Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jaywalker! I'm a Jaywalker!

I have had a long and arduous journey with the Jaywalker pattern. This pattern knocked me out the first round, beat me down in the second round and hopefully the third round I will come back victorious.

Being a podcast junkie I heard so much about the Jaywalker pattern of Magknits fame. It was all over blogs, podcasts, you name it. One person who blogged about it had already knit like 10 pairs? There were picture galleries dedicated to it, knitalongs, you name it this pattern had captured the attention of knitters everywhere right at the beginning of the sock yarn craze. I would go so far as to say this pattern spurred some of the sock yarn craze on because I have come to the conclusion, after looking at hundreds of Jaywalker pictures and knitting a couple myself, that this pattern rocks self-striping yarn.

Round 1:

This round kicked my butt and was a combination of me not trying that hard to really see what was going wrong, and a skein of cursed sock yarn that still remains buried somewhere in my stash. There was this wonderfully dyed skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that I paid something like $24 for and wanted to knit the perfect pattern to show off my extremely expensive sock yarn (this was somewhere in the beginning of my sock yarn acquisition phase that is experiencing a resurgence in my life right now and I was aghast at myself for spending so much on one skein of yarn). I tried 4 times to get that yarn to behave and still don't have any socks made of it, so I don't really blame Jaywalker for this one.

I cast on using the needle the pattern calls for. I'll just point out here that this was mistake #1 since I am a continental and very laid back knitter, both of which cause me to always have to go down a needle or two on any given pattern. Being that my feet are a 9-10 shoe size I figured that the larger size is probably for cursed women like myself and the smaller is somewhere around my MIL's size which is "Buy your shoes at Toys R Us." Mistake # 2 I didn't swatch or pay attention to the sizing of the pattern and I'm guessing from my recent experience with the pattern that the larger size is somewhere around Lumberjack, or maybe that's just how my loose knitting makes it? As I work down through the ribbing it becomes apparent to me that these really pretty pink/purple socks were going to be the perfect size for my husband or his taller dad, neither of whom were the intended reciepients. This is where I frogged round #1 also under the mistaken impression that knitting the Jaywalkers was going to be a concentration intensive task like lace knitting.

Round 2:

This round was much more painless. It started with a skein of Online Supersocke Cotton Beach Color #947 which looks nothing like the picture of it knit up on the ball band, but is still really pretty. I had trouble inserting a photo, but here is the link to it in my flickr page

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:

The good is that I was very pleasantly surprised that the pattern repeat for this sock is really easy to memorize and once you do this is a very portable project to pick up any time you have even a few minutes and you won't really lose your place. I don't think I got past the ribbing on my first try, so didn't realize how easy this pattern really is. I can easily see how people would knit this pattern over and over again, especially since I started round 3 before I finished round 2. This and the realization that the toes perfectly match my more squared off foot were great and spurred me on to actually finish the entire pair. The SSS only lasted a few days on this one.

The bad is that they are still big. I feel like the Three Bears story one was too big, one was too small and the last one was just right. Round two on a size 1 needle was too big between the needle size and the fact that the yarn is cotton, but I'll still wear them anyway and will try to shrink them a bit. Round 3 I over corrected and went to a 00 which will produce a really cute sock for my mom or sisters who have smaller feet than me. The next time I will use a 0 and that should produce the perfect size for me. Good thing Christmas is coming up!

The ugly is from the day after I took these socks off the needles I couldn't resist and had to take them to work to show them off & couldn't wait to wash/shrink them. My habit is to take my shoes off when I get to work and go barefoot, wear slippers, or socks since my office is across the parking lot from the main building. That morning I wore capris to show off the socks even more. I went into the other room, where the other girls sit, to get a file and of course the Owner of the company came in. I was trying to blend in to the file cabinet (since I was standing there in my very noticible socks) and he asked me for a meeting with myself and my boss who's office is 5 feet from where I was standing. I couldn't really say "Sure, just let me go get my shoes back on" could I? So, I go into the meeting with the girls giggling behind me that I was in my socks going into a meeting with two of the top people in our company. Luckily they are men and didn't notice what I was wearing at all.

Round 3:

This round is going much better with 00 needles and Opal Rainforest Tiger. I love the way it makes the tiger stripes stand out. Unfortunately they won't fit me, but will give me an excuse to buy more of this exquisite yarn (and the Snake too I saw some beautiful pictures of that in Jaywalker on Ravelry) and will make a great Christmas gift. My plan for Christmas is to knit up a bunch of scarves, socks and hand warmers and put them all in a box wrapped with Christmas paper. I will let each person choose out of the box what they want so that no one has to look at someone else's gift wishing they had got that.

So, after all my trials with Jaywalker I can see that we will become great friends, Jaywalker & I, and I will be making several pairs of this pattern. Do look at pictures of the pattern, they are so varied that there is something for everyone.

I'm on Ravelry too as theaddknitter come visit my projects and tell me what you think.

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