I unraveled my argyle sock tonight. I’m going to try again with an easier pattern.

Va wasn’t home when I got home today. The school was being audited today by the Union accreditation committee, so she was there for that. One of their recommendations is that the school “consider” putting Windows on the student PC’s. If the school does that, they will have to find someone else to manage them though. Part of the reason I left my last job was because I didn’t want to use Windows. I’m certainly not going to admin a Windows system for free if I wasn’t willing to do it for pay.

Besides, I think it’s a horrible recommendation. I’d go into it here, but it would be a very long list of reasons that no one who reads this would care about. Suffice it to say that I am passionate about this issue.

OK, so I tried to invent my own method of knitting an argyle pattern in the round. And it turned out about as I expected – a disaster! So I unravelled and took a fifteenth look at the instructions in the pattern I’m following. I think I got it. At least beyond that step. Now I’m facing the next problem, and it’s going almost as well as the last one was at first (which is to say… badly).

It was a gorgeous day today. When I got home from church I went for a walk in the woods behind my house, camera in hand. I took several shots. There is still nothing in bloom here, but there is plenty of life. The evergreen herbs are greening up first, I guess they had a head start. Those would include these:

Trailing Arbutus and Partridge Berry

Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) and Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)

The Partridge Berry is the one with… the red berry? Yes. These berries are pretty cool because they each have two eyes (leading some people to call them snake eyes). Each eye comes from its own flower, and the flowers appear in pairs, joined at the base. They fuse into a berry later leaving these eyes.

The repens part of the binomial names (in both these plants) is Latin for “sudden, unexpected, fresh, recent.” I have no idea which sense of the word they meant here, but repens shows up as a species name in several genera. They were under the snow all winter, so “sudden” and “recent” are out. I was expecting to see them, so “unexpected” is out. I guess that leaves “fresh?”

I also saw some other plants that I was most definitely not expecting. I don’t know if they are evergreens or not, but there are sure green now. The first was this one:

Threeleaf Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica)

Threeleaf Goldthread (Coptis groenlandica)

I don’t think it’s an evergreen, so maybe it just sprouted from beneath the snow. Anyhow, I was not expecting it. The other one was this:
Pyrola (Pyrola spp.)

Pyrola (Pyrola spp.)

Though I’m confident that this does indeed belong to the genus Pyrola I haven’t been able to decide which species within that genus it is. This one will raise up a stem and then have several flowers on it later this year, and they will all be at a height that would have been exceedingly difficult to photograph except that I now have those extension rods for my tripod. This plant grows in the dark woods and makes white flowers, and that combination requires long exposure times. Long exposure times require a tripod. I was not happy with the pictures I got of these flowers last year, so you can bet I’ll make another attempt again this year with my new equipment.

For the past several days, I’ve been working on my argyle sock project. The first part was easy, because it’s the same procedure as the previous pair of socks I knitted. Just plain 2×2 ribbing (which I still count starting at zero, and in hexadecimal).

But then I got the the intarsia part. That’s where I have to alternate between two colors. For the life of me, I cannot understand the instructions I’m reading in the pattern. So I have decided to ditch the pattern and come up with my own method. Which is completely insane, I know.

I am a novice. I should just do it the way the experts say I should. But I can’t understand what they’re saying. I could ask around I guess, but why not inflict disaster upon myself instead? After all, these socks are only $38 so far. Why not add medical bills to that total?

Tonight I knit a test swatch so I could see how many stitches per inch I would be knitting with my new needles and yarn.

Testing the knit gauge

Testing the knit gauge

At first I was just using all black yarn, but I found it was almost impossible to count stitches since it all ran together. After half an inch or so I started alternating between tan and black. As you can see, it’s a lot easier to see the stitches up there at the top. This came out to 6 stitches per inch (horizontal), and 10 rows per inch (vertical).

With these numbers in hand, I went ahead an plugged them into a form I found in an online pattern. They also wanted some measurements from my feet, so I made those and plugged them in as well. Now I need to wind some yarn onto my new bobbins and get started.

Today I went to a yarn store in downtown Concord. I told the lady there that I wanted to knit a pair of argyle socks. She fixed me up.

I ended up buying a package of bobbins, two sets of #4 circular needles, and three skeins of yarn. It came to $38.00. Ouch!

These are going to be the most expensive socks ever, and that doesn’t even include the labor. I think I’ll value my time at about a billion bucks an hour just to make sure these are the most expensive socks ever. And since I will be the proud owner of these socks, that will make me one of the richest men in the world. Bill Gates will slip down yet another notch.

Tomorrow I have the pulpit at church. I’m going to talk about the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. John is hands down my favorite of the gospels, and this chapter is one of the reasons for that. I also like chapters 2 and 3, and his account of the resurrection is the most meaningful to me. Powerful stuff!

I’ve spent most of the evening reading everything I have on this story. Hopefully, someone will benefit from my study as I already have.

I dunno how long I’ve been doing this, but every time I think of the phrase “pair of socks” it makes me think of “Frere Jacques”. And then it becomes “Pair-a-sacques” in my head. Luckily, I don’t think the phrase “pair of socks” every time I put a pair on, or I would be insane by now. Or maybe that explains a lot, who knows.

Anyhow, I’m thinking “pair-a-sacques” tonight, because I have finally finished knitting my first pair. Here they are.

Pair of newly knitted socks

Penny is not impressed.

Man… these things are warm.

Oh – and this was my second post tonight. I don’t usually post twice in a day, but I also don’t usually finish knitting a pair-a-sacques.