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A Sad Knitting Tale

There was once a not-so-old lady who lived in a house.

She had so many children, people said she bred like a mouse.

She wanted to knit some socks bright and new.

But her children all acted like they lived in a zoo.

There’s a dirty little secret in the knitting world, and it’s this: the cutest yarn is always sock yarn.

It’s true, ask any knitter you know. There is self-striping sock yarn. luscious sock yarn who’s colors melt into one another. But the stuff is so darn small, it’s like Peter Parker trying to knit his Spider-Man suit out of webbing.

And here’s the other thing about sock yarn: it isn’t cheap. You spend anywhere from $20-$30 on sock yarn and then spend twenty hours knitting socks with needles the size of toothpicks.

And yet I’m still drawn to this mystic skill. Socks are the perfect small project to stuff in you diaper bag, purse or pocket. So portable! So tiny!

020313_9915 blog

Last winter I spent $21 on a skein of yarn, intent on mastering socks. A friend sent me a basic pattern and off I went. Sock Number One was completed in a couple of weeks. I put  it on my foot and proudly showed it to my husband. He smiled and said, “I’ll be impressed when you finish the second one”.

And here’s the second dirty little secret about knitting: Second Sock Syndrome. Really, I did not make that up. It is the inability to knit a second sock…

I was determined not to succumb (and determined to impress that hot hunk of a husband). I immediately cast-on and made wonderful progress on my second sock. Nevermind the coffee spilled on the pattern. I was going to finish that sock.

Then  one day, I walked over to my knitting basket to find that one of my children pulled the toothpick sized needles out of my sock…and had pulled out several rows of stitches. Not only that, but my pattern was in shreds, no longer readable.

020313_9914And I lost heart.

I have no idea where I am in the pattern or where I am with decreases. I am hoping to have a friend help me unravel the mystery later this week.

Still that sock yarn calls to me. It speaks to me. When I was away a few weekends ago and bought the lovely yarn for Apollo’s new vest, I saw a gorgeous sock yarn called Jubilee…and yet, how could I justify buying it? I couldn’t. So I didn’t.

Now, that lone sock-and-two-thirds beckons me. And I *will* finish that second sock. And you can bet the moment I do, I’ll be off shopping for more sock yarn.


  1. Marie

    Secret to beautiful sock yarn: if you knit with two strands held together it’s DK/sport weight. I make kid/baby sweaters with it and mittens. Isn’t that exciting?!

    • Hermione

      And I knit entirely without a pattern, the way I learned from my grandma. It’s all there in my mind, so as long as I don’t lose that, I’m fine! 😀

  2. sarah rose

    I waited 6 months in between knitting a pair of socks. The 2nd sock fit, but the first one didn’t. They got shoved in my sock drawer and kept tempting or maybe taunting me to knit another pair. When I finally did, they did go much faster — and they are so much warmer — which is nice for these Manitoba winters. Next I am going to knit both of them on the same pair of circular needles. There is a really good tutorial here: (Knitting 2 Socks at-a-Time, Magic Loop)

    By the way, I’ve admired your knitting skills for quite some time and figured, if you can make time to knit with all your kids, I can certainly knit with my 6 little ones running around (well actually it’s more like during nap time and bed time for them) — so I learned and love it. Thank you for your encouragment through your blog. =)

  3. Christine @

    What I’d do is pair one lonely finished sock with another one you finished from a different yarn and pattern. My teenage girls wear mismatched socks all the time — it’s a fashion statement! Most younger kids will care even less about any mismatch in colors and textures.

  4. Rachel Marie

    I totally have that sydrome. I have knitted a few socks, determined each time that I WOULD follow through and make a match. But alas, I always gave up. And so one day I decided that it’s OKAY that I don’t knit socks. I moved on. I’ve been knitting things for my due in 10 weeks baby boy. And right now, in my knitting bag, is a baby bootie…with no match. Grrrrr.

  5. Kara

    I just finished Connor’s second sock. Eighteen months after I finished the first one. I’ve decided I will no longer knit socks for anyone over the age of 5, that seems more manageable.

  6. JoAbair

    Oddly I do not have that problem! Time consuming yes, tiny expensive yarn, yes. Toothpick sized needles-YES! But I make the 2nd sock. Always have so far. I love socks more than any other clothing article so I somehow continue easily. I often find myself needing something to do for a few minutes and so I keep a sock and a hat on needles in my bag. The hats are quick and I dont have to pay attention but the sock I do. I use for their sock tutorial. Now I am learning magic loop!

  7. sarah

    Ah, the second sock syndrome… Every knitters nightmare. You did great on your first sock! I love the 3-d knitting of turning the heel, and the challenge of the gusset. Once you have mastered the basics you wont get lost so easily, and you will learn to scan your pattern into the computer. Lol. Knitting two socks at a time is MUCH better. I though it would make the sock drag out bit it didn’t at all. 🙂 Good job!!

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