Sock it to me

Well, that’s what I said, and it tried, it really did. Words were spoken. Unkind Thoughts were voiced. Knitting was, in fact, thrown.
Never one to try one new challenge when two are available, I decided to learn the Great Sock Mystery using the Great Two Circulars Mystery. Because DPNs scare me. There, I said it. So I figured I might as well start as I meant to go on; I ordered Cat Bordhi’s book,* I picked up a couple of circs and I got started. It’s a bit awkward, this method, but I do think I’m going faster than I would be using DPNs. And fun was being had.
Warning: this is a pictureless post. I have pictures, but I can’t show you. There have been Technical Issues and I am, at present, picture challenged. I’m so sorry. Mostly I’m sorry for myself, because Technical Issues make we want to cry, but there it is. We are picture-free.
I’m using a yarn I don’t much like — the fibre is fine but the colours, a bit brighter and at the same time flatter than I would like. It was an impulse internet buy and my monitor let me down. So this is fine for a practice sock, and chances are it’ll only be worn occasionally round the house, if at all, and all in all I concluded there’s no point in working miles of ribbing when I really want to get cracking on the fun parts. So I got into the heel turn really quickly, and this heel turn thiing I like it, it is Good.
It was then that things started to go horribly wrong.
“With the same needle, knit up 15 sts in the loops along the heel flap.” Hm, I got 16, but what the hell. Guess I worked two rows too many. “In the intersection…” yes, stitch picked up and ready to twist, no problem, I see what you’re doing there. “Place a marker.” You kidding? Where? How is it going to stay on the downward-facing needle? You crazy woman. I think I can remember where the gusset starts, thank you. (Maybe I’ll try this marker thing a little later.)
“Look at the other end of the needle, where the 18 heel turn stitches are patiently waiting.” Okay. I’m looking. “Transfer the distant 9 to the other needle.” Lady, I do not like your wording. What do you mean, “the distant 9”? Do you mean “transfer 9 stitches from the far end to the other needle”? Because this “the distant 9” business makes me question myself. It makes me wonder if there is supposed to be a clear and distinct set of 9 stitches sitting somewhere that I don’t know about. And I know I’m looking at the other end of the needle, where we’ve just established there are *18* stitches waiting for my attention, but all together I’m getting a little twitchy. Let’s just check where we’re going next. Maybe it’ll all come together.
“(You will maintain ribbing across instep all the way to the toe.)” No, not helping. I appreciate that sometimes one likes to know what one is going to be doing before one actually starts doing it — in driving, for instance, when one has to pick the right lane — but right now I’m looking for clarity as to where I’m putting what stitches, and you haven’t even told me what I’m going to be working yet, and you’re already telling me to rib it. This is Confusing. “Knit across half of the instep stitches.” Hang on, I thought I was looking at the far end of the needle? That doesn’t seem right. I guess I’m still on this end, since that’s where the yarn is. So why have I just been poking around on the other end? I’m getting more confused. Okay, so I must knit across “half of the instep stitches”… let’s assume that the instep stitches are the ones I just picked up. Knit across… hang on, “knit”? Does she mean “work”? She’s just told me to rib the instep. Is this a different section? I’m new to this sock business, I’d appreciate a little more clarity (also, the word “turn” might help, if that’s what I have to do), and maybe a number of actual stitches. When in doubt, count, right? Let’s look down a bit… Ooh, I see a number later on, let’s try to work it out from that. 40 stitches, she says. Where might I have 40 stitches? She wants me to get half of the instep stitches and add them to… where? Here? Will that make 40 stitches? Are the 40 stitches on the other needle? Er, no…
It was at this point that the knitting got thrown, and I settled down (somewhat poutily) to observe Betty’s romantic problems undisturbed by sockage. (Henry, Betty! You want Henry! Walter is *boring*! Ohhh… she blew it. Damn. Also, in what universe does someone coming to visit from another state go straight to your office, late at night? Do these people not have lives outside work? Damn.)
I came back to the knitting later, with a calmer mind and improved attitude. It still didn’t make much sense to me, but I resolved to just try it, making certain assumptions along the way, and see if it worked. I think I’m getting there.
I’d like to point out that bitchy commentary aside (I get mean when I feel stupid), I do not in fact blame Cat Bordhi for my sock trials. I blame my own delusions of competence. Trying out a sock the old-fashioned way first — a really clearly written pattern, such as, say, the one the lovely Anne wrote especially for me! — and *then* experimenting with circs; that might have been the way to go. Live and learn…
Not that I’m done experimenting, of course. Next stop: magic loop!
* In fact I ordered two; the Great Moebius Mystery is next!

9 thoughts on “Sock it to me

  1. I’d love to be able to come up with some smart ass comment about all that, but all I could do was laugh (sorry) but you’re description of the trials and (t)errors of sock knitting was amusing. Persever, you’ll get there and be just as hooked as the rest of us when you put your very own sock on you foot.

  2. You are doing magic loop for your first socks??!! Woman, you are insane! Pictures, we want pictures! Good luck!

  3. I knit 2 socks on 2 circs all the time but do an AfterThoughtHeel on all my socks. I like the way that heel fits my foot and it is much easier to do a heel “after” the sock is completed than to stop and do it in the middle ofmy knitting. fwiw, you can try that, just waste yarn and on you go…

  4. I like the look of afterthought heels but I’m more a fan of knitting everything in one go. Anyway it comes back to the pattern for me; once I understand the general sock intentions I expect I’ll experiment with different heel techniques.
    Ruth, the magic loop will be the next sock; one crazy idea at a time! And as for pictures… *le sigh* Yes, I want pictures too.

  5. Now that I’ve stopped laughing over your very amusing narative I’ll give you a quick hint on the DPNs. Just think of it as 1 needle at a time with 3 (or 2) hanging spare at the back. Just work on the one nearest you and ignore the others, then when you’ve worked all the stitches from that needle you simple the move the work around until the next needle is facing you. You’re still only knitting from one needle, it’s not rocket science just logic. The tricky bit is simply getting them to feel comfortable in your hands but that’s only a time and experience thing. And if you don’t try you’ll never find out, who knows maybe DPN knitting will come naturally once you have the needles in your hands. Good luck with finishing that first sock and the light bulb will come on, ding

  6. I have used DPNs before and understand the concept – I just don’t like how they feel. I’m sure experience would improve that but hey; why not try something different if I can?

  7. I am just dead impressed that you’re trying to knit them on two circs at all, and my brain just refuses to process the concept of Magic Loop. I find the very idea confusing and frightening. I will stick with my DPNs, I think.

  8. Right that’s it I am bringing the sock knitting to the Crimson Cafe – you teach me to crochet I’ll get you sorted on the socks on DPN’s. Deal! I have a couple of really, really simple patterns to follow, only needed my mum to go over turning the heal once on the phone when I got to that part. That was last year and I have now completed around 12 pairs of socks. I am now trying my first patterned pair. DPNS are not at all scary!Honest!

  9. Good for you Mel, if I was anywhere near at all I would have been down there myself getting those DPNs sorted. Robynn you’re in for some lessons, hope you enjoy them. Love to hear how it goes.

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