Sock strap sock

My sock strap sock. I now have confidence that it will in fact be a sock.

A lot of the time people come up to me when I’m knitting and say something along the lines of “Oh, I can knit a little bit, but I could never do the kind of thing you’re doing.” I really wish they wouldn’t say that, because they really, really could if they tried.

It might take a while, it might be frustrating as heck, but the way to get better at knitting is to do it. But the wonderful thing about knitting, unlike something like cooking or spinning, is the fact that if you make a mistake, you haven’t ruined your raw materials. You can always frog the project and you still have the yarn.

Sometimes you just have to take a pattern and try it. You learn all kinds of new techniques that way. And then, all of a sudden, you’ve knit some lace or some cables or whatever you were so certain you couldn’t do. It can be a bit of a leap of faith sometimes, but you can definitely learn that way.

Here’s an example from real life. In March, I participated in a mystery sock knit-a-long for the month of March. (Okay, I’m still doing it. Yes, I know I’m way behind. When you go a couple of weeks without knitting, you don’t get much done.)

The theme of the knit-a-long was unusual construction–that is socks not knit top-down or toe-up. So I started the pattern (which was Sock Strap by General Hogbuffer.

I’m a rebel knitter when it comes to the whole “read the pattern all the way through before you start” thing. I can’t just read a string of directions–my eyes glaze over and I may as well have read nothing. I do a web search for errata, I skim the pattern looking for “AT THE SAME TIME”, but I don’t do an in-depth read of the pattern.

Now, with a mystery knit-a-long, you don’t get the whole pattern, you get a part of the pattern every week (or two weeks or whatever). You also don’t know what the finished product will look like. So it’s a bigger leap of faith than normal when you’re knitting a mystery pattern. And then, this one was even more difficult, because I’ve never knit a sock that wasn’t either top-down or toe-up. I had no idea how this thing was going to come together. And I couldn’t peak ahead in the pattern to see what the heck was going on.

I knit through the first clue and I literally had no idea how this was supposed to make a sock. Then I knit the next clue. I was still a bit unsure about how this was supposed to work. But my only choice was to give up on the pattern, which would result in not learning how to make these socks, or to trust the pattern. So I trusted the pattern and kept going.

Now I’m halfway through Clue 3, and I totally got this. The pattern totally makes sense. It just took a little faith in the pattern and a little faith in my ability, and boy am I going to have some cute socks and some new ideas for sock construction.

So here’s my challenge to you. Find that technique that scares you and push yourself to try it and keep going. Just trust that you have the skills and knowledge to learn it, practice it, and master it.

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