Plans. Best. Laid. All that

A little while ago, I put together my own sock club.  I still belong to a sock club, but I wanted to make a point of burning through some of the stash and finally getting to a few patterns I’ve been thinking about for a while.  Thing is, stuff slips off the radar.  I get the yarn or the patterns and I think I’m going to get to it soon, but really knitting is sort of slow, and by the time I’m free to start something again, whatever that cool pattern and yarn were has sort of slipped through the cracks, down past the canopy of the stash and the next thing you know I’ve forgotten I’d ever wanted to knit and and been seduced by whatever came along in the meantime.  This year I took my own advice and I made kits.

I got 12 big ziplocks, and in each one I put everything I need to make those socks.  If the pattern was in a book I photocopied it, if it was a download I printed it, if if was a pattern I had to buy, I bought it. Then I went through the stash and figured out what should go with what – then I sealed up all 12 and put them away on a shelf in my office cupboard, promising myself that I would knit one pair a month, drawn at random.  Some men’s socks, some ladies, some lace, some cable… at the end of the year I’d have 12 pairs of socks (at least) and have made a serious dent in my sock needs.  

A couple of days ago I realized that I was in serious danger of blowing the system the very first month out, and so I went into the cupboard and pulled a bag at random. (The astute among you will notice that post furnace installation I got a new cupboard in my office.  It was the tradeoff for the space I lost because I gained a heating duct in that room.  Heat is nice and all, but mama’s got a lot of yarn. That’s my sock club on the top shelf. Nice, huh?)  I snagged one from the middle without looking.  I got a skein of Handkraft "The sock who loved me" in  Mangrove, which was paired with the pattern for the Sleepy Hollow socks.

No problem, I thought those will be quick to finish by the end of the month.  Now, me being me and the universe being what it is, I totally should have seen it coming the minute I thought that, but I still haven’t gotten used to the way that my knitting ability can come and go at a moments notice.

I started down the leg, all seemed well.  Then I got to the gusset increases and the next thing I knew I was knitting like a rookie, and by a rookie, I mean that I wasn’t knitting badly, I was knitting like someone who hadn’t learned some stuff about knitting the hard way about a thousand times.  See – a rookie doesn’t know that it’s really hard to go purl to purl on dpns without  having a wicked ladder (at least if you’re me.) A rookie wouldn’t know to slide that bad boy over to the other needle to avoid that crap.  A rookie might think "hey man, I know what a m1p is.  I don’t need to look at the stitch legend."

Then a rookie would be wrong – a rookie would look at that gusset and learn his lesson, and then the rookie would knit better next time.  Me?  Not a rookie. Knew all this- knit badly anyway, and it was totally preventable.  After 36 years of knitting I’m going to go public and tell you what I think is the #1 cause of knitted crap.

Failure to read.

Seriously.  The instructions were right there, they are correct, they are clear, there is nothing wrong with them and the only thing that gave me that totally crappy gusset is that I did not read. It is my fault, and I have no-one to blame because I didn’t read.  I had a little pout and a beer, then I took my lumps, ripped it back and started again from the top of the gussets/heel and carried on. This went reasonably well until I tried it on.  Bad news.  Should have read the sizing information- that’s there too. Ripped the entire sock back, tried again.   I thought I had this beast going on until I finished the whole gusset and heel and thought that was pretty funny lookin’ too.  Didn’t look like the picture.  I carried on a bit, starting to decrease the stitches and realized I didn’t have the right number of stitches, and as I re-checked the pattern, I realized that I’d read the first line of the heel turn, recognized the techniques, assumed I knew what I was doing and carried on.
Not so much.  The heel actually departs from what I was expecting about halfway through.  Thus – the heel is wrong.  Again. Failure to read. Again. It’s going to be a stretch to finish these socks by the end of the month (considering that there is only 2 days left in the month.) I’m going to have to do one of three  things.  Knit faster,  get smarter or READ.  (That third option seems easiest.)

(PS.  Thought I’d let you know,  Sock Camp opens to the general public today, now that the club members have signed up.  Also – an aside to Tina.  What are you doing? Hoarding bad pictures of me? )

230 thoughts on “Plans. Best. Laid. All that

  1. I admire your tenacity. I would have been driven to the scissors by then. I read, but still get it wrong.

  2. Just had my own “failure to read” fiasco involving a lace shawl. Twenty ripped-back rows later, I feel your pain. Nice socks though. Nice idea of the personal sock club too. I’d do something like that if I thought I was organized.

  3. Love your sock club idea. I think I need to try that. The Sleepy Hollow socks are pretty, so I think I will go and purchase a copy then hit the stash for yarn.

  4. Failure to read. I’ve had that. (And as proof, I have a tea cozy that, even felted, could fit over a basketball!) Be careful, FTR is a sickness which can return without warning.

  5. I just did the same thing! Working on Olive (Ravelry link) by Helga Isager, I divided for the arms, and totally missed the part where I was supposed to CO a full 10 stitches at each underarm. When did I discover this? After working the 35cm-long body, and looking at the directions so I could start the hem. Not my best day.

  6. Option 4: cut yourself some slack. Perhaps this January can borrow a few days from February for the sake of your socks and your sanity.

  7. Dang, that cupboard sure looks nice. I gotta organize more. It would help if I were the only person in the house and I didn’t have to worry about all this crap that the other people bring in. My stuff is totally managable, it’s all their stuff that is in the wrong places.
    Nice sock, even if it is getting on your last nerve. Very pretty.

  8. That’s 2 things….how to read and how to count….who knew?
    Don’t forget that you have to count right too!

  9. Amen sister! Even reading can get you wrong if you don’t follow what you read! Working on the Argus Shawlette and managed to misread the pattern, forget YO’s and knit markers into the fabric. Luckily it’s an easy enough pattern to fiddle. Great idea to have your own sock club.

  10. A personal sock club, what a wonderful idea. Will be shamelessly ripping you off this year.

  11. Oh, the reading…gets me every time that I make a mistake. If I would just remember that I don’t always know what is coming next, I’d be so far ahead of the game.

  12. love knowing that the Yarn Harlot still makes silly knitting mistakes.
    Thanks for being so willing and trusting to let us peek into your real world. 🙂

  13. AMEN !!!SISTAH. I just knit a sock I can’t get on my foot and my feet haven’t mysteriously gotten bigger. Directions are for wimps who want socks that fit.

  14. Ha ha, good post. That looks like a nice cupboard – I should do something like that. Empty all these ‘knitting bags’ all over the place.

  15. In college, my roommate’s dad told us the acronym for academic success: RTFQ, which stands for Read The F-ing Question. It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Read the question and answer that one, not the one you think it should be. Read the directions and do what they say. Simple, yet brilliant.
    Which doesn’t explain why I’m currently re-doing a button band on my latest sweater because I didn’t knit the front according to directions.

  16. I was thinking the gusset just looked like part of the lace pattern. Once is a mistake, repeated is a pattern. On the other hand, if you don’t like it, it’s darn near impossible to force oneself to do it for a whole second sock.

  17. I love how you organized your sock of the month club all for yourself! Awesome Idea! oh and by the way, Thanks for letting me feel like I am not alone in feeling like I am knitting like a ‘rookie’ at times – what am I saying – I am a rookie 🙂

  18. See, if you were as deeply dyed in sin as I, you’d have a better chance. When you first tweeted this notion I thought “Good idea.” My friend Sue, though, bustled around and put together six (as Sock Club does) kits. Inspired, I did the same thing — except that in looking for the yarns and patterns I eventually came up with six pairs of semi-completed socks — often with the first one completely done. (Attention span of a gnat.) So if it’s a short/full/frustrating month I could grab a partly-done bag. In reality, though, I’m going to try to alternate. Finishing a pair means I get to cast on a new pair. What? It could happen.

