A Jaywalker walks into a bar… ouch

(Two guys walk into a bar. You’d think the second would have learned after watching the first.)

If you haven’t rolled your eyes enough already, then get psyched for continuing adventures in knitting absurdity, brought to you by my Jaywalkers.

I mentioned that I’ve been knitting these socks during subway rides, and it turns out I’ve spent much more time on the subways than I realized lately. The socks were really cruising along, and I was thinking any day now, I’d be ready to turn the heel.

Umm, that would have been about two inches ago. Whoops!

I briefly considered if one sock towering two inches over the other would bother me, and the obsessive-compulsive portions of my brain went into a small conniption at the thought of it.

So, I ripped back those two beautiful inches.

Trust me, sweet Jaywalker, this hurt me a lot more than it hurt you.

The good news is, to alleviate my wounded knitter’s pride, I successfully and rapidly turned the heel and made great headway down the foot. If hell freezes over and I actually finish these for Socktober, I will have the comfort of warm and brightly-striped feet!

The Jaywalkers Saga

Way back in October 2006, before the days of this blog, I started a pair of Jaywalkers. It was my first sock, my first time knitting with DPNs, and all around a new experience.

So it’s not surprising that I abandoned them until December. When I picked them back up, I’d forgotten what I was doing, messed it all up, didn’t rip back properly, and made a disaster. It’s almost a good thing I did this, as I was knitting them in the smaller size and they were way too tight. I started back over, and in several feverish sessions over Christmas break and into January, I got all the way down to the toes.

Then I ran out of yarn.

See, I have relatively long (and I think pretty lovely) toes. While they elicit many compliments and make my feet look quite nice in sandals, they’re not exactly practical for sock knitting, as they give me a size 9 women’s shoe. Last year and for years previous I was a size 8.5, but either my feet grew or I could no longer tolerate squished toes, so now 9 it is.

I tried using a different, thinner sock yarn for the toes (Knit Picks essentials in grass), but it was a duller, more olive green, and the change in gauge was abrupt and unsettling. When I royally butchered the three-needle bind-off, I took it as a sign, ripped it all back to the original yarn, then proceeded to create one of the worst tangles in my knitting career as I tried to wind a center-pull ball of the Knit Picks. The whole experience was so frustrating that I sloppily jammed the stitches back onto my DPNs then shoved the whole pile into my knitting basket, where it has remained.

As I mentioned previously, I had been going back and forth on what to do. If I tapped into my second ball of sock yarn, it wouldn’t leave enough for the matching sock. I knew I couldn’t deal with one sock being shorter than another, nor was I inclined to rip out the first heal I ever knit to reduce some length from the leg. So I concluded I would have to buy another ball of yarn. Then I was bummed that I would only be using a few yards from said ball, and I became tempted to rip back again to add length to both legs. But, again, the reluctance to rip out that really quite nice heel… and here we have it. I’ll use the rest of the third skein for something else.

I ordered and received this third ball, with little consideration of dye lots because I was using such a small amount, at the very tip of the toe. It couldn’t make a difference, right?

Hahaha. It might not be obvious in this photo, but the green in the new ball is so neon and different from the green in my originals that it makes my heart ache. Had my original skeins come in such a garish bright shade, I’m not sure I would have gone on with the project.

I tried the sock back on to see just how much electric lime I would be adding, and oh, it was more than I’d realized. Poor little (filthy) toes… all out in the cold and exposed.

With a sigh, I joined the second ball, reconsulted the pattern for the first time since January, and tried to figure out what I’d done. Arbitrarily, I added a few straight rounds to lengthen the toe decrease section slightly. I think I might have rushed into it the first time when I was staring down the end of my yarn, and I was getting anxious that I’d do all this work to finish, only to have my socks squish my toes.

I had to relearn a three-needle bind-off (some might rightly say I never knew it in the first place), but I think it came out okay.

And now I have my first finished, hand-knit sock. For all the heartache, frustration, and annoyance it caused me, it is really, really lovely.

I love its adorably clever little heel… I even love its neon toe.

This is an exceptional pattern, the fit is delightful, and I really have to give it up to Grumperina for such a fool-proof design that even a first-time sock knitter could pull it off. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I was so excited to finish this sock that I immediately cast on for its mate, which is well under way thanks to more than a few lengthy subway rides.