Inside out, upside down

sock the second

The socks I was planning to make for my father for Christmas have now become the sock I have completed and the sock I am still making – for his birthday. Which was yesterday. Luckily we’re meeting mid-month so I’ve got plenty of time to finish.

Quite why I started this project I don’t know. I didn’t like working on double pointed needles and I’d never used five before, only four. I didn’t like working with such fine yarn. I’d never made a sock before. Babies booties – check. Gloves – check. But only on two needles. Socks? never. But I’m really enjoying it.

sock the second too

Just one thing. I have the invariable habit of starting with the end of the yarn which is at the centre of the ball. This has the huge advantage of preventing the ball bouncing around, disappearing under the furniture, collecting dust and fluff and appearing to the cat as an exciting toy every time you pull the yarn, which is what happens if it’s peeling off the outside of the ball. Pulling from the inside the ball just sits there quietly and gives up of itself from its guts without any fuss at all.

With the first sock I dug around in the middle of the ball trying to find the end and eventually, like a clumsy surgeon delving in an abdominal cavity, fished out a large dollop of tangled mess. This had to be painstakingly unravelled and rewound into a quite sizeable sub-ball. Then when nearing the end of the ball (and the first sock) the yarn collapsed in on itself, squirmed around and became another dollop of tangled mess which again had to be unravelled and rewound. It seems that Regia isn’t balled for centre-pulling.

When starting the second sock I cast on with the outside end of the new ball. What I hadn’t realised is that, since the yarn is dyed to produce repeating stripes of varying widths, this outside-in approach means the second sock is going to be upside down in comparison to the first sock.

first ever sock - side

This of course doesn’t matter very much because my father probably won’t notice, if he does he won’t mind and if he actually wears them they’ll be invisible beneath his shoes and trousers anyway. It might in fact be viewed as a positive thing since variety is the spice of life and, as I have just been told, “to be on the one way is to be without anxiety about non-perfection”.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before our eyes. Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen. So too with Being and non-Being. Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this. One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language, for in it there is
no yesterday
no tomorrow
no today.

Hsin Hsin Ming – verses on the faith mind of Sengstan (Sosan) 3rd Zen Patriarch

11 Replies to “Inside out, upside down”

  1. I think having them run one up, one down is the coolest thing ever! Should you ever knit me socks, that will be my special request.

  2. Gorgeous, as Pica said….

    Have you tried circular needles and the magic loop trick? I like the circular needles for making hats, but you need to use the magic loop to use them for socks.

  3. Dale, I offer a knitting-up service at a very reasonable price. Should you ever feel the need for a pair of up-and-down socks just let me know 🙂

    Pica, the yarn is Regia Canadian self-striping sock wool in colourway Brazil (4741) knitted to Regia free simple sock pattern. I only discovered the phenomenon of self-striping and self-patterning sock yarn relatively recently – in Montreal in 2006 actually, at A la tricoteuse laine on rue Rachel 🙂 I’ve never been interested in knitting socks before and so the joy of such yarns had entirely passed me by. Now, of course, it’s something new to be obsessed with. Especially since discovering the Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett. And the wealth of patterns on the web.

    Maria, I downloaded a video from youTube demonstrating the magic loop method before starting the socks but I haven’t tried the technique yet because I couldn’t find a circular needle long enough in the right size. The pattern, which originated from Germany, calls for 2.5mm needles but that’s a non-standard size in the UK unlike continental Europe so they’re difficult to find here. The video points out that there’s less of a “ladder” using the magic loop method so if I do get hold of the right size/length needle I’ll try it out.

  4. Nearing the end of one sock project now; clearly I have to go down and buy a ball or two of Kaffe’s new colourways for Regia. Now, the thing is, I hate knitting on double-points and ONLY knit mittens, socks, gloves etc using the magic loop technique for one very long circular needle (like the person who wrote the instructions, I use a 40″ Addi Turbo.) It has totally transformed my attitude toward tubular knitting. Instructions here, in case you want to try: …and I’ll try to remember to post a photo of the socks in progress. Yours are GORgeous!!

  5. A pair of socks and a pair of haiku! I’m going to write them out in my best hand and attach them to the gift. How superb. Thank you both very much, TG and Dave.

    Beth, I have been very, very bad. I ordered more sock wool in the online sales. Half price! a bargain! It arrived today, together with a free pattern which had printed at the end in large red letters “Warning: sock knitting is highly addictive“. Oh dear me yes. Of course there are all sorts of reasons for this but currently I’m just reveling in the magic of the multiple variations of and architectural nature of their construction. That and the fact that there is no making up required 🙂 I’ve tried the magic loop method but have become so attached to my little wooden sock dpns that I’m sticking with them. Please post your sock pics!

  6. You know, I started my own sock project, with the little wooden needles — and I love those needles. There is something emboldening about those tiny sticks and also something musical in the pattern of switching from needle to needle that is completely lost in the magic loop technique. I took pics of my project today and was going to post about it, but got diverted. Anyway, count me in among the wooden dpns club!

    Also, I discovered a much cheaper yarn store near me, a place where a couple of former hippies hold open workshops every night for those who had purchased materials from the store (which I have, for the sock project… “Panda wool,” which has bamboo in it and feels very silky!) So now I have a place to get my next fix, seeing how I had to put my self on a yarn budget this year!

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