Monday, August 15, 2011

A Sock Knitting Fable

There once was a sock knitting Nana who was valiantly trying to keep up her sock knitting obsession through challenges and peer pressure.  A most important date was looming close on the calendar.  A Major League event of sock knitting known as the Sock Summit was soon to arrive.  She had just finished up a lovely pair of Pirate socks and was working on a nice pair of stranded socks called Zirkel.  She also had recently cast on one last pair for July; a pair of cabled anklet socks that she hoped to get knit in time to wear during the Summit. 

The week of the Summit arrived and she was busy packing and getting everything in order before leaving. Now it was the day before leaving for summit, her packing was mostly finished and it was time to pack her knitting.   She carefully reviewed her class assignments to make sure she packed the right yarn and needles and was surveying her WIPs to decide which projects deserved to be her travel knitting during the Summit.  The cabled anklets were a definite go since she was more than halfway through the second sock.  A shawl in progress made the short list.  She knew that she would be able to finish the anklets during her airport and plane time, so a second project in the carry on would be a must.  She hesitated about whether to cast on another pair of socks, since she probably would start something at the Summit.  She pulled out the Zirkel socks; she had been slowly making progress and was well past the gusset on the second sock.  The pattern wasn’t a great one for knitting while distracted, but she was close enough to the final repeat that she thought it might be okay to bring them along.  Then she noticed something about sock #1… something awful, something disappointing.  There was a mistake in the second to last repeat on the foot, an obvious mistake; the kind of mistake that makes you look at what you knitted and almost want to cry.  She had to make a decision.  She could let the mistake go (it was on the foot after all), carry on with sock #2 and have the pair completed by the end of Sock Summit, or she could frog back to the mistake and re-knit the foot of the first sock correctly and then carry on with sock #2… this process might be too much for travel knitting.  There was barely any time left to consider the options.  So poor little Zirkel sock was banished to the naughty knitting corner and left at home.

Nana took a picture of the naughty sock and brought it to Sock Summit. 
Naughty sad Zirkel sock

While there, she consulted many knitters about what to do.  There were a few in each camp.  Some heartily embraced the philosophy that if the mistake doesn’t matter to you, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.  Besides, it was on the foot, which would be in a shoe, and therefore, would technically not be seen.  Others sympathized with the knitter and felt her pain and understood the need to knit things properly … especially when the pattern was so, so pretty, no matter where the mistake was located.  Ultimately she packed empty needles and an extra skein of sock yarn & pattern in the event a new cast on was called for.  She also brought along the shawl.

She had a lovely time at the Sock Summit and learned many new and inspiring things (not to mention acquiring many new and lovely things).  She hadn’t forgotten about the naughty sock, but was glad for a few days to think about its fate.  After all, only she could make the “right” decision about what to do.  The anklets were finished on the airplane before arriving at the Summit and worn with pride during the event.  They fetched many lovely compliments.  The shawl grew a couple pattern repeats, and the extra skein ended up being cast on to test knit a larger size of an in-the- works pattern.  All in all, wise choices abounded.

The knitter arrived home, tired but inspired.  She looked about and realized that while she was away, August had arrived.  There were August socks to be knit!  A bag was pulled for the August personal sock club; a yarn was selected (by the designer!) for the August Mystery sock knit along… casting on was immanent. She had a pair of socks that she started during class, but they had bugs to be worked out and charts to be written. She felt the pull of the shiny new patterns waiting to be cast on, but, then she spied the sad and lonely Zirkel sock; the one that had the mistake, just sitting by itself off in the naughty corner. 

She knew what needed to be done. 

She checked sock #2 to see where she had left off in the pattern (no sense making another mistake!) then set it aside for a moment.   She picked up sock #1 and gave it a pat, then carefully, unpicked the grafting (which was un-characteristically finished), she frogged.  Unraveling a stranded project takes great care and patience.  She was gentle and understanding of the occasional tangle.  She picked up the stitches and lovingly worked sock #1 to match where sock #2 and then spent the evening knitting the two socks in tandem to the beginning of the toe shaping… they were lovely and oh so ready to be finished.  The next morning she worked the toes and then gave the finished socks a well deserved soak.  
Happy Finished Zirkel Socks

The moral of the story is, when you love the knitting, mistakes can be forgiven with a little patience and a lot of care. (plus you could end up with some really pretty socks)

Happy Knitting,


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