So maybe it’s not the sock that’s struggling, it’s me. Or maybe the yarn is struggling to become a sock even though it is an inanimate object incapable of doing much of anything on its own. I wish my pattern had said at this point, “We know these instructions make absolutely no sense. We further understand that what we are asking you to do seems to be impossible, please trust us, we’ve actually made a sock before using this method, you have not.” If that statement seems to harsh and uncaring, maybe this one, “Up to this point you have knit in the round with no need to distinguish between front and back or left and right. At this stage, we are adding the heel, you will now have a distinct front and back of your sock. Once you finish the heel, we will rotate the stitches on the needles so that you view the sock in profile. We will divide the sock down the center and position the left side of the sock in profile on one needle and the right side in profile on the other.” However, if space was an issue and we needed to condense, something like, “We will now slide stitches around the needles and rotate the sock one quarter turn. From now on, you will view the sock from the side, rather than front or back.”
Had I any of the above statements, I would have said to myself, “Self, this pattern makes sense, let’s keep going, we can finish tonight!” Alas, it did not offer any of the aforementioned encouragement to persevere in the task. Instead, the pattern (yes, yes, an inanimate object) made me crazy for the better part of an evening.
As the furry maos began to help, so set the sock down and began searching on the ‘net for an hour or so. After a day of hunting, today is opening rifle season, Mom had offered to make chili for anyone who was game, so we went over to the folks’ place for dinner, with the brothers. (I have brothers!) I tried not to puzzle out what to do about the sock and enjoy dinner, at least I did something right 🙂
After returning home, we watched some of our favorite Thursday night shows, then I did some more hunting of my own. I must have read 20 or 30 different pages on sock construction with two circular needles, I even found a video or two to watch. Unfortunately, the videos were sock construction on dpns (double pointed needles) as were several of the pages, the authors only indicated that socks could be formed on circs. Fortunately, I was able to see how to move the stitches and yarn around in a circular manner on dpns to pick up all the necessary stitches. I found several other lovely women, they seemed lovely but I didn’t probe too deeply, who struggled with the same step in the same pattern and book. Several pleas for help went unanswered, but I found an explanation or two, that while not answering the direct question, answered how that particular individual handled that specific step. All the sudden I felt that if I looked at my struggling sock and read the directions one more time while looking at struggling sock it would finally make all sense in the world. It was as if the heavens parted and angels sang. Ok, so it was more like a cat yawning and a dog snoring, but it was no less amazing. It made sense, I understood that I was putting two sets of stitches on the same needle even though a third set needed to be in between those. It’s like the logic games, move the boxes or the sliders. Sometimes you move them out of order so you can maneuver all of them into proper order later. I wish I could credit one author or a set of authors, regrettably was not one distinct source. I am now ready to pick up the stitches on the left side of the struggling sock and knit. My numbers don’t quite work out according to what the pattern indicates I should have, but I’ll fudge it later. I picked up extra stitches to prevent gaps and holes, as recommended by some of the lovely women I encountered in posts while researching. At this point, my struggling sock looks like an upside down miniature ski mask. I wonder if I could make a ski mask that way . . .
My truly random thought, because the ski mask wasn’t, does anyone need a researcher? I’m not going to get my master’s in library science, but I’m a really good researcher. I spend many, many hours searching for an exhausting answer to my lack of sock construction understanding. I am fairly confident that I can now say I have seen it all.
On a completely different knitting note, I have learned so much on this one sock. I used to knit by counting and following the instructions extremely closely. In an effort to learn how to knit socks, I have checked out many, many random knitting books from the library. I have learned to knit stitches rather than counting, knit the knit, purl the purls. I found a small hole on each side of the sock, right where it isn’t supposed to be, I didn’t pick up enough stitches. On this knitting round, I knit to the old and armed with a crochet needle, I created a few new stitches and poof! no more hole. I have ripped stitches, recreated stitches. I believe I owe these brilliant discoveries to Douglas Adams. I have been watching the older BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy episodes. I love the local library!