Monday, April 14, 2008

Taking the Plunge

Here's the photo of my latest pair of socks. It's my basic sock pattern done this time with Trekking XXX. This is the first time I've used this yarn, and I liked working with it. We'll see how well it holds up.

In making this pair, it got me to thinking about how far I've come in the past few months, at least where socks are concerned. I was one of those knitters who felt that I'd never be able to make socks. I just could not (and still can't) get the hang of using DPNs. No matter how many times someone told me, "But you're only working on two at a time," I just couldn't get coordinated enough to use them. I tried making socks with 2 needles, and I even bought short circs, both in an attempt to join in on the sock-knitting craze. Both gave me less than satisfactory results.

So what changed? I learned to do cables. So what do cables have in common with my seriously stockinette socks? On the surface, not much. On a deeper level, confidence. For many years, cables held the same fear and wonder for me that socks had until recently. They looked so complex that I could never see myself tackling them. But then I found a Lion Brand pattern for a cabled afghan. They said it was simple, so I decided to give it a shot. I jumped in, trembling slightly when I reached the first instructions for these things referred to as CR9, CL5. But the instructions for making the cables were clear and, most important to me anyway, actually made sense! Before I knew it, I was off and running with cables.

You still might ask yourself what cables have to do with stockinette socks. Well, after I conquered my fear of cables, I felt as though I could take on anything--knitwise at least. So I took another look at socks. My efforts with DPNs were still pathetic. But then I discovered Magic Loop; it seemed like the answer to my sock-knitting prayers. But alas, my first attempts at MLing were unsuccessful to say the least. I bought the booklet that was supposed to be the "Bible" of MLing. Far from being helpful, I just got increasingly confused. I looked at online videos and bought more books, but some of them contradicted others. What was I to do?

Turn to knitting on 2 circs. That method actually made sense to me. So I knitted a couple of caps using 2 circs. But the lure of MLing was still there, so I tried it again. This time the instructions made sense to me, and I was off and running. Socks, mittens, caps--what a breeze using MLing. And to think, if I hadn't taken the plunge and gained confidence by making cables, I might still be on the sidelines, drooling over the plethora of gorgeous sock yarns and patterns.