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Socks!

The current thing on the needles is a toe-up sock in a denim jacquard 4-ply wool/nylon sock yarn. I’m using 5 bamboo size 0 dpns, at a gauge of 8 st/inch. And I’m doing the short rows for the heel right now. (Pictures soon.)

This entire sock has been a learning experience, which is not a surprise, given it’s my first. I began it using 4 metal size 1 dpns, and every thing about them did not work.

I was impatient to begin, and my order hadn’t arrived, so I walked (about a mile) to my nearest yarn shop and bought stuff there. I liked the yarn a lot – it’s pretty blues and grays even on the ball, but the sweet old ladies in the shop weren’t carrying wooden needles – yet, had no size smaller than 1 and never actually heard of using 5 dpns. I also didn’t think I had enough cash on me and they weren’t set up for credit cards – yet. They said that both “yets” would happen the following week. So I got the yarn and the needles they had, walked half a block to a bank, got cash and walked back to pay for them.

Mostly, I wanted a portable project, as the scarf was completely unwieldly.

The first sock taught me how to do short rows, but also that metal needles are difficult to use, that four dpns are difficult to use and it’s hard to try the sock on and that I gauge is a tricky thing. The sock actually *shrank* – it fit me fine when it was only the toe, but the instep just didn’t work. Anyway, the proper sized dpns had arrived, so I ripped the entire sock back (I don’t think I’ll be comfortable using the term “frog” – it’s cute but rip means exactly the same thing.) and started again – this time on the correct gauge. Although, after two socks and two swatches, I decided that I was just going to bind that swatch off. The yarn was getting decidedly worn.

I’d also found out that I’d been knitting – not *wrong*, because there is no wrong way, but non-standard.

  1. I do knit “continental” – that’s how my mother taught me, with the yarn wrapped around my left forefinger.
  2. I also knit “combination” – this is a self-teaching thing, since my mother doesn’t knit that way. This means that, left to my own devices, I will knit through the back loop, and I will purl by wrapping the yarn under the needle. It’s simple and, to me, intuitive. Stockinette knit on straight needles comes out very flat. For that matter, the stockinette for my scarf looks perfectly flat, too.

My mom did teach me to knit through the front loop, and that was simple enough to relearn, but purling was much easier the other way. No wonder no one wants to purl!

I didn’t realize my purls were wrong, though. So the toe for sock attempt#2 is twisted on the knit row, and that is, actually, okay. I expect the first finished sock to be bad. And short rows are not my friends. Next pair, I’m going to try a no-wrapping technique. Meanwhile, I have a largish hole in the toe.

On the other hand – the sock fits. And I’ve relaxed quite a bit, and figured out the purling thing, more or less. And I’m getting bored enough with stockinette (four months on that scarf would do that) that I’m thinking of doing a simple 4×4 check for the leg of the socks. Which I might do combined. Since I just read Ann Zilboorg’s Knitting for Anarchists, which spoke to me strongly enough that I’m going to try doing what feels right to me.  So long as it also works, I mean.

I also read Debbie Stoller’s StitchNBitch and Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting without Tears, but I’m going to use the first one simply as reference and the other one is for the near future, not for now.

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