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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What is Normal Life?

I'm beginning to get back to normal. I haven't blogged in over a week, and this morning I felt a big desire to do that. And I even have a reason to blog.

It is time to turn the heel! This time I've got a sock that fits. Gauge is close enough. The size I chose to make was the right size for both my feet and the gauge. I've got magic loop for one sock down pat.

I'm making a classic 64 stitch sock in sock yarn on double zero needles. I chose toe up this time so I could keep trying the sock on as I knit it. Knitting hasn't gone fast, but quilting has totally stopped because I have not been feeling particularly strong the last month and a half. But the next time I pick up the needles, I'll be starting a short row heel.

I chose a figure 8 cast on and a short row heel in a plain vanilla sock. It took 3 books and 2 online classes to get to this point. I ordered the wrong classes but I did learn something from all of them. The first book was also a mistake, but that one wasn't my fault. One of the reasons to go to a local yarn shop is that you get help in choosing materials and books. And they did not head me in the right direction.

The second book was my fault. I probably could have made a sock using that book, but I realized that what I wanted to do was make a plain vanilla sock. No fancy stitches. Just plain knitting to allow the yarn to look as nice as it can. But also so I would know that it wasn't the fancy patterns that were causing the problems if I had problems. I picked the third book out from Amazon based on the description that there were three patterns for plain vanilla socks in the book. Three toes. Three heels. All interchangeable. And, in fact, I am making the toe from one of the patterns and the heel from other of the others. There are fancy socks in the book too, but right now, that isn't what I wanted.

The book that worked for me is SOCKS FROM THE TOE UP,  by Wendy D. Johnson. It is the perfect book for a beginning sock knitter. She even explains how to choose a sock size in a way that worked for me. At least one of my failed attempts involved making a sock that was way too big because I've never made anything with negative ease before.

What is very strange about this whole process is that I always thought I was an expert knitter and I realize now that the bar for expert has moved and it didn't take me with it. I'm totally self taught. I've been knitting wearable garments for 61 years. I've done two color knitting for almost that long. I've made cables and Aran sweaters. I've followed charts and directions from a lot of places. But back in my day no one was knitting socks and there was very little lace knitting going on. My next major knitting project will involve actually making a lace shawl. I'm doing a lot of thinking about how to go about doing that. I've knit lace, but only the very easy patterns I now recognize. And the whole process of learning how to knit socks has opened my eyes to a whole new world of knitting.

Take care all.


  1. Congrats on making the sock! I am not a knitter, but always admire the work of those who are. Best of luck on the lace shawl.

  2. That sock is looking GREAT! I think part of the "therapy" of knitting is that it takes time. In a world where we've become accustomed to fast, there are not many fast knitting projects. And I think there are really good character lessons in knitting like perseverance and delayed gratification and satisfaction in finishing the project making it a great teaching tool for our young. Perhaps we need a knitting revival in this country.

  3. Isn't crocheting more useful for lace?

  4. Isn't that the most wonderful thing? To keep on learning new things! I love my job because it is always different and I am always learning new things.

    Your socks are looking terrific. I love your tenacity. Good luck with the next step.