Tuesday, 30 October 2007


I should have a whole category of posts on socks, you know. Not just knitting, crochet embroidery, etc, but socks. They consume a whole lot of time, but they do have their charms. A sock, after all, seems to be able to teach you everything you really need to know about knitting.

A sock can teach you basic stitches. Knits and purls is what makes all knitting, and a sock is no exception. A sock teaches you decreasing and increasing, no matter what heel you use. A sock teaches you how to work in the round, and it teaches you to work back and forth (flap heels). A sock teaches you a lot more.

A sock teaches that you must think, and keep learning. A sock can teach you to expand your way of looking at even the most basic things, and see what else you can do with it. A sock teaches you to keep trying, new things, old things, different ways. Socks teach you diversity.

And so here is my very pleasing version following Maia's excellent heel tutorial. I strongly suggest you look around on her site. She has some very interesting posts.

A smarter person than I would be showing this off after blocking it, but well we all know the author of this blog has no time for such things, she just moves on enthusiastically. I hope you can see it reasonably well. Once I got to the part where I was to decrease the stitches, I wondered what to do with the extra stitches from the back of the heel. I put them back on, and worked away. Had I read the pattern and followed the tutorial more closely (see how often that problem crops up) I would have seen her note about aligning these stitches with the picked up ones. I will do that next time, though I can see there being times where a few stitches separating the two stress points being a good idea. Mr. Needles has verified the fit of the sock as perfect, so I am madly moving forward. I have the other sock's toe at about 4 inches, so only another couple inches to go before beginning the flap. I am delighted to be able to do the flap this way. There is something really cool about turning a heel properly.

I am becoming aware of a knitting trait which never ever showed up in crochet. When I learned to crochet, I learned to follow the pictures and instructions in Elisabeth Hiddleson's booklets which my Aunt Lorraine and Grandmother Anna had. The first afghan was from a pattern. I've never worried about reading directions, about interpreting the patterns. In knitting I really am resisting patterns. I collect the things, and print them off at the drop of a hat. I have no problem finding nice books to purchase filled with patterns. I love getting the magazines. But I am petrified of using the patterns, and in every single way, when I look at the pictures in things, I think, that can't be hard, I wonder if I can do it without reading it?

I think it goes back to my combined knitting and how everything is the same only different than the average knitting directions. I can't wait for Annie Modesitt class here in Edmonton in November. I'm taking the combination class and the lace class. I really wanted to take the others, and the Lucy Neatby classes too, but, well, it was either yarn or classes. So, a few classes, a little yarn. A nice balance I say. (My yarn orders should be here any day now!)

I hope to come out of the day with some technical expertise, a little more comfort in my approach. I have no problem moving forward, I just would like to move forward in knitting a little less like a bull in a china shop, and a little bit more like a knitter.


Bonnie Thompson Zink said...

I absolutely am in love with hand knit socks. I agree, one can learn all they would ever need to know about knitting from the creation of a sock. Also, one feels totally brilliant when turning a heel - when it works. Hand knit socks are the coziest for the tootsies - it is like slipping on a hug from creator that wraps your toes in love and charm. People seem to be amazed when watching the construction of socks. In fact, while knitting in a local coffee I once had a young gent (about 10) intently watch my progress as the needles clicked and each stitch was formed. I was working in the round with 5 DPNs and after a few minutes of intense attention and a few questions about how it was accomplished, my young friend commented on just how much fun I looked to be having. "Wow! That looks dangerous," he exclaimed before turning to his Mother with wonderment and awe asking if she'd let him learn to do that too! So, socks are also a good way to recruit young knitters to knitterly ways and encourage them to enjoy the pursuits of the joy that comes with the playing of sharp, pointy sticks and some strings.

Bonnie Thompson Zink said...

Hi Needles! Thanks for your message. I admit that I am addicted to the sock making. Maybe we ought to form a Sock Knitters Anonymous! Oh wait, who wants it to be hidden, who would ever want to cure this delightful disease and who would ever even think of giving up the needles??? We get hours of enjoyment for mere pennies. We get to keep our hearts, minds and hands busy during the dullest of times (endless children's pagaents, waits in doctors offices, even drawn out rides in the car!). We are lucky that we have this skill and can pass our love, joy and heart felt gratitude to those who receive the toasty creations through each of the over 20,000 stitches that make up a sock! Yes, I daresay, it is not an addiction I would ever think of giving up.

You mention you have family out this way? How exciting. Does that mean you might occasionally visit our fair city? If so please consider joining our KIP group. We'd love to meet you! You can find us under yahoo groups and on Facebook under the name Saskatoon Knitting Circle! Hope to see join us, even if only virtually.

Happy Stitching!

Needles said...

Oh, Bonnie, that would be lovely. I will check out and see if I can't coordinate the visting with knitting and meeting knitting people!

Bonnie Thompson Zink said...

Hi Needles: I will look forward to the day when you visit our fair city. Even if your visiting misses our weekly meeting of the needles (Sundays at 2pm) we are not above rescheduling (any excuse to get some coffee, great conversation and playing with string in is never missed). So drop me a line whenever you are in the area and we'll arrange to include a new friend (and expert knitter) within our circle!