When good knitters do bad things

I messed up big time.  Talk about a knitter’s nightmare?  I made one of those mistakes that you don’t see until the project is done, at which point, of course, it’s too late to fix it!

I’m talking about Evie’s socks – the pair I was knitting to and from Houston when I ran out of yarn at the very, very end.  Remember the Houston blog?  The good news was that the dye lot of the new yarn I ordered was close enough so that you couldn’t see any difference.  I was so pleased about that, that I didn’t mind weaving in the ends and sewing the picot edge under, all afterwork that I usually hate.  I mean, we’re talking itty bitty socks without a whole lot of give, so it was a little dicey repeatedly turning the socks in and out to make sure none of my stitching showed.  But I did it.  Success!  Then came blocking.

Blocking is easy.  You drop the socks in the sink with tepid water and a capful of no-rinse soap, let  them soak for a while, then drain, squeeze, roll between towels, and set out to dry.

That was when I saw that one sock was shorter than the other.  Not HUGELY shorter.  Just a tad.  But enough.  You can actually see that the lace section in the one on the left is more, uh, compact.  See it?  No?  Well, it is.

So I tugged here, pulled there, got the shorter one looking right for a few seconds before it returned to its smaller shape.  My first thought was that I’d inadvertently used a smaller needle on the second sock.  But I hadn’t.  I had finished the first sock and gone right on to the second with the same needles.  No.  Looking closer, I saw the problem.  The lace pattern is a five-row repeat, basically four rows of plain knitting after one row of knit-togethers and yarn overs.  The problem is that with such fine yarn, it’s hard to see how many rows you’ve done.  In the second sock, I must have consistently done one less row of knitting in each repeats.

What to do?  Honestly, I am NOT ripping.  I just don’t have the heart to do that, and it’s likely no one will see the difference but me.  Besides, the baby will outgrow these socks in no time, if she hasn’t already.  So I’ll give them to her as is.  And I’ll knit her another pair of tube socks, these in a two-by-two ribbing from cuff to toe.  I’ve had it with lace for now.

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  1. SHARON BRUMMUND on November 8, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I have had crazy things happen when I knit.. Recently, I knit a hat and got adventuresome while knitting and added in some yarn to add interest. When it was all finished, I tried it on and realized that the casting on stitches were not stretchy enough and resulted in a narrow tight band. That was the bad part, the good part is that I did a little research and have found a method called ‘Long tail cable casting on which results in a nice stretchy stitch. I will attempt to fix the hat and use this new casting on method. With regard to the socks, what about knitting a mate to each sock duplicating your mistake in one sock and the other one duplicate it as well, resulting in two matching pairs of socks. That is, if you can bear to do them again.

    • Barbara Delinsky on November 8, 2011 at 7:04 am

      I learned long tail cast-on myself just a few years ago and adore it. It’s pretty much the only cast-on I use now. As for the socks, I think … I think the baby may have already outgrown them, in which case they’ll be saved for the next itty-bitty little girl. Your suggestion’s a good one, but, no, I can’t bear to do them again. I’m into crocheting hats this week — two hours and done! Will post pictures soon.

  2. Eileen Laperle on November 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    The perfect solution to making sure that there is no difference in length for any size pair of socks is to knit both socks at the same time. I have recently started knitting socks from the toe up on an extra long (40″) circular needle with both socks on the same needle. Of course, you need to use two balls of yarn, but this method works extremely well when using the self-patterning yarns. There is no question that they will come out identical as long as you start each ball in exactly the same color repeat for each ball. I will not ever do a single sock again.

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