun a new cardigan, knit from cuff to cuff in fisher rib in a tweedy silk and lambswool blend.

It’s the Ella Jacket from Simply Shetland.

Finally, the camera is once again in my possession so I’m happy to show you a picture of my sister, Alison, modeling her new scarf.

It’s the Sheer Lace Scarf from Paton’s Warming Trends, knit in Manos Silk Blend. And here are some closing shots of us celebrating Canada Day in the US, with good food, good wine, good company,

and most importantly,

our flashing maple leaf necklaces.


KarenK said...

Nice pattern, and I can sympathize with the difficulty in finding a nonpooling sock yarn. Have you considered Dream in Color "Smooshy"? The yarn is veil-dyed which minimizes pooling, and there are beautiful blue-green shades in their color offerings. Unless you can find the original sock yarn, that is...

Knitsnpurls said...

No, I hadn't considered Smooshy. Thanks for the suggestion.