Did you ever read the Wayside School books as a kid? They were some of my favorite books when I was in the 3rd grade. One of the stories features a girl who draws pictures really fast, faster than everyone in the class. Sadly, a girl who drew slower always got more praise, even though she produced fewer pictures. Complaining to the teacher about never getting praised, the teacher explained to her that when you take your time to produce something, it usually turns out better than something that’s been dashed-off with little thought–this is why master painters sometimes devote years of their life to a single work. Leaving to go home for the day, the girl said she would draw a picture of a cat. The teacher said he’d be glad to see it the next day. The girl replied that this would be her masterpiece and she wouldn’t even be finished with one whisker.
Upon finishing a pair of socks that have been on the needles for… 2 years, 5 months, 11 days quite a while… That old story popped into my head. I had taken… 2 years, 5 months, 11 days much longer than average… to knit a project that a normal person could finish in a few weeks (and a fast knitter could finish in under a week.) I certainly wouldn’t call them a knitting masterpiece, but they’re not bad.
The pattern is Small Capitals by Charlene Schurch from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. The book is great. It’s basically a recipe book. It shows you about 100 different swatches. You pick the one you want. Then the book gives you instructions for a bunch of different gauges/sizes so you can use pretty much any weight of yarn and come up with the right size.
Here is a close up of the pattern. It’s a 12 stitch 8 row repeat and I was never really able to memorize the pattern (which may have been why these were left unworked for so long… I had to have the pattern with me at all times.)
(You can also see from the picture that the heel is a little baggy… That’s a product of the 12 stitch repeat, not as easy to size because you can’t just take out a repeat or two like you can with a 4 or 6 stitch repeat.) The yarn I used is Noro Kureyon Sock. The yarn is everything that the worsted Kureyon is–bold colors, knots that lead to colors in a completely different part in the color repeat, vegetable matter, and a very scratchy rustic feel.
Normally I would never pair a color changing yarn with a texture/lace pattern but the very long color repeats of the Noro allow the pattern to show up anyway. I love the way these socks look. To me they look like scales. Even though the yarn is scratchy rustic they are nice and warm (we still haven’t crawled out of the 50s here in Portland) and my feet really aren’t that sensitive to the yarn. I’m glad I knit these socks, I think they look great, but I will never knit this pattern again. Ever.
(Yes, that is a dress with pockets. Most awesome article of clothing ever. I want an entire wardrobe of them.)