Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Brilliantine Socks - Finished!

The second sock went very quickly, and I'm happy to say that my tension control is back to normal, so they are the same gauge.  I didn't quite manage to start the second sock at exactly the same place in the color cycle, so the stripes are a little off, but not much.

The whole thing got me thinking about gauge and how we control it.  I am always seeing people comment on Ravelry that "they are a loose knitter" or "tight knitter" as if they have no control over it, when, in fact, they do.  I used to be a loose knitter because I didn't control my yarn.  I let it hang loose between stitches, which of course led to loose tension in my knitting.  Now I tension it by wrapping it around the fingers of my right hand - over the index finger, under the middle finger, over the ring finger and then once around the pinkie.  Since I've been doing that I get very consistent tension, and with main line patterns can usually get gauge.  I don't always get gauge with the independent designers, but I think that is due more to the vagaries of their knitting, rather than mine.

Tight knitters might have more of a challenge, but I know that when I consciously tried to loosen my knitting on the second sock I succeeded, and ended up with a bigger sock.  I have also always thought that tight knitters must be stressing their hands.  Perhaps the best advice is what I learned when I took fencing in college.  You want to hold the hilt of the sword gently and in a relaxed manner, as if you're holding a little bird.  Too loose and the bird will fly away, too tight and you will strangle it.  I think the same can be said of knitting needles, or crochet hooks for that matter.  In fact, I even hold both knitting needles and crochet hooks in the same basic manner that I used to hold a fencing sword.

Oh, and remember that little twirly flick of the blade that you see in movies that disarms your opponent?  It works.  I did it during my fencing final.  Quite by accident.  Or maybe I was just channeling my inner swashbuckler.

Pattern:  Basic Toe-Up Sock from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn:  Biscotte & Cie Felix in Brilliantine
Needle:  US 1 (2.25 mm)

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