Wednesday, November 10, 2004

How to avoid Second-Sock Syndrome

1. Buy two skeins of whatever fiber you will be using. Even if you don't need two. If you really don't want to buy extra yarn (hello? what kind of knitter are you?), wind a separate skein with half of the fiber.*

You can use the extra yarn for cool mittens or to make a self-patterning scrap hat, or as heel-and-toe yarn for two more pairs of socks.

2. Start Sock #1. However you like. If you are going toe up, knit til you would begin the heel. Cuff-down? Knit until you have finished the heel and done a row or two of full rounds. (While you are pondering the many wonderful ways to knit socks, go check out Lara's supa-shmoove figure 8 toe. I have got to try this one next.)

3. Put Sock #1 on needle holders (these are my favorites, because you can knit on or off of them) —unless you are on a plane and cannot get to your stitch holders because you stupidly packed them with the darning needle in your checked bag, in which case you can knit an extra inch or so until you can get to another WIP out of the overhead compartment.

Otherwise, resist the urge to keep knitting #1 because you are "on a roll," you will need that momentum in the next step.

4. Grab that second ball of yarn and start Sock #2. Here's where you can burn off that momentum. Go ahead, knit like crazy... Tear that sock up! Knit to the end and then finish it! Voila: Sock!

5. Now, when you would normally be all flush with pride and admiration, while simultaneously bored with the pattern that seemed so engaging when you started but now seems kind of monotonous, look into your basket.

There's sock #1 and it's half-way done already!

I did a couple more inches on sock #1 (bottom) than usual because of the aforementioned lack of stitch holders. Sock #2 (top) has just rounded Heel Horn and is in the Straits of Instep.

You can tough out just half a sock, right? Which brings us to the last step:

6. Finish sock #1. Feel all warm and good about your perseverance and follow-through.

Stay tuned for the unveiling of Sweet Baboo's socks, which we at small hands hope happens later this week.

* I use a cheap little kitchen scale that has grams and ounces for this. As I wind, I get to where it seems close, then I start weighing every few turns. Works like a dream.

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