  19. It’s so nice of you to admit your mistakes – makes all the rest of us feel so much better about ours! Nice cupboard, too.

  20. I spent a recent Sunday afternoon getting reacquainted with my stash. I didn’t get as far a creating a line up of kits but I may take your lead and at least make a list of projects and the associated yarn so that I don’t develop a case of amnesia every time I’m near a yarn store.

  21. Guilty! Failure to read is the reason I have been working on a single lovely sock since January 3. My geek husband would say “RTFM” (read the *** manual). Thanks so much for the link to the sock pattern. I notice from their home page that Oceanwind Knits are donating a portion of pattern sales to MSF this month, too. Bonus!

  22. If my family saw your nice neat cupboard they would rag on me for weeks about the state of my stash. Please post a picture of your real stash so I can show them I’m not the only one with several stacked containers, bags, or whatever will hide/protect my yarn.
    Love the socks even with the mistake.

  23. My deadline for almost anything these days, work, home, knitting, etc. is “ASAP”. Loosely translated, means After September, April Probably.

  24. Ah, yes, failure to read.
    It strikes everywhere, not just in knitting. (I say this from sad experience as a teacher of 9th grade English who is still recovering from a month of grading research papers and mid-year exams. Oy vey!)

  25. My own recent FTR (all the instructions for the next 4 inches) was triggered by Failure to Stop Doing 132 Other Things While Figuring Out a New (To Me) Pattern. Happily, the MDK one-piece baby kimono is tiny, so there just wasn’t that much knitting to rip back.

  26. Failure to read? It happens. I usually fail to count. Simple math often escapes me, and not just while I’m knitting.

  27. I’ve only been knitting for about 3 years and am very guilty of “Failure to Read” many, many times. I’m so glad I’m not the only one this happens to and that it can happen even after you’ve been knitting for years.

  28. Totally gave up on the reading thing years ago, and now stick everything into an Excel spreadsheet, to make sure nothing sneaks up on me! I have even spotted mistakes in the pattern this way.
    Of course, then I screw up the gauge instead, but at least once I’ve fixed that, I’m good to go!

  29. You are so totally right. And knitting while tired and distracted isn’t a good idea either. Case in point – I was knitting on my Nutkin socks last night and I had already knit the leg and turned the heel. For whatever reason I was wondering why I only knit the pattern on one needle after turning the heel (socks done top-down) after a little while I looked at my socks and realized that I was knitting the foot and had totally put the lace pattern on the bottom as well as the top of the foot as if I was knitting the leg again. **headdesk**
    In short, I feel your pain.

  30. But somehow, these things do have a purpose in the world. See–if all of this had gone easily, you may not have mentioned the Sleep Hollow socks. And I wouldn’t have been able to make them for my sis who lives in the next town over from Sleepy Hollow (my nieces both go to Sleep Hollow High). Your pain is my gain!!! Although now I’m a little intimidated by the pattern and will definitely read the whole thing.

  31. P.S. You couldn’t have picked a better colorway. It’s very reminiscent of those first glowing days of spring looking out at the Hudson River. The green, the blue, the gray–just perfect.

  32. OK, you lost me at the second paragraph! 🙂 I, being a weaver, can’t put 12 projects in ziploc bags of any kind. (Well maybe those huge blanket ziplocs) I’m jealous…

  33. I admire your ability to accept the blame. Me? I’d be all, “What is this designer THINKING? Doesn’t s/he know there is a WAY to MAKE a heel without mucking it up and being CREATIVE? I don’t need no stinkin’ INNOVATION! I need a HEEL!”
    Then I rip and re-do. You have obviously matured more than I.

  34. Well, your reading and sock troubles aside, I must say I am SO IMPRESSED with your organization of your own personal sock club. I’m a professional organizer and I think that you have created a brilliant idea not just for sock projects, but for storage of other small knitting projects as well. Very impressive. Nice cupboard too. Okay, maybe I get WAY to excited over organizing ideas but I just LOVE this sock club one of yours!!

  35. Just last week one of our newest knitters (and a new knitter) asked me how on earth I made my socks. I told her: “I followed the directions!” She looked heartbroken. The irony of your being a writer has not been lost on The Blog.

  36. EXACTLY! Failure to read. That’s all my problem is when it comes to patterns. Simple. Simple. Simple. And yet, I still do it. The worst part is that there is NO ONE to blame but yourself. The pattern is fine. The yarn is great. The knitter? Oh, she’s the one bashing her head against the wall… Again. :)K

  37. Despite all the problems you’re encountering with those socks, I think the personnal sock club is a brilliant idea! I might steal it.

  38. re: Failure to read..
    PREACH IT SISTER!! I do this every. single. time. I go through a pattern. End up ripping back and fixing it. Holy shmoly. I’m an educated woman, and I have proof of this fact. You’d think it might come in handy once in a while. Cripes!!

  39. We had a related incident at our place recently. We bought a new fridge, and the delivery guys were supposed to change the door so that it opened on the other side. The first crew that came said they didn’t have the right tools. The second crew managed to change the hinge on the door, but couldn’t move the handle, and said the door was defective. They also missed a step because after they left and we filled the fridge, the door wouldn’t close unless we lifted it up from the bottom first. A new door was on order. My husband swore we would never buy that brand again.
    Then last Saturday, my friend Carol visiting from Winnipeg and I wer sitting in the kitchen drinking tea, and she says: ” I’ve changed a fridge door before.” So we got out the manual and fixed the handle and the sagging with a wrench and a screwdriver. No need for special tools. Nothing wrong with the door. The two delivery crews simply hadn’t read the instruction manual…

  40. yep – shamelessly ripping off you and the other posts about a personal sock club. GREAT IDEA. Actually, personal PROJECT club will get me going – too many unfinished. Power through for 2010.

  41. Let us take moment to at least acknowledge how perfectly you paired that yarn with that pattern. Those are going to be fabulous socks when done!

  42. Hmmm… I think it’s simultaneously reassuring to know that I’m not the only one, and a bit scary to think that even 36 years of experience doesn’t cure one of this particular problem. You’d think we’d learn, wouldn’t you?
    We used to be given this “test” in about 7th grade, where the teacher would hand out this piece of paper with tons of instructions on it, the first of which was 1. Read all of the instructions before doing anything else. Then it went on to 2. Put your name on top of the paper, 3. Fold down the right top corner; and it continued through all kinds of spindling and mutilating (“Punch a hole in the middle of the paper with your pencil”), until you get to the last instruction which was, “Disregard all instructions except numbers 1 and 2”. And you’re all sitting there with a paper punched all to heck, knowing that there’s no way to hide from the teacher that you didn’t Read. The. Instructions. First.
    And I *still* haven’t learned.

  43. My problem…I make a mistake in almost everything I knit. A wrong-crossed cable, a white stitch where a black stitch should be, too many rows, wrong measuring…you name it, I’ve probably done it. But I’m not a perfectionist and most of the stuff is for me. So, who cares? Certainly not me:-)
    As for your sock club, wonderful idea. I started my own sock club last year by picking 12 yarns and throwing their names into an envelopes. No patterns, just yarns. I think I got as far as July before life turned against me. Gardening, summer evenings, sweaters…life derailed my club.

