Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Cautionary Knitting Tale

Originally written for Hudson Valley Fiber Webs


(Or, Second Sock Syndrome: A Cautionary Tale)

Many of us have been there. We start off with so much enthusiasm, revelling in luxurious yarn or challenged by a swoony new pattern, and stitch along merrily. Maybe we finish it quickly, triumphantly binding off in record time. Hurrah! Soon our needles or hooks cool and our giddy euphoria begins to ebb. And our condition becomes quite clear. Quite. This is only the first of a pair of mittens, gloves, or slippers. In my case, it’s a sock. I have (to be mumbled with all due gravity)

((( Second. Sock. Syndrome. )))

I’ve only felt the symptoms of this vile virus a couple times, normally grounding myself with regular reminders. This is the first of two. Binding off the first toe is only the halfway point. And even on my spindliest size-two needles, the socks go quickly. Both of ‘em.

But oh my, this time I’m mired in it. I started these socks for my father-in-law back in August and knitted my way through sock one with gusto. It was a simple pattern, and I used some nifty self-striping yarn in browns, I enjoyed watching the pattern come together as I knitted. Bit all the while I heard a little voice, a shrill whistle in my ear. This yarn has no give! No stretch! They will be tooooo smalllll! But I knitted on, tuning out the warnings, because after all, I’d already turned the heel. There was no going back, right? (Oh, and I might be a bit stubborn.)

So, um, that cautionary screech? She was so right. When my father-in-law tried on his stripedy sock, he could hardly fit his foot into the heel. Arrrg! Foiled! At least I didn’t cry. Instead, I cast on for a new sock, adding 10 stitches. Happily, I bought an extra skein, so I have plenty of yarn and one less thing to worry about.

So this time, all through sock two, which is really sock one, a murmuring worry rumbles as I knit and purl, increase and decrease. I just finished the gusset and am hopeful that this one will be the right size. Maybe by the end of the weekend, I’ll be starting sock three, which is really only (long sigh) sock two.

For encouragement, I promised myself that I can start knitting with my POEMS SOCK yarn when I finish these beleaguered, belated birthday socks. Ah, it occurs to me that I should also start my Christmas knitting, but I’m not sure anyone is getting socks this year.

Check out other knitting projects on Fiber Arts Friday


Alpaca Farmgirl said...

I haven't gotten to socks yet, but I can see this would be frustrating! Some projects do seem never-ending!

Thanks for sharing with Fiber Arts Friday!

the redhead said...

Just don't let this discourage you from sock knitting. Most experiences are NOT like this at all. I've happily knit many pairs with joy. On the upside, I'm decreasing for the toe on the first sock. FINALLY!

Glad to join FAF!

MaLinda-Breeze Hill Farm said...

Well hello, just in from Fiber Arts Friday..better late than never, right!! I love the yarn you are using/used for the socks. I admire anyone who does socks. I've knitted for real close to 50 years now and still can't seem to get the sock thing! Enjoyed your blog too. - MaLinda

the redhead said...

Thank you! I am almost finished with sock one. I'm taking a break (to see my father-in-law & make sure the sock fits before I bind off, or at least have my husband try it on) to work with the gorgeous POEMS yarn.

Kate said...

My answer to second sock syndrome is usually to start on another first sock - different yarn, different pattern - and then return to the second sock of the first pair.

How frustrating with the 3 socks though! Be glad you like the yarn...

Brenda (Prairie Daisy Handspun) said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! When I did my most recent pair of socks, I ordered two sets of matching DPN's and did one row on one sock, then one row on the other, etc. Then both were done about the same time without trying to do them on one long needle.

Cotton Wool & Silk said...

This is so good :)