My Knitting Motto

Knit what’s fun.

This was what I told myself as I started project after project, and they were all fun, to start with.  But that wanes as the project slogs on, the blankets become never ending, the scarves knit in the round for double thickness are how long???  And the thought of trying my first sweater is both exciting, daunting, and, well… long.  The things I’ve set aside for projects that I’ve given myself with closer deadlines happen to be the long projects.  I have a scarf and two blankets in hibernation, and an irresistible urge to cast on sock after sock after sock.

What’s wrong with me?

Am I really that easily seduced by the quick finish?  Those ballband dishcloths look enticing to me, and we really could use some.  The cotton for them would be cheap.  I could use another couple of face cloths too, as Mike has used a few of them to clean the bathtub and I really don’t want Comet residue exfoliating my cheeks. 

So what did I do over the weekend?  I finished a pair of socks while watching my husband play mud volleyball and my son go nuts in the gloopy sloppy mud, and … you guessed it… cast on another pair of socks.  These would be the first ones for myself.  It all started last week, when I ordered a yarn I’ve heard good things about, Malabrigo.  I got the shipment in and it was such pretty yarn in such vibrant colors (the colorway is Caribeño) of purple, blue, and green that I spent a good amount of time on Saturday thinking about it as I finished a small pair of socks for Son.  Since I had empty needles, I though what the hell, and rolled up the Malabrigo on Sunday morning.

That’s where things started going south.  The skein was a bit tangled when I unwound it.  No problem, I’m a genius at untangling yarn.  I have more patience for that than I would ever have thought possible, but somehow, unknotting something is soothing to me.  But this skein was really whacked, and it took me a total of an hour and a half to roll it up in a ball.  Finally!  I was ready to start.  I read over the pattern I chose and saw that it fits a size 7.5 foot.  Oh.  Okay, this one means a little math.  I have fat feet that swell up on me.  I wear a size 9 shoe.  I had to modify the numbers if I ever had any hope of wearing these socks.  I’m getting more and more practice with this, and given that I’m an accountant, I can usually muddle through without much trouble, as long as I can figure out the pattern repeat just from reading.  I even swatched for this yarn to get my gauge on size 3 mm needles.  I was just about dead on the gauge recommended.  Only half a stitch more per inch. Should be fine, since I have bigger feet, right?

I used my cell phone calculator function, figured up some numbers, thought, that was easy, and cast on what I needed to cast on.  Short row toe, mm hmm, wrap and turn, okay, knit, purl, knit, going back through the wraps now, voila.  Toe done.  Wow.  This yarn is really pooling.  But the pattern should break that up.  That’s what all the people before me have said, so it’ll be fine.  I started the pattern instep and thought wow, this sock is big.  I tried it on, and if I kept going, then I likely could have gotten both feet in one sock, even my mammoth feet.  I realized that half a stitch bigger in the gauge was to blame.  For every inch, I was getting an extra stitch, which meant that the sock would actually be an inch bigger than I wanted when all was said and done.  No problem.  I frogged and switched to size 2.25 mm needles.  Tried again, but overcompensated for size and knit the exact number of stitches specified in the pattern.  I didn’t get too far before the insanity of that thought occurred to me.  What the hell, Andrea?  Your foot will never be 7.5 inches around and you’re using smaller needles than the pattern calls for, dumbass.  I frogged again.  This time, did the number of stitches I’d previously calculated on the smaller needles thinking that would work.  It was the equivalent of two extra pattern repeats per row.  Last night, after getting farther on the sock than I’d gotten before, I realized it was still huge but moving in the right direction.  With the give of the yarn, I would do well to cut back to only one extra pattern repeat and allow for the ease of the yarn. 

So I found myself frogging again last night, at about 10 pm and hoping I could get cast back on and going again this morning.  I was too tired to do more than rewind the ball and hope the next time would be the last time I cast on.  The yarn is showing signs of wear and I think if I have to frog again, I’ll be cutting off some length and trashing it.  That’s travesty in my book, and so, I double checked my math, cast on this morning, and am hopeful that this time will be the final time I do the beginning of this pair of socks.

 Tell me, are socks really this hard for everybody at the beginning of their knitting lives?  I haven’t even been knitting a year, so I’m wondering if this is simply a learning curve, if I’m destined to cast on five or more times for each pair of socks I start (remember the herringbone socks that took me eight tries before I finally got it?).  And really?  This is fun?

 This is fun.  This is fun.  This is fun.  Maybe I should go back to the boring garter stitch blanket, or the crocheted block blanket, or the ripple blanket that are all languishing in my drawers and shelves of my closet.  At least then I wouldn’t feel guilty for hibernating projects intended for other people.  But I’m realizing I hate crochet and two of those three are crochet.  They’ll take some enduring and a good pep talk before I can get  back to them.

 But my sock knitting clearly needs the practice.  Yeah.  That’s why I’ve cast on sock after sock after sock.  I’m not distracted by the shiny, pretty yarn I find on the web.  I’m bettering my sock knitting skillz.

 Ooh!  Pretty yarn!  I wonder what sock pattern I could do with that…


4 Responses to “My Knitting Motto”

  1. July.21.2009 at 11:10 AM

    I was knitting for probably a year and a half before I even TRIED socks and you’re jumping in head first with them and (sometimes) picking patterns that are a bit challenging. I started with easy ones. And I still occasionally have math problems and gauge problems – I have a pair on the needles right now that I tried to make 3 other socks with and they wouldn’t fit my leg/foot. But I switched up the pattern and then still had to modify the one I finally chose.

    I generally can’t do just one project at a time and usually get caught up in a specific smaller one, hats are good if you need a little instant gratification in the middle of knitting a bigger project. 🙂

    Just don’t look at my project page in ravelry. It’s frightening how many WIPs I have on there right now.

  2. July.21.2009 at 12:43 PM

    A girl after my own heart, with the WIPs. I think I have 8.

  3. July.22.2009 at 9:29 PM

    Two pairs, down and I’ve decided socks aren’t for me 😉

  4. July.23.2009 at 8:10 AM

    See, and I can’t seem to get enough socks because they can be as simple or complicated as you make them, and the yarns are so soft and awesome. I need to branch out though.

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