Adventures in flora, fauna, food, and the great unknown.

The obstinate sock

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I’ve been knitting a sock. A pretty, blue and white and gray sock. The cardigan I started in February is no longer especially portable, and its cables require a certain amount of active attention. Vanilla socks are small and light, require little concentration, and are an extremely practical thing to knit (I’m going to need more socks eventually anyway, right?)—and besides, I already had a bunch of much-neglected sock yarn in the stash.

Knitting a sock was the perfect solution to a problem I barely even knew that I had. Dull meetings became a joy. Endless grocery lines became opportunities. Life was good.

The aforementioned cardigan, at a much earlier stage.

The aforementioned cardigan, at a much earlier stage.

But it’s been fits and starts. The first time through, I quickly became frustrated with the damage that gradually revealed itself in the yarn, strands half worn away—so I ditched those parts and started again with a different, solid-colored yarn for the toe. That yarn was somewhat damaged too (insects be damned), so I taught myself how to splice the ends together, making an invisible join at the weak points.

Vanilla sock, iteration number two.

Vanilla sock, iteration number two.

I knit ten inches of sock-mark-two before realizing that in my attempt to make a foot-sleeve large enough for my ungainly hobbit feet, I had instead made one that was vaguely… baggy. And that simply would not do. A sock, especially a hand-knit sock, should stretch gently over its intended foot—not cover it halfheartedly like some sort of sack.

For a few days after that, the sock and I weren’t on speaking terms. But Wednesday night, while M was out, the sock and I had a heart to heart, made up, and started over again, together—this time four stitches slimmer. Here’s hoping that the third time’s the charm.

* * *

Postscript: It wasn’t. Foolishly believing that, surely, I must know the pattern backwards and forwards by this point, I forged blindly ahead, forgetting entirely about the increases and decreases surrounding the heel area, as well as about an inch of the foot length. Suitably chastened, I ripped back to before the heel. The saga of the most basic sock in the world, and my apparent inability to complete it, continues.


Author: JD Doyle

Bookbinder, knitter, spinner, singer, runner, vegetarian, & sometime poet.

One thought on “The obstinate sock

  1. I feel your pain! This sock and I are also arguing. It’s dreadful, really. But yours will be very pretty when it’s done. Don’t give up!

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