Monthly Archives: February 2006

Meet the new sock, same as the old sock.

Turn my heel.  Feel the love. With apologies to The Who, I am all about the new socks, same as the old sock – or if you’re being literal, one new sock and one old sock that is the old sock, except just about finished.

The Retro Ribs now have the distinction as “project which has languished longest without completion,” started May 2005 (a length of time, which, for a pair of socks, is pretty freaking impressive, if you ask me). Even though it’s just an 8-stitch, 4-row repeat, I think they’ve taken this long because I didn’t really grok the pattern; that’s no longer true, and I’ve sailed through the foot – probably better than five inches of progress in two days. Which is a lot for me, so all you speedy knitters, watch out! It also helps that the yarn is fairly dark (click to see a rather nice detail), hiding any number of sins. I am on the case with the Retro Ribs, at least until I graft the toe and can use these needles to swatch for my Sockapaloooza socks. This is the sock that never ends, but he loves them, so what can I do but finish?

“I should be my own Best Pal.” These are the words I heard in my head yesterday morning when I saw yet another unveiling of secret pal goodies on a knitting blog. There’s been more than a little talk about Secret Pals and the goodies they send in blogland recently: is it bragging? Is it “buying” friendship? Is it really necessary, all the posting of the gifts? Isn’t it disappointing when the pal doesn’t reciprocate? Does blogging have cliques, and does it matter if you’re “in” or “out?” [I love you, Heidi Klum - call me! - ed.]

Whether you’re a Secret Pal or not, I think the point of being your own best pal is not to run up a big credit card bill buying whatever you want [note to the Internet: Reading how guilty you feel about your latest yarn purchase but that you did it anyway “because you just couldn’t help yourself” ranks right below “I’m posting but I have nothing to say.” on my list of Things Probably Not Worth Posting; see We Want More Knitting Content, above er, below – ed.]. It’s about giving yourself permission to use the tools and materials you love to expand your knitting horizons and become a better knitter. For the record, I’m in favor of all kinds of Internet surprises, and I begrudge no one their treats, but I want to see your knitting. That is the burning question in my mind when I read your blog: what are you knitting, and what can I learn from you? For that reason, the photos of Secret Pal packages are not quite as interesting to me as the things people make with what they receive.

Frankly, I have no good answer to those who say “Why complain or worry about the secret pal exchanges when you can just buy yourself something special?” Why indeed? I have a limited knitting budget (who does not?), but I suppose that’s why they call them “treats” – they don’t come around every day. After the Mom socks and the Sockapaloooza socks and the Retro Ribs are finished (whew!), I think I’ll “pal” myself with a little something special. I have a sneaking suspicion that being generous with myself in a knitterly way might allow me to be more generous with other knitters, cutting down on the grumbling from my corner of the Interweb. So, with apologies to Clairol, I’m worth it. Aren’t we all?

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[If you like the buttons, take one - ed.]

The agony of the feet. Get it?

teamFO.jpg Team FO, Team Finish the Damn Thing, and the participants in the UFOlympics – to all knitters determined to use the Knitting Olympics as an opportunity to clear off their needles, I salute you. I really had no business interest in starting something new, Olympics or no – as usual, I am stubbornly “FO or bust,” even when a project is boring me to tears or bugging me. I had a not-so-secret dream of finishing Mom’s Striped Socks and the Retro Ribs in the 16 days of the Olympics to make way for Sockapaloooza socks, but until now I had not known there was a team for me – I had not yet found “my people.”

Perhaps you know them: the slow knitters, the knitters with start-itis, the knitters who blithely promise finished objects at a rate possible only if knitting were their full-time job? We are not all the same, but we are the knitters with UFOs that can only be termed “vintage”. We are the knitters so unfinished that some of our (promised, yet-to-be-delivered) FOs still resemble skeins of yarn. I am moved beyond words that knitters like me are part of the Knitting Olympics, even if I am not.

The agony of the feet.  Get it?From the quasi-Olympic news department or, will she finish the socks – ANY SOCKS – in 16 days? Sadly, though Mom’s Sock #2 is moseying along fast enough, I received the crushing news on Saturday night during a custom fitting that the foot on sock #1 is too big around. Now you know where I get my dainty feet from. Let this be a lesson: do not leave stitches on holders or otherwise make plans to re-knit unless you actually think you want to. [note: if my mother ever reads this, I have never not wanted to do anything you've asked of me, including knitting you a pair of handmade socks which actually fit. Thanks for giving birth to me, and thanks too for not giving me away to unsuspecting strangers when I bit you on the nose as a toddler. I'm sure I didn't mean anything by it. You will love your socks. Love. them.] And the title of this entry? If it’s not the thrill of victory, it might be the agony of defeat.

Just keep doing what you’re doing. Knitting!

Mom will get her socks sooner rather than later It’s only February, and already I have crossed two knitting New Year’s Resolutions off my list My apologies to those of you who read via RSS or Bloglines: I suspected that the actual “crossing off” of said resolutions might cause my feed to update prematurely, but completist that I am, I could not resist. This update is “for reals,” as the kids say. The first (finishing a sweater) was a done deal when the list was written, so it gives me great pleasure to say that I have also knocked off the hardest, boringest, scariest resolution: Go through my odds-and-ends bag and reorganize my stash. Result? I felt very virtuous, appreciating what I had rather than contemplating all the yarn that could be mine, but was not yet in my possession. Then I bought something.

(By the way, that’s my mom’s first sock up there, Fortissima Socka Colori 9069 – I haven’t cast off in the verrry unlikely event the sock doesn’t fit – those last stitches on the left are on safety pins.)

If you’re going to buy only one sock book this year…who am I kidding? No one stops with just one sock book. In honor of Sockapaloooza, I added Knitting Vintage Socks to my library; I’m also reading Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch – both are tremendously inspirational while I consider what to make for my sock pal. Or myself; I’m ready to cast on about nine new pairs of socks, including those crazy Jaywalkers everyone’s been up to.

I'm the second sock.  I'll be done by the end of February. And that’s just what I’m doing – considering. Others will tackle mondo marathon projects for the Knitting Olympics, but in the spirit of Homer Simpson, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing until it pays off – I have two pairs of socks on the needles and I’d love to almost finish one or both by February 26 (in the spirit of the Homer Simpson Olympic knitalong, I wouldn’t dream of actually finishing something until after the Olympic torch goes out). Of course, I plan on enjoying the process as much as the finished objects, if there are any. And if this second sock is any indication, there will be.