Welcome back to our stirring saga of will over wool,
in which Mrs. M - who has never yet completed a Second Sock -
undertakes to make not one, but a Pair, of Christmas-gift Socks.
When last seen, our heroine had, after several false starts, managed to design and produce several inches of acceptable sock leg. Filled with a quiet determination, she was well on her way to completing the colourwork portion of Sock One.
After what seems days (but is probably only an hour or three) of intense labour, Leg One is at last complete. Flushed with success, poised on the brink of The Heel, our heroine turns to the Internet for advice and counsel.
O inestimable Internet! Friend of ignorant knitters, well of woolly knowledge, inexhaustible source of advice and delight: what would we do without you? Eagerly does our heroine plumb your depths, searching out the deep mysteries of heels, weighing the relative merits of flap and short row, German and half-handkerchief, eye-of-partridge and slip stitch.
After much pondering, our Intrepid Knitter - having, with tolerable success, completed one German heel in her lifetime - decides to go with what she knows. The German heel is selected. But the flap - ah, the flap. In her quest for knowledge, our heroine has gathered that a loosely-spun 100% wool yarn is not the sturdiest choice for a pair of socks; something must be done to strengthen the heel area. Consulting once again the collected wisdom of the online knitting community, she decides on an eye-of partridge flap.
In addition to its delightfully exotic-sounding name, the eye-of-partridge flap possesses a lovely textured appearance, made by combining slipped and regular stitches in a 4-row repeat. Nothing could be simpler. After a few hiccups - accidentally slipping stitches on both purl and knit rows (ribbit), losing track of the repeat (ribbit), and waffling over how many rows are needed - our heroine at last produces a Heel Flap worthy of the name:
Onward she knits, and soon beholds with joy an actual Turned Heel:
In no time at all, she has picked up and knit the necessary stitches to continue down the sock:
The Gusset now calls with siren voice. Our heroine has rosy visions of pushing onwards to finish Sock One, but in a rare display of crafting self-control, she places Sock One on a stitch holder and proceeds instead to cast on for Sock Two. "If I knit the second leg now," she reasons to herself, "I stand a better chance of matching tension to the first leg. And I'll get all that fiddly colourwork out of the way."
Whether through the soundness of her reasoning or divine intervention, the leg of Sock Two does indeed go much more smoothly - apart from two trifling errors in the colourwork, one on the very first row and one on the very last (discovered, of course, when it was too late to do anything about it). But let us ignore these small stings and focus instead on the positive: our heroine has reached the second heel flap. Sunshine fills her knitting heart, and lights up the work-in-progress:
Meanwhile, Christmas has come. Our heroine has missed her deadline; she must now lay aside her knitting and take up the burden of hostess-ship for a time.
When the guests are gone, she looks to her needles and eagerly proceeds to The Gusset, which - after a slight contretemps caused by working the wrong decreases on the wrong sides of the heel (ribbit) - soon bursts forth in all its glory of compound angles and cunning joinery:
Sock Two, with gusset complete, is now placed on a holder while our heroine returns to Sock One. (She wants to do the other gusset while the process is fresh in her memory.)
Before you can say "baa", she has worked gusset and foot...
...has decreased for the toe...
...and has smoothly grafted said toe with the help of another Wisconsin blogger (thank you Techknitter!).
Our Intrepid Knitter has finished a sock; her Second First Sock, to be precise.
A quiet happiness fills her heart. Patience and Perseverance have Paid Off. All the mistakes, the frogging and re-working, are as receding ripples on the sea of memory. Sock One is complete.
With fresh courage, our heroine turns to Sock Two. Just a foot and a toe - a few hours' work - and this Tale of Woe will turn into a Song of Triumph. The longed-for happy ending is nearly in sight.
Or so she thinks.
To be continued....
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