I’m fussy with socks. I like stripes, preferably including red. Only certain proportional relationships between the stripes please me. I don’t like bunching in the leg, or looseness about the heel. I like a bit of stretch with my cotton and wool, so a little bit of lycra in the mix helps. But even the perfect stripe won’t convince me to buy a nylon pair: I like my feet to breathe.
So you can see why I’ve been reluctant to knit socks: all that work, only to find that they don’t make the grade? No thanks.
But recently my attitude has started to soften. All over the web I’ve been reading about the joys of a handmade pair. My mother’s grandmother made all my mother's socks and they carried her through harsh boarding school winters in comfort. So I bought this lollipop pink Trekking (colour #5) on impulse thinking I’d whip up a pair for my mum for Mother’s Day.
Last year, I wrote to Felicia about the pattern she used for Iris’ socks and she generously sent it to me. I was on my way to becoming a sock knitter.
I worked my way down the leg without incident. Or rather, few incidents: I’m not quite the experienced commuter knitter that Di is, and I ended up tinking back a few times. Only at the heel flap did I get an inkling that something wasn’t quite right. Shouldn’t this garter-ish fabric be on the wrong side? I wrote to Felicia, who confirmed that yes, I was knitting the sock inside out. (She signed off “teehee, Felicia” but I took it on the nose and tried not to indulge my wounded pride.)
This website illustrates how one makes this mistake, and how to quickly rectify it, but this is where I find myself stumped. I wasn’t knitting inside out. The sock was behind my needles the whole time, and I was knitting on the outside. However, my outside was the wrong side.
I decided to forge ahead. Turning the heel was a thrill. Picking up the gusset stitches: check. Now it occurs to me that in order to knit the “outside” I’m going to have to purl around, instead of knit, but ok, I can wing it. But then: the patterned instep. Progress grinds to a halt at this point because I can’t seem to work out how to reverse the pattern to match it to the right side of the sock. Now, at this point, all the non-knitters have dozed off, and the knitters are knocking their foreheads: D’oh! If, by any chance you are still reading this and can identify the point at which I left the road, do call out. I’m over here, in the underbrush, waving a garishly pink half-sock.