Before we begin, I would like to make it absolutely clear that this was in no way a labour of love, it was an exercise in sheer bloody mindedness.
Our story begins when I decided to buy some pink yarn sock yarn for using up sock yarn oddments in socks for Neice Number 1. I was a little over enthusiastic on eBay and ended up with 200g of shocking pink sock yarn ('Regia' and 'Opal'). What on earth was I going to do with such an unnecessarily extensive array of pink?
I consulted the Ultimate Sock Knitting Book and decided to embark on the Mini Diamonds - a simple and effective looking pattern to look at that seemed to be a simple pattern for even a buffoon to follow. Uh-huh.
So, I set to knitting and having just got past the ribbing, couldn't get into the pattern - I kept making mistakes in the first six rows. I frogged it. This is not unusual for me. I usually end up pulling right back to the start, even past the neat cuff.
Take 2: One 12 row repeat completed. Eureka, the girl has cracked it. Oh, no, no, no, she has not. One glass of wine too many, and she miscounts and the whole thing goes belly up again.
I mentioned this at the knitting group I go to and the suggestion, the very logical suggestion was to give up. I would have said the same myself. But I couldn't - it was already becoming a case of "it's the socks or me." I'm sure Custer would have been proud.
Third attempt - completely sober gets me past three repeats. Three repeats. How marvellous. You may already suspect that this is not going to end well. I put down the pattern half way through the fourth repeat. Disaster. I couldn't remember which row I was on and while I soldiered on for another four rows trying to fool myself that Neice No 1 wouldn't notice the elongated diamonds... (I ran it past the BF and he couldn't see the problem, but he is a man and he struggles with the difference between Natural Hessian and Walnut, though he may have a point there)... I remembered that Neice No 1 is a seven year old girl and nothing gets past the little buggers.
So, I frogged it and started again. With new rules:
1. Do not knit this when anything other than stone cold sober.
2. Never stop a repeat half way through.
This is fine for 12 row repeats, but I am never going to be able to attempt 32 row repeats in lace shawls. I wouldn't be able to eat, or sleep or do anything else again... until it was finished. I'd be an emaciated skeleton pulled out of the living room by finally exasperated BF. Or I could learn to make a note or what row I'm on.
3. Use a life line, especially when four repeats into the pattern, like so:
Especially when turning the heel - not usually something I struggle with, but with this pattern, all bets were off and I was taking a belt, braces, crash helmet and knee pads approach.
And you know what, it's paid off - one pair Mini Diamond socks in the post to my neice this morning.
She had better bloody like them.