So here I was a-yammerin’ on about bikes and such, and I forgot the whole dang reason I wanted to post in the first place.


I’ve officially cast on Brainless, my second pair of two-at-a-time toe-up socks. All was going swimmingly… well, except for the fact that the baby-white yarn was getting a little gray-looking. I’m just going to have to knit now and bleach later, I’m afraid. I can only wash my hands so much. They’re cracked enough as it is.

Then I got to the “Foot” subsection, where I was instructed to work the first four stitches continuing the toe pattern, then move these stitches to the right needle.

Perhaps I’m just knitarded, but that didn’t make any sense to me no matter how many times I read or tried to draw it. Once they’ve been knit, stitches are already on the right needle. The way the pattern was written was ambiguous: “the socks are worked toe-up on (1 or 2) circular needle(s)”. It didn’t specifically say you’d hit a wall if you chose to do them both at once on the same needle.

Once I figured out that the instructions meant that the four stitches, once worked, should be slid all the way around the needle to join the other end of the sock, I realized that this would not be possible with two socks on the needle.

My first thought was that I needed to buy another needle, since I only have one size 1 circular. I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a pair of Addis anyway, so I thought I could put this thing on hold until I could get to the yarn shop.

Then I looked up their hours. They don’t open until 10 am, which is kind of a pain when you get off work at 7 in the morning and are snoring by 8. There are other shops around here, but the one all the way across town doesn’t carry Addi needles, and I wasn’t going to The LYS Which Shall Not Be Named¹.

Not only that, but it’d mean I’d have to admit defeat, bag up the knitting, and have nothing to keep me occupied the rest of the night but random magazines (months-old Redbooks and Cooking Lights) or the abyss of the Internet. I like the Internet and all, but there’s a saturation point, and it’s somewhere around the ninth page of an Anthony Weiner argument. Internet forever is a better concept than a reality.

Ravelry couldn’t solve my problem. In the pattern pages, there’s a link to forum comments and blog posts that mention the pattern, and sometimes that can help you troubleshoot, but this time there was nothing useful, and my Googles, they did nothing². Eventually I put one sock on a lifeline and just worked them one-at-a-time until the stitch-shifting was over with. (I feel sort of vindicated that I was able to locate my big-girl pants all by myself, and then sort of stupid that I was apparently the only person on the Internet who was both dumb enough to have spent several hours trying to solve this problem and lame enough to then write a long boring blog post about it.)

Once I had them separated, I was making good progress when about halfway through a round, I noticed an out-of-place bump. Alas, a dastardly dropped stitch was showing its cowardly no-good face. Luckily I had a brand-new Handi-Tool to put it back in its place.

I’m gonna take a minute here and geek out about my knitting toolbox. I adore this thing.

foxyboxy right

foxyboxy left

On the big side are a tape measure, the Handi Tool, a cable needle, a small roll of floss, a miniature pair of scissors, and a large yarn needle. The other side has compartments for safety pins, button pins (I use them as stitch markers, usually), split-ring and regular stitch markers, and some jump rings (which I also use as stitch markers when I’m using tiny needles). Stuck to the plastic covers on the inside are sticky notes and flags I use to mark my place in patterns.

The best part of the whole thing? It was free. I don’t do the super-couponing thing anymore, but I still get a little tingle when I score a deal. I spent an hour at JoAnn looking for some sort of container that would hold all my little gadgets, but nothing was really satisfactory, so I settled on a bobbin case. On my way to the checkout, I spotted one of those plastic display strips they hang seasonal or promotional items they don’t have on the shelf; on it was a small pink box with a bunch of compartments. It was meant to be a miniature beader’s case, but unlike the rest of the bead cases they had for sale, it wasn’t disappointing and lame. (One nice beadly feature: the sides are rounded, making it easier to scoop out little stuff, like jump rings, stitch markers, and, well, beads.)

Like the bobbin case, there wasn’t a price sticker on or anywhere near the item, so I figured I could get a price check and get whichever one was cheaper. The bobbin case was something like $4; the pink bead case brought up an “item not found”. The clerk said “Merry Christmas!” and I got it for free. If that’s a JoAnn policy, it’s an awesome one, although I don’t see it working for sewing machines and Ott lamps.

Obviously I could have just bought a kit, something pre-fab and streamlined like The Knit Kit, if I’d known it existed. But mine is special, because I’m special. (As is abundantly clear, I’m sure.) And because it didn’t cost anywhere near $20. (And the scissors aren’t TSA compliant, but I very rarely fly anywhere, and if I did, I’d just temporarily replace them with a pair of nail clippers.)

Anyway. I’m not saying this pattern wasn’t well-written, just a little ambiguous in spots. There was obviously a lot of thought and care put into it. I may just be out of my league in a pattern that’s too complicated for my skill level. Alternately, it’s a hell of a lot harder to figure out a spatial problem when you can’t get five minutes (or sometimes, even 30 seconds) of uninterrupted quiet.

¹ Their selection is meh (kind of understandable since they have a sizable offering of needlepoint stuff, too), but seems like every time I go there I get the hairy eyeball. I’m young, but I’m not that young, and I don’t look shifty or shady or like a rotten little thieving punk. I think they just know I’m cheap, since every time I’ve gone there I’ve only ever bought stuff off the clearance table.

² I can’t say the searches were entirely fruitless since I did come across this very helpful reference chart of symbols and their meanings. I don’t have enough experience with cabling to know offhand what “c2 over 2 right” means.

*I like footnotes. And parentheses, asides, inclusive dashes, and ellipses. I should really become an English major, or at least read a style guide, so I could figure out how to use all these correctly.