Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the suck-tion of socks

Okay. So I have a lot to say today. Diarrhea of the mouth.

I am now beginning to understand the plight of knitters.


Have I mentioned that I have been teaching myself to knit? Well, I already know how to knit, but mostly rectanguloid stuff. And when you knit one scarf (in all the variations of knit, purl), you’ve knit them all. So I’ve only knit like two scarves and maybe a started a throw, but I figure it can’t be that hard, right?

So I’ve been surfing knitting blogs and I’ve been inspired. And there are so many cool and beautiful things to be knit out there and now I want them all. I WILL knit that beautiful lacey shawl, I WILL incorporate beads into a knit hat, I WILL knit a complex Aran (otherwise known as fisherman’s) sweater, I WILL delve into Fair Isle. But first, I will start with socks. Because, well, socks are great. I hear that hand-knit socks are particularly awesome for the wearer. They are a portable project that you can take with you since the finished product is relatively small and so easy to carry around. And they can be complex enough so that you have a small sample of new stitches and patterns to learn. A good learning tool.

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

Yep. It took a bunch of false starts, several rounds of knitting and unravelling, but I managed to finally complete a sock. Yay, you think. Look at that jean go. Check out that sock. And it looks like she’s working on sock number two. Zowie.

Yeah, well, maybe.

I wound my skein of yarn into a tidy little ball because it kept tangling while I worked on sock #1. When sock #1 was completed, I congratulated myself and figured I wouldn’t be able to start sock #2 until I purchased more yarn. Something I was a little hesitant to undertake since it’s not cheap yarn, but if I need more yarn, I need more yarn. I mean, what am I going to do with one sock? But hey, here’s a little left-over yarn, I’ll just start off the next sock and when I run out, I’ll buy more yarn and incorporate the second skein to continue and finish the sock. So I start sock #2 and as you can see, I’ve made some progress on something that looks like a sock and hey…wait a minute… that ball of yarn isn’t noticeably smaller…and it’s pretty dense…and now I’m wondering if maybe I’ll have ENOUGH YARN FOR A PAIR OF SOCKS?!

How exciting.

So I knit on and then it occurs to me: I’m knitting the sock starting from the cuff and working my way down to the heel, then curve around the heel and knit the foot then narrow it off and finish knitting to cover up the toes. This is an acceptable way of knitting socks. In fact most of the sock patterns I see out there start the sock at the cuff and end in the toe. But I have no way of knowing for sure if I have enough yarn left for sock #2. Am I going to knit and knit and knit until I have just an inch short of a full sock? And then have to stop because I’ve run out of yarn and can’t complete the toe? And then that would mean that I would have to run out and buy another skein of yarn? Just so I can use up a few yards of it to finish up this sock and then have almost a complete skein for god knows what? Handknit washcloths? How can I know for sure? Isn’t there a magical way I can figure this out before I’ve spent another 3 hours knitting the second sock before I’ve run out of yarn?

All that knitting surfing wasn’t for naught. I remembered that some of the crafty knitters would weigh their projects to determine such things. Aha! I have a digital postal scale at the office. I can use that! So when no one at the office was looking, I placed sock #1 on the scale and it weighed in at 1oz. I yanked the needles out of sock #2 and put that with the remaining yarn on the scale and it weighed in at .75 oz. Ugh.

So now what? Now my fears have been confirmed. I will have one complete sock and one sock with toes missing. Start a new fashion statement? Buy more yarn? Rip everything up and START ALL OVER AGAIN? Socks with a shorter cuff? Anklets? Why don’t people knit socks starting from the toe and ending at the cuff? So that if they run out of yarn, they can just fudge the cuff length, but at least then they’ll have a complete pair of socks. Varieted cuff length is not that big a deal. Socks with toes missing=not good. Actually, there are several existing methods of “toe-up” sock patterns out there. Silly me, that’s where I should have started. So now I have to find a website with toe-up instructions and learn how to knit toe-up.

So. And so. I have decided to rip what I have to shreds and start all over again. I know. Insanity.

I’m actually feeling pretty cheerful about it. It was a good learning experience, right? Now I know that I will always knit my socks toe up. Unless I am 100% sure that I have enough yarn. Or I get rich and can afford to buy as many awesome, beautiful fibers at like $20 a skein (not what I paid for this yarn, in case you are wondering).

Now the only other thing I’m wondering about is if I’m going to like these socks re-knit with a shorter cuff? Eh. Not really. Maybe I’ll have to give up being the wearer of these socks and make them for smaller feet. Now who do I know with smaller feet?… one of you out there may the the recipient of a pair of great hand knit socks … someone who is not so good about accepting gifts…even on her birthday…someone who thanks people after she’s done them a favor…someone who’s name begins with a “J” and ends with “-anet”…someone…

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