Love/Hate Relationship

Ahh, stranded knitting, ours is such a love/hate relationship.

I love the look of stranded and fair-isle knitting.  I've seen so many beautiful designs, so many gorgeous pieces of work, so many lovely garments being made at the moment.


I hate, hate, hate doing it!

Ok, that's a lotta hate right there.  Sometimes, most of the time in fact, I'd probably wouldn't say I hate it.  More that I don't seem to get on with it, but you caught me on a bad day.  Today, I'm suffering with an acute case of knitters disappointment and so today feelings are running high.  Or rather, low.

So, let me tell you a little more of this woeful tale...

These are double knit socks.  I came across the pattern while looking for something else and after my last pair of dk socks came out so beautifully, I was looking to make more.  I remembered I had these rather niffy colours of dk yarn in stash so I was all set to make some lovely, happy heart socks. (Pattern: Sole Mate Heart Socks by Elly Fales)

My first attempt went ok-ish, but when it came to that all import test for socks, 'can I fit this thing on my foot', the sock was sadly lacking.  Well, a bit of a problem but no matter, stranded knitting by it's nature is tighter and I do have quite a high in-step.   

All par for the course I thought, I'll just increase the stitch count and go again.  I also ordered some dpn's to use.  On the first attempt I'd stuck with my favourite circular needles and magic loop, but I did have some extra pulling at the edges and I thought that the dpn's would sort that out nicely.

So, take two began.

Things started well, I completed the first row of hearts, although I began with the navy instead of my intended darker pink.  Oh well, not worth ripping back for....  Do the socks fit?  Yes.  Hoorah!  Then let us forge on...

Then I started the second row of hearts.  Things were a little dicer this time.  Things got a bit tight and puckered, I tinked back a few rows here and there, re-doing things looser.  Getting a little fed up of fixing but still hanging in there.  One set of hearts to go!

So, I guess I was over compensating for my previous tightness because at the end of the third set of hearts all I had to show was a mangled heap of baggy stitches, which at the same time still also manage to have horribly tight patches too.  Arrrrrgggghhhhhhh!

They looked a big, hot, mess!

Frustrated, disappointed and with hands hurting from attempting to wrangle the endlessly awkward dpn needles, I discarded the whole sorry pile in a fit of petulant pique! 

And there it stayed, the whole weekend.

I suppose you'd better see the thing, and up close so you can really get into the horror of it all.  But before you do, I need you to know how much worse this is in reality than you can see here in these photos.  Somehow it is hard to expose the true hideousness of what I see here in real life in a picture.  Believe me, I tried.  

Just take it from me, they are worse than they look.  So. Much. Worse! 

So now what do I do with them?

Normally I would wait til I had calmed down and rip back and try again like a good little maker, but I don't think I'm quite 'over it' enough for that yet.  Also it seemed to hurt my hands quite a bit.  I don't know how or why, or what I did so wrong, but I don't really fancy repeating the experience.


The trouble is, I am stubborn too.  And that stubborn, petulant, child-like side of me is feeling a little bit like it has a point to prove.  I mean I used to be able to knit colour work patterns ok.  Not brilliant, but ok.

I've knit a Christmas stocking with colour work patterns and a whole pair of fair-isle style leg warmers too and they were ok.  Well, they were merely ok at the time, now they feel like shining examples of excellence compared to what I seem capable of now.

How did I manage to get so much worse at it I wonder?
I can understand that because I don't do it often I wouldn't improve, but to get so much worse?  I don't get it!

Ahh well, I shall have to rely on the great healer that is time.  No doubt a few weeks to let the emotions (clearly strong ones if this post is any judge!) and disappointment fade and then we'll see what is to be done.

 In the meantime, let's focus on some much more enjoyable and soothing projects I have on the go...  That's certainly what I'll be doing!

S x




PS - I'm so sorry but commenting on Blogger has been a bit hit and miss lately.  Please be aware that unless you see 'your comment will be visible after approval' after you press publish, I won't get your lovely message, which is sad.  If you are having trouble, you can leave your comment here instead.


  1. I am sorry you are frustrated about your colour work knitting. If it is any consolation, your stranded knitting looks just fine on screen. Are you knitting continental style? If not, I highly recommend it for stranded knitting, it makes a big difference as it is easier to control the tension of your yarns. I wrap one strand around my index finger, the second around my middle finger. I tried to swap from DPNs to short circulars a while ago but gave up because my hands hurt. Maybe changing knitting needles needs the use of different muscles in your hand and you feel more fatigued because these muscles were not used in the same way with the old needles? Anyway, don't give up, the pattern looks just lovely.


    1. Ahh, thank you so much! I’m knitting with a yarn in each hand, so one hand is ‘throwing’ I guess? The other is continental, but I’m not so used to that style, so that might not be helping I suppose. I think you are right, it’s the change in needles that are probably wearing my hands out quicker. We do get use to our favourite methods don’t we? Thank you, so much for the encouragement though, I shall have to try again!

      S x

  2. Oh,but that pattern! I can see why you are unable to give up on these sweet socks quite yet... Maybe reverting back to magic loop? Any slight variation in tension would be limited to the side - and you will be only viewing your delightful socks from above! Good luck...

    1. Yes I think going back to magic loop is a good move. I'm going to try knitting them inside out though, so the yarn has to stretch around the outside. Hopefully that will help!

      S x

  3. OMG, this sounds like a horrible experience! Especially if you can't figure out what's going wrong. Gladly I hated fair isle only as long as I didn't try it. I made a "practice piece" back in 2016 and then jumped right in with my first Nordic sweater last year. Turned out perfect. Lucky me!

  4. I can see why you love them but I have made many a stranded knitting project and it takes time to get the loops on the back with enough tension for the finished fabric to still be stretchy especially if you need it to go over your foot and heel at the same time. haven't got any tips but it is mighty frustrating when you really want something and you can't make it straight off. My mum is currently in possession of my Beatnik cable jumper because I still really WANT it even though it has driven me crazy not being able to make it. Hopefully it will work on one way or another.

    1. Yes, I bet it is one of those things where practise and putting the hours in really does make a huge difference. I guess I am expecting too much too soon given how often I do any stranded knitting! Good luck with the Beatnik jumper, it looks amazing but all those cables would have me in a bit of a wreck I think, ha ha! I do love the look of cables, I just don’t enjoy knitting them much. :) I hope you (or maybe your Mum?) get’s to the finishing line with it though.

      S x

  5. Hi, Those socks are worth getting right. I heard that if your stranded colorwork is tight to go up a needle size in the colorwork part as it is too difficult to adjust your gauge otherwise. Maybe use a size larger needle for the leg part of the sock and switch to plain knitting and the called for needle for the foot. Anyway, I hope you can get the socks the way you want and enjoy them because they are really cute.