My May Challenge

With time to throw your name in the mix for the Socks with Sarah May Challenge Giveaway winding down — entries will be accepted in the Ravelry group through Saturday, May 31st — I thought I’d share my May Challenge experience today. In case you forgot, my May Challenge was to knit a pair of socks for each of my kids. I had never knit socks for my kids beyond baby booties and they are both at an age where they actually appreciate them. Add on top of that the memory of our summer vacation to the Black Hills last year when the nights were actually quite chilly and all I could think about was how criminal it was that my children didn’t each have at least one nice pair of handknit socks.

First & foremost I’m very happy to report that I finished! For real & for serious, I am done — both kids have a pair of handknit socks to call their own. Whew-hoo!

The first pair I wrote about earlier this month…20140508-074602.jpgThese freaking adorable tube socks for my daughter made using Jane Richmond’s Tube Socks for Kids pattern (psst — it’s free!) and String Theory Colorworks Inertia in the Gamma Ray colorway. They flew off the needles in about a week.

The second pair, the pair for my son, was not quite such a swift knit. First there was the detail of the yarn. When it comes to dressing my son, unless otherwise instructed I abide by the rule of “What Would Mr Knitting Sarah Wear.”  After my husband shaking his head at me a few times in my son’s earliest years, we agreed that this little code would be safest for our boy. Mr Knitting Sarah pretty much wears neutrals & earth tones — and, seriously that’s it. Neutrals & earth tones. So when prepping yarns for my son’s socks, I had a number of neutrals on hand in my stash from which I intended to choose. I cast-on a blue/tan/earthy Regia and had a decent start. When I showed my son I could tell instantly they were not what he wanted. He has a big heart & didn’t want to say he didn’t like them, but with some prodding from me he finally very sweetly asked if I could make them his favorite color, red, isntead.

I searched high & low for the ‘right’ red. The more I looked, the more I realized I had to go with a hand-painted yarn so that I could get a true red that wasn’t flat. Finally I selected Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in the Poppy colorway.tfa poppyPerfect.

Then on to the knitting…

tfa2I used the basic instructions from Jane Richmond’s Tube Socks for Kids again, but because my son’s feet are bigger than the sizes listed I used Jennifer Donze’s Custom Toe Up Socks to calculate the correct number of stitches I needed for the socks to fit my son. I cast-on for two-at-a-time knititng so I wouldn’t have to worry about them matching (I always try to do this when I am making mods to socks patterns). And I was off!

tfa3As beautiful as these socks are, if you could look up the definition of ‘slow knitting project’ these socks would photographic evidence that such things exist.

tfa poppy1I just could not get over that hump — you know what I’m talking about. That mental shift from thinking ‘I will never finish these. My son will pry them from my cold hands and wonder why I didn’t love him enough to just get them done while I was alive’ to ‘These are flying!!! I’ll be done in no time!’  Yeah, you know what I mean. I just could not get there. The yarn was absolutely amazing, the pattern was easy, but row by painful row these beautiful socks just would not grow.

Apparently all it took was for me to get over that hurdle was to put in writing here that I was struggling & stuck in the doldrums. The next thing I knew…

tfa4Boom! Progress. They were flying! I knew I’d be done in no time.

tfa5A car ride to and from my parents’ house for Memorial Day and…tfa6TA-DA! I was not only casting-off but finishing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s latest book, too. Talk about productivity!

Of course, then it rained for a couple days, so I had to wait on photos. I actually hid them from my son while I waited for good weather — poor kid!

aldo tube socks3But at least he wasn’t pulling them from my cold dead hands wondering why I didn’t love him enough to finish those red socks.

aldo tube socksInstead, he was smiling for the camera with his perfectly fitted, perfectly red socks on his toes. I think we both like this ending to the story much better.

From this May Challenge I’ve certainly learned that doing the same pattern twice in a row might not be the best course of action for me. I’ve also learned that sometimes admitting you are stuck is the first step in overcoming that stuckness. Of course, the second step is just putting your nose to the grindstone & making those socks happen — that bit hasn’t changed and never will. In any case, as always I had a blast working on my May Challenge and I have two kids who are pretty happy with it, too.  If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter your May Challenge work on the Entries Thread by Saturday, May 31st (one entry per person, please). Winners will be announced next week!

For more details on this project, please see my Ravelry Project page.

17 thoughts on “My May Challenge

  1. This may be the first hand-knit socks you’ve made for them, but can’t help wondering how many sweaters, scarves, mittens, etc. they have gone through!!! Love the socks!

    1. Actually, I haven’t knit a ton for them. Hats, yes. Mittens, yes. A blanket for my son & sweaters for my girl. Sweaters for each of them are part of the plan thoug for later this year. 🙂

  2. Great work
    I’m on that repeat pattern flunk now as onto my 3rd in threes in very short succession sadly my deadline isn’t urgent and it may get sidelined for something new!

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