I'm not quite sure what it is about the new year that makes me want to join knitalongs. My success in these ventures is horribly mixed--for every Ravelympics success there is another Sock Knitters Anonymous failure. Sometimes, a KAL starts up right when I'm thinking about knitting something that fits the criteria anyway, or it involves materials that I already have onhand, as with the Red Hot Chili socks. Sometimes, you think that it involves what you already have onhand, and then you go out and buy new yarn anyway, as with the Haida Leyburn socks. Either way, it's a good excuse to start something new and join the global knitting community. An excuse I don't really need, obviously, but an excuse nonetheless.
Last week I finished the first of the Red Hot Chili socks (which is why there's another toe in progress), and I'm very pleased with the result:
The toe-up-sock-with-gussets construction is fairly new to me, but I tried to just follow the instructions and believe that it would all work out. That strategy worked out just fine--I was genuinely surprised that I had the right number of stitches before starting the heel turn. I love the twisted stitch ribbing on the gusset & the expanding cables up the leg. At the same time, I really like that there's a lot of plain knitting to show off the yarn and keep the knitting speedy. I knew that the yarn for the Haida Leyburns was on the way, so I tried to get a good start on the second sock.
I'm glad that I did, because the Leyburn pattern is also a lot of fun to knit and it would have been easy to stop thinking about the orange socks once the black sock was on the needles. I'm knitting the Leyburns using the stitch counts in the pattern so far, but I substituted an Easy Toe (from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks) for the short row toe. It's much easier for me to remember "increase every other row" than "wrap, turn, pick up wraps, double wrap". The toe is fairly wide, in keeping with the designer's preference, and I like it that way--it feels comfortable so far, anyway.
I'm taking both of these to Boston next weekend, and leaving the bigger projects at home this time (though maybe I should sneak in another project, just in case). There should be enough variety in between these two to keep me occupied on the plane. I can knit the red socks if the light is bad (provided I can see the charts), and knit the black socks if it's too bumpy for chart reading.