Curse of the Black Purl

I love (lovelovelove) the Lorna’s Laces yarn I received from my Secret Pal (SP10). It is in the very colourway I had drooled over in Lettuce Knit, “Black Purl”, a delightful mix of charcoal, grey, lavender and amethyst, with a tiny hint of a greeny-grey.

I was so delighted to get it, I spend many an hour browsing around Ravelry, looking at sock patterns and seeing just what the yarn might “want to be”. I saw it had a tendency to pool in strange ways, but it could also just stripe or blend — something I prefer, and therefore would like to encourage in my own knitting. Eventually I hit upon the Mad Color Weave socks from Woolgathering, and thought that the cabled/slipped stitches would be perfect for breaking up the variegation in the yarn and highlighting the wonderful colours.

Of course, never one to take the easy route, I had to change things up a bit more. I prefer tall socks, and want to get every last inch out of this yarn, so I thought I’d knit these socks toe-up. I tried out Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the first time, and let me tell you, once you catch the trick of it, it really is a sweet cast-on!

MCW socks - toe

Well, since I’m doing these toe-up, and the new cast-on went so well, why not try a ‘proper’ heel, I thought to myself. Wendy has great instructions for various toe-up socks, including a gusseted-with-heel-flap version, and fortunately for me her numbers plug in near-perfectly with MCW. Problem is, with a top-down sock, you always know where to begin the heel, and then the gusset just flows along until it’s finished — you never really have to pay attention to it. With toe-ups, you really have to get the gusset started in the right place, or else you end up with a sock for someone with far longer feel than yourself….

MCW - gusset #1
One dpn indicates where the gusset was started, the other where the gusset *should* have started!

So, I ripped it back, having learned my lesson (or so I thought). I’m a process knitter, right? It’s not about having a finished product rightnow, and besides, if I was all about the product I’d want to have it perfect. Frogging completed, the gusset was begun much sooner on the sock than I initially thought was right (but it is), the sock was re-knit from that point on (again), and I even made good progress into heel-attempt-#2 at knitnight. Heck, I was even a bit of a show-off with my clever eye-of-partridge heel-flap (from the toe up!).

MCW - gusset #2
Looks good, right? But where is that twisted cable on the heel?…

Apparently I am labouring under the Curse of the Black Purl — two full rounds into the leg, I refer back to the pattern, and notice the lovely, clear, giant photo of this sock, complete with it’s clever cabled/slipped stitches and it’s elegant heel progression… which I have completely failed to knit.

Frogging will commence this evening as we drive to a friend’s farm for camping over the weekend. I expect to get a lot of knitting in, but who knows how many times I’ll knit this heel before I finish a sock!

ED:Oh hell –I just noticed that the twisted -stitch cable isn’t even a cabled rope like I thought, but a 2-stitch zig-zag! I’ll let you know after the weekend just how far I decide to rip back… I don’t think I can face it right now!



Filed under knitting, socks, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Curse of the Black Purl

  1. a-b

    oh my goodness, you SERIOUSLY read my mind!!! I just cast on (after a wrestling match with my needles) for a toe-up sock and have been puzzling over when to begin the gusset, which I generally prefer over short-rowing it. and now I have a clue. yay thanks!!

  2. Even though there may be a curse on that sock, it looks absolutely lovely! I tried to do a figure 8 cast on with no luck… mayhaps next time I’ll try the Magic Cast-On. :)

  3. I too am mildly cursing toe up gusset heels. I thought they might be fun to try but they are not winning me over very quickly. Good luck over coming your curse. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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