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? )