Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sock woes

I have just finished knitting the first of what I am sure will be  - what I hope will be - my most troublesome pair of socks ever.

Last month I thought how lovely it would be to knit a pair of socks for G for Christmas.  He has enough lycra in his life, and could do with more 100% pure wool.  And as a particularly loving gesture, I thought I'd make them with some of the deliciously mad, self-striping, German sock yarn I bought in Switzerland over the summer.

The first problem was that I kept dropping stitches.  I've only been knitting a few years, but I have never ever dropped a stitch before, and so it seemed a particularly scary thing to have to rectify.  And then I discovered that the way to recover dropped stitches was to pick them up with a crochet hook and thread them back up to the row where they should be.  With super-fine sock yarn and teeny-tiny needles, this just made my eyes ache.  I dropped a stitch on three separate occasions and ended up buying a very small gauge crochet hook, especially for the job.

Then I came to shape the heel - a tricky part of knitting a sock admittedly, but one which I've done successfully four times before.  This time I had to rip back my knitting three times before I got it right.  Another first for me, and another scary knitting manouevre, as you have a row of microscopic, live stitches, hanging free and unanchored, which all need to be picked back up correctly and put back on the needle the right way round, before knitting can be resumed.

Finally all the dropped stitches were back in place, the heel was nicely shaped and turned, and I was on the final section - knitting down the foot.  I began to like these socks again.

Last night I asked G to put the nearly complete sock on, so I could see how much more I had to knit before shaping for the toes.  And you can see what's coming can't you?  Yes, of course.  He couldn't even get them on past his instep.  They have come out about four sizes too small, even for someone with small feet.

I very nearly wept with frustration and disappointment. 

I told C he would be getting Dad's Christmas present, and asked him to try them on so that I could work out the length on him instead.  But they didn't remotely fit either.  At this point I really did let out a shriek of outrage, and asked O to come and try them on, in what was rapidly becoming a woollen sock version of Cinderella.

To my relief, O did turn out to be Cinders.  The sock fitted, and I will now try and crack on and finish the other one for her before Christmas. 

However, I am not really in the mood for sock knitting now, and I need to find G a replacement present.  Maybe he could do with a new pair of swimming trunks - I'm thinking lycra's not so bad after all.


  1. super frustrating, had a similar experience myself. Swimming trunks....could look to the opening scene of 'The hairdresser's husband' for inspiration. Be prepared for chafing though.

  2. Argh. The last time I knitted a hat for myself - cabling and shaping and all - it ended up JUST fitting Tiny Small. More than annoying, sionce she won't wear anything I've knitted.

  3. You described the 'live stitches' perfectly. Holding your breath when you are slowly threading them back onto the needle, and making sure they are the right way is so painful. Many times I've had to put the needles down and walk away for a bit. They are gorgeous socks! xxx

  4. Oh no! I've had the same experience with heels. Just when you think you have them sussed, one starts causing problems. And with sizing, too. Aaargh! Definitely allow yourself a little breather before launching into the second one--speaking from experience!

    K x

  5. It might not be in the least bit creative, but I vote for Marks and Spencers.

  6. It is lucky you had feet to spare. I think you are incredibly patient knitting with that gauge wool and can't quite believe you are going back for sock number two. Good luck

  7. That sock yarn is just fabulous. As a woman who has never once knitted anything more complex than a garter stitch scarf I am in awe of your socky skills. Dropped stitches or no, those are covetable.

  8. oh what a shame. but such gorgeous colours xxx

  9. Oh Nancy! You must have been gnashing! Please don't buy anymore crochet hooks, I have my nan's collection and there are a LOT. I have size 3 feet, if they get smaller. I have a similar baby quilt on the go, it is rapidly becoming a baby taggie.

    I am intrigued at self striping.


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