Knitting socks and lessons learned

The yarn harlot has written about a self imposed sock club( for those who don’t know, a sock knitting club is where you sign up and buy a pattern per month and the yarn to complete it.) Anyway, the yarn harlot had a closet full of sock yarn, and a stack of books with patterns bookmarked, so she created her own sock club, putting copies of patterns she wanted to try into Ziploc bags and choosing sock yarn to go with them. Every month she pulls out a bag and blogs about the results.  I was inspired to do kind of the same thing, although without the Ziploc bags.

Oooh la la, look at those socks.

For the month of June, I chose a wavy lace pattern called Old Shale, from the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and some great kettle-dyed hot pink sock yarn from Knit Picks   

            June was vacation month- I got out of school, spent a couple of days cleaning and packing, and then got on a plane to Boston.  I started the first pink sock on the way to the airport, worked on it at DIA after we checked in. I checked my toolkit with my luggage, so I didn’t have a measuring tape.  I used a 4×6 index card that I had copied the pattern on to measure my progress, and when I had a 4 inch cuff, I started the heel.  This detail is important.  I turned the heel as we flew over the great lakes, and cruised down the instep.  How far is it from Denver to Boston? Slightly less than 1 sock.

            I knit more as we wandered around Massachusetts. We found the hotel, got pizza, went to the science museum, rode the T, walked the freedom trail. My production slowed considerably, until we drove to Mount Washington and I finished the toe.

            I started sock number two. We assume that socks will be twins. Commercial socks are usually identical, handmades are sometimes fraternal.  I worked on the ankle of of pink sock number 2 as we drove down the coast to Providence- we started at Salisbury, which is near Cape Anne, and drove down and through Gloucester, Salem, Boston. At rush hour it began raining, and we struggled with reading road signs through trees in the rain. Quincy, Braintree- ooh, John Adams was from there!  Bad signage made the drive stressy- DH drove, the kids slept, and I kept knitting. Knitting is good for stress.  I kept thinking “one more repeat, and I’ll measure.”  I fished the index card out of the bag…4 or 6?  Which edge had I measured with? I somehow remembered 6, but when I compared it to sock number 1, it was 4. So my second sock was about an inch and a half longer than my first. Drat.


  1. a pair of unmatched socks.
  2. make a third sock to match the second, then hope there was enough yarn for a fourth to match the second.
  3. rip out one and a half inches of lace.


Great color, too bad they aren't the same length.

I chose option C- I took a photo first, there in the twilit car, in the rain, in Rhode Island. Then I figured out where to rip back to and unraveled- 2 hours of knitting gone in 30 seconds. Then I carefully picked up the stitches, counted them twice and made the heel and kept going. It’s a great pair of socks. And maybe I learned something from making it.

I’m an English teacher, and a writer, so a big part of me wants this to be a metaphor. Wouldn’t it be great to get a do-over in life- rip out and pick up…it’s painful to admit a mistake, but freeing to fix it. Another part of me says, “it’s just a sock.” So it is just as likely I didn’t learn anything.


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