01 July 2007

Oy - the wrapping and the turning!

So today I took a class to learn how to knit toe-up socks at Rosie's. I really enjoy knitting socks, but anytime I've tried to read a toe-up pattern, or figure it out on my own, nothing clicked in my brain. Zippo. Nada.

As a result, I was really looking forward to the class. Kate was teaching it, and she is both nice, and very smart. There were only four of us in the class, which seemed promising. Until two of the people said they had never knitted socks before and/or had never worked with double-pointed needles. (Who signs up for a class where those are two of the requisites???) Anyway, I was thinking that the start would be the hard part, because even though I am quite experienced in knitting cuff down socks, the beginning is always a challenge, mostly because it's kinda fiddly.

Well, once we got started, I was doing pretty well. I was excited, because Kate was showing us a pretty straightforward cast-on, and my mind grasped it right away. Then for a while it was a matter of increasing the number of stitches, and then just plain old everyday knitting for a few rounds until we got to the heel. (Oh, BTW, we were making a baby sized sock, so that, in theory, it would be completed or nearly completed, by the time the class ended.)

I started to feel pretty pleased with myself, because I had cast on, and started without any major obstacles. But, because I apparently never learn, I didn't remember that whenever I start to feel pretty self-satisfied with a new skill, it usually signals my eventual downfall. And that downfall, my friends, manifested itself when we got to the Short Row Heel. I have done short rows, or at least versions of them before, but they have never required the Wrap & Turn (w & t for those of you in the know).

And it was at that point that I encountered my most recent nemesis. Oh, I could w & t just fine. It was when we were coming back along the row, and needed to pick up the wraps, that my brain just seemed to stop working. I understood the concept, but no matter what I did, I could not make my hands work in concert with said brain to accomplish said maneuver. Poor Kate, every few rows, she would check my work, and say, "Uh oh, you have added a stitch," or some other problematic statement. She would then kindly and patiently unknit the stitches to the point where I could start again. So I would zip along, thinking I was doing OK. Except when I should have had, say 14 stitches, I had either 15 or 9 ... (I started thinking that the short row heel had become my "yoga" of knitting - I wanted to do it, I was actually trying, but I wasn't getting anyplace close!)

By the time the class ended, I still hadn't figured it out. So I came home with my yarn, needles, and instructions, determined more than ever to master the Picking Up of the Wraps. I'm going to leave it alone this evening, but you can bet I'll be trying again this week! Kate did mention that there was also the possibility of doing what is called a gusset heel, and I'm sure I want to learn that. But I absolutely refuse to let the PUOTW to win!!

The frustrating thing, was that I was so involved trying to figure out the whole thing, I forgot to buy some sock yarn! I headed up there today, fully planning to take advantage of the first day of Socksational July, and came home empty-handed.

Now that's just sad, don't you think???


Carrie K said...

Le-a-r-n-i-n-g c-u-r-v-e. I know, I don't expect to have one either, especially when I know what I'm supposed to do! But still, there it is. You'll master it.

But yes. Sad. Left without sock yarn? The horror.

teabird said...

No sock yarn in the house? Can it be?

Liz K. said...

Dude, take my word for it. The gusset heel from Widdershins is the bomb. Only losers make short-row heels.

(not really. I'm just trying to make you feel better...but widdershin heels are truly superior)

Um, I suck deeply at picking up wraps too.

Knitterary said...

I usually don't bother picking up the wraps. I just pretend they're not there. I end up with a line almost like a garter ridge where the short row shaping is. Most times, I can live with that.

Ann said...

I am right now approaching my very first toe-up heel ... but it's Widdershins. I whimped out on the short row heel in favor of the heel flap!

And I just recently learned how to pick up my wraps. I just wasn't seeing things properly and it took time. Learning curve. Carrie K. is right!