I do not consider myself a particularly opinionated knitter, but when sock knitting fever hit me with a vengeance last year, I began to develop some decided preferences.
I quickly discovered that I much prefer using magic loop, and that I like a firm, snug sock. My default needle is a US1, and would eat dirt before knitting another pair of socks with a size 0. I have a decided preference for toe-up socks. I am not sensitive to scratchiness in sock yarn. I find equal enjoyment wearing both my Regia socks and my Koigus. I like to knit solid socks, patterned yarn, variegated yarn and stripey yarn. I do not expect fuzz-less socks, but I do expect for my socks to wear well. Holes upset me, darning stymies me.
And as I learned all these things, I began to develop this inner Voice of Experience, my inner sock knitter. This voice of experience began to inform all my decisions about sock making.
"I know that pattern calls for US2s, but you prefer a tighter sock. Shouldn't you just knit with your US1?" she reminded, so I knit at a tighter gauge.
"Remember how much you like toe-ups!" the Voice said, so I knitted most of my socks from the toe up, rejecting Nancy Bush and Cookie A patterns to knit yet another toe up Widdershin.
But the VOE began to get a little more insistent, a little more dictatorial about making socks.
"You hated knitting those socks with Trekking," she chided, so I passed up some great sock yarn.
"Sundara's yarn doesn't have any nylon! It'll wear out! It'll pill, " VOE insisted, so my Sundara yarn languished unknit in my stash.
Eventually, like all opinionated voices, this one really started to bug me, and it was time to defy that voice and assert myself again as a sock knitter open to all the possibilities. Monkey seemed like the perfect pattern to try.
Pattern: Monkey, by Cookie A., from Knitty Winter 2006
Needles: US 2 for cuffs, and US 1 for foot
Yarn: Sundara Sock Yarn, hydrangea, one of the 2006 Petals Collection colorways
The VOE had a lot to say about these socks. "You're going to wear a hole in these socks and you know you will never ever darn them."
"They'll be for light wear, then," I said, calmly, and kept knitting, enjoying the feel of Sundara's purple-ish yarn of unmatched beauty.
"You like a snug cuff on socks! The cuff of US2s will be too loose!" it reminded me. I had to acknowledge that VOE was right. I explained to her that I had to choose between fit and appearance. I started these socks on US1s, but the pattern stretched unattractively around my calves. Although the cuff is not quite as snug as I prefer, the pattern looked better on my legs at a larger gauge, and Cookie's pattern is worth showing off.
The VOE grudgingly agreed, and complimented my beautiful new socks.
So the VOE and I are learning how to peacefully co-exist. I can acknowledge her while doing my own thing. I can let her inform my choices, but can will not allow her to limit my possibilities.
But man, the Voice of Experience is just starving for more yarn. She has consumed so much that the sock yarn stash has truly reached a dire level.
I wonder if there's gonna be any good sock yarn at this Sheep Thing in Maryland this weekend...