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Brewer Burns

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Padded Footlets of Horror

After I finished my mom's mini-clapotis (and a baby hat I knit for charity/remembrance) I needd a new project. I've been working on the Christmas knitting and am really getting down there on the list but nothing on the list was really appealing to me. I was feeling listless. I was feeling bored. I felt that maybe I should pick something from that other Christmas knitting list: things I make for Stephen. One of the things I have had on my mental list to knit for Stephen are the padded footlets from the Summer 2005 IK. You see, my feet are always cold. Sometimes even when I'm wearing my handknit wool socks and wearing my handknit felted wool slippers. I have bad circulation (although it's better when I go to the gym.) My hands too, for those who care to know, are always cold. Consequently I want to knit really warm things for my feet and really warm things for other people's feet. Hence my desire to knit double thickness wool anklets. For Stephen. Don't worry, he wants them too. Did I mention that we live in a house that was built in 1938 and not insulated since then? My main house renovation goal has been to stuff material with insulating properties into every nook and cranny of this place and to generally stuff up any holes that exist (if it wouldn't be a major inconenience I would shellack all the doors and windows shut in the winter.)

Alright. Done with tangent. To make a long story short, I got out some stash yarn yesterday morning and cast on for the padded footlets. Realistically, since I like knitting socks and since these are like mini-socks I didn't think that I was taking on anything too challenging. I was wrong. This pattern makes me want to scoop my own eyeballs out with a dull spork. First, because of the way that the footlets are constructed, I keep trying to knit really tightly so as to avoid gapping and laddering. Since the soles are knit double-stranded (partially, that's part of the unique whiz-bang construction!) this means that manipulating that yarn to simply form stitches has become a little like trying to force my needle between steel loops. In addition, there is that odd construction. Basically, the sole is worked thusly: one row of slip one, knit one, then turn and work back again, slip one, knit one, then knit around the rest of the sock (with a single strand,) then knit across with yarn doubled, and so on and so forth. So the construction is this amalgam of short rows, holding the yarn doubled, and slip stich magic. It's fiddly and unwieldy all at the same time. And to top it off there are two mistakes in the pattern.

The first mistake is corrected on the errata page over at IK. So, no big deal (I always try to remember to check the errata, and I have printed the errata page for each IK issue that I own and stuck it in the back of my internet pattern notebook for easy reference.) The second mistake is not found on the errate page. Which means that I was cursing my knitting at about 10:00 last night. Once you've turned the heel, the pattern instructs you how to pick up the gusset stitches and start the instep shaping. There are five rows which are repeated for the instep shaping. When you start the first row for the first time after you pick up the gusset stitches everything works out fine because you actually start the row on stitch #6. However, once you have finished the first five row repeat and start over again for the second repeat, the instructions are no longer correct because instead of starting on stitch #6, you are now starting on stitch #1. So, if you're planning to make these footlets, this is my pattern correction:

Foot:
Gusset:
Rnd 2: With single strand of working yarn, !!!!!!Purl 1 !!!!!!!, *slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, knit 1* (continue on the rnd as written.)

The correction is the that you must purl one stitch first, before you start slipping stitches. If you don't do this then you will be a stitch off and end up with two slipped stitches one after the other, then a purl stitch to end the row. Then when you turn the work and purl back you will be slipping stitches that were slipped on the previous round and purling stitches that were knit on the previous round. This is clearly not what was intended and would result in screaming knitters and a jackass pattern. So, use the correction. Otherwise you will scare the animals with your swearing and crying. Right. That's just me.

The thing that completely ennervated the crazy in me last night was the fact that I knew the instruction for that row had worked just fine the first time through the repeat. So I couldn't figure out why something that had worked just fine before would suddenly be mathematically and practically impossible the second time through. Finally, after much swearing, wringing of hands, and scaring the animals I figured it out. So there you go. Yet another knitting mystery solved.

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