The Saga of the Sock

I’m an extremist. By that I mean that I have a bad habit of taking things to extremes. I exercise and diet to extremes, I overeat to the extreme, I collect things to the extreme. The problem with that approach is that you can’t sustain any hobby or habit (other than the overeating, sadly) when you go overboard with it. A red flag for this behavior is that you can only sustain one hobby at a time, because it becomes so consuming that there’s no time for anything else. In my case, I go through periods of exercising for a month, and will spend any free time working out, and all non-free time thinking about working out. Then, after the inevitable crash, I switch to a 6-18 month period of overeating and compulsively pursuing my other hobby, knitting.

With DDP Yoga, I have been able to stick with the program for over six times my previous record. The lack of injury, the TeamDDPyoga support, and the challenge of there always being someplace to go have helped keep me on the wagon. The final piece of the puzzle for me is to find balance, and a good measure of this is finding time for another hobby.

To that end, let me tell you a little story, which I promise will come back to yoga (sort of):

My husband and I rented a condo for a year before buying our first house. During the last month of our condo-dwelling, I started a sock project. I knit one sock, and started the second right as we moved to the new house, and promptly lost the project in its little back pouch during the move.

Some people have the ability to deal with losing things. I do not. I go nuts searching for lost items, even if I didn’t particularly care for them when I knew where they were. One of the worst feelings for me is losing any part of a set; I have torn my house apart looking for pieces of my daughter’s toy sets, even though she doesn’t know or care that it’s missing. The worst thing to lose is a knitting project because it combines breaking a set (the needles are usually part of a larger collection) with the feeling of having an incomplete project.

This sock project was cast on in late Feb 2010, and should have taken less than a month, but was lost in early March 2010. I spent the reminder of 2010 and half of 2011 searching every inch of my house multiple times, phoning our ex-landlord to see if it turned up, and inquiring if anyone at Uhaul had found it. Ironically, when I had been knitting the first sock, I was at best lukewarm on how it was turning out, but once it was lost, I was driven insane not knowing where it was. By mid 2012, I was coming to terms with the fact that it was lost forever. It’s fair to say I went through a woolly version of the stages of grief. But by the end of it, I more or less accepted that it was gone.

In early 2013, we moved to Illinois and put our house on the market. After we left, my father-in-law stopped by the house to pick up some items we’d forgotten and brought them to Illinois. Amongst the items we asked him to pick up was a box of things he had spotted and thought we might want. Sitting right on top of that pile was my little black pouch! He has no idea where in the house he found it; I’d love to know where it hid during the numerous “sockhunts” I conducted! But I was delighted to have it back. I knit about four rounds (for non-knitters, that’s about 5 minutes worth of knitting), and promptly lost it again at a friend’s house. This time it was lost for less than a month, and when I got it back I decided the black pouch was too nondescript and prone to misplacement, so I transferred the project to a brighter tote, and stored it somewhere safe.

I decided to dig in and finish this project as part of my recent push to integrate more balance into my hobbies and workout regimes. And a scant 45 months after starting, I have finally finished my yarn-over cable socks! As for balance, the day I finished them, I also knocked out a Diamond Cutter and Red Hot Core.

DSC08248

Having both DDP Yoga and sock knitting sessions in the same day reminded me of a yoga sock pattern I wrote a couple of years ago, and I thought I’d share it here in case there’s any fellow DDP Yoga practitioners who also knit (a huge portion of demographic, I’m sure 😉

When I discovered the world of local yarn stores, natural fibers and hand-painted yarns, I went sort of mad buying up as much as I could, especially sock yarns! However, most of the sock patterns that I liked overly competed with these vibrant colourways. So, I ended up using monochromatic yarns, in order to see the texture. What to do with all these great, colorful skeins? The answer came to me during an arduous hike, in sweltering heat, up Caneel Hill on the island of St. John’s. As we worked our way around and around the winding hills on the way to the summit, we were able to enjoy all the wonderful colors of the flora and faunæ. To translate this winding journey of the Caneel Trial into a foot-warmer, I made a winding pattern around the instep and leg. Back in Massachusetts, the chilly winter inspired me to extend the pattern to a full sock. Like a expedition up and down a hill, the full sock is made from the toe up, while the foot-warmer is made from the cuff down.

My Pre-DDP Yoga Physique!

SIZING
S ,M, L (Both shown in M)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Foot Circumference: 7,8, 9 inches.
Foot length is adjustable to fit.

