A Cautionary Tale

Yarn splurge

Last weekend I went into Lettuce Knit to exchange some wool (I had an extra, unwound skein of the wool I used for Almondine, so I thought I’d plan ahead and get something for the next pair of socks). I had just started the Happy-Go-Lucky socks, and thought I’d ask Natalie what she thought – I’m still new to colourwork and wanted to make sure I was doing things properly. For the record, this is how far along I was:


Just a bit of top.

At that point, I could get my foot through without any trouble. Nonetheless, Natalie took one look at them and said “be careful.” Her warning: She has highly-arched feet and there are some socks she just can’t get her foot into. I thought about that for a minute and then decided to just got for it. I was knitting above gauge, I thought, surely that will save me. Still, her warning haunted me all week, and when I Friday rolled around and I was halfway through the foot I thought I should check. The heel did seem small to me, and I was (secretly) a little worried. I couldn’t get my foot through. It was because the socks were still on the needles I reasoned, and plowed on.

Still, I was worried. I went to work that night and then spent all my downtime on Ravelry looking at projects I could start on the weekend in case these socks decided not to fit. I need to do this. I need to plan for the worst so that if it doesn’t happen, I can rejoice, and if it does I have something else planned already so no worries. I picked two patterns (this one and this one) and decided that I’d finish the Happy-Go-Lucky toe on Saturday morning and then go buy the necessary wool for the other patterns. No big deal.

Of course, then the sock fit. Only barely, to be fair, but I got it on and it was comfortable and lovely. Perfect, right? Well, yes and no. You see, in all my planning for ways to not be horribly disappointed in case they didn’t fit, I got kind of excited about these other projects.


Half of a pair. Secretly, I'm pretty pleased about how this looks – especially the surprise stripes on the sole.

That meant I went to the yarn store anyway.

Yarn splurge

Three skeins each of Cascade 220 Heathers in colourway 4008 (for the scarf) and three of Malabrigo sock in colourway Ochre (for the sweater).

I have been swatching ever since. I will cast on the second sock this week, but I might also cast on a sweater. Maybe today. Maybe right now. You see what happens when you preplan for disaster?

8 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale

  1. Jeanne Duperreault (@jaduperreault)

    I’ve never tackled socks but I’m really impressed with these. Lovely colour choices! Almost inspire me to try some myself. I avoid going to the yarn store because I simply CANNOT leave without buying at least a little something. Unfortunately/fortunately, it’s just a few blocks away, so whenever I’m out shopping in the neighbourhood, I can easily drop in and see what’s new. Always something wonderful. Really enjoy your blog posts because they are so easy to relate to!!

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Thanks Jeanne! I bet you would be a whiz at socks – just maybe save these ones for a time when you think to yourself “You know what I need? A little more stress.” I’m mostly joking: I really enjoyed knitting these (slip stitch patterns are very friendly colourwork) but wondering if they were going to fit at the end put a bit of a damper on things. That said, I’m more excited about splitting the knitting the of the second one with a sweater. I feel they’ll be a good pair.

      1. Jeanne Duperreault (@jaduperreault)

        You know, in all my years of knitting, I’ve never tried slip-stitch colourwork! Now I will. I guess I’ve always used an intarsia method, but this sounds interesting. I knit a lot of charity baby blankets–does the slip stitch work as a reversible item? Might have to save it for the hat or booties if not. Thanks for the inspiration!

    2. Angela Hickman Post author

      I’m not sure slipped stitches would work very well on a blanket (unless it was lined). Although it makes knitting with more than one colour easier because you’re only using one colour at a time (and slipping the other colour’s stitches), you still have floats behind you slipped stitches, like with regular stranded colourwork. It sure makes these patterns quick, though, because you only have to deal with one colour per row, and it makes for really nice scalloped edges/diamonds/etc., which would be perfect for baby things.

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  5. Arno

    I totally relate to preplanning for disaster, and then facing potential disaster from having made too many preplans. Thanks for the details on the socks.

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