I see what you’re doing

Dear Socks

I don’t know what crap you think you’re pulling, or if you think you’re messing with an amateur or something, but let me tell you. I’m no rookie, and I see what’s happening here.

I’ve been knitting on you way longer than any reasonable pair of socks should take, and I don’t know what you’re doing with all of the stitches and yarn I keep throwing at you, but you can just take this scam you’re running and stuff it.

sockstable 2014-04-23

You should be done. You should have been done yesterday, and I know it, and you know it and I don’t know if maybe you thought that I wouldn’t notice that you were messing with me, but I have raised three teen-aged girls and I have my black belt in spotting sneaky manoeuvres and you aren’t even competing at the Olympic level.

This is the way it’s going to be. I am going to knit on you for one more night, and you can choose what happens next. Either you can decide to be finished, or tomorrow I can take a sharp pair of scissors and cut you into a million pieces.

Your call.

Love (or not, again, that’s up to you.)


87 thoughts on “I see what you’re doing

  1. I’m on the endless scarf, myself (to be fair, it’s linen stitch and 400 stitches/row). I’m nearing the end of the first skein and trying to decide if a skinny scarf is a cop-out or a fashion statement.

    It’s the black hole. You’ve been there before and you know how to get through it.

    • I, too, am working on a linen stitch scarf. Mine has 450 stitches. The only thing holding my sanity together on it is the fact that I put a stitch marker in every 20 stitches with a different colored one every 100. The pattern suggested a marker every 50 stitches. Well, after 20 rows, I got off somewhere and ripped it all out and started over. I’m off to read it this post, substituting “scarf” in the appropriate places.

  2. While I’m nowhere as experienced as you, I had the same problem with the heel flap on the first of a pair of socks. A heel flap! I must have ripped it out four times, then progressed to the heel and gusset, only to discover I’d confused some stitches and had to rip all of it out yet again. It straightened up after that, but only after I threatened to rip it all out and make fingerless gloves. Perhaps it’s an international uprising.

    • Don’t know if this will suit your personality, or the way you wear socks, but I made the decision early on not to be a perfectionist about socks. An astonishing number of people will not, on seeing a brief glimpse of my socks between jeans and shoes, notice a twisted stitch, a mistake in the ribbing, or that spot on the sole of the foot where things went very wrong with carrying the yarn across a narrow stripe to the next of that color.

      If the socks go on, and feel comfortable…they’re good enough for me. My socks have improved, my feet are happy, and I don’t get as frustrated as when I tried for perfection (and failed. Always.)

  3. I just caught the sock knitting bug, so I’m sort of looking forward to having socks mess with me. I do have a cardigan that good use a good lecture, but then I do keep tarting off to other projects, so perhaps I need the lecture. πŸ™‚

  4. I prescribe beer, or a nice glass of wine. At least makes the endless sameness less annoying. And possibly watching re-runs of Castle; it’s funny.

    • i love castle! i watch reruns i have seen a million times, just for the atmosphere, to give my day that rosy glow. and it’s great for knitting. of course, it makes my real life look pale by comparison.

  5. The socks are just taking a long time because Joe is gone and time is passing sloooowly. More important did you finish the sweater that you knit twice, once with the wrong pattern and once again using the right one? I never did see you model it and would love to see a shot of how it came out.

  6. Not that I want to play Devil’s Advocate or anything, but I’m kind of rooting for the socks on this one. Actually, what I really want to see is the photos of what happens to the socks after our beloved Harlot has at them with the scissors.

    It’s the idea of the vented frustration taken to it’s extreme and documented for all to see, the expression of what many of us have often thought of doing but never carried out. And the pure satisfaction that goes with it. That’s what I want to see.

    And then, best of all, maybe once an example has been made of the SocksWhoWouldNotBeFinished, future projects will cower in fear lest they be next.

    • *sits down next to Beth after ironically dragging the scissors icon to the circle*

      I, too, want to see the pictures of the Scissored Socks after The Harlot has her way with them. I agree that it could be a lesson to all garments that attempt to misbehave.

  7. Perhaps you and the socks can bond over a good program tonight and there won’t have to be any fiber shed. The cute ones are always high maintenance…

  8. My sentiments exactly for the pair i’m working on right now. Second sock just won’t get finished, even tho I work and work and work on it.

  9. Sometimes I think that our projects unknit themselves in the night, just to mess with our heads. They want us to think that they want to stay with us because they love us. It’s a manipulation, really they are just partying with the WIP in the next bag over.
    Knit with a rotary cutter in your lap. Those suckers will shape up fast.

    • I’ve always suspected that my cat unknits my projects while I’m sleeping. Would also explain the excess of cat hair that I knit into everything I make…

  10. You’ve got a bad case of “grey with a dash of slush” – those socks are the colour of a long winter – they would be knit much faster under sunny skies sitting on a deck surrounded by flowers.

  11. Careful Steph! They are probably hiding the stitches so that when you go to try them on they’ll be YARDS too long even though they measured correctly ten times.

    Sneaky devils.

  12. The NERVE of those socks!

    I have a pair also. They probably know that I’m afraid that they won’t match in size and are preying on me…


  13. Just read this out loud to my son’s sock (aka canoe cover – size 12.5 to 13 US). Now maybe it will lie down and be finished!

