Friday night I realized that my reluctance to start a new project, specifically a sock, was due as much to my mother's knitting as to my own (and my desire for some hand-knitted socks.) She knit everything (socks, mittens, hats, slacks, amazingly complex sweaters) but scarves. I have knit only scarves except for one baby hat years ago. Other knitting, in my mind, had become like "her kitchen" (where everything was done her way) rather than "my kitchen" (where I'm free to do things my way OR her way.) She died in 1990, and yet...I was afraid to start a sock because I might mess it up and it might not be as good as her socks. (All her knitting was very, very good.)
(The sock, started)
In the moment of clarity, I realized I needed to start a sock right away (never mind how late it was, or how busy today, Saturday, was going to be...it was that moment of breakthrough.) I had bought yarn to make socks, but hadn't started any. Of course one should start with a gauge patch. But that, I knew, would delay me and put off starting the actual sock. So I decided that one bad sock would not ruin my life, grabbed the ball of red yarn (a cheerful and confident color) and dove in, knowing it was likely (certain, some would say) that the resulting sock wouldn't fit quite right, would look funny, etc. But when you're breaking a self-imposed curse, the main thing is momentum. Above is how it looks right now. The ribbing is just getting past the stage at which it looks like a ruffle.
The yarn is "Ella rae" worsted-weight 100% wool, a firm yarn that I think will make good hiking socks. If, that is, the sock remotely resembles a sock when it's done, and fits. If it's loose, I'll call it a bed-sock. I have no idea if I have enough for one sock, two socks, or a dozen, but for a learner sock I think it's great. For stretchiness, did a long-tail cast-on with US size 6, then switched to 5*s, And had to look on YouTube to re-learn how to join up the tube. ** Then one row of knit, and then 2 x 2 ribbing. I got it as far as the first row of ribbing last night (after midnight) and worked on it a little more today (in between the other stuff, about another six rows.) I did not take it to the funeral (friend's father) we attended, figuring that knitting on a bright red sock (with clicky metal needles) was probably not the most courteous thing to do. I'm still not smooth with the double-pointed needles (and yes, I know there's a way to do socks on circulars--I cast on, on a big circular and then transferred to the dpns. For one thing I don't have any size 5 points for my cables--6 is the smallest--and I needed to start right away--and for another thing my cables aren't short cables.)
So...on to the new adventure of sock-knitting. I'll be fine until I get down to the known complication of sock-knitting: turning the heel. But there are directions and also videos online. A heel will be turned.
* I usually knit with 7s and up. All the way to the size 35 I used last fall on big fat yarn and it was FUN. However, big fat yarn doesn't make good socks, and big needles make looser stitches, so I was fairly firmly counseled that the conventional size 5 needles for worsted-weight when making thick socks was just about perfect. Books and personal communication both.
** YouTube knitting videos are incredibly useful for kniitters like me, who sortakinda remember how to do things but not quite (after a 40 year hiatus in knitting.) I understand from a friend who crochets that the crochet videos aren't as useful because they go so fast. I actually *had* knitted with double-points in the round years ago, but had forgotten how to join after casting on.