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January 07, 2007


Yesterday I finished sock number one of a pair I am making for David's brother Mike's birthday. I had made one pair of socks several years ago, and then went on a knitting hiatus until about a year ago, and this was my first sock attempt since my return to knitting. I used a beautiful sock yarn from last week's field trip to Lansing, and the sock pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. Everything seemed to be going along fine -- except that I somehow ended up picking up eighteen stitches along the heel flaps, rather than the expected fifteen. But I decreased back down to my original number of stitches for the foot, and then decreased again for the toe. It wasn't until after I had successfully grafted it shut with the dreaded Kitchener stitch (named after Lord Kitchener, head of the British War Department in the Boer Woar, who encouraged British women to knit socks for the troops), that I realized I had made the toe decreases along the top and bottom of the foot rather than along the sides! The sock looks fine in two dimensions, but I think this error will make for a rather bunchy toe. At first, I wasn't quite sure how it happened, because I kept careful track of which needles I was using for the decreases. Or so I thought. But I had done one thing differently than the pattern recommended. Instead of working the foot on four double-pointed needles -- two for the sole, one for the top of the foot, and one working needle -- I used five dpns -- two for the sole, two for the top of the foot, and one working needle. With four needles, all with the same number of stitches, I must have somehow got one needle off center when I began working my toe decreases. So then the big question is, do I make the same mistake intentionally on the second sock so that they match, or do I try to do it right? Given that I'm knitting for a man who knows nothing about needlework and probably wouldn't notice if the two socks were slightly different, I think I'll try to do it right, just for the practice. After this sock, however, I think I'm going to swear off dpns and start knitting socks on two circular needles instead. Ideally, I would like to learn how to knit two socks at the same time, because the discipline it takes to turn around and make a second identical sock after finishing the first does not come easily to me.

Posted by eklanche at January 7, 2007 07:37 AM


Uh, you lost me at the Kitchener stitch . . . ;)

Posted by: eammoss at January 8, 2007 09:08 AM

I've been doing the two socks on two circulars for a couple of years now - it more than doubles one's chances of finishing a pair of socks (or mittens). It's easy once you get the hang of it. Let's have a sock evening sometime.

Posted by: esik at January 30, 2007 10:44 AM

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