  44. See – a rookie doesn’t know that it’s really hard to go purl to purl on dpns without having a wicked ladder (at least if you’re me.) A rookie wouldn’t know to slide that bad boy over to the other needle to avoid that crap.
    Holy crap. Really. Why didn’t I think of that???

  45. Sounds like my never-ending aran socks. Which I’ve been knitting and ripping and knitting again on and off (mostly off) for over 5 years.

  46. Stephanie, you are an enabler. I suddenly feel that I must leave work NOW, go home, dump ALL my yarn on the floor (and boy, do I have a lot), and make up my own 2010 Knitting Club Projects. That strange obsessive feel I get when I see a new yarn or pattern I must have, is slowly creeping over me. Evil, I say to you. BUT OH SO FUN! Thanks for feeding the obsession.

  47. Thank you. I have run into FTR a few times myself. And the weird state of forgetting how to knit. :/ Does it bother you that I find it reassuring that you do too sometimes? I did think, however, that FTR was something that men have trouble with more than women do. Or does that pertain only to assembly instructions? LOL

  48. I hear you loud and clear. It’s not just the reading. It’s the voice in my head that tells me that I don’t need to read the directions. How do I shut that off? I just ripped back the Aragorn sock I am knitting for the third time because I keep forgetting to pay attention/read the instructions. I’m getting ready to put in a lifeline. I need to sit down with a beer and have a serious chat with myself.

  49. You know, I just this week had a similar incident with a sweater and I’m also not a rookie and I was so dejected. And I thought, if this had happened to you, you’d surely blog it and I’d feel better and know it didn’t make me a terrible knitter just because my sweater would fit an Amazon across the shoulders (which I am not). And now here you are.
    But. The sweater is still in time out, to think about it’s bad behavior and what it would like to do differently next time, but really, I know it’s my bad behavior. And that lyin’, stinkin’ (ahem, too tiny) gauge swatch.

  50. Maybe you could change your resolution to an AVERAGE of one pair of socks per month?
    That way, when you finish this pair, you could swing right into another pair, and be finished WELL before the end of February, at which point, you wouldn’t have finished two months of the year, and you would have two pair of socks knit!
    Yes, I know the definition of “rationalize!”
    The socks look great until you get to the heel flap. Good luck!

  51. You cannot be held responsible for pattern instructions written in linguo-morphic ink. How can you be expected to read instructions that change from English to Greek and back in the middle of a sock?!

  52. that is an amazingly neat and organized stash closet. and i love the idea of your personal sock club – i can’t afford to sign up the rockin sock club, but i’ve got enough sock yarn for year’s worth of monthly socks. problem solved (ish)!

  53. I make kits like that, too, right when I buy the yarn. It doesn’t stop the attention-deficit startitis, but at least I can remember what I bought stuff for. Most of the time.
    I read pattern instructions out loud to myself. Sometimes it saves me silly mistakes, but only sometimes.

  54. I have no sympathy for you on the Tina hoarding bad pictures of you thing. You know why.

  55. My Mom always bought these great quilting books, but she didn’t read them, just looked at the photos. I’d see her quilting and say “Hey! Try this, it’s an easier way of doing that.” She’d just ask where I learned that and I’d tell her that it was from that new quilting book of hers. She’d laugh and say, “I don’t buy them to read, I just look at the pretty photos!”

  56. You summed it up so nicely. Must read. Oy! Easier said then done, right?! Your personal sock club looks so pretty! I’m worried I would lose those plastic bags somehow! And I can’t finish a pair of socks by Sunday. Hmmm…maybe my club could only have 11 months in it!
    I have complete faith you will have these socks done though!

  57. Hey, I kinda made up my own sock club too. Only I’ve challanged myself to knit TWO pair every month. Because I’m stupid. I’m actually on track, sort of, though. I’m a little behind but only because I decided against knitting a Cookie A pattern while on vicodin (don’t ask).
    Whenever I get annoyed at knitting for a while I pick up one of your books and that usually does the trick in a few minutes. You’re a huge inspiration to me. Thank you for that!

  58. Thank you for this most comforting post … I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who sometimes forges ahead without reading the pattern … you are such a comfort.

  59. Sorry for your pain! But thanks for sharing it! I am so glad that this sort of thing happens to an experienced knitter like you! I just taught myself the toe-up magic loop method (if it’s magic, how bad can it be?)…man, oh man… I was cursing! Ripped it back a million times until I got it. And now I am trying myself at my first lace shawl (“I need a challenge!” I said). What was I thinking?

  60. Oh man, I know your pain. My kids needed socks for skiing (having put their toes thru the pairs I made them only two years ago… never mind that their feet have grown between 3 and 7 sizes since then).
    Just plain, vanilla socks. I grabbed the bamboo needles out of my cup on my desk and started knitting. I mean… I only BUY bamboo needles in size 1, so when they felt a little … funny… I just assumed it was an odd skein of yarn.
    Knit them to length, try them on, kid. Fit! Yay! Then I washed them. And they grew 4 inches.
    I’m puzzled… I put the needles in a gauge. Size THREE! Where did these come from? No one knows, apparently if you put bamboo needles in a coffee mug full of change, they get fatter.

  61. Oh, yes, failure to read. The reason why, just last night, I wrote a designer questioning her gauge specifications in a pattern, only to realize when she responded this afternoon (far more patiently than I deserved, I might add) that I had, of course, failed to read that one gauge listing was for stockinette and the other for knitting in pattern. Sigh. Hopefully embarrassment will be at least a bit of a teacher for me? Nothing else has worked, obviously.

  62. Lovely system – very Martha! Love the yarn and the pattern. I’m screwing up a pair of KAL socks right now (thanks Knitter’s Brewers!). I too have issues with purls at the beginning of the row on DPNS. Doesn’t work.
    BTW – what is the lovely copper stuff on the third shelf?!?!??!

  63. When faced with that gusset I’d have said “That’ll even out with wear” and carried on. I’ve been deluding myself with that sentence for a couple of years now and since I rarely ever finish a project, let alone wear it, it’s hard to say if I’m even a little bit right. I’ll let you know…someday…

  64. Thank you, I feel better now about the sock I had to rip out cos I messed up the heel twice in a row. :~(

  65. It’s the same thing with any skill. Read, double check (aka, read again), and then check midway through (fit, how something tastes, etc.). I see it all the time with cooking and at least as often with knitting. Such a small thing reading.

  66. I love your cupboard and the idea of making kits, that would be so useful and so now I think I must try to do the same.
    I’ve always found when it comes to reading is that I love to skip ahead and assume that I know whats happening and I’ve had it come to bite me later, so now I really try to read through a pattern/recipe once or twice before actually doing…but oh it’s hard sometimes.
    I love the sock pattern with that color, beautiful.

  67. Sometimes even if you read you get skunked. I bought a pattern from one booth at Stitches East and some incredibly inexpensive baby alpaca lace weight at another. The pattern said lace weight. Three months later, 3/4 of the way through the lace shawl, I spot the yarn called for in the pattern on the web and it’s not listed as lace weight at all. It’s listed as sport weight!! Even with severe blocking I suspect my grand daughter will get my beautiful lace shawl.

  68. Failure to read is right up there with failure to observe… The sweater is too small, the vest is too long, the sock is just too big. I think it’s a human thing.
    This year I made myself a “thing club”. Ready to go projects of socks, hats, scarves, vests and shawls. Some charity and gift knitting mixed in with my personal projects. All in ziplocks… I even wound the yarn as a sign of my New Year’s resolution commitment. Then I went out and bought some yarn and made myself a sweater. So much for commitment and resolve.

