I was so tired on Friday night that I just knew I’d fall right to sleep. And then I didn’t. So, I got up and worked on the toe socks. I decided on a mistake stitch rib (made by ofsetting each row of 2k 2p rib by one stitch), and got started on the ankles. Only, I made a mistake in my mistake stitch rib. A mistake stitch rib is a 2 stitch rib where every other row is offset by one stitch, so that there is a sort of brick-wall effect. It makes a very pretty rib that’s just a little more interesting than a “normal” rib. Walker’s instructions are written for flat, but the pattern is simple enough that it should be easily converted to circular. You need an odd number of stitches to make the offset, so I increased to 51 stitches, and started ribbing. The only problem is that you end up with half a repeat left just before you turn in flat knitting, and you don’t in circular. So, instead of “resetting” my offset every other row by turning the piece, I just kept going. this means that each row moves the knit stitches over one, and makes a diagonal rib rather than a mistake stitch rib. I blame the fact that I can’t even make a mistake stitch rib without mistakes on the fact that I was coming up with this at 1 in the morning. It might be a valid excuse.

Now, I had considered the diagonal rib first but thought that it might not be so great for ankles; I wasn’t sure whether or not it would slump. But, since I ended up with it anyway, I just decided to go with it. It appears not to slump, but it does make a very thick fabric, which led me to make the ankles short so that they don’t require folding over. Even this fairly distinct pattern is hidden by the color changes, so I’m really glad that I didn’t decide to go with the Flame Chevrons; I think they would have completely disappeared. So, my first full pair of Christmas socks is completed, and I have two weeks to go.

Once the toe sock ankles were underway, I took a break from them to begin balling the yarn for the next pair, destined to be for my mom out of Colinette yarn. I opened the skein and dutifully began the balling process, and then the yarn spoke to me. It told me that it just couldn’t become a pair of socks. I am always inclined to listen when yarn speaks to me, because I have learned through trial and error that I’m never happy with the final product if I don’t. So, I tend to change plans if the yarn appears to want to be something other than what I have scheduled for it. I have also just finished reading Clara Parks’ Knitter’s Book of Yarn, and so have begun to get some sort of formal introduction to the art of “yarn whispering.”

(As a side note, it seems to me that yarn whispering is a bit of a misnomer; it’s not about talking at your yarn…that never changes anything at all. It’s about listening to what it’s telling you. So, I prefer to think of myself as a yarn listener.)

Well, this yarn was not whispering. It was shouting. And it was shouting that it does not want to be socks. It is a very tightly spun fingering weight yarn, which gives it great elasticity, but it also means that you can feel every individual stitch in the finished piece (I know, as I have since swatched with it). It’s supposed to be used on size 3 needles, but I’m needing at least a size 5 to get a soft fabric out of it. It’s a gorgoeous green color, and it would be perfect for a lacy leaf pattern, but it will need big needles to stay open enough, which makes a fabric far too open for socks. It really wants to be a display yarn, I think, rather than a comfy hide-in-your-shoes yarn. So, plans have changed. The Colinette will now become a scarf rather than socks, and it will be done with big needles in a lacy pattern. This, of course, requires choosing a lacy pattern. I did the drooping elm leaf pattern on my Trekking socks, and I really like it, but it requires a good background to really see the pattern, and is best when slightly stretched, in my opinion. It’s in my queque of things to try, but it’s not the best option, I think. The bounciness of this yarn requires a pattern that is fairly open, so that it can spring back from blocking and still show that there’s lace in there somewhere without having to be stretched open. I’m thinking that I’ll try the vine lace from Walker. It’s nice and simple, with only one pattern row that gets offset by one stitch to make a 4 row repeat. Nice and easy to memorize, a fairly open pattern, and leafy to match the color. Perfect!

I tried swatching this out at a holiday party that we went to last night, and it was looking pretty good. I love the velvety look of the yarn, which I think comes from it being so very elastic. It also makes a pretty thick lace, which will be good for a scarf intended for New England winters, where it actually has to do something besides look nice. And I really, really love the color. I did use size 5 needles to swatch this out, and it’s too tight. I had actually done a lot more than this, but I was a bad blogger and pulled most of it out before remembering that I have a duty to take pictures, even of projects that aren’t going to make it past the swatch stage. Oops. Next time I will photograph first and frog second, I promise.

So, I am abandoning the sock lessons for the moment. One can’t argue once the yarn has spoken. (And, my fingers have been itching to get back to something lacy anyway).

I promise I will work on my picture-taking after the holidays. (I have such a list of things I’m going to do after the holidays!) I have discovered that our apartment has absolutely horrible lighting, and that I have nowhere to set up good photos that show a pattern on a neutral backgroud besides my beige footstool. I will work on this, and hopefully my photos and staging will improve. Some kind of composition would be nice, rather than just blob o’ yarn photos all the time. I will work on it. Really.