About eight years ago I learned to knit right-handed (English knitting), produced one ugly scarf and matching ugly mittens and gave up. Then maybe six years ago I re-learned to knit left-handed, produced one pair of socks (each sock at a completely different gauge, which is only too obvious since they are striped) and gave up. Then eight months ago, I learned to knit left-handed (continental knitting) and became completely hooked.
It was not until last week that I realised just how wide the gulf is between loving to knit left-handed and being driven completely nuts knitting right-handed. It was a failed attempt at Space Invader socks that showed me the truth.
First off, allow me to say that this pattern rocks. I may give it a second try using purls rather than color, just because I love the idea so much. But having said that, for a brief period last week I really truly hated these socks.
I had decided to dive into my first stranded knitting project and was planning to hold one colour in each hand because Elizabeth Zimmerman said so. My practice swatch/tube went well so I started on the socks. And that was going reasonably well for the first four rows of colour (the top halves of the little triangular invaders, if you were wondering) until I realised that only a person with no heels would ever be able to get their feet into these socks. No stretch at all. Of course I frogged and tried again, with a bit more success – a person with some type of rare small-heel mutation might have fit into them. Frogged again and tried again, this time really leaving some ridiculously loose yarn carried at the back. Ta-daah! They had stretch, they had colour, and, as you may have guessed, they looked awful. I’m not clear on how it’s possible to leave the yarn that loose at the back while keeping it nice and even at the front. I had mangled so many stitches by pulling on them to knit the stitch in the next row and so my poor little space invaders had one bulgy eye, or lopsided antennae or seemed to be knit in some type of perspective where their left sides were big stitches that faded gradually to smaller stiches on their right sides. AAAAaaaaargh. Third time was not a charm.
I place the blame solidly on my right hand and its inability to deal with tension. (Note that my right hand is helping me to type this, so it has clearly accepted responsibility, leaving the rest of my body and brain free of guilt.)
I am stubborn enough that I considered frogging and restarting again because I don’t like the idea of the socks winning this one, but I realised that I really don’t enjoy knitting with my right hand. It simply can’t be trusted and it takes too much time and effort to properly supervise it to make sure it’s not screwing with my tension.
The silver lining is that I am now the proud owner of six beautiful skeins of Koigu (I was going to use the TI Invaders colours). This project also justified the purchase of my first Addi Turbos (#1, 40″ circulars) which I love more than words can properly convey. That is a post for another day, but suffice it to say that I did not know that I could ever feel this way about an inanimate object.