I have a knitting friend who counts everything. At least four times. She writes out each row or round of each repeat and neatly checks them off as she goes. And then she counts her stitches again (and sometimes again) just to double check that they are all accounted for. To many this looks… well, let’s just say it, over-the-top. Bordering on obsessive. Overboard. She has been teased for her habit and has quite a reputation for her method. But let me tell you — she is on top of those stitches and she always knows exactly where she is in a pattern. And I’ve come to appreciate that. There is certainly something to be said for that kind of attentiveness.
On the flip side, there is me. Let me confess something ridiculous to you. As a knitting instructor, I preach ‘count twice, knit once.’ I encourage students to be just like my friend — on top of those stitches by whatever means necessary. Always. As a knitter, however, I could not be more opposite. I cannot be hindered by counting or paying attention to exactly where I am in the pattern. No! I fly through the knitting once I have a stitch pattern in my hands, untethered by rules or instructions. I am liberated from the bonds of gravity. I am… Oh wait… Crap. Why am I short a stitch here?
The complete opposite of my counting friend, the complete opposite of what I tell students to do, normally I can get away with it. I am a skilled knitter and usually I once I am rolling I don’t make a ton of mistakes or at least I don’t tend to make mistakes I can’t easily correct. A few years in the classroom taught me how to fix virtually any fixable mistake in knitting without ripping back. I read my knitting without trouble and even if I need to rip back, I usually do so without any fuss. My latest pair of socks, however, has proven itself to be a bit sticky in this department and it has caused me to go to extreme lengths to persevere. At least these lengths are extreme for me personally.
I am loving working on my Business Casual socks, but I’m the first to admit that they are taking… f o r e v e r . The timeline is deceptive as I’ve whipped up a hat & some mitts while I’ve been knitting these socks and it’s spring so I am more active outside and we are working out some major details for our family next year and I’ve been organizing the Socks with Sarah May Giveaway as well as another quick giveaway for next week. I have been busy. I got through the first sock without too much trouble — see! Isn’t it lovely?
The yarn is a beautiful handpainted sock yarn from Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber in the North by Northwest colorway. I used a little filter so you could see the colors better. They are rich and gorgeous and this pattern suits them beautifully.
The second sock in this pair though has proved a bit of a problem. Mostly the issue is that I’ve been trying to just follow my usual modus operandi — get the stitch pattern in my hands and fly. The problem? First, being busy. I’m squeezing in my knitting where I can, so there is even more picking up and setting down than normal. In every cycle of picking up & setting down is a new chance to misread where I am, to make a boo-boo. While I think this has not helped, I believe I’ve narrowed down the main problem to the beginning of the round at the beginning/end of repeats. Since you only work that spot once every 18 rounds, I am not as secure with it and I’ve made mistakes. And then I’ve tried my usual attempts to fix from above which has not worked super well for me. So then I resort to ripping back, but by that point I’m annoyed and frustrated so I’m not super careful about how I’m picking those stitches back up…. and you see where I’m going with this.
I have to say, I own these issues. The pattern is brilliantly written and absolutely flaw free. Ironically, I also really love knitting the pattern — it is easy to memorize and knits up quickly. I will definitely knit more pairs in the future. I have just been not focused (at all) and that has bred some very amazing Sarah-made problems that have involved multiple days where I end up ripping out an entire day’s knitting because I haven’t been paying close enough attention at those pivotal repeat spots. Ugh. So I find my knitting mojo is drained at a time when I need it most. Ugh. If only I would have followed my own advice. If only I could be like my friend who maps out her projects and counts her stitches and is always on top of things. If only I would count twice and knit once.
Alas, yesterday I had to admit that I am where I am. With my normal MO clearly not an option if I intend to retain whatever sanity I still possess, I had to make a change.
So I said hello to Mr Counter.
And lo and behold, actual sock progress followed.