Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sock Saga

Warning:  This post is about knitting.  If you are only interested in quilting, piecing and applique, you are excused from reading further.  Unless of course you are curious about the relationship between THIS quilt block  and my current knitting conundrum.

This all started because Anna gave me some fantastic yarn for Christmas.  I was stumped about what I could crochet with 50g besides a scarf.  So I stopped by a local yarn shop on the way home from work, hoping to find some yarn guru with a brilliant plan. Sadly, she was not helpful on that quest.  But she did say some fateful words...
"You should learn to knit.  Knitting takes much less yarn than crochet."

That certainly caught my attention since my renewed interest in crochet last year resulted in THIS top that cost me a day's wages in yarn.

As I was explaining this all to my BFF Emily, it's not as though I haven't attempted to knit (having finished most of a baby bootie from my mom's secret bootie pattern, and more recently a scarf from fluffy yarn and with big needles).  But it's like my plans to learn how to play the guitar.  The effort : payoff ratio just hasn't been sufficient to really get it.
     So I've been begging E via email to teach me how to knit socks, since she's a talented knitter and just lives across town when I get stuck. She claims that she's fine until she gets to the heel, then freaks out and rips it all out.    "AH HA!" I think.  That's going to be my plan.  I'll knit and unknit the same damn sock until I figure out how it works.
I headed to Michael's Crafts after work, figuring that I can find some inexpensive yarn that I won't feel bad about when I either wear it out from un-knitting, or get annoyed and throw it all away.  Quilters in fabric shops are not shy about asking other quilter's opinions about fabric selection and I decided to go out on a limb and ask the other lady in the yarn section if she was a knitter.  When I told her I was a very beginner knitter on a quest to learn to knit socks, she looked at me as though I had 7 eyes and a space alien bursting from my sternum.  Amidst the discouragement, I did glean that I should buy wood needles in a size 6 and not mess with the loop needle thingies.  (This is also how I refer to stuff related to computers to the computer geeks. "Do you mean the thingy that does X when I Y?")

But on the drive from there to the library I started getting seriously annoyed.  And this, my friends, takes me full circle to the opening photo.  It is the very first thing that I ever hand pieced and quilted.  You may note that it was not a 4 patch.  Or any other basic pattern.  The quilting is 14 stitches to the inch.  If you only count the front side (wouldn't that be 28 stitches to the inch to some?).  I had only embroidered/ cross stiched and used the same techique to quilt - the back is a terrible mess but the front looks really impressive.

And that was what I was thinking on my drive home.  " have no idea." Why was I headed to the library?  To check out knitting books of course.  I need to wait until next week when my Michael's 50% off coupon applies to go buy needles.  Meanwhile, I'll be surfing the net for ideas.  But for the record, my quilt mentor Anna (who coached me through that first quilt block) agreed that I'll do fine with socks as a beginner project.  


Laurel H. said...

O dear; do NOT ask knitters/crocheters in the Michael's aisle about knitting anything besides, say, baby blankets or scarves. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but definitely DON'T ask them about knitting socks! If you want the real deal, find a yarn shop. Just like you'd seek out a quilt shop, not Joann's, for the real deal on quilting. :)

Ethne said...

Sock patterns - there are a multitude of free patterns for socks and many, many other things on line - you'll hate me for this afterward but check out Ravelry (join, it's free) and has resources / links etc to 1000's and 1000's of patterns, knitted, crochet etc.. and the patterns aren't just for socks. In the meantime check out Knitty on line - an online knitting magazine with free patterns too.
You will be sorry you made this post now as you will find lots more you want to make ;0)

Cecily said...

I LOVE knitting socks. Are you going to knit them on double-pointed needles or a circular needle? One of my blogging friends, Keya, would be an awesome knitting resource if you need one. She's super nice and is a crazy sock knitter. You can check her out here...

Keya said...

Crazy sock knitter, huh? Well, maybe more like crazy about knitting socks! LOL. I'll be happy to help out with your socks if you need some advice. But if you want knitting books about socks, then I suggest The Big Book of Socks or 2-at-a-time Socks (my personal favorite). I do mine 2-at-a-time on a single circular needle--LOVE IT! There's a couple free and easy sock patterns on my blog, too; so help yourself! Happy knitting!