If you know me in real life and/or have been reading this blog for a while, then you know that socks are usually a quick knit for me. Even heavily patterned socks I've always seemed to finish in a reasonable amount of time, likely because I almost always have my sock project bag with me because they're such a portable project and can be pulled out to put in a round or two in moments of waiting.
That's why it's so shocking that it took me more than three months -- yes, you read that correctly! -- to finish these socks. I know a bunch of factors were at play here (design work, Tour de Fleece, Ravellenic Games, work work), but that's still an inordinately long length of time for a project that in the past I would have completed in a matter of days. Still, they are done.
Pattern: Shur'tugal by Alice Yu
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino, potluck color in blues/greens, one skein
Needles: 40" US 1 (2.25 mm) Chiao Goo Red Lace circulars
Started/Completed: May 4/August 16
Mods: moved gusset decreases one stitch away from instep patterning
I'd had this pattern in my queue for quite some time and decided to take it and the skein of yarn (which had been in my stash for even longer -- probably five years) on the road with me to Maryland Sheep & Wool. I figured that I could start them in the car on the way down and then keep the sock bag in my purse or backpack to pull out while waiting in line, during a break, etc.
I discovered that these weren't the best travel project. For one thing, the pattern is five or six pages long and has several charts to refer to, which meant both that the pattern didn't fit well into my bag and that I wasn't able to memorize the stitch pattern. Having to pull out both the paper pattern and the sock every time I wanted to knit did not work well with knitting on the go. I had a much easier time once I was home and could sit and put the pattern next to me, but it took until the foot of the second sock before I knew the stitch pattern well enough to get by with only referring to the pattern once in a while. I was never able to get to the point where I could do without the chart entirely (as I discovered halfway through my lunch break last Wednesday, when I realized I'd started knitting the wrong section of the chart and had to spend the remainder of my break undoing what I'd just knit).
That said, I do like the socks. I'm not sure I'd knit this pattern again, at least not anytime soon, though part of me wants to try swatching it without any purl stitches to see how it looks (I think all the moving of the yarn from back to front and front to back slowed me down even more). The yarn, though variegated, didn't flash or pool in an ugly way, so these should be a good staple of my winter foot wardrobe.