Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turning Corners: Socks & Novels

Turning the heel on a sock always takes a bit of focus.  It's not terribly difficult once you've done it a few times, but it involves a bit of planning and tracking.  You have to separate the stitches, create a sturdy foundation, narrow and turn and then expand and re-focus.

Technically, after knitting as lengthy a tube as I want for the leg portion of the sock, I separate the heel stitches from the in-step, knit a sturdy heel flap, do some short rows to turn the tube in a perpendicular direction to the existing tube, pick up stitches for the gusset, join to my patiently waiting instep stitches and then decrease back to the original number of stitches to send my tube on down the foot, where it will eventually resolve itself into a toe.

When possible, I like to do this all in one sitting -- my memory stinks and I seem rarely willing to write things down (other than here of course -- but, you know what I mean!).

Where do novels come into all this?  Just wait, the analogy's coming.  Turning the heel on the sock always makes me feel like I'm almost done.  I'm past the half-way point and the end is in sight.  I turned the heel on this sock last night after the kiddos were all tucked in their beds for the night and then I marched myself back to the computer and whacked out another 1600 words or so on the Nanowrimo novel, which amazingly resembles the original pattern I'd outlined for myself far more than I would have expected it to at this point.  Doing so brought me well past the half-way point for that as well and I'm entering the home stretch there too.  Characters have had to turn corners, grow, expand and change course  Separating the various plot stitches will have to come later during the editing process, but I can already see the individual strands coming together and I'm confident that they will, eventually, resolve themselves into a toe all their own.

I printed the novel today for the girls to read -- it is a children's book after all -- their opinion is as valuable to me as any editor's at this point.  It was 52 pages single-spaced and 33,360 words (but, who's counting, eh?). My little excel spreadsheet informs me that is 67% of my 50,000 word goal for November and I feel like 67% is about where I am on the sock too.  For those keeping track of such things, yes -- this is the birthday sock I began almost at the same time I got started on the novel, and yes -- it's taken a ridiculously long time.  We will tactfully, fail to mention too that this is only Sock #1 and predictably, another must be knit before long.  Three weeks IS an inordinate amount of time to knit such a little thing, but I bit off more than I could reasonably chew this month -- what with that novel business and daily blogging and a few other dozen things on my "To Do" List that are also frankly, half baked... or I should say, 67% baked..

Anyway, I see light at the end of my tube, tunnel and that's a good feeling.  I've enjoyed the work on both projects, but I doubt the book will keep my toes toasty at night.  Considering the amount of snow outside my door right now, I might do well to devote all my time to getting that 2nd sock done!

Ain't it purty?
Sock models being notoriously hard to come by, I must officially thank Charlotte for contributing her foot to posterity!


  1. What a magnificent analogy...What a fine 67% cooked sock on a lovely foot...What a writer!!!