  69. LOL at the acronyms! In tech we use PICNIC – problem in chair not in computer. Could we modify PIKNIP – problem in knitting not in pattern???? Starting last November, I ripped, ripped I shout, not tinked, not frogged, a whole sweater just before I cut the steek (tried it on for the first time – too small), 1 scarf twice, 2 hats 1 each, another scarf just recently 3 times, and threw the whole thing across the living room, almost hitting Brian Williams NBC news, on the nose. Entrelac is in time out for a very long time. I also tried to help with dinner that night, and was showing off my flipping skills and flipped the whole pan of sauteeing pasta and veggies onto the stove top. Fortunately we have a glass top stove, and my DH poured me some vodka, and I retired to the LR. All of this has been digitally recorded by DH, probably for future blackmail. Loving it all. Thanks for the chuckle! Steph

  70. My sock club this year at this point involves knitting one pair of socks! I never knitted socks before, so I truly am a rookie! I still don’t read patterns properly though even though there’s no chance I actually know what I’m doing….!

  71. You make me feel like maybe I’m not a total idiot. If you can mess up, I am in good company. I make the very same kinds of screw-ups. Been knitting 22 years.

  72. I know what this is — a lesson in humility. All of us have been there, but not everyone recognizes it as that. Some recognize it as the pattern has an error, etc.
    Isn’t it great to know we’ve all been in that boat. Thanks for making me feel “regular.”

  73. Received your calendar for Christmas. Read the whole thing at once. discovered the marvelous sock club idea and set about immediately! Have January socks nearly finished, a Fair Isle that looks rather Moorish, in deep purple and wisteria. Yea, I do like rather ‘forward’ colors. What made ya ask? Anyway, thanks for a super idea. Zip locks are all loaded into a pillowcase so I can’t peek. Also because my tiny house has very little storage room. Oops, didn’t mean to write a whole chapter! Hugs to you and yours.

  74. Not only is it failure to read, it’s failure to believe those directions are somehow different from what I assume I know. I mean come on, I’ve knit a number of pairs of socks. A heel is basically a heel, right? Wrong. Failure to believe the directions are meant for me. And sometimes my failure to believe is repeated more than once. ON THE SAME PATTERN!

  75. I love your new white cupboard – so organized! It beats my system of shoving yarn in various bags behind the sofa so none of my family members find it. Recently, my husband lost his glasses and was wondering aloud about looking under said sofa, and I just about tackled him to get there first….

  76. I’m so glad that you ‘fessed up about your knitting. It helps to know that you, my knitting guru, make mistakes and rip out and start again. Sometimes my yarn is so fuzzy from ripping out that it looks totally different from when I started with it! Oh well – learning, yeah, that’s what it’s all about.

  77. There is a term I have heard technical support folks use: “Error occurred between brain and hands”.
    Also, I had a biology teacher who threatened to write “read the question” on a giant inflatable hammer and beat us all about the head with it until we quit answering stuff that wasn’t in the original question. Failure to read again.

  78. Well, I did the same stupid when I didn’t read the instructions for my Pomme de Pin socks (see my blog for photos n’such), and instead of doing a tubular cast off like the instructions clearly stated, I went and did a regular one, and it was too tight to boot! I had to pick out my woven in end and get my mom to rip out the cast off edge, so I could pull it back one more row and do a kitchener stitch cast off.
    And THEN, on the second sock, which I finished in record time, I didn’t cut a long enough tail for my kitchener cast off, and had to tie some more yarn onto the end! Oi! I feel for ya! Hang in there though, and I suggest some Bond to go with the “socks that loved me” theme!

  79. Love your own sock club idea. I might try it with other projects since I don’t knit socks (I’m afraid I’ll become an addict).

  80. I completely agree with Kathy’s answer:
    “Option 4: cut yourself some slack. Perhaps this January can borrow a few days from February for the sake of your socks and your sanity.”

  81. Had a similar experience on about four different projects recently.
    Seems my knitting mojo died completely.
    Solution: Garter stitch.

  82. You know what would be a GREAT post? Choosing sock yarn to go with sock patterns. Obviously personal preference etc etc blah blah blah, but I’m finding I am drawn to colorful sock yarn, but also to complex patterns (got a Cookie A book this year and am excited to try them ALL), but I also find that colorful yarn + tricky pattern = WAY too much going on at the ankle level.
    So maybe that’s all there is to say, but I bet you could say more than that and it would be both fun to read AND informative.

  83. “The canopy of the stash.” Lovely and so descriptive.
    The sad thing is that when I catch FTR I am usually in such a good mood, really happy and excited to be knitting this new project with this great yarn. Off I go, clickety-clack, and then, “Whaaaa? What’s going on?” . . . sigh.
    It was SO calming to hear that you still make rookie mistakes. I’ve been knitting furiously for about 2 years and at times feel like I can’t remember anything. A friend of mine insists we’re too old to learn anything new. NOT!
    I do the kit thing too. For larger projects I use those clear, zippered boxy bags that you get when you buy blankets, comforters, nice sheet sets, curtains, etc. They sit on shelves a treat and sometimes you can face the pattern out so you can see it at a glance. If I am undecided about exactly which design I want to use I simply keep a photocopy of each pattern in the kit. (Sometimes the driving force of the project is the yarn, sometimes it’s the pattern.)
    One question – How do you keep the moths away from your stash that is out in the open? Trained attack cats? Copious amounts of cedar oil? It’s too cold for moths in Canada? Enlighten us, Your Harlotress.

  84. HAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Failure to read??!!!! Is that like Failure to communicate (to those married people out there??!!)
    Been there (both) done that! Is there a cure?
    If I had not had too much Scotch, I’d have signed up for Sock Camp. Hey, hubby can fish with his family in Texas, why can’t I knit socks? Anyone with an answer???

  85. Two weeks ago, my friend and I sorted our sock yarn and picked yarn for our socks of the month club. She is fast and good. She is finished through February. I want to know, do mini-socks qualify as socks ?

  86. love your failure to read. Reminds me of the “Yarn Harlot” book. I loved your book by the way. I’ve read it a bunch of times and still pick it up when I need to laugh.

  87. Dude. You are AWESOME! I love this Make-Your-Own-Kit idea! The awesomeness of this idea totally distracts from those monster ladders. I am already happily planning to embark on kit-making tomorrow. It did briefly occur that if it were me, I would have rewound the yarn whilst cursing viciously, and crammed it down into the bottom of the closet never to be spoken of again. The thought of all that ripping back…. You are clearly made of sterner stuff than I.

  88. Ah, but that’s only half of the warning. The full warning is:
    If all else fails, read the directions. If that still doesn’t work, try following them.
    Thanks for reminding us of these perils! And good luck on the second sock.

  89. The yarn looked so so, in the picture, but the socks are BEAUTIFUL made with that yarn. The design is awesome.

  90. I have the SAME problem. Did it a week or so ago when I cast on Central Park Hoodie on the wrong size needles and didn’t realize it until I’d almost finished 4″ of ribbing. Ripped, reknit on the right size needle, finished that piece and did the same thing with the next piece. I feel ya 🙂

  91. Kits!!! Yes!!! I have been making lists of future designs i already have partially written, but some of them are very kit-a-ble even at this stage!
    How much easier to have them right near my chair (I have trouble getting around the house).
    Re: rookie knitting, I find the more I have on my mind, the harder it is to focus and the easier it is to do something bass ackward.

