Like so many others, I love to knit and crochet. As a very young child I watched my Grandmother Aimee crochet the most amazing lace with so little effort. I never saw her referencing a pattern while she crocheted. She was also so patient and understanding while I watched and asked questions. That is how I learned to crochet and she made it so easy.
Learning to knit is another story in itself. I tried to learn for many years and simply could not force my hands and brain cells to work in unison. Every attempt to learn ended up as another “File 13” contribution.
One day while watching one of my friends knitting, I noticed she was holding the yarn and knitting very differently from all the methods I had ever tried. For some reason my eyes focused on what she was doing and it made sense. She asked if I was also a Continental knitter? Having never heard the terminology, I explained that my hands and brain cells were unable to knit well together and that I had given up trying to learn to knit. She handed me the knitting needles and guided me through a few rows of her simple scarf pattern, encouraging me to keep going. It was unbelievable how well my hands, eyes and brain cells understood this unusual and new method of knitting. I was knitting and purling and it looked pretty darned good for a beginner. That was hundreds of years ago and I have not put down the knitting needles since that wonderful day.
I really do love to knit but I also recognize my limitations. I am an instant gratification personality so I rarely challenge myself to any patterns that are not fast, easy and hassle free. I know a lot of stitches and love to teach others how to make complicated, challenging pieces but it is not for me. So I have a ton of uncomplicated, easy to knit scarves to brag about. We all do the same thing, right? Or not.
Although I recognize my instant gratification flaw, I recently decided to issue myself a personal challenge to knit socks. Even worse, I was determined to use two circular needles so I could knit two socks at the same time. I really do have the worst disorder that any knitter could have. It is called Instant Gratification with a heavy dose of Second Sock Syndrome. If you knit socks on a regular basis you will understand that disorder without further explanation.
Having never knitted two socks at the same time, I grabbed some inexpensive but pretty yarn, loaded up the circular needles using two balls of the yarn and away I went to create two brand new socks. It went very quickly and well until I got to the pattern portion where stitches are gathered to join the top of the sock with the heel and the gusset decreases were staring me in the face. I swear there were suddenly at least 7,914 stitches on each of the needles! What in the world was I thinking? It was supposed to be a piece of cake to knit two socks at a time but it was becoming a raw can of missing ingredients very quickly. I did the only thing any self-respecting knitter would do at this point – lay it aside and look around for the File 13 container.
The brain is a compelling and understanding piece of equipment to have in reserve, especially if it never rests like mine. The next few days I seemed to think through various solutions in my sleep as well as when awake. When I finally picked up the two circular needles again, I was able to figure it out. Was it fun? No, it was not. I feel sure it will become fun the next time I attempt it though. The huge positive that came of this challenge is that I now have two identical and beautiful hand-knitted socks to wear and I have laid the ground work on a solution to combat Second Sock Syndrome. It will take practice and a glass of good wine (or two) to savor but I am positive I learned from this challenge and will attempt it again. Someday.