I left class two of a three-part sock class at close knit (2140 NE Alberta St., 503-288-4568, closeknitportland.com) last week with a mere 10 inches of sock and a partially turned heel to show for my efforts. Operation: Socks 4 All 4 Christmas is on the line. To finish both socks by the end of the third week, I need to start Sock #2 at home and get it to the same point as Sock #1 before class resumes the following week.

I purchased a second set of needles at Jo Ann Fabric & Craft Superstore ($6.89, 3900 SE 82nd Ave., 771-2855, joann.com), so I could work on both socks simultaneously (I'm way too chicken to take a project off needles and place them on a stitch-holder). Before paying I perused the yarn selection. Natural fibers are few and far between, but if you don't mind acrylic, shop on— it's all super-cheap.

After starting Sock #2 and knitting for 10 inches it was time for the next step: divide for heel. This shapes the "foot" end of the sock, and requires concentration. Different parts of the sock are on three needles, one for the heel and two for the instep. First, I knit the heel stitches in stockinette (knit one row, purl next row) for 17 rows, slipping a stitch (moving a stitch to the right hand needle without knitting or purling it) at the beginning of each row. The slipped stitches make it easier to join the heel to the instep later on. I then worked the heel needle in an eight-row series of decrease stitches (SSKs) to "turn" the heel (this creates the perpendicular angle at the bottom of the sock).

I was soaring along like a quasi-professional, but at the end of the series I had the wrong number of stitches on needle 2. I miscounted somewhere and it was gonna cost me. I had no choice but to undo the stitches and back up.

This was bad, real bad. I hadn't yet mastered the new stitches and was confused about how to take them out. By trying, I made a bigger mess out of an error my sock class teacher Ann could probably fix with her eyes closed. Unable to remedy the problem until next week, I was stuck, speechless and bummed. My merry sock making would have to wait...

Next Week: Hand Made Socks Rock!

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