  14. Sorry, but I’m pretty sure the socks recognize an empty thread when they hear one. They look pretty sophisticated.

  15. Set those darn socks next to Adriana and appreciate how small they really are. How is Adriana anyway? I’ve been knitting Liesl and the ocean of stockinette goes on and on and on…

  16. I’m still ignoring the vest. Ugh. Your advice about blocking just the curling lower garter edge was sound, and it isn’t curling now. But it’s languishing in a bag, waiting for me to care about it again. And right now, it’s difficult to care about it. Oh well, soon it will be too warm to wear it anyway! πŸ™‚

  17. The sock, the basterd!
    Something similar just happened with a baby top, size newborn, I’ve been knitting on for ages. It ate yarn, and it hardly grew. With dread I realised that it is so wide it could fit my tall, chubby two year old. I swatched. It lied.
    I will frog it. When I’m less mad.

  18. Put those puppies away for a blistering hot and humid Toronto summer day. when you will be grateful for the resemblance to ice. You are violating Denny’s excellent rule. Get some colour going.

  19. I hate when they do that. I have a shawl that wants to entice me to think I am farther along than I really am. Those projects are so sneaky!

  20. I hope they choose love. To choose anything less would be a waste of serious grey gorgeousness.
    I love these posts:) Please hide your scissors.

  21. I had a similar experience with a pair of variegated grey socks (aka Hubby’s first socks when we first married and I knew he wasn’t going to run off with them). They took forever, I couldn’t believe how they seemed to never grow. However, now with a new baby I sort of long for a pair of endless socks… Even plain stockinette would be such a treat.

    • I remember the first rows I got to knit after my baby was born. Sheer bliss. I totally understand where you are right now.

  22. I am working on a pair of socks that are pulling the same stunt on me! I just keep reminding myself that it can’t be as bad as the Dr. Who scarf I knitted two years ago.

  23. From here? that sock leg does look rather ‘long’ … but in any event, nice going, that yarn needs to be put in its place. πŸ™‚

  24. If you’re knitting them for Joe’s feet, it isn’t really the sock’s fault they are taking so long to knit. As you’ve told us, Joe’s a big guy who needs big socks. They’re victims in this, too. πŸ™‚

  25. OMG! These must be kilt hose for Joe!

    Seriously, I think it’s a combination of the color & a lot of stockinette getting to you. Maybe putting them aside for a while and knitting something lacier, more textured, and/or more colorful will help. If not, there’s always beer and chocolate!

  26. Non-specific comment: Just to say I love reading Yarn Harlot, and thank you for all the happiness it has given me over the years. You’re lucky to have found such a perfect place in the world and you are so generous to share it with us.

  27. I am finally finishing a second sock that had me cussing over the loooong time it was taking. I tossed it into a project bag and let it molder for a while. It was not second sock syndrome. I just hated the yarn. In between times I have knitted 6 pairs of socks with smooth colorful yarn, happy yarn. Color and texture make all the difference to me.
    But I really think it is Joe’s absence.

  28. Speaking of socks, I really appreciate your post about blocking a baby sweater from a few weeks ago and I’m wondering if you would like to make another post about blocking socks? I simply have no idea how to do it, short of letting them dry on my feet.
    I really hope your socks will come to their senses – soon.
    Thank you, as always, for your amazing blog!

  29. Does anyone else sometimes feel that knitting should be a televised sport just for this reason? I can hear the announcers now:
    “You know Bob, stockinette is one of the easiest stitches and most knitters can go on autopilot, but these long stretches can be very tiring. What do you think?”
    “Thanks, Dale. She had a good rhythm turning the heel, and the cuff is in sight but she seems like she wants to tag out to another project. Let’s go in for a close up.”
    *Audience chanting ‘Knit! Knit! Knit!*

  30. I call these projects “Penelope’s shroud” (or whatever the project is. **Putting on my know-it-all hat** Penelope was Odysseus’ wife who put off her suitors by promising to marry after she finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law Laertes. Every day she worked on the shroud and every night, she unpicked the work, putting off the moment when she has to choose a new husband. And that’s what these bad projects do: they secretly unravel themselves at night every night to postpone the Finishing, or whatever it is that knitting is afraid of.

  31. You’re sounding rather like Penelope of Odyssey fame, with your much loved husband away… If I’m remembering correctly, it took Odysseus’ return for Penelope to finish her (weaving) project. Here’s hoping Joe comes home soon, do you can finish that dratted sock!

  32. It’s my theory that every project has a period when all your progress seems to be hidden behind some kind of invisible force field. Then, suddenly, you’re nearly done. Wonder how that works . . .

  33. Yup. Men’s socks are the black holes of black hole knitting. I’m making a pair for my boyfriend right now, and let me tell you… having started the FIRST pair FOURTEEN times before the snowblower ate them (don’t ask) and then starting OVER with new yarn & needles means I must love him VERY, VERY MUCH.

    I can’t really complain too much – the man custom-built me a recumbent tricycle because I can’t ride an upright bike (mainly from terror – I have balance issues). That’s love too πŸ˜‰

    So Steph, how’s the Gansey coming? πŸ˜›

  34. Why do all knitting projects hit that point where you knit and knit and knit and nothing comes of it? The project doesn’t seem to move along. I feel your frustration. I have a hat on the needles and I’ve been knitting the 1×1 rib for longer than is normal and it still isn’t the 12.5 cm it needs to be.

  35. Did you know if you put your verification icon in the circle and move it out again it moves itself back in? Your socks are stuck in their circle, demanding to be verified.

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