I’ve started the March pattern from Tanis Fiber Arts- Year in Colour Club. It is a pair of socks with a nice balanced design of lace and texture; light blue yarn with raspberry and green tones. This is a perfect project for my first pair of socks, which I fully intend to finish, knock on wood.
When going through a new project there are always a few bumps along the road. The first sweaters I knitted were… interesting learning experiences.
The very first was a chocolate brown colour and a cheap acrylic yarn. I had probably only been knitting for 6-8 months at this point and tried the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless hybrid sweater. Somehow, around the armpit area, I messed up and had to rip out a couple rows. When I put the sweater back on the needles all the stitches were twisted. Being new to knitting, I didn’t realize my mistake until several rows up. At this point there was a very distinct line from armpit to armpit across the chest of the sweater. Needless to say I frogged this project and, later, knitted the same sweater with red Rowan brand yarn. It turned out well.
A year and a half ago I revisited the seamless hybrid, with thoughts of altering the pattern to accommodate a hood. I got impatient and the hood ended up being too short. My improvised v-neckline also looked distinctly unfinished.
All of these experiences have been valuable in developing many crucial knitting skills and general know-how. Thou who hast never dropped a stitch…
Now, with that back-story, you will understand why these are socks of doom.
The pattern indicates the use of two double pointed needles held together to cast on, for an elastic cuff. To my shame, it took me a good half hour to figure out this meant simply holding the needles together in one hand and casting on around both of them. I am blaming my current mental state for my lack of comprehension. I am usually more aware.
When the cast on was finally figured out and the right amounts of stitches were spread evenly across three double pointed needles, I began the cuff ribbing. The first six stitches differ from the rest of the ribbing to create an attractive decorative seam that will run down the length of the finished product.
Not having read ahead in the pattern, it never occurred to me that if there is a seam down one side, for the sake of symmetry, there must be one down the opposite edge.
Hence, problem number two! To achieve the desired effect you need to count carefully and place these two sets of six stitches exactly 26 stitches apart. Instead of EXACTLY 26 stitches I ended up with more or less 26 stitches. I discovered this in round two when my lovely little seam stitches were not lining up with the ones from round one. Seeing that this was not something I could fudge a bit with no one the wiser, I started over. I want my first pair of socks to be perfect, especially since it is a pattern and skein from TFA.
I am enticed to continue my pilgrimage, into the illusive land of socks, with thoughts of brightly coloured, comfy, soft, amazing footwear. I’ve had some trouble, but that is to be expected. It should be smooth sailing… right? No? Maybe smooth-ER sailing, at the very least?
As I continue with the cuff I remember why I haven’t made any socks before. My passionate hate of double pointed needles. I bought a kit for socks, sizes 2.0- 3.25 mm thinking, “If I have them, then I will be FORCED to use them, I may even come to like them!” This was only last week, so I’ll have to let you know how I do with it.
There will always be some kind of small cuff where you have to pull them out; I’ve made my peace with this. I realize using double pointed needles is unavoidable, however, the negative feelings remain. I’m always insecure about losing stitches off the end or having space between stitches on different needles and getting a ‘ladder’ effect.
Aside from the countless things that could go wrong, I knit rather slowly with double pointed needles. They’re very awkward to me and I cannot catch the flow of a pattern. I can’t sink into my knitting zone; it’s comparable to a long drive without a radio. To be completely honest I have avoided using them with great creativity. I have the concealed expectation that I may need to continually practice before my genuine loathing abates.
Since this is the first sock I am knitting, I gave myself permission to use a circular needle. I manage an improvised magic loop method, which works well for me and is great for this sock to keep track of the pattern! I will use the double pointed needles for the next socks…. I promise.
You can see Chloe, photobombing my yarn pictures. Her innocent look says, “No mom, I wasn’t thinking about chewing on those tiny little circular needles.”
For now I am gathering momentum and getting a fair amount done. It seems Murphy’s Law is tagging along for now. My evidence includes wreaking havoc with the pattern in general and smaller things like getting caught in the yarn trip wire between the couch and coffee table.
To end, here is a picture of the beautiful flowers my fiancé Paul bought me. He buys me flowers, balls my yarn… a keeper for sure!