New Year, New… Socks?

Once upon a time, I was not a knitter. (Bet you didn’t know  “once upon a time” meant “last summer,” did you?) With the help of a scrying pool that suspiciously resembled my MacBook, I studied the lore of needles, knits, and purls. With much trial and error was this arcane knowledge won, and with each error I expanded my vocabulary of, ah… magic words of the sort with which Sailors (and *cough* some of their wives, apparently) pepper their speech and mothers attempt to keep from the tongues of their babes.

I have knit long scarves, lace dishcloths, and cabled hats. I have knit woolly fingerless mitts and Navy uniform-spec watch caps. I have knit for myself and for gifts and for no real reason at all. While by no means a master of the craft, I believe I am vanishingly close to being able to claim the title of sorceress Knitter, with a capital ‘K.’

Only one thing stands in my way of my own self-perception of knitting accomplishment: a pair of socks.

For reasons obscure even in my own mind, I will not feel I have truly arrived in the knitting world until I complete my first pair of socks. For me, hand-knit socks carry a cachet that outstrips the apparent humbleness of a couple of modified tubes into which one jams one’s chilly feet. You knit and purl and knit and purl forever. Then, screwing up your courage, you perform the mysterious rite known as “turning the heel,” which to me really does appear to be a magic spell one casts with wands shaped like double-pointed needles. Then you knit some more, conjuring up something called a “gusset,” and before you know it, there sits before you a sock where once was only a ball of yarn.

I’m still in the “knit and purl forever” phase of my first sock.

Sock cuff, with many stabbity needles.

Two-by-two ribbing, on and on and on.

I am a little concerned that I might just keep knitting the cuff forever, for fear that I will thoroughly embarrass myself with a pitiful first attempt at turning the heel. Things might progress a wee bit faster, however, if I had a mite less “help” from the feline contingent.

Cat noms yarn. Yum.

Vera's possession of four paws does little to help her manipulate four DPNs, so she prefers to snack on the raw material instead.

Actually, I feel fairly well prepared (thanks to Silver’s Sock Class) to turn the heel and make a go at finishing Sock the First. It’s Sock the Second that worries me. After the sense of accomplishment that comes from learning the skills necessary to complete the first, will the lack of novelty make the second an exercise in drudgery? Will I be whining, “But I just did this. I don’t want to do it again yet!”

Come to think of it, I have the same questions about deployment. We are in the early days of our first one, and I can’t help but wonder if the fact that I don’t really know what to expect is a blessing. I have yet to experience the kinds of things that can go wrong, so I can focus on the novel aspects of this type of separation. I wonder if it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I really and truly will not have my husband home with me for several months. I fear that after we get through all the new challenges this deployment will present, after the joyful rush of homecoming and after the comfortable routine of having our family on one continent again, that the inevitable preparations for his second deployment will be all the more difficult. I’ll know what I’m in for, and it won’t even be shiny and new.

All those are worries based on borrowed trouble, of course, and are probably best saved for later. Meanwhile, I need to get a move on if I want to have a completed pair of handmade socks to show off before we get too far into this deployment.


8 thoughts on “New Year, New… Socks?

  1. sespi says:

    Ooh, I love your sock! I am confident that you will turn the heel as if you’ve been turning heels your whole life 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  2. k says:

    Wow! You’re talented! I started knitting things for the baby, but all I could manage was a blanket and a few hats. I tried booties and failed miserably. Too many pick up/put downs/turn around/pick-a-bail-of-cottons for me!

    • Aw, thank you. 🙂 I remember your post about the hats — completely adorable! I can’t wait to see pictures of your little one modeling them when she finally makes her debut. It has been so much fun seeing the cute things you’ve made, like those sweet burp cloths and that quilt! Man oh man, quilting impresses the heck out of me. You rock.

    • How did I not realize you were a knitter? That’s great! I haven’t done anything as big as a baby blanket yet — I like the closer-to-instant gratification of smaller projects. I know enough people who are expecting that I’d like to try a blanket sometime. Do you have a favorite pattern?

      • But of course!

        I’ve made this blanket THREE times – it’s so easy and people keep seem to be getting pregnant!

        Go to and search for the Baby Coordinates Afghan (Easy). If you decide to try it & need help with the pattern let me know 🙂

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