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Hard Won

April 25, 2014

Before being sidelined from knitting with whatever it is that is/was causing the issues with my hands, I was working on a pair of socks for the Giant. Well to be honest I was working on a variety of things, but they are not of interest at this point in time. What is of interest to myself and all of you (or at least you will fake it to spare my feelings) is the fact that I was working on a particular pair of socks for the Giant. These were not my typical socks for him, rather they deviated from the standard plan in quite a few ways.

The socks were knit out of a self striping yarn, a first for him, which is a little surprising considering the stash and the amount of socks I have knit for him. Secondly the socks were knit with a modification to the ribbing, my standard has been two inches each time. This time I changed it up to a whole whopping 2.5 inches, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but that ribbing can be a bit dodgy the second time around.

Moving down the leg these socks continued as normal, working up another 3 inches  of good plain knitting, and I was enjoying the stripe action. (It seems to take so little to keep me occupied.) By the time I reached the heel a very large, and very new change occurred. I decided for the first time ever (on a pair of socks for the Giant, and really only the second time ever) to try to implement an afterthought heel. This meant that when I would normally break my groove and work the heel flap and turn the heel stitches, I instead got to insert a bit of extra yarn and then continue on my merry way. Now for the first sock this was great, a lovely way to stay on track. By the time the second sock rolled around the knitting hiatus had been started and I was forced to sit there waiting for the sock to be finished, with that garish and out-of-place yarn mocking me. (More on that later.)

But moving forward, or rather down to the foot of the sock, this process continued with me attempting to follow the random tidbits of information I had gathered from across the internet, concerning length. It was a bit of a sticky wicket attempting to figure out just how long they should be, before I began the toes. I believe I read (somewhere) that with an afterthought heel, one should take about two inches off your usual length (don’t quote me) so that is what I did, well give a cm or two, because of the stripes. Next came the toes, now the toes have always been a tough nut to crack. I think it is because I get so mindbogglingly bored, eager to finish that I always seem to come up just a tiny bit short, and to be honest, they end up being a  bit pointy for my tastes. Not this time, no, this time I managed to find a better toe, a toe that was not only easy to follow (after writing it down and using a counter, but that might be because I tend to watch something while knitting and therefore am a bit distracted)  but produced a nice rounded and symmetrical toe. It is a thing of beauty in my opinion, the Giant seems to be fond of them as well, but that might be more about the fact that they are a little longer than my usual.

The thing is though, even with all of these modifications, the complications, these socks have become a focal point for me. They were the project I was working on right up until I got the prohibition on knitting. The first sock was finished, and I was actually being pretty responsible and had already started the second sock. I had taken a variety of notes and had even made a point of increasing my needles from 3 to 4 (which may not mean much, but it meant that instead of knitting in a triangle, I was knitting in a square, which essentially meant I was putting less pressure on my hands to work in the round.) But when the hiatus started, I had just placed the waste yarn and had knit only a couple of rows beyond. For the two weeks, whenever I wanted to pick up my needles, these socks were there. The out-of-place waste yarn sitting there, mocking me. I could hardly stand to look at them and so they would get stuffed into a drawer and I would attempt to forget about them and knitting altogether. Of course that didn’t work, and out they would come again, the waste yarn just sitting there like a poorly applied bandage on some gaping wound.

They were/are also the first project I started when the hiatus was lifted. The first night I managed to only knit a few minutes at a time, totaling maybe a couple of rows, but it was progress. The stitches were there, the sock had grown, by even just that tiny amount.  The next night I managed around the same amount of rows, but I was stupid and knit a bit longer than I should have. The following morning provided me with a harsh reminder of what overextending really meant.

So the socks became something I worked on only a few minutes at a time. When my hands began to act up I set them down, I forced myself to walk away. It has been almost a week since I could knit again, a week in which I saw my ability limited by what my hands could do. These socks became my battle ground, my point of reference and a place where my determination was put to the test. The reality is I am not anywhere near where I used to be, and that is okay.

thomas striped sock minus heel

They will be finished. Even if it takes me another two weeks, because these socks will be hard-won, but they will be mine.


From → Knitting

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