Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Sock it to me!

Reality hits hard!  All holidays must end.  Good-bye tropical island and balmy weather (even when it's stormy).  Hello New Zealand.  Hello Winter.  Hello cold-chapped lips.  It's no surprise then, when I returned home from Fiji, I immediately took up the challenge to learn a new skill - sock knitting.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

An upside down fire; a girl's best friend.
Begin by putting your fat wood logs down below, pile smaller ones on top,
add fire-lighters and light.  Then....Walk away....!

An upside down fire within 5 minutes!
Our local Resource Centre runs adult education classes, amongst other great services.  I spied a knitting and crochet course being advertised.  Mmmmn, now my knitting skills stretch to humble scarves and beanies.  The latter item being one that I have flogged to death!  Made several for family members, friends and even to sell in our shop at kindergarten.  But finally one must concede to raise the bar in skill sets, so hence the sock class.

Well now, what was not evident in the advertising blurb, was that a certain level of skill is required to knit socks!  And there is of course, the cost!  Take the class cost (2 evenings @ $20) plus the cost of the needles and wool (merino+possum fur wool = $50 - I kid you not!), and these will be the most expensive socks I ever wore (if I manage to complete them!).  Soon after enrollment  last weekend, we passed a wool shop advertising 2 pairs of merino/possum socks for $35!!  Bloody hell!  Would've saved my purse and sanity had I just gone for that deal!  Anyway, I must try and complete this little project, even if I never knit another pair in my life!

3 week old project

Knitting socks on 4 x size 2.5 needles, using 2 ply wool, is an exercise in utmost dexterity and skill.  Both seem to be lacking, in my case.  The tutor explained that knitting is purely maths
I hunched over my toothpick-sized needles and groaned inwardly.  Maths has never been my strong forte'.  In fact, we were told to cast on 60 stitches, then to knit 20 onto each of the 3 needles (get the point - it is all maths!!).  Then we had to knit a row and continue - well, after knitting the first row, I realised I only had 19 stitches on one needle, so I simply sneaked one off the next needle and happily proceeded to knit the next needle of 20 stitches - hang on!  I counted only 19!  So again, I sneaked a stitch off the next needle - it seemed I kept on stealing a stitch to make up 20!  Really frustrating!  Recounted all the stitches - blast!  Only 59 stitches!!
Sock-knitting requires the patience of Buddha himself!!
I did not want to unpick my first 3 rows, where I had sneaked a stitch each time, so I boldly declared I would cast on the missing stitch and solve the dilemma I was facing.  The tutor rushed to my aid, and said it was perhaps not a good idea, as I might create a hole in the top of the sock.  Undaunted, I said, "that will be my sock air-vent!".  She saw I meant business, shrugged and said: "Okay."  But I guess in her books, it is definitely not okay.  So, here I am, with knitting homework I have to complete by Wednesday night (our second class).  I phoned another sock mate to get the next set of instructions last night - her homework is already finished!  So, once I have knitted the required number of rows, I suggested I swing by her place and she can show me the part labelled as "forming the heel flap".  There's a whole lot of instructions, with numbers and my eyes and brain can't be trusted to follow through.   Hopefully, I shall present on Wednesday night, half-sock in hand!

Back to the garden, we have been clearing weeds and preparing beds for the Spring planting.  I sowed some seeds on the weekend, keeping them indoors to survive the cold early morning and evening temperature drops and within 3-5 days, they had all raised their little green heads - so exciting!
Little Mibuna seedlings emerging
I have never, ever learned such a difficult task as sock knitting before!  I hate to be beaten and I am desperately clinging to my sanity, and sock knitting is definitely NEVER going to be my thang!  I'd much rather try multiple facial piercing than take up sock knitting as a hobby.  Stick me in the eye with the knitting needles!  It is driving me balmy! 3 weeks later and I am still on the first sock. I just can't seem to follow the instructions and ALWAYS have more or less stitches than I am supposed to have!  Bugger!

The painting masterpiece painted by all 4 members of our family,
simultaneously, about 6 years ago.  Such fun!
I think I am going to finish this sock, whatever it takes........ and then I'm going to frame it!!  Just like the family masterpiece above.  
Perhaps I'll enjoy the crochet class more, that I've signed up for in 2 weeks time.  At least there is only one crochet hook vs these 4 little toothpick-sized needles!  Do the maths!

Post Update 6.10.13:
Finally!  I have finished the little buggers!  Took a long time to make and for a nano-second when I had finished, I thought, maybe I should make another pair - then "Nah!".

The finished product

One of the most difficult projects I have gotten my brain around!
Never again!

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