The shaping in the cotton socks was interesting and it worked, but it was still a bit sloppy for my tastes. I knew that, if I worked it in a bulky wool, the little diamond in the centre of the instep would pop up and look very strange indeed. Since it's been constantly cold and snowy here, now is not the time for cotton socks; I really needed a winter version, because we've had quite a bit of snow this season:
|The view from my back door yesterday. It's snowing again today.|
Last week, Sarah, co-owner of Bodhi Tree Yoga and one of my teachers, mentioned that she needed legwarmers that had just a bit of a strap for extra warmth on her feet. (Sarah loves legwarmers; lately she's been wearing lovely ones which Samantha (also in teacher training) made for her.) This was the incentive I needed to revisit the yoga sock fitting issue. Home I went, to my stash of Noro Bonbori yarn. Like all Noro yarns, Bonbori comes in lovely colours. It's a bulky weight, wool with just a touch of nylon (6%), which may add a bit of strength to the yarn when worn in a yoga sock, although not enough to recommend it for a classic boot sock.
There was one small problem with starting the socks: I'd left all my double pointed needles at the LYS to save myself the trouble of carrying home my supplies. Now, I do not enjoy knitting socks on two circular needles because I find the constant clicking from the dangling needles to be an annoyance. I'm not fond of the Magic Loop technique, either, because pulling out those loops in order to keep knitting breaks my rhythm and slows down my knitting. I have a few 9 inch and 12 inch circulars for sock knitting, but they're so short that working with them is painful.
I've knitted several pairs of socks using two circular needles and am quite convinced I don't care for this technique. ("Despise" would be more accurate, but as yoga practitioners, we're not supposed to hate/despise anything, are we?) That left Magic Loop, because not knitting was not an option. I've used Magic Loop once or twice; in fairness, I hadn't used this technique enough to assess it accurately. Out came my Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles and a 40 inch cable. I cast on 40 stitches and away I went:
If you're interested in Magic Loop, check for videos on YouTube. This is one technique I could not learn from a book.
Using Magic Loop technique isn't difficult, but it does slow me down. Rather than look at this as a problem, I decided to take advantage of the slower pace of knitting, to pay attention to my stitches and the shaping of the sock. Slowing down helped me to prepare for areas that required attention. For example, I needed to shape the leg so that the legwarmer stays tight without binding and so that it stays up during practice. The shaping for the foot needed attention, too, because increasing and decreasing gradually would not work with this yarn.
I discovered that keeping the foot snug and comfortable required simplicity. The addition of some ribbing, extra rows at the instep and casting on fewer stitches after the heel cast off kept the foot secured; the fancy shaping I'd done on the cotton sock wasn't necessary. Here's Version #3 (Sarah is testing the second version), Sock #1, fresh off the needle:
I'll wash and block the set when it's finished-Sarah's socks looked better and fit more closely after washing. She'll let me know how her socks do in class; I'll test this on my own and Version #4 will be a combination of our results. I'm hoping to prepare a template from our tests, so that my students will have other options for their sock knitting adventures and we'll all be able to keep our feet warm on studio floors.
Cold weather, the need for warmth, a comment from a yogini, a stash of Noro and a lack of access to my usual sock knitting equipment-everything came together to teach me a lesson in attachment, attention and habitual practice. We're not looking for it, but sometimes, "no goal practice" leads to tangible results.