I've been knitting socks! Well, actually yesterday I finally started knitting socks. As in plural. As in TAAT ( Two-At-A-Time for the uninitiated). I only finally determined I needed to knit TAAT after several days of trying to knit the toe of just one sock. I knew if I didn't knit two socks at the same time, I was in serious peril of never knitting the second one.
Let me back up a bit, though.
Can I just say... Sock knitters make knitting socks look so easy. While I can see that sock knitting can become easy, it's quite the thing to bend one's mind around the first time. At least it is for me. Exasperated many times after frogging and starting over, I wasn't willing to give up too easily, though. Once I'd knitted myself to mental exhaustion (sometimes physical exhaustion) I would just put it down, take a deep breath and say, "I'll try this again tomorrow". Staying calm became my discipline every day.
Don't get me wrong. Attempting sock knitting isn't the only thing I've done all week, but I have tried to pick up my yarn and needles each day and give it a go again. On Monday (I think), then Tuesday, Wednesday... It did get easier, and finally late on Wednesday night I had produced this:
The first successful toe of my (almost) first sock
Now, the toe itself I knitted on 40-inch circular needles and I'm happy to say I have the Magic Loop method down. What a great invention! I think I even have more or less mastered casting on for a seam free start to knitting socks toe-up, and knitting "Lynne Ashton's Seam-free rounded toe" (through the help of this video).
Being pretty happy with my first completed toe, I decided I wanted to start a second sock right away (so both socks would be knit with the same tension - and believe me, I had tension). So... to free up the 40-in circulars, I transferred the completed toe to my 9-inch circulars (as pictured above). Ack! That was a mistake.
Again, videos of people knitting on 9-inch circulars make it look so easy. It was all I could do to knit two or three rounds before I knew I just couldn't possibly knit a whole sock with these tiny things. I'm not giving up the idea that I might be able to manage these small needles sometime in the future, but I do not have the strength or stamina in my hands to do this right now. Also, I think it has something to do with how I knit. I knit continental style (flicking the working yarn over the working needle from the left hand). Normally, I've knit pretty quickly this way, but after watching several videos I noticed that I hold my left index finger tall and very free from the needle, where others hold their index finger close to the needle and use it to flick yarn. I flick the yarn onto the working needle with my second finger. Which, when knitting with these little needles, puts quite the strain on the second finger. On normal size needles, and thicker yarn this isn't an issue for me, but I was certainly having my issues on these.
So now I had a problem. I thought about knitting a new toe on the 40-inch circulars then try to transfer the first toe back onto the 40-in circulars to start knitting TAAT, but I could imagine several ways that could end in disaster, so finally I decided I should go to bed and consider the next day that my best option was probably to just start over.
So I did.
And after watching videos of socks knitted two-at-a-time, magic-loop-style, and after a couple of knitting sessions on Thursday I finally have accomplished this:
For non-knitters, that's two sock toes there. So yes, I'm knitting socks! Plural!
It feels like an accomplishment, but it's not without its woes. I can now tell these are going to be too big for my feet. The dilemma I face right now is to rip them out again and start over, or keep knitting these and hope that I can give them to someone who would like them (possibly hubs, though I'm not sure he'd be into wool socks, or one of my sons).
And as if all that wasn't angst enough, if I keep knitting I'm going to have to decide on what heel to give these socks, and then actually knit them. Of course, I knew from the beginning I'd have to knit a heel, but now it's become more and more real. I'm curious if anyone has recommendations. While I'd love to hear what your favorite heel is, I'm much more interested at the moment in opinions about what may be the easiest "first heels" to knit. At the moment, I'm considering making a reinforced heel flap. I'm trying to quietly hang on to confidence that I can do this with the help of online YouTube tutors, but I'm also trying not to think about it too much.
And, of course, then after a lot more easy in-the-round knitting I'll have to learn how to do a stretchy bind-off at the top. I'm open to suggestions for that too. I want it to look neat, and not easily stretch out of shape.
So there you have it. This is about the most interesting thing I've done all week. No complaints. Life is calm right now and I'm glad to have the winter to be a little slower, a little quieter, to think about all the things we'll do once the weather turns warm again. I know these short cold days are going to change to wonderful warm long days soon enough. As long as winter doesn't go on forever, and especially with the mild weather we're having in January (so far), I'm rather enjoying this quiet season.
Thank you for stopping by!