GAUGE
Fingering weight/US1: 28 sts/40 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch
Sport weight/US3: 20 sts/28 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

MATERIALS
Fingering Weight Sock shown in 100purewool.com Merino Fingering: 100% Merino; 440yd/ 402m per 100g skein; color: Dances; 1 skein Sport Weight Sock shown in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight: 100% Merino; 380yd/347m per 155g skein; color: Farmhouse; 1 skein
1 set US 1/2.5 mm double-point needles
or
1 set US 3/3.5 mm straight needles (see below)

SPECIALIZED TECHNIQUES
Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off method
Long-tail cast on method
TL: twist left.
Insert the needle into the back loop of second stitch from behind. Yarn over and
pull through loop without sliding stitch off needle. Knit first stitch on needle
through front loop. Pull both stitches off needle.

OTHER NOTES
The sizes are generated from a combination of Needle Size/Yarn Weight versus number of stitches (after increases). Pattern instructions are written for 48 or 60 stitches. See Table Below:
Fingering/US 1 Sport/US 3
48 sts Small Medium
60 sts Medium Large

The pattern is written as Needle#1 representing the instep sts, and Needle #2 representing the sole sts. However, to avoid yarn stretching, carpal tunnel and general upset, I recommend using 4 or 5 needles. Be aware that using more needles will require moving the stitches back and forth over the needles during the twist stitches.

Twist Pattern
For instep, the pattern is worked on Needle #1 only. For Needle #2, work stockinette (full sock), or K1P1 ribbing (foot-warmer). For the leg and cuff, work the twist pattern on both needles. For the cuff, work the twist pattern but do k1p1 ribbing outside of the TL’s (see chart). The 60 stitch pattern is written in rounded brackets.
Rnd 1: [TL, K10 (13)] twice.
Rnd 2: [K1, TL, K9 (12)] twice.
Rnd 3: [K2, TL, K8 (11)] twice.
Rnd 4: [K3, TL, K7 (10)] twice.
Rnd 5: [K4, TL, K6 (9)] twice.
Rnd 6: [K5, TL, K5 (8)] twice.
Rnd 7: [K6, TL, K4 (7)] twice.
Rnd 8: [K7, TL, K3 (6)] twice.
Rnd 9: [K8, TL, K2 (5)] twice.
Rnd 10: [K9, TL, K1 (4)] twice.
Rnd 11: [K10, TL, K0 (3)] twice.
Rnd 12 : 48 stitch size only: Instep – K11, TL, K11; Leg/Cuff – Move first st of needle #2 to needle #1. Move first stitch of needle #1 to needle #2. [K10, TL,] twice. Move what is now the first stitch of needle #1 back to needle #2. Move what is now the first stitch of needle #2 back to needle #1. Continue to Round 1. Do not work rounds 13 to 15. Note: the TL in the next Round 1 will involve the stitch you just knitted. 60 stitch size only: [K11, TL, K2] twice.
Rnd 13 : [K12, TL, K1] twice.
Rnd 14 : [K13, TL] twice. Rnd 15: Instep – K14, TL, K14; Leg/Cuff – Move first stitch of needle #2 to needle #1. Move first
stitch of needle #1 to needle #2. [Knit 13, TL] twice. Move what is now the first stitch of needle #1 back to needle #2. Move what is now the first stitch of needle #2 back to needle #1.

Cuff
Using the long-tail method, CO 48 (60) sts. Divide stitches onto Needle #1 and
Needle #2, which will be the instep and sole respectively.
Closing the circle without twisting the stitches, knit 1 round even.
Work one set of the Twisted Cuff pattern.

Leg
Begin Twisted Leg pattern on both Needles #1 and #2. Work to desired length,
ending on Rnd 15.
For the next 1 inch, work Needle #1 in Twisted Instep pattern and Needle #2 in
the corresponding rounds of the Twisted Rib pattern.
Work Needle #1 in pattern. BO all 24 (30) stitches of Needle #2.

Instep
Work next round of Twisted Instep pattern along Needle #1. CO 24 (30) stitches
on Needle #2.
Continue Twisted Instep pattern along Needle #1 and K1P1 ribbing along Needle
#2 until piece measures 7.5 inches less than desired foot length.
Work one repeat of Twisted Instep pattern, with K1P1 ribbing in between the TLs
along needle #1. Continue K1P1 ribbing along Needle #2.
Bind off all stitches using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off method.
Make a second foot-warmer.

Finishing
Weave in loose ends and block if desired.

Find more of Liz’s Knitting Patterns Here

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