Two Sticks and a Piece of String

I’m not entirely new to knitting. I learned in early 2009, and managed to make a baby sweater, hat, mittens, baby booties, and three matching sweaters before the baby came in June 2009. After that I was busy with a new baby/tired/homeless/poor until recently.

Recently I got back into knitting and I’ve made baby bunny booties, 3 gaiters, a preemie hat, three summer tops and half a baby blanket. At Easter Matt enrolled me into the Crafter’s Choice book club so for Easter I received 4 knitting books. They’re all informative and I’m learning many things. I was especially excited by “Knitting Everyday Finery” by Mel Clark. If you’re into knitting and haven’t heard of her, please check out her book and her website.

One of the things she talks about is growing to appreciate being a little strapped for cash, but understanding that investing a bit in good quality means the few things you have will last longer and look better. Her book is wonderful and full of patterns I can’t wait to cast on, but I was especially enthralled by her pattern for Tangerine Tights.

Tights. With feet. That go all the way from my toes to my waist.

That’s a lot of knitting. I’ve never made socks. I was daunted and defeated (no pun intended) by a previous “toe-up” sock pattern. All those double pointed needles poking me, facing different directions, entangling themselves in yarn while I attempted to translate someone else’s thoughts and knitting ability into something I could hold, form and wear…it wasn’t pretty. AT ALL. I quit.

However, I sent a fan email to Mel Clark…who is delightful, helpful and very sweet. She’s amazing and told me if I had any questions to feel free to ask.

Then Matt surprised me with a trip to the yarn store. An ACTUAL yarn store. Not the craft aisle at Walmart. A yarn store. For the first time EVER, I bought REAL yarn. It’s wool with a bit of nylon for stretchiness. It’s so soft and comfy, and delicious to touch.

I started Mel’s pattern and then found myself being tormented and confused. The more I tried to figure it out the worse it got and I was very flustered. I emailed Mel with countless apologies, certain I was down to a handful of functioning brain cells, distraught and disgusted I couldn’t figure out a line of the pattern.

I set it aside and emailed Mel. I ran back to the computer every few hours to see if she’d emailed back yet. Later that evening, she did. It was clear. She was sweet. It was an “AHA” moment for me and I wondered why I couldn’t figure it out without her. With newfound understanding I dove back into the pattern, back to knitting, excited I was past that hurdle.

Well…that was the TOES. Yes. The tights pattern started at the toes…so I ran out of the gate and fumbled pretty much right away. After the toes were figured out I was off and running….and then found myself wondering HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO KNIT A FEW INCHES SO I CAN DO THE HEEL FOR THE LOVE OF YARN??????

I was excited and it wasn’t going nearly as quickly as I thought it should. After 48 hours of knitting off and on I had the toes and about 2 inches of foot finished. I told Matt “at this rate they won’t be done until October.” He cheered me on, and I kept going. After shoving away frustration I made it to the heel. I stayed up til 4 am to finish the heel because I knew if I stopped I would be confused or I’d mess it up or something. I did the heel correctly and I’m now working my way up the leg to the calf.

This is my first “sock” so…Yeah. It looks a bit like that lumpy misshapen clay ashtray you made your mom at summer camp when you were six. It’s not pretty…but I can tell what it is and I know the effort I’m putting in it and the pride I have because it looks vaguely like a sock. I LOVE IT. It’s not pretty….but it’s MINE. I made it with my own two hands.

This is my first REAL yarn. I’m used to the worsted weight acrylic stuff from the discount store. This is sock yarn and much thinner. Not only have I been adjusting to the nuances of a new pattern, I’m also trying to get the feel for smaller needles and smaller yarn. I knit about as fast as I did when I was learning. It feels more like I’m knitting with two pine needles and a spider’s web…but I’m getting in a groove and feeling less clunky. I will get it. If I have to, when the tights are finished I will stand sideways and tell people, ‘I made these…just look at the right leg. The left leg was first.”

Pictures to come. I will share my humilatingly clunky looking tights feet. For now…by the end of the week I should be at the knee. WOOT!

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