  92. I am somewhat of a “rookie” because I was totally lost as I tried to wade through all the abbreviations related to sock knitting. I, too, have an aimless and varied stash. Will be looking here for inspiration. I love to read your blog. And am having trouble with whether to knit or keep reading. Thanks.

  93. Kits! I love that idea! I think I’ll try to put some together this week! Will only make 11 so I can start in Feb. No need to drive myself crazy trying to get the first one finished in two days!
    Thanks for the great idea! :o)

  94. I’m finding that despite the number of socks I’ve knit, I always figure out (the hard way) that I’ve got more to learn. I always make some sort of mistake (of course, I usually tell myself the reason for this is because I’m not the Yarn Harlot who rarely, if ever, makes a mistake).
    I think this is what keeps sock-knitting interesting. Yeah, that’s what we tell ourselves, anyhow, after we’ve ripped for the third or fourth time.
    Good luck with getting them done! I know you’ll rise to the challenge! You always do!

  95. i wish i had enough space/could afford to have that much stash that in needed organization.
    color me jealous ms. pearl-mcphee.
    ps, good sock.

  96. This is precisely why we love you! You do what we do, but when you do it, it’s funny. When we do it, not so much. But when it happens again, we have your story on which to draw sustenance and determination to continue. That’s huge, you know. Thanks so much.
    And I’d say starting by the end of the month is just about as good as finishing. What with the crazy trauma of 2009 and the time spent with KWB counting up money. I’d give you a pass on that.
    Oh, yes, and getting those sweet sock kits together and tidy.

  97. My own stash attack involves reaching right to the back of the drawer (where the old stuff has been pushed) and knitting what I find. I can usually remember buying it but can’t recall the pattern that I thought would be a killer with it. If I’d put the pattern and yarn together then four years down the line I’d still have the combination that I’d planned.
    If you work on an average of a sock a month you’ll soon pull it back, just pretend that the sock club was late in the post next month.

  98. To all own-sock-club members, read your calender: February 28. Do I need to say more? And Lora at 8.41: tiny feet need tiny socks, question answered.

  99. To all own-sock-club followers, read your calender(instructions) February 28, need I say more. Lora at 8.41 tiny feet need tiny socks, question answered.

  100. I know it’s caused you pain and angst, but could I say how consoling it is to me that you have a ladder on your sock?
    Am sulking because I looked at Camp Cattywampus and I can’t go for several entirely watertight reasons: 1) I have no money. 2) I am not on that particular continent. 3) I have a small and clingy dependent who removes socks from their needles because I’m fool enough to use cute teddy-shaped DPN huggers. 4) I have a BFC tutorial that exactly clashes with those dates, even assuming points 1-3 had been made to evaporate.

  101. I love your sock club idea. My Mum is a scrapbooker and she uses the same concept. I think it’s called Power Layouts. I think of it as doing all the thinking at one time, and then leaving the doing for another day. I was just going to say that the thinking is the hard part, but you’ve proven that to be a myth, the doing requires thinking too! I think your socks will be terrif, by the time you get everything straightened out.

  102. Purling at the beg. of a needle using dpns. I had the same ladder problem. For years, I rearranged sts. to avoid it. Then one day I got stubborn and examined the problem.
    The thing is, in purling the first stitch, the yarn has much farther to travel, hence the ladder. After playing around here is what I now do and it works a treat (in fact I am knitting a sock right now with purl at the beg. of all the needles)
    Instead of bringing your new needle from underneath the last needle as usual, bring it over the top of the last needle. The yarn now has less distance to travel (in fact less than for a regular knit stitch) When you work the second st. on the needle, you’ll see that it is really easy to snug up the first stitch. Voila! No ladders.
    (I hope that makes sense… so easy to show, so hard to describe!)
    I am quite sure, in the word of EZ, that I “unvented” this.

  103. The kit idea is awesome! I don’t have that much sock yarn but I do have lace yarn for scarves etc.
    WOW I am going to go organize.
    And READ!

  104. My own personal sock club exists as vividly in my imagination as your photo of Joe’s sock. Sometmes I’m really surprsed it isn’t sitting there all lined up on the shelf, just like yours.

  105. I have been feelng badly that my stash was so large that I could not justify joining a sock club. You have given me the great idea of making my own kits. Thanks!

  106. hahaha…I am so there with you on reading directions. Last week I started the k2p2 stocking hat that you gave us directions for. Just started knitting at number 1, knit maybe 6 rows before I realized that this was going to be one short little hat and didn’t I read somewhere that this hat was going to be long but “just roll with it”? Oh yeah, right before I start the decrease rows I should probably k2p2 rib for 30 cm. Hmmmmmm……

  107. Everytime you knit badly, you are an inspiration to other knitters who have ever knit badly (i.e. all knitters). I mean that as a complement. If you can screw up occcasionally but still turn out the beautiful FOs that you do, maybe we all can. The socks look as if they will be beautiful when they are done 🙂

  108. I absolutely love your idea about a personal sock club. Every time I look at the sock club information I’m tempted, but two things dissuade me. First of all, it’s pretty expensive. Second, I’m so afraid I’d get yarn I didn’t love, or patterns I didn’t really want to do. With a personal sock club, it would be yarn I picked out and patterns I picked out, and probably would be less expensive to boot. I am so going to rip you off on this one. Then come time for Christmas knitting the socks will be nearly done!

  109. I’m sure you will whiz through the second sock. 🙂 Note: the toe is a little different, too. Sorry, my mother always told me I was complicated.

  110. I have the yarn in ziplocs(that’s how I store mine); now I need to pick patterns. However, I am on sock 2 of my Lenore pattern socks(S.P-M)-love the pattern for it’s symmetry AND my Socks That Rock January kit is winging its way to my house. I’m sorry for your gusset problems. However, the universe is in balance. In my 2 year sock knitting life, I have never before achieved such beautiful pick up and knit gussets. They are so lovely(I think) that I keep looking at them and grinning. I’m also sure that things will tilt your way soon. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  111. Sort of like that old quiz with 40 questions and the last one tells you to write your name at the top and leave the rest of the questions unanswered. I failed that one miserably, sadly, more than once.

  112. Have to ask. What is all that lovely yarn 2 shelves down from the sock kits. I NEED it even if only to look at rather than knitting with it.

  113. Now this is scary … last night, after reading this entry, I was working on turning the heels on a pair of socks from a favourite pattern I’ve used three times before with no problems. At least I only had to tink back six rows when I realized that the first heel was seriously off-centre … somehow my first row was a number of stitches that didn’t exist anywhere in the pattern.
    I don’t think it was you though … I was watching my newly-acquired season 4 DVD of Jonathan Creek and I’m sure it’s got evil number-confusing mind control built into it. ’cause it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with being distracted by a complex mystery plot …

  114. I think we have all run into “Failure to Read” at some point. I have one other idea though. That yarn just doesn’t want to be those socks. I have had sock yarn that refused to be two different patterns. The third pattern after a waiting period was the charm. Good luck.

  115. I have found that it isn’t the reading that is my problem, it is that I need to actually “Do What It Says” instead of doing what I think it says. This has gotten me into trouble on many occasions. Live and learn over and over and over….

