I have about 10 minutes before my recently operated on foot/ankle begin to turn purple and throb, but I had to update on my sock learning experience thus far. I should probably start out by saying that post-anesthesia haze and pain medications may not be the ideal components for learning a somewhat non-intuitive thing like knitting socks. Thus, it took me a little bit longer than I thought it would to start to get the feel of things.
Some time before my surgery I went out and bought two books (on a fabulous clearance sale!) related to learning to knit socks:
The first – my one I pretty much knew I’d prefer from first glance, entitled “Knitting Circles Around Socks” by Antje Gillingham. I’d talked to several experienced sock knitters and heard how much they raved over the knitting two socks on circulars simultaneously and thought – why bother with the old fashioned method – everyone loves this one!
The book had great graphics, clear direction, and more encouraging – the author is a fairly recent knitter who has picked up quite a bit of expertise in the course of a few years.
That gave me hope.
So, I started. My project required two balls of sock yarn (check), two pairs of circulars – I choose size 3 since I already had one set of 24″ circulars in that size and it would only necessitate the purchase of one pair of 16″ circulars, and time to devote to the project. With 4 to 6 weeks of non-weightbearing – yeah, time I have!
I cast on the requisite number of stitches, transferred half of them purlwise onto the second set of circulars, connected the stitches and set off knitting.
Maybe it was just me – but it felt… gangly, bulky, clumsy, frustrating, and well – not at all fun.
I had hoped for fun.
I thought, “Maybe it’s just cause it hasn’t been enough time – I’ll devote more effort, it should get more fun.” So I worked some more – but – it wasn’t the kind of project that I was looking forward to picking up. It was more like, “Okay, I should add a couple more rows…” And the rows are only 56 stitches!
I finally got to the point where I sat there looking at my work – particularly disgusted with the fact that the sides were so gap-y – that I decided I hated making socks! I was cinching stitches as tight as I could on the ends to try and eliminate that gap (per the author’s direction) – but it wasn’t working! It literally would not be possible to add any more torque to the wrap and still get the stitches from the cable onto the needles!
See? Horribly gap-y! I decided that I was gonna tear them out – I don’t want to knit them if I’m not enjoying the process!
Can I just interject here that tearing out a project that got you frustrated and stressed and kinda angry is sometimes really good therapy? Honestly – it has cleansing properties!
So I took those stupid socks off of the gangly, frustrating, double set of circulars, ripped all of those stressed out little stitches out, and happily put the circulars away!
It was then that I remembered that I had purchased a second book! Hooray!
The second book is entitled, “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks” by Leisure Arts with designs by Cindy Guggemos.
I did a cursory read through on this second book and thought – “You know, my inspiration for even wanting to learn how to knit socks (Lavada W.) always knit them on double pointeds – I think I want to try that!” And so I did.
Following the basic instructions, I cast on the correct number of stitches on my size 3 double pointeds (which I just happened to have on hand – which required some adjustment because the pattern actually called for size 5’s, which I don’t have on hand), and then the instruction read, “transfer 1/4th of the stitches onto the next double pointed needle.” I did – and then I kind of panicked.
I looked at what I had. I looked at what I knew I should have eventually. And I thought, “Did I do it wrong?” How do you get them in order with four double pointeds?” To which I told myself to calm down, chill out a little, and be willing to continue on with the direction to see if it worked.
You know what? It worked. It doesn’t matter that you’re transferring stitches (all purlwise, by the way) in 1/4th chunks – they stay in order, they work out. It looks perfect once you get them all transferred to the four needles. Phew!
I love knitting socks on double pointed needles!
Gosh! What a relief!
It’s actually fun. Rows fly by because they’re broken up into 4ths. They’re coming together beautifully. And I’m less intimidated about setting them down and picking them back up again.
There aren’t all of those cables and points from the circulars – trying to figure which set was which, which end you were on, and stressing out about having to yank the bajeebers out of the end stitches and then getting them back up onto needles at some future juncture in time. Yuck!
So – that’s my sock update as of yet. Right now – my toes are decidedly purple and I’m going to go put my foot up and knit on my burgeoning socks!