stitch rhythm

Has this happened to you? You fall in love with a yarn and a stitch pattern and are determined to stay the course even when it’s obvious they’re not a good match? Perhaps the yarn is too variegated for the stitch, or it doesn’t work for the yarn structure, or it’s not the right stitch for the maker at this time.

That’s the fate of my current pair of socks.

It’s not the fault of the yarn, this Yarn Over New York Times Square Sock is delightful. The structure is what I look for in a sock yarn — it’s 4 plies with a high twist and contains 25% nylon. I love the busy variegated color too.

handwound ball of YONY Times Square Sock, Rachy's not sorry colourway

Try 1 – my go-to sock pattern

The first try I turned to my standard toe-up two at a time sock pattern. It’s a blend of Miriam’s Footie Socks and Amy’s Toe-up Socks (Ravelry link). To provide some mental interest, I thought I’d put a small twist at each side every so often.

For reasons unclear to me, I rearranged the stitches so the twist was where I wanted it to land at the edge of the sock. Or so I thought. Apparently I did this long before I finished the toe and the stitch count when I was ready to start the gusset increases was off.

I don’t mean off by by a stitch or two, that happens to all the time I tend to ignore it.

At my sock knitting gauge, (8-9spi) I don’t notice and I sneak in the increases when I can. That would have been an easy fix!

In this case, one sock was off by 6 stitches, a noticeable amount. The other sock had the right count, but I have no idea how I rearranged the stitches because the twists ended up not at all where I wanted them. The solution was to rip them out completely. I’m trying not to think too much that I only noticed when I was ready for the gusset increases.

Try 2 – Do something I haven’t done for years

My second solution, as I was looking for simple mental stimulation, was to knit my first cuff down pair of socks in many years. I thought that a 3×3 rib would show off the yarn. That delight lasted about nine rounds and I found myself bored. Most of my socks lately have been plain stockinette for the leg & foot and I was determined not to do that for this pair. I decided to do simple right twists across the k3 to make a simple traveling effect.

That’s when I realized this might not be the best decision.

My rhythm is off. My childhood was one immersed in classical music. I like my knitting to have rhythms too.

This is the way I chose to work the stitch:

  • active Rnd 1: [k1, RT, p3] around.
  • rest Rnd 2: [k3, p3] around.
  • active Rnd 3: [RT, k1, p3] around.
  • rest Rnd 4: [k3, p3] around.

This could be an easy and short rhythm to establish however for reasons unknown I’ve been unable to keep to it. I think it’s too short! My errors switch almost every round. Either I’ll add an extra round of [k3, p3] or I’ll repeat round 1 and skip round 4, or I’ll switch between (k1, RT) and (RT, k1) within a round.

My solution

It’s simple — acceptance. I’m accepting that they are a slow pair of socks. I work on them when I’m able to provide enough acumen to check what I’ve done every rounds and accepting that there are a few odd rounds. Today I started the heel flap. The plan is to transition to a 3×3 rib and use that for the top of the foot after I turn the heel. Then there’s the second sock to knit. Hopefully they’ll have similar oddities and turn out as a mostly matched pair.

Beginning of heel flap on YONY socks knitted with DPNs. Shown flat on wooden desk with a wasabi Tom Bihn Yarn Stuff Sack sneaking into the shot.

Another solution would have been to make a plan and stick to it before I was knitting merrily along. I also believe that working both socks at the same time could have also helped to solve my rhythm issue. A single sock is 66 stitches, I think the rhythm that 132 provide would have solved my issue.

Initially, I thought I might work this up into a pattern, however with my issues working the stitch, I’m not sure I want to inflict it on others. The stitch pattern is above, feel free to incorporate into a pair of socks at your own risk!

Closing thoughts on stitch rhythm

The rhythm you establish when working a stitch pattern can be amazing or disastrous. I believe there’s the right project for the right maker at the right time. Sometimes we need a stretch project that teaches us new skills and techniques. At other times we just want to make and not worry about what our fingers and hands are doing. That’s great too. It’s that in-between that can be the most challenging to find the correct project for. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not working out.

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