I thought pretty assuredly that I was going to be the first person to complete my Heartgyle Socks. I was on course to finish them in five days, despite the fact that I had changed the cast on and restarted the toes more than once. But, that did not happen.
So much has happened since cast on that it’s really strange to think back over the course of the project, so marked as it is by its running time of a calendar month for the Arnall-Culliford Knitwear knitalong. Ultimately, health issues stopped my knitting, but so much else happened in that time also, with problems with my website and people, that it feels like a much greater span of time has passed. But look, here we still are.
So, as it happened, by the time the 5th rolled around I had only almost finished my socks. I had finished the main knitting of each sock, knitting two simultaneously on two sets of DPNs. I made a few tiny changes: I used a provisional cast on, knit a rounded to from there, kitchenered to close, and knit the sock up from that completed toe. Apart from that I knit the sock as per the instructions and only had the afterthought heels to knit, but I’d already been struggling with my health for a day or two before then and it really shows in my knitting.
The Heartgyle Socks are part of the Boost Your Knitting program devised by Arnall-Culliford Knitwear with the aim of teaching new techniques month-by-month, supported by a wealth of tutorials and learning materials, patterns and with kits available.
The technique for July was Intarsia In The Round, a completely new-to-me technique, and one that opens up much possibility. The learning from this project is that the colourwork is not knit in the round in the traditional sense insomuch as the yarn does not progress in a continual spiral to form a cylinder of knitting. Rather, the knitting is completed back and forth, as in a piece of flat knitting, but with a nifty little trick to bring the two edges closed at the back of the leg so that the cylinder is unbroken. This allows the intarsia part of the design to be knitted back and forth as it would be when knit flat.
Where the turning point is reached at the back of the leg there is a little join which, though not completely invisible, remains smooth and unobtrusive when worn. You can see here the join at the back of the first sock I knit the intarsia section for:
It was at the point of finishing the colourwork for this sock that my symptoms started to really affect me, sadly. I’d been through this before and knew how much of my life it took away, so I tried to push through it. On reflection, this was a mistake. Rest. Rest and look after your body when it is telling you something is wrong. I’m not going to go into the medical stuff because it is boring and not fun and has no colourful pictures, but let me show you how scarred the next day’s piece of knitting is…
This battle scar is huge, and misshapen. It wanders everywhere. I knew at the time that I should pull the knitting out and reknit it, but I just couldn’t. I’m amazed the colourwork came out as unscathed as it did. And all because I did not listen to my body and rest. And I ended up in hospital. Unable to knit.
I was put on enforced, involuntary rest at that point, and whilst I stopped, so did my knitting. Nearly 20 days passed before I picked up my needles and tentatively started to knit the heels. The first heel took me an entire day. I couldn’t even look at the instructions properly to knit them, so I knit my usual afterthought heels to mirror the changes I’d made to the toes, because I can knit those heels without thinking too much, albeit a few stitches at a time. I did nothing but try a few more stitches, stop and rest, knit a few more. A day or two later I knit the second heel, and that one took a bit less time as I continued to heal, and to heel.
As I knit the second heel, I looked at the wandering line of messy stitches travelling up the sock and thought I should reknit it. Maybe even reknit the entire sock. I have enough yarn, after all.
But I shan’t.
I shall leave the scar there as it marks a time when my knitting taught me something. Not just how to knit Intarsia In The Round, but also to listen to my body more and to rest and seek help when it tells me.