  116. Oh… hasn’t that happened to ALl of us! Well, at least the time you lost was time spent knitting, so not all bad. Wish I could go to sock camp. I spent my knitting retreat money this year on a four-day ski camp at home here in Jackson Hole. (Wasn’t really “camp” though because I still had to come home every night and cook dinner and do laundry.) Then this past Tuesday, just after the week of ski camp ended and I had become Tawanda Of The Mountain, I completely blew out my knee with a stupid, stupid fall. Ligaments, bones, you name it. No more skiing this year. Surgery Monday. Rehab for six months. At least I don’t knit with my knees. I’ll be having my own private retreat right here on the couch.

  117. I am still fighting with a “purl to purl” on dpns so that I don’t end up with a ladder. I’ll get it yet! Love the pattern and the yarn – and the fact that you are still soldiering on and haven’t thrown everything into the bottom of a well.

  118. Just a note commenting on your January 28th 2010 Page a Day Calendar. I do believe that the Semites had writing before the Islamic writing came about, that also is written from right to left.

  119. Yep, you’ve nailed it! Reading—or lack thereof. My daughter urged me to tell you the felted hat story. I too have 30+ years of knitting history, and knit up a Fiber Trends hat for my daughter for Christmas. It seemed to go unusually fast, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, when we felted it, the thing turned out so weirdly shaped, I couldn’t even blame it on the front-loader. After going line-by-line over the pattern, I realized I had skipped a entire section of instructions! Didn’t even read them! How the heck? I re-knit the hat, but my husband claimed the failed one, so I can’t even get rid of it! He looks like he’s wearing an old WWI helmet!

  120. Sock club! What an amazing concept. Way too much sock stash in my house, so I’m going to sign off now and go look for those Ziploc bags…Thank you SO much!! Ann

  121. Hey, I do that too, getting everything together in a ziploc and I (in my head) call it “packaging up”. As in…”I need to package up 2 new sweater projects to take on vacation”, or “I need to package up 5 socks for that trip.” I love the idea of a sock club for 1.

  122. Your own sock club! What a GREAT idea!!!
    Good luck with fixing that bad boy. (Do you resort to using magic loop or two circs to get rid of the ladders? I have thought about that recently, but I loves my dpns…)
    Knit on, dude.

  123. Those socks are beautiful, even with boo-boos. You should join our Rav group “2010 Pair A Month KAL” – we used your idea for the “sock club”, and we’re helping keep each other on track. Believe it or not, I actually finished 2 pairs for January!

  124. What a great idea- I save my quilt projects in pizza boxes so everything is together-never thought to do that with my yarn- duh! Thanks for the kick. love the color of the yarn

  125. Failure to read — oh yes, been there, done that, said the bad bad words, ripped back, and repeated entire process …… hang on in there.

  126. The astute among us can also spot a BMFA label in that cabinet but find the other labels too small to see what’s in there.

  127. Rotten bit of luck by randomly picking the hardest for the first month of the year but perhaps February will turn out to be a sinch?
    I’m hoping that will be the case for you at least because afterall February is a short month.
    Really, really hope your draw is better next time.
    Luve you, xox

  128. Just a bit of fellow feeling here. I spent most of my knitting time the last two days knitting the 1st turn on EZ’s Rib Warmer wrong. Try one thing it’s wrong. Tink. Try something else. Tink. Finally reread the directions yet again and a major Doh!. I’ve been somehow misunderstanding the words Knit Back. Real talent, right? Finally have the first turn going correctly. Now all I have to do is the 2nd turn in the correct direction.
    PS Love the sock club idea. I may use it for more than just my tub of sock yarn.

  129. Is this how guys feel when they never read directions (or maps)? If so, they’d never admit it, and I’d be willing to bet that NONE of them would ever blog about it!
    So, are the socks done? Worth it? Can we see?

  130. On my fifth pair of socks I decided to experiment with two circulars and I accidently wound up with all the stiches on one circular. (this was not FTR but rather FTT – failure to think) thereby giving myself the opportunity (necessity?) to try magic loop. Turns out I love it! It also eliminates the gap between needles problem because your last set of stitches are on the cable as you start onto your new needle and the final stitch pulls in tighter as you move across. No gaps! If I remember correctly there’s a video about it, either Knitpicks or YouTube. But like a previous writer I also “go over the top” with dps.
    I was showing a young “I’ve-only-ever-made-scarves” friend how to make socks at the same time as introducing her to what’s on the Knitter’s Net. Your blog was perfectly timed. With every mistake on her sample sock she reminded herself that even the YH screws up from time to time! Thank you. BTW, love the yarn!

  131. I teach English to 7th graders, I talk all about careful reading, re-reading, blah, blah, blah. Have I done very similar things to your sock fiasco? Oh gosh yes. Glad to know you are human. (Wicked cool sock club thing, wish I could ever be that organized…)

  132. What the heck is wrong with us anyways. The sleeves for a sweater I knit, both at the same time and for goodness sake they ended up long enough for a person with arms down to their knees!!! I think we go out to la la land with this kintting zone we get into . Doesn’t take much for me to get there lately–me thinks I’ll stick to scarfs for awhile till this zombie like state passes and I’ll even READ the pattern for said object. thanks for the chuckle and your socks are going to survive and be quite beautiful

  133. I am new to knitting, most I have knitted was scarfs and dish cloths, I am in process to trying to knit socks.I live in a rual area and self taught knitter and love it. How can I join your sock club so I can learn more on how to make socks and to know what kind of yarns to get. I will more likely have to order my yarns. I live at least an hour from a craft store of any kind. I do enjoy knitting. I like your idea on how to place your project in zipoc bags.

  134. I don’t think that failing to read is a rookie mistake! A rookie would read every word but perhaps not understand what she’s reading. You have made a “pride goeth before a frog” mistake. It’s “I’ve knit so many socks that I DON’T HAVE TO READ the instructions.”

  135. I love your blog, was afraid there in December, when the “troubles” were happening that you were going to say your blog was stopping. I started knitting last Jan. and found your blog like in Feb enjoy it so much. Love you cupboard!

  136. We must be related! Both being from the “No rookie, but still..”- clan.
    The kit was a scaringly good idea! (it would show off how many random plans I’ve had over a few months–

  137. Hope this helps cheer you up. I am knitting a sweater from the top down and have been working on the second sleeve while I am catching up on your posts. I lost my notes from the first sleeve. I knew the rate of decreasing but couldn’t remember how many rows I had knit so my concern was getting them the same length. I just tried it on. Sleeves are the same length but not the same width. I am doing some deep, calming breathes as I am typing….

  138. I just read your tweet about having to knit 1.5 socks today. The mind boggles. I might have a chance of emulating that if I were knitting for a newborn-anyone else, it’s not happening. It takes me a week to knit a pair of socks and that’s with fairly significant amounts of knitting time. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  139. As I have really become a sock slacker, I love the idea of organizing your own personal Sock Club. This would be fun to do in a group, but then again . . . maybe that would defeat the whole purpose. Personal discipline and all that. Always nice to know you too get the odd Rookie Moment.

