Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Great Idea

It was my idea that we all make our Christmas gifts to each other this year.  I thought it would be a wonderful change from the usual store bought gifts.  After all, who doesn't love and appreciate a handmade gift from the heart?  I got started right away on mine.  Since I was able to complete the knitted baby blanket (you can see the new little one in her hat and blanket on the left) I figured there were other things I could successfully tackle in the world of knitting.  I worked diligently and finished gifts for our three single daughters and a joint gift for the married lovelies.  All I had left was Hubs and, possibly, individual gifts for the lovelies.  I decided that the two men in the family should have a nice pair of handmade, knitted, wool socks.  I admit that I was intimidated but I was also determined.  So, armed with self-confidence from the baby blanket and the other recently completed gifts, I began my search for patterns.   

Heel Flap before I had to rip it out
Straight out of the gate was a huge Uh-Oh.  The patterns made NO SENSE.  No problem.  With technology and the internet right at my fingertips, I went to You Tube and quickly found a great video series featuring an award winning master knitter named Staci--(this really should have been a red flag).  I would just follow Staci's lead and get this thing done by golly.  The crazy lady Staci said the sock would be a good starter one because, "You'll be able to decide whether or not you enjoy sock knitting."  What she should have just gone ahead and said was, "You'll be able to determine whether or not you are too stupid to knit socks."  Now, to be fair, when I saw that I had to use FOUR FREAKING NEEDLES, I should have turned and run away speedy quick.  But no.  I sat there and began.  And it went pretty well.  It took TWO DAYS to get relatively comfortable using those FOUR FREAKING NEEDLES, but I did it.  And it wasn't that bad looking.  I even got to the HEEL FLAP with some of my hair left without much incident.  But then crazy lady Staci started talking about TURNING THE HEEL.  This is where she lost me.  I tried.  And it DID turn even though it looked like it had gotten hung up in the lawn mower and come out mangled.  Nevertheless, I continued on (damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead mentality going on) to the GUSSET (whatever the hell that is because I'd never heard of one up to that point).  Side one went fair to poor but I got it done.  We're only using THREE FREAKING NEEDLES now and this idiot Staci says that we're going to combine two needles onto one (or, at least, that's what I heard her say).  Ok, when SHE finished SHE still had THREE FREAKING NEEDLES.  I, on the other hand, was left with only TWO OF THOSE DARN THINGS and an opening that a duck couldn't get his flat, webbed foot through.  What happened you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  That TWO FREAKING DAYS WORTH OF KNITTING turned back into a nice ball of yarn- and that only took ONE minute.  WTH?  ENJOY?  SOCK KNITTING? Who the hell is that woman kidding?

Possessing the competitive spirit that I do (and I'm really hating it at this point), I was NOT going to let a pair of stupid socks defeat me.  I searched, once again, for a video and found Dominique.  Her video had the words SUPER EASY on it (two of my favorite words when it comes to knitting).  My thoughts were that, by watching both videos and applying the easiest instructions from each, I could figure this whole sock crap nonsense torture situation out. 

Both ExpertKnitterLadies talked about the importance of both socks being the same size. Really?  Who cares? Size was the ABSOLUTE LEAST of my worries.  I did find that they each gave better details in places where the other was lacking, which was a HUGE benefit for me.  I found Dominique to be a bit slower in her talking and illustrating- a very good thing.  However, where she wanted me to use FIVE FREAKING NEEDLES, Staci had only used FOUR FREAKING NEEDLES so, and this was a 'no-brainer,' I went with Staci on the number of needles.  Which was unfortunate when I got to the part about moving stitches around for the HEEL FLAP.  Crap.  Now what?  Deep breaths, no panic necessary, I merely found ANOTHER video, this one by Dorret.  While I absolutely LOVE her accent and she's pretty easy to follow, she still led me down a path that ended badly- I had to pull out my feeble attempt to TURN THE HEEL and the HEEL FLAP.  On the bright side, I WAS able to do this without having to pull the entire sock out and start from a ball of yarn...again.  Can you say NoFreakingWay?!  MAJOR IMPROVEMENT?!  So, back to Staci I went, armed with more determination that ever before to KNIT THIS @#$% SOCK.  And, for the third time, I attempted the HEEL FLAP.  And, it was beautiful (sort of--"and these long lines should all line up" and mine did...except where they didn't) or at least close enough to be labeled a SUCCESS!!!  Unfortunately, it was time for the TURNING OF THE HEEL  and this is where I had missed the mark on every single attempt.  I started the video and followed carefully.  When she left me hanging, I actually followed the pattern (this time) and---I TURNED THE HEEL!  I was so excited!  Until I realized that the next step was the GUSSET.  I checked and, yes, my determination was still there so, I went on.

There were many moments during the knitting of the sock (starting from the first beginning until the end) that the thought 'Sometimes, things just aren't meant to be' traveled slowly through my mind.  And that was the phrase I planned on using once I reached my give-it-up-stupid point along with something like 'there's just too much preparation to be done for the holiday' or maybe a simple "I ran out of time because knitting a sock is the most evil thing I've ever tried to do very difficult and requires unlimited time and patience' (both of which I possess NONE).  However, I decided to be completely stubborn perservere and, after about ten days, multiple do-overs, hours of using language that would shock a sailor ranting, and extreme frustration coupled with determination----Houston, WE HAVE A SOCK!

