Turns out the local yarn shop is open until five on Sundays. And it's about 12 minutes walk away if I walk briskly. And, you know. Yarn doesn't weigh that much.
I left with four Susan Bates size 1 double pointed needles and two balls of denim jacquard (my mom would have called it ombre) yarn. As soon as I go home (stopping to buy some ground turkey first), I chased Jonathan away from the computer and printed out two patterns - Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock Pattern because both of my knitting gurus, theunblonde and otherdeb suggested I start with that, and directions on how to do a figure eight caston from knitty.com.
And then I sat down and did a test swatch with the needles. I did that three times because I kept dropping stitches, but I eventually figured out I was knitting six to the inch. Which, given that I knit loosely and was using a needles a size larger than required anyway, was not a surprise.
Before then, though, I realized that those knitting notebooks that everyone talks about? Made sense. I wanted to note down the band information for the wool, and I wanted to note down the gauge information. I found a small hardback spiral notebook that was barely used, ripped out the three pages with writing on them (an aborted Draco-with-a-scar HP story and the notes for moderating a panel about superheroes), started a table of contents and wrote down the information.
And some really bad math.
The figure eight cast on was amazingly frustrating. I tried several times and failed each one. So I figured that even if my crochet hook was large and my only scrap yarn was worsted, I could still do the chain stitch one specified in the pattern. It seems to have worked. Except that, for some reason, after measuring my foot and getting about 9 inches, and multiplying that by the gauge, I got. 36.
I was a couple rows in when I realized that was really stupid, checked my arithmetic and got 54, which made more sense given both the pattern and, well. Reality. I had some problems with the idea of slipping and wrapping stitches but after a second try, managed that, too.
At this point, I have the toe done, and an ugly thing it is, too, and I'm working the rounds. I assume that this sock is going to be...well, exactly the way a first sock is going to be. Less than perfect including ladders and holes. It's okay. I'll make it somewhat short and wear the pair with high top sneakers and no one will know. If it fits. So far, it does. I'll do a better job with the second sock and then the next pair, which I might even work with a pattern in the legs.
One thing I have realized is that I don't especially like metal needles. I've been using bamboo since I started knitting in January, and I like those a lot. These are very slippery and I've been dropping stitches more often than I have - I'm sure part of that is the sheer size of the needles, and another part is my inexperience with dpns, but I think the wooden ones just work better for me. The set that haven't arrived yet are bamboo (and there are five of them, not four.) The ladies at the yarn shop say that they've ordered bamboo needles but they haven't ever used them - only metal ones.
Another thing is that it's not hard at all to use dpns despite that. Once I adjusted things so that the needles were on top (I keep rearranging them so that the working needles are on top of the pile, too - this is normal, right?) Maybe all my months of working with the circulars helped?
(On that note - I'm going to finish the current stripe and work one more, and then I'll block it - any hints on how to block a scarf? - and then add the fringe and I'll be done. I'll post a picture, maybe.)
The point of knitting socks, besides practice on dpns and learning something really basic, was to have a portable project. I took it on the bus today. It worked.