  140. AHAHAHA! I knit my first pair of patterned socks for my sister for Christmas. I wrote out the pattern on a piece of paper and carry around with me and checked and re-checked it against the original a few times before being satisfied that I copied it correctly.
    I copied it right, but my FAILURE TO READ the stitch guide led me to only do YO/KTBLs instead of YO/K2Togs on half the pattern. Halfway up the leg (they’re a toe-up pattern), I realized that mine didn’t look like the picture and what was I screwing up? Thankfully, they looked neat, so I just purposefully screwed up the rest of that sock and the second. I look forward to knitting the socks in the correct manner next time 🙂

  141. I really hate that you had a bad knit day, so soon after that bad hair day, BUT it sure made me feel better. Heck, if the YH can have a bad knit day, I must be almost normal! K1, Sl1. Purl. 😎

  142. I know of the pain felt when my brain doesn’t engage – but I find it helpful to remember that some days are like that – even in Australia! Hope you are back to being the knitting goddess. Today I have decided that my new rule is if the pattern seems odd, check to see if I have screwed up. 🙂

  143. Look at what I found! The Lion Brand newsletter has an article: “How to Help Haiti” January 28th, 2010 by Jess
    It says the best thing for knitters and crocheters to do is NOT to donate homemade items, but rather to donate directly to the relief organizations who are on-site, to address basic needs, such as food, shelter, and health care.
    It goes on to list a few of the relief organizations.
    The second on the list is DWB/MSF – and look who is specifically mentioned:
    “Popular knitter and blogger Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is keeping track of how much money crafters have donated to the charity. Read more about her work with Doctors Without Borders here.” (“Here” being a link back to YH’s beginning post/call for Knitters Without Borders.)
    Is this perhaps where TSF got the additional monetary support to put us over the million dollar mark?
    BTW, I donated after the $1,000,110 figure appeared. So the amount really is higher.

  144. In case your fingers have not falling off from knitting a sock and a half in one day… 🙂
    What’s up with the Olympics, or are you still deciding? Just checking in, in case this means I can justify a largish yarn purchase in the next week.

  145. MWA! Yeah. Failure to read. I do that a lot. And not just with knitting, alas – my cooking frequently takes a beating because I read the first couple lines of a new recipe, THINK (although the word ‘think’ and what I’m doing probably shouldn’t be used in the same paragraph here) I know what should happen next, and suddenly I’ve got…red hot vegetarian chili. And it was supposed to be a mushroom risotto or something WAY NOT CHILI like that.

  146. Holy CRAP! That is a BEEOUTIFUL colorway! DAYUM! I’m more of a poke your eyes out the colors are so bright sort of person-but that colorway wants to send me downstairs to dye something. WOWSERS!

  147. As a reading teacher, let me point out that the writer of the pattern could probably have anticipated some of the potential sticky parts of the instructions and used bold or italics or spacing or warnings to help the reader. It’s not like a pattern is a fascinating story plot or anything. Cut yourselves some slack, people!!!

  148. Ha ha, I just learned the purling on dpns thing last month…but I figured it out within two rows when things were looking weird. I’ve since been busy with dpn projects (used to avoid) and have used this little gem of learned information numerous times in the past few weeks–so when you mentioned it, I felt super knitting smart.
    But then I got hung up on a “ssk” the other day…not feeling so much knitting smartness there.
    Good luck fighting through the frustration. 🙂

  149. I feel your pain with the Directions That Shall Not Be Obeyed. Had one of those myself just recently. I went for a warm soak and a lie down until my brain capitulated and decided to work properly again. Good luck wrestling those socks into submission and I love the idea of the sock club. I nearly used your earlier mention of it as a reason to bulk up my sock yarn stash to match my sock pattern stash. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t discover the yarn store gift certificate that was hidden inside another present until after I got back home. 🙂
    (I was wondering, if I haven’t received an e-mail that says my MSF donation has been tallied, is it safe to assume the number on the sidebar will be climbing again?)

  150. Sing it sister- abou tHoarders that is! I swear I’ve gotten rid of more stuff since I ‘ve been watching that show!

  151. Wait, Stefanie, didn’t you know that January lasts until Feb. 4? It works the same as Christmas knitting, which must be done by the 12th day of Christmas, Jan 6.
    Julie in San Diego

  152. Oh Steph, I feel your pain – not being a rookie, but having made the “not reading” mistake because I thought I knew how a pattern would be going without looking at the actual words…….. You’ll get it done, chick, I have every faith in you (and so what if it spills over in to another month – nobody will hold it against you) 🙂

  153. I’m test-knitting a shrug for a friend. I keep assuming I know what’s going on… and the knitting fates keep smacking me. I’ve ripped the same cabled section of sleeve three… or is it four? times now. Have I learned? Probably not.

  154. I love your kit idea, but not enough to face the fact that I could make several years of kits with all the sock yarn in my stash. I’m just not ready to face that particular reality. And, of course, I have six kits coming from the STR club…

  155. I love the made up kits. I hate to be a nay sayer but someone should clue you in. Next month is SHORT. That means less knitting time to meet your goal for Feb.

  156. I also admire your tenacity. After the second rip back, I would have put the whole deal back in the nice and crisp ziplock, needles included, and with absolute disgust, sealed it up for another day. Thanks for the great sock kit idea, though I don’t think all of mine would fit on one shelf like yours, let alone the entire cupboard. Yes, I have a problem 🙂

  157. Read posting, had a good laugh – picked up knitting – and what do you know – my very own ‘failure to read’ event! Reader – I frogged the dratted thing. Stephanie – I am so glad that I am not the only one who fails to read the words sometimes! How is the wild apples sweater coming along – it was so pretty.

  158. Beautiful yarn. I haven’t gone the whole hog with the kits but I do have a basket with the stuff I’m planning on using next.
    Sometimes life’s too fast to waste it reading!

  159. My heart goes out to you! FTR has stricken me also from time to time. And it does not come in isolated instances. When it comes, it seems to attack repeatedly at the same place. I am older than you, so I have covered the obvious: Vision corrected, taken meds, lighting good, environment soothing. So, it just comes down to paying attention. There is no cure. At least it does not happen very often!

  160. I just learned how to do 2(yes 2) socks at one time on 2 circs from the toe up. It does seem to make the knitting go a lot faster and when you are done with one sock you are really done with both !! My friend who taught me this knits 4 socks at a time on 2 circs. My sock knitting just got a lot more efficient so hopefully my sock yarn stash will dwindle down .

  161. PS – I also fail to read. Every mistake in my knitting ever comes down to this simple fail… I am a skim-reader with masses of knitting confidence. This is not as good as being a thorough reader, with a steady attention span and an ability to keep with the programme.
    PPS – Your DIY sock club is AMAZING! Do you sometimes just open the door to look at those nice bags of promise?
    PPPS – the socks are really gorgeous and your description (like hot chocolate after sledding tastes) is just perfect.

  162. About half of my mistakes are failure to read; the other half are failure to write. I like to do my own patterns, especially for things like socks that are small and portable and just made for testing out a stitch pattern or colorwork. So half the time I think it’s so simple, I’ve got this, I don’t need to write it down, and the other half I am smart enough to write it down but dumb enough not to read what I wrote. There may be something to make a person feel dumber than arsing up her own pattern because she didn’t bother to read it, but if so, I don’t know what it is. (If it exists, however, I am bound to find it sometime.)

  163. Oddly enough, I am currently knitting these same socks (in a similar color, no less), and I had a pretty similar experience. After 15 years of knitting, I was totally bamboozed by the heel directions. Not because they are confusing, but just because they are different from normal heels. For no reason except to be contrary and make us all confused, I think. And I feel like I’m going to have to figure it out all over again for the second sock!

  164. I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and have gained so much laughter and inspiration from reading it. I thought you might like to know that I featured a link to your blog in a recent article that I wrote on online networks at I used your blog as an example of an online space that creates a true sense of community.
    Thanks for sharing all of your knitting adventures!

  165. I too love the idea of my own personal sock club. Thanks to your influence I find it very difficult to resist sock yarn and have built up quite a stash – not helped by the fact that my LYS recently moved even closer to my office so I slip in there most days after work. At least with my own sock club I might actually get around to knitting up some of this yarn!

