I have learned an important lesson this week: when the yarn speaks, listen. I feverishly began that pair of contest socks, thinking that it was the pattern that mattered--and I had dreams of awesomeness!--instead of listening to my yarn, which flat-out told me that it was not meant for lace. I should have listened. I wouldn't have been engaged in the sock construction battle of a lifetime for three days of my precious vacation time if I had listened to my yarn. So, I ripped them out and put my things away, and went to the yarn store.
One of the things that most annoys me about going to the yarn store is inexperienced knitters "holding down the fort". As soon as you walk in the door, they want to show you around and help you pick out your yarn, and shuttle you out the door. If you let them, you are in and out so quickly that you have to check your receipt to make sure you were ever even there. I'm a grumpy shopper. My children tell me to be nicer to the "helpful" sales lady. Only a true knitter would understand. And since I was so pointedly reminded this week that I need to wait for the yarn to speak to me--it took it's sweet time in the store, that's for sure!--I said to the girl, "No, don't help me, I'm waiting for the socks to appear in my head and the yarn to tell me what to do." She didn't know what to say and, with a look of je ne sais quoi went to sit with the older woman--I think I saw myself in 30 years, asking someone to help me rip out a row because the stitches are too small for me to see clearly as I talk about my tutoring of students and reminisce about my teaching experiences and wealth of literary knowledge to someone who says "I wish I knew more so that I could carry on a conversation with you"--who was working on I-don't-know-what. Between the two of us, I think we had the poor girl a bit unnerved.
But the yarn spoke, and I came home with a skein each of Rialto extra-fine superwash merino (100% awesome) in chocolate and teal. And I came home and did what I should have done in the first place--charted the pattern before I wrote it out. In my compulsion, that other pair of contest socks was a I'll-invent-as-I-go mistake. Lessons learned. So I am going to try my first ever fair-isle anything with this pair of socks. That means I will not be done with even one before the April 18th contest deadline, but there will be other sock contests, I'm sure.
The other thing that I did was to realize that I hadn't met my goal, in all of my foolishness, for my vacation; so I finished the maple socks. They are gorgeous! I will have to wash them and put them away, as the weather is now too warm to wear them. Come November, though, they will be a welcome sight.
So what have I accomplished this week? One major knitting lesson learned, on pair of socks finished, one knitting room cleaned up and put together, one 6-year old mostly recovered from surgery, one garden put in, and one awesome sock adventure about to begin. Overall, I'd say it's been a pretty productive vacation.