A Knitting Gauge is a Funny Thing

I’m a serial project starter. I love new projects! There’s so much hope when you start a new project, like you have an exciting blank slate. (For the record, I feel the same way about starting new notebooks and new pens and the like. Blank page! Brand new pen! Things are going to be awesome.) But this means that I end up with lots of started projects and not very many finished projects.

I’ve gone and given myself a goal. Or a rule. Or a hellish restriction that I’ve already failed at least once.

No more new projects.


Because that is how many unfinished projects I have.

This means I’m going back and finding old projects to work on, and I’m learning a lot about the sort of knitter I used to be. It turns out, I did not learn how to knit and then stagnate the way that I sort of always thought that I have! I have been improving all along. I think. Here is what I have learned about myself:

I used to knit really really loosely.

I mean really loosely. I mean looser than your mom loosely. My gauge from 2009 is so wildly different from my gauge from 2012 that I’m not so sure that the same person is actually knitting these socks. They’re supposed to be knit on 2.5mm needles. I am pretty sure I was knitting them on 2.5mm needles. And yet, the needles that I have to use now to get the same size?







How is this even a thing.

A dark and light blue sock made of yarn.

Seriously. Size 1 to size 3 needles. How am I knitting two sizes tighter now??

Socks, Glorious Socks!

I, like many knitters, am having a love affair with knitting socks.

I don’t know when I first decided that knitting socks was the absolute shit, but I do know why: heels. Fiddly little heels with slipped stitches and short row turning and picking up twisted stitches at the edges.

There’s something innately satisfying about knitting a heel. Maybe because it’s a stretch of straight knitting after a long tube? Maybe it’s the way it’s a small, discrete part of the overall product with an easy-to-reach beginning and end

Maybe it’s just that I like having small goals to reach because it makes me feel productive, and “Finish the heel flap” and “turn the heel” are good ones.  I don’t like knitting toe up socks purely because I’ve yet to find a good way to turn a heel and knit a heel flap that are as satisfying as with top down socks.

The point is, I am having a love affair with knitting socks, and a hate affair with finishing socks.

People talk about second sock syndrome like it is a serious illness affecting thousands of knitters worldwide.  What they don’t talk about is foot syndrome, either because it’s a shameful disease, unlike the joke that SSS is, or because I’m the only one who has it.  I’m hoping it’s the former, but… There’s only one symptom.  I get to the middle of a foot on a sock, any sock, and I’ve suddenly lost the will to live.

You know that bit in The Phantom Tollbooth where the kid is stuck in the Doldrums? And is all apathetic and being a lazy bum? That’s what it feels like when I’ve hit the second half of the foot and the toe. This shit is never going to end. I am going to be knitting this sock forever and I am going to die knitting this sock. I am going to be a hundred years old and I will still be knitting this sock.

I am going to be a hundred years old and I am still going to be knitting this sock and fuck that.

So I quit the sock. I am done with this sock. I am going to move on to another sock, a sock that does not hate me, a sock that is not stuck in this horrific knitting black hole where it is four inches long no matter how much knitting I do on it. Because the next sock is going to be different. The next sock is going to be better. I am going to love the next sock like no other sock.

Spoiler alert: the next sock is no different.

So I have a bunch of socks that are almost completely finished, except I’m stuck on this ever growing portion left to knit. It’s a paralyzing mental Zeno’s Paradox (who I am sure was just trolling us all).

Tell me, the internet. Is anyone else affected by this horrid disease?

Blue and white yarn in the form of a mermaid tail sock.

Which is not to say that I do not force myself to finish socks. This is a lovely sock out of a pair I made for a friend, whose kid has now bogarted them. Because their feet are the same size. What.