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Tinking about that sock

Sick socks

Sick socks

About that sock. I couldn’t get all the stitches back on the needles in order to tink* the sock, and after what could only be described as a herculean effort, I gave up. Fortunately I’ve had some very kind offers of help, so the sock is in the sick sock bag until I can take it to Carmen or Arden or Grace.

Meanwhile, I started a new pair of socks, for GC, who is absolutely knitworthy but who has never had a pair of handknit socks. Two days later, I screwed it up. I don’t know what happened, but there was a hole in it.

At first I thought, “It’s not a big hole and it’ll probably close up as I knit further down the sock.”

This, my friends, was an outrageous and utterly transparent attempt at self delusion. There is nothing in my experience to suggest that a hole in knitted fabric will “close up” as you get further away from it. But I continued knitting stubbornly onward, all the while wondering how much I was going to curse myself for not having fixed it when I had the chance. And what kind of person did I want to be anyway? The kind that makes mistakes and just shrugs and says “Oh well, that’s good enough” and doesn’t bother to fix them? Maybe what’s wrong with the world today is that we’re all averting our eyes from what’s wrong, pretending that mistakes will fix themselves, moving from one mess to the next. Maybe it would be a better world if people acknowledged their mistakes and took full responsibility for fixing them, even if they don’t know how.

(There may have been more going on than just the knitting, I’m not sure.)

So. After taking stock of everything that was wrong with me personally and the world in general, I finally stopped knitting and started tinking. One stitch at a time, I started un-knitting back to the hole. It was a long and painstaking process. It was so long that GC went grocery shopping during it and when he got back he apologized for being so late but he’d run into a car-less neighbour there and offered him a ride home and had to wait til he finished his grocery shopping. Throughout all that, I tinked.

But I didn’t tink well. There was a pattern in the stitches (s1, k1, yo, psso), and I kept losing one stitch for every repeat, ending up with 2 less stitches on each needle for each row I tinked. In essence, the sock was disappearing.

Eventually I got frustrated and this is when I should have walked away.

But you know I didn’t. No. I took my frustration out on that poor sock. I yanked it off its needles and frogged back a few rows til I got safely past the hole. Then I tried to put the stitches back on the needles. But those stitches had had a taste of freedom and they weren’t going back.

I stuffed GC’s sock in the sick sock bag with my other sock.

Central Park Hoodie

Central Park Hoodie

Next I decided to revive an unfinished knitting project. I started the Central Park Hoodie a couple of years ago, then abandoned it because knitting season ended. I never got back to it. It’s about 80% done. I started knitting, and it felt good, the big fat 5mm needles and nice thick wool.

But after I finished the first row, I realized I’d misinterpreted the cabling pattern.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

I’m pleased to report that this time the tinking worked. I didn’t think it would because of my dismal track record and also because cabling affects the order of the stitches, but it worked. Yay!
I feel so accomplished and virtuous.


*Tink: knit backwards, or “un-knit,” in order to retrace one’s steps back to a mistake, for the purpose of fixing it.

7 comments to Tinking about that sock

  • Some days I have a heck of a time with socks. It’s usually the heel, and I can’t seem to get that slip1, knit1 thing to work.. and seriously it’s not that hard – it’s TWO stitches.
    Can’t wait to see the Central Park hoodie finished

  • grace

    When you have six sick socks you will have a tongue twister!

  • Kimberly

    I feel your pain! With my first few pairs of socks, I always ripped the needles out and started again (I didn’t have anyone who knitted close by to rescue the sock). A few years I had almost as many pairs as days in the month. But just a few years ago, the Knitting Deities decided that I could not knit socks AT ALL! Lace chuppa’s and entrelac lace shawls – no problem, buzz right along. A simple sock – no way at all.
    So glad you found another project to work on. Maybe it was meant to be that CPH gets finished first.
    Knit On!

  • Arden

    Don’t worry Zoom! I have a ton of projects sitting facing the corner until they think about what they’ve done! ;) The most recent, and horrendous addition to the pile is a cowl that was knit in two halves, and meant to be grafted together. I hated it, but I started grafting them together, and then about 2/3 of the way through grafting, I realized I’d grafted a right side to a wrong side. That stupid project is just going to have to stew for a good long time!

  • Valerie, maybe socks seem trickier because everything’s so little. Skinny yarn, little needles, tiny stitches. And when you make a mistake, you practically need a magnifying glass to sort it out.

    Grace, well THAT’S something to look forward to!

    Thanks Kimberly. The CPH is now ready for blocking and finishing. There’s still some knitting to be done, but after some of the assembling is done. You have no idea how long I can procrastinate about blocking and finishing!

    Arden, I like that approach. They screw up, they pay the price.

    Daphne, we’ve got something like that going on here in Ottawa too. Very cool. I think I have some contributions to make – but not these socks, which I’m still holding out hope for!

  • A hole? A sock is useless if there is no hole.