As I write this there is a man outside my window shouting many a profanity. “Fucks Sake!” and “Fuck you!” and “Fuck Off!” Now, I don’t know what he is so upset about, but it made me wonder if he had ever tried knitting socks. Perhaps then it might put his troubles in perspective.
I have knitted two pairs of socks in my life. One pair in 2013 and one pair in 2014. Both I made using two straight needles, and worsted yarn. I was so excited about socks that it took only three days for the first sock to arrive onto my foot. I remember I wore that one sock for bedtime the night I made it: a sock baptism, of sorts. The second sock took a few weeks. I’m not sure why, but I’ll just put it down to one of those things that happens…When that one arrived it was better than the first because I learnt I had to cast on in rib which made it a whole lot easier to get on my foot! Still they were a weird fit, sort of too big for my ankle, but just about big enough that I could get it on my foot. See how gaping they are?
The second pair I made I wanted to add a few design features, like the stripe band at the top and striped heel and toes. I wanted fancier socks! But still could not remotely contemplate a stitch pattern other than stockinette. So I go off and knit this pair,do a sock baptism, it takes a few months but finally I have another sock, and… this one is so much smaller for some unknown reason. Fuck’s sake, fuck you, fuck off.
Why can I not just have a nice pair of socks that fit my feet? How come when we buy socks it is one size fits all? Are my feet super wide or something? What’s the problem?
Maybe it is because I am too lazy to ever check gauge properly. Maybe it is because I never note down what changes I make to the pattern. Maybe it’s because I never trust patterns and go ahead and make uneducated changes of my own. Maybe socks are not my thing.
But I so desperately want socks to be my thing! I love knitting and my feet are always cold: knitted socks and I should be friends. But they were disloyal and I was probably too easily upset. I never got that foot wardrobe dream.
I decided another approach was needed, and made the mighty brave decision to try four double pointed needles as my weapon. “Whoa!” The onlookers say. And I act casual and say “yeah… it’s easy once you know how” when really I’m scared that what I am actually making is some sort of dream-catcher, not a beautifully hand crafted sock. I pick out this baby bamboo soft yarn and I work really hard on it for about an inch, and then the four little fuckers begin to be a hassle and I feel that eight points for two hands is unfair, and sometimes actually a bit painful. And I put it to rest: the sock and my dreams.
And then, and then, I read a post called A Disagreement With Yarn on Project Accomplished and it changed my perspective on the situation. Maggie provided her wisdom that allowed me to realise that sometimes the bad decision that you make is before you even pick up the needles: yarn choice. Now, I am not someone who gives up on projects lightly, and I didn’t want to give up on these socks. It felt like I would be admitting that I was not ready for the world of double pointed needles. But Maggie tells us that isn’t true: it’s just that we “misread the situation”. My baby bamboo yarn did not want to be a pair of socks, so I shouldn’t force it to be. Accept this and move on with your life.
So, in my attempt to move on, and Maggie’s attempt at sock knitting, we decided last week that “Thursday is sock day.” I will be knitting the sock yarn I bought on Tuesday, Sirdar Heart & Sole. I am using four double pointed needles which are Size 14/ 2mm. The pattern is from a 1940s book called Practical Knitting Illustrated, which says it is the The Key to Hundreds of Garments You Can Make Yourself. It further describes itself as A Recipe For Happy Families! Promising, yes? I bought it while back, and tried to crochet one of the patterns, but I don’t actually know how to read a crochet pattern so I failed at that; one day I’ll learn. I’ve had my eye on the sock patterns since I opened it. And just look at how nice the pattern of the inside cover pages are!
Working on these socks with a co-knitter is super exciting, and really motivating. You can catch up with my co-knitter at her blog Project Accomplished, or check out her post on the matter: Sock-it-to-me Thursdays! I’m interested to see what her socks will grow to become, how very exciting!
Anyone and everyone who wants to join Maggie and I are welcome to knit a sock along with us every Thursday, when we will update you on our progress. Any more experienced sock knitters out there want to impart their knowledge as we muddle our way through the world of double pointed needles?
Wish us luck as we take this journey. Together we stand at the project before us, where all we can hope is that by the end we will have cried ‘fuck yes!” at least once more than the times we cried “Fuck you, sock!” Thereby winning the ‘battle of disagreements’ that, occasionally, every knitter faces.