Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lace Beware

Although I had been crocheting for years, I had always wanted to learn how to knit.  It seemed like all of the cutest patterns were for knitters... AND then I could knit SOCKS!!!  My mother was a beginning knitter, and she started me out with a simple dishcloth, but since my goal was to become a sock knitter (TA-DAH!), I quickly began doing what I always do when I want to learn something new.. and that's RESEARCH!

I googled, and watched You-Tube videos, and googled some more until I found Kelley's Sock Class by KnitPicks.  This let me cast on my very first pair of worsted weight socks... and I was off!  Of course, I assumed that I would be knitting worsted weight socks, and ONLY worsted weight socks until the end of my days.  I mean... have you SEEN those teeny little needles and fingering weight yarns that the experts use to knit socks?  I was sure that I would NEVER be able to master that (and if I attempted it, they would take approximately 2 years). 

After several rounds of worsted weight socks, I did in fact begin to venture into the world of fingering weight yarn (albeit with size 2 needles- and since I am a very loose knitter, these were some big stitches, indeed!)  What I quickly became aware of, though, was that I was building myself quite a stash of one-of-a-kind (read no match) socks, that had ladders up the side, and were almost always just a little too big.  This lead to research of a different sort... how to conquer these problems!

Enter the "Two-At-A-Time" magic loop method, as well as a tutorial by Stacy of VeryPinkKnits. (By the way, I highly recommend all of her video tutorials... very helpful!)  This solved the "One Sock Syndrome" as well as those pesky ladders you can get using DPN's... and going down a size or two on the needles helped with my other sizing problem.

I thought I had it made!  I knitted socks, socks, and more socks.... all in plain vanilla stockinette.  I mean, I had done my research on Ravelry.. and I knew there were oodles and oodles of pretty sock patterns on there... but they all looked so HARD (and lots of them had LACE!)  Surely a textured pattern couldn't be THAT bad, though... and so I took the plunge and started knitting textured socks.

 Textured socks were fun... and they even had the added bonus of making my knitting look a little more complicated (like I actually KNEW what I was doing!)  And it even got to the point where I could knit them in the car.. or even while the littles were talking to me... or even while doling out spelling words and teaching math.  And that was fine for a while...  but I remembered when I had FIRST started knitting socks, and I had seen this gorgeous pattern by Cookie A.  I remember how I thought to myself, "You will NEVER EVER be able to knit something that complicated!" 

By now I had been knitting for a little over 2 years.  I had made baby sweaters with cables, lace shawls with picot borders, colorwork sweaters and hats.. I had started dyeing my own yarn, and even designing some of my own patterns.  Maybe... just maybe... I could knit lace socks.  (Maybe).

So I decided to take the plunge.  I figured that I would have a better chance of finishing what was sure to be a v....e.....r....y long project if I used some expensive, gorgeous sock yarn... so I picked up a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Bittersweet.... and (gulp).  Cast on.

The first evening, I knit the cuffs of both socks (anticipating the dreaded lace part).. and the next evening I decided to tackle those little triangles.  I carefully counted each row... made little hatch marks for each part of the lace pattern I completed... and then a funny thing happened.  I started to realize that I didn't need the paper... I didn't need the pattern.... this lace was intuitive, and even (gasp) FUN TO KNIT!  In fact, since I had a whole day of doctor appointments coming up, and a 2 hour car ride to get to said dr's and back... after 4 days, I realized that THE SOCKS WERE DONE!  Teeny little stitch socks (size 0 for the heel and foot).. with gorgeous lace down the leg, with no ladders.. and even (get this) A MATCHING PAIR :) 

This blew me away... I mean... it was as if I had inadvertently reached an item on bucket list, and almost didn't realize it, lol!  I mean, if I could knit THOSE socks... maybe I could knit other lace patterns... or maybe I could even take a lace pattern I liked, and make up my OWN sock pattern... hmmm.....  which lead to a piece of graph paper, a couple skeins of Happy Feet sock yarn... and these beauties:

This whole time I had been psyching myself out.  All I needed to do was apply the same rules I used in every other aspect of my life.. when I wanted to learn a new skill, or try something new.  RESEARCH, PRACTICE, and JUST KEEP TRYING :)  So just in case you have a lace phobia, or whatever your hangup may be... this post is for you.  You Can Do It!!!