Monday, June 26, 2006

All's Well that Ends Well

So, I have finally finished my first pair of socks! But despite the fact my sock knitting started rather well, more recently it became somewhat fraught and even a little distressing, so I shall tell you my sock saga...

The first sock was done and I had noted the following issues:
1. the top edge wasn't quite as even as I thought it should be i.e. the jump from first round to second was rather pronounced.
2. I had little holes where you pick your stitches after the heel flap
3. my grafting was a bit bumpy

I cast on my second sock and got pretty much straight to work. I went really fast round all the ankle ribbing and to my surprise discovered that this time, there was no discrepancy at the top edge (issue 1 resolved!). I got to the heel flap and with few minor problems worked back and forth ready for the gusset. My Secret Pal had given me advice on picking up stitches, but unfortunately I forgot this and made the same little holes as before - although my picked up stitches do look more robust this time (issue 2 half resolved). I did my gusset decreases and made it to the foot part imagining that I was some kind of sock knitting whiz who would be able to knit socks while talking and even without constantly referring to a pattern!!! Boy was I wrong!

My toe decreases went fine and as I neared the toe I remember that my Secret Pal had recommended doing a 3 needle bind-off rather than grafting. And this is where I encountered my first problem. I knew that in order to do this, I needed to turn my work inside out, but I had already put it on 2 needles and try as I might, I couldn't work out how to reverse it. I put the stitches on a holder and this didn't help. I tried staring at it for a long time and this didn't help. So I finally decided that it would have to be on 3 or 4 needles to turn inside out. So I put it on 4 needles and eventually and with much caution, I managed to pull the sock through the tiny opening and reverse it.

Now for my next problem, when I got down to my final 16 stitches (before the turning inside out saga) I had arrived at the point in the pattern where it tells you to:

"Knit 4 st from first DNP to 3rd DPN"

I remembered this from the first sock as I took it to mean slip 4 stitch from 1st to 3rd so that you had 2 needles with 8 stitches on each. In fact I still think this is what it means, but what then happens is that your working yarn tail is right in the middle of one of your needles (because the round beginning was in line with the middle of the heel in this pattern - I don't know if that is different to other patterns). When I did sock number 1, I rectified this by simply passing the yarn to the front of the needle and beginning the graft from there. I didn't think you could redistribute the stitches across the needles so that the working yarn would be at one end because I thought this would mean that you would be closing up the toe at an odd angle, rather than flat with the decreases at each end.

So after the 'turning inside out' bit, I again slipped 4 from 1st to 3rd and again had the working yarn in the middle and again passed the working yarn to the front to start the bind-off. Can you imagine what happened? Can you??? Well, forgetting that the sock was inside out and that I needed to pass the yarn where I could see it, I instead passed it underneath the needles. I did the 3 needle bind-off which is of course easy-peasy lemon-squeezy and was so excited at my sock success that I broke the yarn and woven in the tail.

Disaster! When I turned the sock the right way again I found this loop of yarn outside of the sock running from the middle to the end, where I had passed it to start the bind off!

Being a perfectionist (although increasingly less of one the more I knit), I decided that I would have to undo the bind off. So I pulled out the tail and pulled out the bind off. Disaster struck again when, unable to do this gently enough, stitches started to drop in front of my very eyes. At this point, holding my breath and I can honestly say holding back a few tears of frustration, I turned the sock into a construction site and picked up every stitch I could find using all 5 of my DPNs. I was slightly relieved to discover I had 20 stitches - just one round off my final decrease - but rather distressed again when I realised that I couldn't work out how to get these rather precarious 20 stitches back on the right needles.

For a week I consigned the sock to the knitting basket to think about its behaviour!

After the trauma had lessened, I set about putting the stitches back in order, doing the final decrease row and the 3 needle bind-off with the working yarn right under my nose where I could see it and it couldn't misbehave. To do all of this I added a new peace of yarn as the tail I had left was too short to work with, so I had several tails to weave in and had to remember how my Anuty Wedny (Anuty Wendy) taught me to join yarn and knit it together with the first stitch.

But I am relieved to report that sock number 2 is now finished!!! (sigh of relief)

I am off out to the second meeting of my knitting club later and I shall wear my socks with pride and at some point, when Blogger lets me upload photos again, I will post a picture of them together!


At 4:37 pm, Anonymous mjmknitting said...

Congrats on the completion of your first pair of knitted socks. Can't wait to see a photo of them. I picked up a copy of the Knit 1 Magazine. It's good stuff. There's a pattern from it that is on my "to knit" list. Hope all is well and that you are enjoying the beginnings of summer.

At 8:54 pm, Blogger Louise said...

Well done - my first pair of socks were hardwork too. I can't wait to see them on your feet !-) - I am sure your knitting group appreciated your talent - the first one pictured on flickr looks perfect. (the shawls are fab too).

I hope that you are able to upload pictures soon - your fellow bloggers are missing out - shame on you blogger!


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