The last line of Staci's directions state:  "Now go make another sock to match this one!"  HA!  When hell freezes over lady.  When hell freezes over.

First attempt, before heel flap and turning of the heel disaster.

The finished product!

The Gusset

Hubs tries on the sock and Tucker tries to take it off to which I might have said something like, "You don't want to be doggie stew for dinner tonight, do you?" Registered & Protected


  1. Oh, dear, what an experience you've had. I teach knitters to make a sock in two and a half hours. True, it's a tiny sock but all the parts are there. I'm amazed that you stuck at it with all that 'help'. You are one determined gal! With a lovely sock to prove it. My advice is: don't quit now - making sock number two will be much better.

  2. I second the motion. There is NOTHING more rewarding than turning a clean heel. I love knitting sox and even found a pattern done on just two needles (check my previous post from September or late August) with no heel turning involved. You have a very nicely done sock for a first time! Good for you. I laughed all the way thru your post, remembering my efforts over the years to make presents for everyone on my list. Never a good idea.

    ps. once you master socks, you can try gloves!!! Now that is one to give you pause.

  3. I agree with Stephanie!
    Go for number two, it will copperfasten the knowledge you gained in doing number one.
    Go on, go on!!
    Had a great laugh at your 3 video "friends"! -good tale.

  4. First off, what a beautiful baby...simply breathtaking :0) I can't knit, but I admire anyone who does. That sock looked pretty good to me!

  5. Making a second sock might prove to be easier, but Christmas IS only 24 days away!
    And GLOVES????? You have GOT to be kidding me!!! haha

    And, where were all you knitters when I was going through all this? LOL

    Thanks for all the comments. I will get to the other sock. He just might not get it by Christmas.

    She is a lovely baby Marnie- they are first time parents and having a blast. If you don't have grands, enjoy cousins!

  6. Ok, now I KNOW I won´t start to learn knitting! UGH!! That was painful reading.
    But you go girl! You´re almost there. :)

  7. Adorable baby!! Thanks for sharing your adventure in sock knitting. Though your one sock looks quite good, I don't thnk I will be taking up knitting in time soon....HHL

  8. Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting about our babes. I read your post and it is hilarious. I started knitting about two years ago. I made 3 scarf and hat sets last year for Granddaughters Christmas and haven't picked up the needles since. I have a basket full of sock yarn but can't make myself start. After reading your blog, I may sell my yarn on ebay, LOL. Have a great day!

  9. Oh my dear! This post has me laughing out loud!!! Good determination :)

  10. I will never be a knitting grandma and THIS is exactly why! Too funny. I crocheted an afghan for my new sister-in-law the year I was married and trying to impress my new "family." That was nearly 30 years ago and I've not crocheted a thing since.

  11. I admire anyone who can knit or crochet! Great job!!

    I love the idea of homemade gifts. I told my 3 kids that is exactly what I want this year. My daughter takes an art class and I heard I'm getting a painting from her. My oldest always makes me a book marker and I hope he's never too grown up to do that. Last year my middle guy wrote me a beautiful poem that I framed and keep in my room. Those are the gifts I love, treasure and always want!

  12. Loved today's post.... made me smile and these days that is quite an accomplishment :D...seriously tho very funny...I remember knitting my first pair of socks long long ago when at school.... four needles had me a bit perplexed too and I have to be honest and say I have never ever attempted a pair of socks again..... go figure...:) E for Effort yeh!!!

  13. I tried knitting once; but I got so frustrated that I tried to stab someone with my knitting needles. Now they won't even let me hold a pair anymore. Go figure.

  14. You'll find the second sock much easier to knit! I think the first one turned out very well!

  15. Well done on getting one done.I just can't do that sort of thing at all. I'd probably stick the needles in my face or worse still my eyes (eeeeeek!) I once tried to knit a scarf but it looked very holey and mis-shapen so I gave up. I laughed at Tucker trying to pull it off. Maybe he thought it would be ideal for Santa to put presents in on the 24/25th :)

  16. Wow... I would have given up long time ago!
    I wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting... I am now following and I look forward to reading more of your stuff.
    All the best,

  17. Oh, I am way impressed. I've tried both crocheting & knitting & have failed miserably at both. Nice work!!

    Is that my cute little niece, by the way? :) Can't wait to see her in a few weeks! The blanket looks gorgeous.

  18. Ellen, Yes, that's your cute little niece! When are y'all coming down?

  19. You are brave making homemade gifts. I am not skilled in these area. Good for you!

  20. Pam that was the funniest thing I have read in awhile. A number of years ago I made all of my Christmas gifts too. I did that for about three years until I dedcided to make a beautiful wall hanging for my inlaws.

    It had several cross stich panels and they were quilted into the shape of a Christmas tree. I thought I would commit harey-carey. That was the end of my gift making for awhile!!

    Thanks for stopping by-

  21. You are so creative. The baby looks adorable in your blanket. I think I need to stick with store bought gifts.


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