I don't know where Salem the demon cat is so I'm going to take this opportunity to write up some notes about the socks I just finished. Since this is a new blog and I'm basically talking to no one, this is more notes to myself - but maybe some day someone else in cyberspace will see it!
Anyway, here's the issue: I have a severe case of second-sockitis. Historically, even if I did make a second sock it was usually so much later that either I forgot the pattern or my gauge changed so much they didn't match at all. I'm not talking about the slight gauge difference like I noted earlier - I'm talking about socks that were an inch or two different in length! Not good. For years I just assumed I would never be a sock knitter, but then I started feeling left out. Anyone remember Sock Summit in Portland? I dared to go once and fell in love with the socks. (Alas, that turned out to be the last Sock Summit.)
So, to solve my problem I decided I had to knit both socks at the same time. Not on the same needles - that just created a tangled up mess. No, I knit both socks at the same time on two sets of needles, magic loop style. I have matched sets of my favorite sock size needles and knit a few rows of Sock A, then a few of Sock B until I have a complete pair. This leaves me with two reasonably matching socks completed at roughly the same time. Cool.
But for some odd reason, when I made the last two pairs I did them one at a time. This was largely due to laziness since I would need to wind the single ball of yarn into two balls, which would require figuring out where I left my ball winder. So I dared to try one at a time and tempt fate. But I am also no good at taking notes or counting rows so I needed a way to easily make the socks the same length. Solution - knit a code into the first sock that I could follow to make the second one.
You can't see it well in the pictures I posted earlier, but the first set has a bit of a zigzag of purl bumps in it. What I did was purl one stitch per row in an otherwise stockinette stitch sock, moving the stitch over one each row. This way, when I knit the second sock I knew to start the heel when the zigzag was in the same place where it was in the first sock. No counting, no notes. I changed the zigzag a little in the leg just for fun and again used it as a guide to know when to start the ribbing. That left me just needing to know how many rows were in the ribbing, but counting 10 or 12 rows is easier than counting 76 or whatever.
Since I don't like knitting the same thing twice (thus the second-sockitis) I decided to do something different in the second pair. I opted for a ribbing pattern that I made up as I went. Every two rows and/or two stitches something changed from knit to purl. It's not terribly visible in the socks, except where it switches from horizontal to vertical ribbing, but it served the same purpose in the construction.
Now I'm going to have to figure out other ways to code my socks. Or just go back to the safety of knitting them both at the same time!