Cranking it out

January 23, 2013 4:20 pm | by

So it turns out that my little winding disaster was NOT a harbinger of doom. (Of course now, I’ve totally jinxed myself.) Well, not exactly, anyway. I cast on the prescribed number of stitches for my size and away I went. I knit two and a half inches of twisted ribbing, and then two and a half inches of stockinette stitch. I even counted the rows and made a note so that the second sock could be exactly the same.

Then I was ready to start the motif. Oh, the motif. A little history: I adore charts. I have a music background, and to me, reading a chart is like reading music; you get a bunch of little symbols that tell your fingers what to do when. I’ve even been known to chart out patterns that are all in words. I don’t know why, I just can’t keep track of words. I transpose the lines, get confused by the commas, and the brackets? Forget about it. It’s just… disastrous. Every single time. But give me a chart? I’m good to go.

The chart for this sock is very well laid out. None of the symbols looked foreign to me. But yet when I tried to knit from it, my brain went all sideways. I just could not keep the symbols straight. I had to trace them out on the chart with my finger, then go over to the key and retrace it, to make sure it was correct, and then go and consult the glossary for instructions on how to knit the cable (or twist, as the case may be.) I just could NOT keep things straight, and it was massively frustrating.

To add insult to injury, I was misinterpreting one of the symbols in a big way. There are two charts in this sock; the motif, and then the traveling cables. The motif is knit entirely in the round, and the traveling cables are knit both in the round, and flat, depending on where in the body of the sock you are. They both use a couple of the same cable twist symbols. Here’s the kicker — the symbols remain the same for either round or flat, but the “what” that they represent changes depending on which side of the fabric you’re working. And for whatever reason, I just couldn’t process that. So when in my motif, when I was seeing the symbol for this particular cable a couple of rounds in, it was telling me that it was a “wrong side” cable and I just couldn’t comprehend why a “wrong side” cable was being used. It twisted things the wrong way! And then I thought maybe I was reading the chart entirely wrong. Maybe I should have been reading it from right to left for odd number rounds and from left to right for even number rounds. And then I thought maybe it was an errata, and then maybe I thought that I was losing my mind. And then maybe I cried a little… All I knew is that something was wrong and I didn’t know if it was me or the pattern. The next day, sitting at the table with our Thursday evening regulars, I gathered up all my strength and I ripped back all six rows of the motif that I had knit (and reknit, and reknit), and slowly, calmly tried it again, and it was still wrong. I had read on Ravelry that the new Knit. Sock. Love. version of the sock pattern was written a more clearly so I threw in the towel, grabbed my iPhone and bought the pattern right then and there… and wouldn’t you know it, I liked the symbols on my original pattern better. That said, it did clear up the whole right side/wrong side thing that I was totally unable to conceptualize earlier, so it was worth it, as I was actually able to move on and knit the motif instead of moping and staring woefully at my very pretty yarn and wishing the sock would just knit its own damn self.

After this tiny victory, I went home and knit a few rows that night, but found that I still couldn’t keep track of the symbols; I could look at it and know whether it was a right leaning thing or a left leaning thing, but I could not get my head around what stitches went where. How many stitches went onto the cable needle*? How many did I work before going back to the cable needle? Did I knit them? Should I purl them? WHY CAN’T I DO THIS? I got really discouraged, and didn’t work on them much again until Sunday, and I was still having the same problem. I figured that maybe this sock was just going to be that way; it was just going to make me agonize over every single stitch and that was it — that I was just going to have to suck it up and keep on truckin’… after all, I couldn’t let Caroline beat me a second time!

On Monday, I was feeling incredibly stir crazy and needed to get out of the house. It was a gorgeous day, so I grabbed my knitting bag and headed over to the local tea house, where I knew I could get a cup of my favorite tea and sit outside and knit. Wouldn’t you know it? The fresh air blew all of the cobwebs out of my head and I could FINALLY “see” the chart! I no longer had to check and double check the chart and the key and the glossary, I could just make it happen!

close up

The motif and cables


I’ve been cruising along ever since, and now I’ve completed all of the calf shaping. 3 more inches, and I’m ready to start the heel flap.

calf shaiping

Calf shaping completed!

Posted by Jenna

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