March 20, 2007
I have finished my first sock. That’s it over there, so fresh off the needles that the end of the yarn is not yet woven in. I started it on our flights out to Idaho in February–my first experience knitting on an airplane. I didn’t want to risk my pricey Addi Turbos being seized by TSA (even though knitting needles on the approved list, any individual agent can take them away if they think they’re a threat), so socks on birch DPNs seemed like just the thing. I gathered up my supplies and printed out Silver’s Sock Class and popped it all into my carryon bag.
My first impressions of sock knitting were not that positive. The needles seemed really small and hard to manage–and the ones I was using were big for sock needles (US 3). The yarn (KnitPicks Dancing in some colorway I don’t know the name of but it doesn’t matter anyway because it’s been discontinued) was … not exactly scratchy, but not soft. Was it the cotton? The modal? What is modal, anyway? There seemed to be a lot of stitches–more than in a Harry Potter house scarf? Maybe not, but since the needles were small and the yarn was small all the stitches didn’t seem to add up to much very quickly. A few inches into the first cuff, I discovered that I got much better results (i.e. no laddering) when the first stitches on a new needle were knits and not purls, so I moved some stitches around and things started to look better.
I knitted on the flights back from Idaho, too, and still had inches of ribbing to go before I could move on to the next step. I knew I had more plane trips coming up, so I put the project aside until we left for Colorado. I knit on the plane to Denver. I knit sitting in the driver’s seat of the rental car on I-70 Saturday night waiting for the highway to re-open. I decided to stop at 6 inches of ribbing; that seemed like plenty and I was more than ready to do something else. I finished the heel flap on Sunday night, turned the heel on Monday morning, and started the gusset on Monday night–not really understanding what I was doing, just following directions. I started to feel hopeful that I might actually end up with a sock after all. It seemed to move along really quickly once I got past all that ribbing. I wasn’t expecting that and hadn’t brought any darning needles, so I when I got done with the toe shaping and it was time to graft the toe, I used a bobby pin, which was the closet thing to a darning needle that I could find in the ski condo (I suppose I could taken time away from the snow to shop for a needle or just waited until I got home, but I was impatient). I can only imagine it would have been easier with the right tool, but it worked okay and even looked okay once I tightened up the stitches with the tip of a DPN.
Still basking in the glow of finishing my first sock, I tried it on. The glow faded. It doesn’t fit. The cuff is okay if a bit loose, and the heel seems fine, but the foot is ridiculously big around. I really should have known this would happen–the tutorial doesn’t specify a gauge so I didn’t do a swatch–but it was still a disappointment. Perhaps I should have studied the last picture in the tutorial more closely; I ended up with a rather bulbous foot that seems out of proportion to the cuff but it does match the shape of the sock shown in the tutorial, so I guess I at least followed the directions correctly. When I got home, I compared my sock to one of the ones Jenipurr made for me and it’s clear I’ve got plenty of room for improvement. I am encouraged that my misshapen monster of a sock does at least have the same parts as hers; my toe decreases look something like hers though mine are less even, for instance.
I’m not sure what to do now. I see no point in making a second sock to match this one–it doesn’t fit me (and doesn’t fit Mr. Karen, either–I made him try it on even though I can’t imagine him wearing socks in these colors, and the nicest thing he could find to say was it was better than my first sweater). Yet I’m loathe to rip it out–it’s my first and therefore special. I really have got to find a way to be less sentimental about stuff like this–what am I going to do with one sock that I can’t wear? Frame it and hang it on the wall as a testament to my ineptitude? I am just going to put it aside for now and start on another pair using an actual pattern (with a gauge swatch and everything) and see how that goes. Maybe if I make a successful sock, it will be easier to let go of this one.