Drum roll please!
I am proud to present to the knitting world my first pair of “fancy” (my DH’s words), cuff-down, DPN, Long Tail Cast-On Waffle Creams socks! Though not my first socks, all those things I listed were firsts – first fancy, first cuff-down, first on DPNs, first time using LTCO. In some ways I feel as though I can now take on anything. In so many other ways, I feel totally deflated and worn.
I read in a couple of different places from knitters who said it took them about 10 hours to knit a pair of socks. I wish I had a way to know how long in hours it took me, but I can say this – it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r! A month. That’s only an hour or two each night and then some quality knitting time during the weekend. They weren’t “hard” to knit; in fact, the first sock was a real joy.
Cast on a number of times trying different methods and needle sizes. Finally felt happy with the LTCO over two 2.25mm DPNs. I tried using the Cable Cast On (it’s really the only CO I had used to date), but it didn’t look right. The first sock knit up like a dream which surprised me since this was my first “fancy” sock and my first sock on DPNs, and I was a little nervous.
The yarn is lovely (Stonehedge Fiber Mill 3 Ply Sock Yarn) – rich and natural, soft and bouncy. My pictures are totally washed out. The colour is a lovely, warm oatmeal red-brown. It’s 50% Merino, 40% Alpaca, 10% Nylon. I loved working the heel flap, picking up the slipped stitches and seeing both the heel and the toe form. Enjoyed working the toe decreases and then excitedly closed the toe up with the kitchener stitch – it was all pretty magical. I started thinking that sock knitting wasn’t that hard. DPNs weren’t that scary! I was patient, methodical, and picky.
I didn’t run into too much trouble and was really enjoying myself, until… one of my bamboo DPNs broke, I frogged the heel at least 10 times trying to remove a small hole at the gusset and some ladders that were forming between some (not all) the knit and purl stitches, my cat got into my yarn and made an impressive mess, and I started working on the second sock.
I solved the problem of the gusset hole by trying the technique outlined in the Charlene Schurch’s No More Gusset Holes video, but nothing I tried seemed to work with the laddering.
With the second sock, I was impatient, haphazard, and didn’t really give two frogs – I just wanted it to be over… I made really stupid mistakes – not paying attention and working the wrong stitches and, my favourite, working the gusset ssk’s by inserting the needle purlwise. Uncharacteristically, I just left it and didn’t even try to figure out what went wrong. The little voice in my head was adamant I was doing it right, damn it!
It wasn’t until I started the shaping of the toe that I decided I had to investigate and discovered where I was going wrong. Way too late to go back now. Nope, no way… I did my darnedest to shut the little voice inside my head up. I am NOT frogging all the way back to the gusset – I’m almost done! I can’t take much more of this!!!
If there is one thing that I really want to solve it’s the laddering. On the first sock, I tried a bunch of things to fix it. I snugged the k1 tbl and p1 stitches, I tightened the first stitch on the needle. I tugged the second stitch on the needle. I shifted the stitches so that the purl stitch was no longer the last stitch, and I frogged and reworked… some things provided minor improvements, but nothing solved the issue – for example, I was much more careful with sock #1 and much more sloppy with sock #2. Looking at the finished pair there is only a slight difference. As a knitter who is trying to overcome knitting tightly, the suggestion to tug seems dangerous and counter productive.
They’re beautiful, flaws and all. As always, I learned a lot and I can only hope that with each pair of socks I knit I learn more and get better… for now, however, I’ve put those grandiose thoughts of knitting a sweater way, way at the back of my mind.