  166. Um, I started my own sock club long before you publicized it. In the past year, I have started 6 different pairs of socks, failed to finish any and each is now tucked into its own plastic bag, complete with a copy of the pattern. Of course, they are all still on the needles, which has led to some unanticipated needle buying, as I go to start the 7th pair…. Wait, you mean the goal is to finish knitting all these socks, not just bag them up?

  167. Personal sock club – what a brilliant idea! I think I know what I’ll be doing tonight – and maybe I’ll manage to get more socks finished this year!

  168. I tried to vow to do a pair of socks a month last year. I made it about halfway through the year and instead of decreasing my sockyarn stash, it ended up growing exponentially.
    This year, however, I had already determined to do it. I have in my mind (mostly) which yarns should go with which patterns, but having them all in ziploc baggies like that is GENIUS. I am so going to do this because it will make the stick-to-it-ivness so much simpler and convenient.

  169. I have no comment to make specifically relating to your blog entry, except that you made me laugh, as you often do. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it. I’m in school full-time, and right now the homework load is really a drain on my spirits. Your humor is a distinct bright spot in my day.

  170. Dear Stephanie,
    You are to be congratulated on getting that bag down in January and starting at all! I have one of those do-it-yourself-sock-clubs (under my bed) from two years ago, with only one pair of socks ever begun. And they are all things I love! It is just too tempting to grab something new.
    The pattern and yarn look lovely, and when you (finally) get them to your satisfaction, they’ll be great.

  171. I love the idea of putting everything together in ziplocks – pattern and all. I don’t have that much sock yarn to do anything like that with, but I think I’m going to steal it for my ‘bigger’ projects that I have yarn for but no pattern – or I forget what pattern I wanted to use for the yarn.

  172. I read this post thinking, “Ah, yes, us knitters can have our heads in the clouds,” while nodding my head serenely. Meanwhile I can’t for the life of me figure out what the eff is going wrong with my Owls sweater: cast on four stitches at each armpit?! What in the world?! After repeated sessions of ripping back, I decide to actually read the pattern. And come to find that c/o means “cast off” and that I am as dense as a board.

  173. I love that idea!!! Guess what I’m doing this weekend?!!! I have SO much sock yarn, my plan was to knit a pair of socks a month. I’m already behind (didn’t get to January), but I figure it will take me about 7 years to knit what I currently have. That doesn’t include all the OTHER non sock yarn either.

  174. Stephanie, I had to laugh when I read your entry yesterday and then (belatedly) yesterday evening ripped a page off my 2010 Never Not Knitting Calendar for Feb 1st:
    ‘Some new knitters look forward to the day when they will no longer make mistakes, and this idea cracks me right up. Experienced knitters don’t make fewer mistakes – they usually make bigger ones faster.’
    Hope things are progressing better on the sock. Not only is your sock club inspiring, BTW, but your organised yarn cupboard, too!

  175. i couldn’t comment right away cause i went into my studio and bagged up 12 different sock projects.. I love that idea! (i only bagged 11, since i’m in the middle of a pair, and it is february after all!

  176. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has knitting issues that seem so BASIC. I decided to try your “pretty thing” cowl pattern and didn’t realize until I was half way finised that I had twisted the stitches when I joined the round…voila, instant fake moibus! And….I was knitting the lace pattern as if I were knitting on straight needles, L to R on one row and R and L to the next. Aaack….I decided just to forge on and finishe it anyway. It looks….interesting…and I’ll wear it, but it in not way resembles the picture on the pattern! 🙂

  177. FTR! I suffer from that. It usually starts at the beginning when I don’t look at the skills involved… which is why I end up sitting at knitting group staring dumbly at a hat and wondering what I can use as a cable needle…. I’m trying to do a project a month club too… good luck.

  178. I’ve done this.
    It’s taken me two days, printing off patterns, turning skeins into two cakes of yarn.
    Packed in to bags.
    And I’ve got 22 packs, and still sock yarn left over.
    Sock yarn is not really stash is it?

  179. What a great way to set up knitting projects. We could even put the bags in the order we mean to tackle them. As far as reading patterns go–the world is now a very small place. Don’t you think it would be great to have standardized abbreviations in knitting instructions? Ah! I’m a dreamer from way back!

  180. I’ve been knitting for nearly seventy years and this evening I started a stupid had FIVE times, all because of failure to read.
    Knit on!

  181. Such a wonderful idea. I never thought of having my own sock club, especially since socks are my favorite thing in the world!! I may have to go through stash and patterns tomarrow!!! Thank You!

  182. I TOTALLY agree about the “failure to read” bit. I call that “user error”. Do it all the time, especially the read a sentence, figure I know the rest, only to find I took a wrong turn.
    I love the homemade kits idea. I’m definitely going to implement that.

  183. FTR- a disease we all come down with from time to time.
    My personal vice- what size am I knitting this in again? Spent today ripping back a cardigan that I thought I’d finished. Went to make it up only to discover that I’d done the right front and one of the sleeves in M and the rest in S. Had most of the rest of it put together before, with a lot of head scratching, I worked out what the hell I’d done. Think it may be consigned to the basket of half finish projects I have fallen out with. I have also been known to change sizes halfway through a piece with crooked results. You’d think I’d learn.
    I was ready to throw a tantrum but your post has made me feel oh so much better- I am not alone! Thanks!

  184. nopressurenopressure…buuuuut, did I miss an official definitive decision on Harlot Knitting Olympics? Will you be casting on? Not expecting any elaborate sign-up or prize distribution, but would love to participate in something Harloty in nature and spirit. (…and possibly have a printed gold medal to knit towards threw the wee hours of the night and when I call in sick on Feb 25th and 26th.)

  185. Stephanie, and anyone else with camera cable issues, get a card reader. It’s the size of a flash drive and plugs into the USB, it fits in my camera case so I always have it, and it cost $7 at Marshall’s. No cables, no getting the computer to recognize the camera – just put the memory card in and go.

  186. I love your idea of making your own sock club. Such a good idea for getting through stash!

  187. No, that’s #2.
    Rule #1 of Knitting is “Don’t panic.” Ever ripped out inches of fabric, only to discover it wasn’t actually wrong? That’s the panicking.
    Rule #2 of Knitting is “Read the pattern. Actually READ it. All the way through. To the end. Yes, really. Now read it again.” Rule #2 is harder, but rule #1 is a savior, too.
    Sorry about your knit-four-times socks. Been there!

  188. Not sure how to break this to you. But the photo of your shelves all neatly arranged? Well, you’re kind of busted. Clearly you aren’t the untidy soul you’ve painted yourself to be. It all looks very orderly and organized to me. Or is it me? Am I just all that messy?

  189. I pulled your Sock of the Month Club tip from my page-a-day calendar as soon as I saw it! I love the idea, and although I don’t have enough socks to make a club of just socks, I *do* have enough WIPs and planned projects to make a Project of the Month Club. It’s really helped (so far …) me finish up some long-languishing WIPs.

  190. Thanks for a great idea. I’ve applied this to my huge list of wips and my current list of I want to knit patterns. This is going to make even my most unloved wips look like new!

  191. You’ve got the #1 cause of knitted crap nailed. And a second is like it:
    #2 Cause of knitted crap:
    Failure to look at what you are knitting
    If we could just learn to read and use our eyeballs on our own work. I suppose it’s a form of meditation: bring your mind back to the knitting. Again. And again. And again.

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