Downward Spiral—A Cinderella Story?

It had to happen sooner or later: A project that just doesn't work for me. I've hinted around about my despair over this project. I couldn't face blogging about it sooner. But it's time to work through the pain and get it over with.

This cleverly staged photograph masks the utter failure of the downward spiral that was (and is) my Redhawk Tailspin of Pacific Beach Socks, knit from Cat Bordhi's Spiraling Coriolis architecture in New Pathways. Originally intended for me, the socks are being modeled by J because of how ridiculous they look on my feet.

Pattern: Spiraling Master Coriolis by Cat Bordhi
Materials: Mountain Colors Bearfoot, 1 skein (350 yds with quite a bit left), Red Hawk Tail.
Needles: US 2 / 2.75 mm
Started: June 21, 2008
Completed: July 31, 2008
Technique: 2 at once on Magic Loop

I swatched. I checked gauge. I checked and re-checked my measurements and my calculations. If I were to try knitting these again tomorrow, I'd end up working with the same master numbers and would end up with the same bloody mess.

As far as I can tell, the problem likely has to do with my instep: Mine is unusually tall. So using the numbers the architecture specifies for my instep height meant creating a horribly baggy mid-foot and arch. It's an odd experience for me to have any socks too baggy in the arch because my feet are almost completely flat.

These socks fit through the toe and the ball of the foot, and they fit through the "bottom of heel to top of instep" measurement, but they're swimming everywhere else. I did try them on as I knit, and I knew they were awfully baggy . . . but I held true to my faith in the made-to-fit qualities of Bordhi's pattern and convinced myself that something else—surely—would happen in the architectural construction to pull the bagginess around and make them work. Boy was I wrong.

I mean, seriously. Check out the carnage as they blob all over my 9" antique sock blockers:

My first UGH in 30 years of knitting!

(If you look at the top picture again, you can see signs of puckering in the arch area along the left side of the picture, and you can see how straight the right side—which corresponds to the bottom of the foot—looks.)

By the time the sad truth about these socks could no longer be denied, I figured I would felt them to adjust fit. I decided not to frog and re-knit the socks because I simply didn't care enough for the pattern.

I know, I know: Other people love this pattern. More power to them! But besides my issues with the finished results I got, I have a lot of problems with the way the pattern is written, in general. I'm a well-practiced reader of all kinds of patterns and charts. I can't remember the last time I had such issues with the way a pattern was written. Flame me if you want, but I found Bordhi's style tedious and overly complicating of something that need not be so thick.

To be honest, even if the socks fit me better, I don't know how much I'd actually wear them beyond around the house stuff . . . which is what may happen to them anyways if I don't find another foot that fits them.

As for my efforts to felt them? Silly me. I normally knit with non machine-washable wools, but I knit this particular pair with a superwash . . . a fact I remembered only after tossing them in the wash and having them come out exactly the same as before they went in. The good news: Mountain Colors Bearfoot is a fantastic superwash! The bad news: I really would have preferred the option of felting.

Ah well. I'm sure someone with bigger feet will like them. They're customized to fit someone . . . but how will I find the foot? Anyone in contact with Cinderella's prince—or his footman?!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm....well, thanks for testing out that superwash! LOL! I knit a pair of Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks from her book. They came out fine, but I probably won't knit anything else - if I'm going to have to think that much about what I'm doing, I'd rather be making a shawl!

Oh, I checked with Bad Woman and the Alpaca is going to be on sale starting August 11. I want to go to the Impressionist exhibit at SAM soon, so I'll stop at Bad Woman, also (and maybe A New Yarn, if they are open.)

There's a new knitting/spinning shop up in Oak Harbor (north Whidbey) that I am hoping to get to soon.

Lara said...

I haven't given up on the Master Knitter program- in fact, I'll post tomorrow about it. Its definitely tough to tear myself away from other projects!

Vtknitboy said...

ha! me too. i've done 3 socks from the same book, and my spiral socks are the only ones i don't like.

i don't like her writing style either--i would edit and rewrite directions for dummies like me. her style is too wordy and she puts in unnecessary stuff. it took me an hour too figure out how to move sts around to do the heel. blech.

i did, however, like the steps sock. they came out fine for me. but i fudged the pattern a bit for my understanding.

did you reduce the sts 10%?

Jessica said...

Total bummer that they didn't work out so well. The colors are lovely!

Jennifer said...

I'm glad it's not just me. I'd be knitting at night after work and the next day I'd be ripping back because the directions for this pattern were so confusing. I've knit hundreds of pairs of socks so this shouldn't have been so difficult. Ultimately, I ended up using my instincts to get the heel right. My socks look crazy huge when they're not on feet as well, but they actually do fit.