it turns out that socks, for me, are not that complicated to knit after all. or at least they are not as complicated as some people try to make them sound.
however, they are not, for me, a quick knit. rudi gave me some beautiful yarn for christmas, not last year but the year before--i started knitting my first toe-up sock. and then i had to rip it out because i wasn't happy with the toe--the increases were weird to my eye--it took three tries for me to get them to satisfy me. by the time i had knitted the foot and learned to make a short row heel, i wasn't in the mood to stop and fix the one side of the heel that had holes in it. and then ella helpfully took out all four needles and repositioned them at random in the sock leg--something i hadn't gotten around to yet--so i ripped the entire thing back to a ball of yarn and started again.
meanwhile, i was thinking on trying two at one time on two circular needles--to avoid the tedious row counting and gauge gauging and paying attention--but i wanted to knit them toe up and i couldn't find instructions on how to do this with 2 circs--so i got another set of double pointed needles and knit in units. i knit one toe, then the other--i knit 10 or so rounds on one foot, then the other. i still had to count rows but at least i got to use my pretty stitch markers that my dear friend esther had made for me. by this time, i had decided that i would make the top of the foot in K4 P4 ribbing, which turns out to be somewhat tedious. and when i got to the heel, i decided to just do what made sense to me--when i got to the turns, i didn't wrap, i didn't yarn over, i didn't do anything. i just picked up an extra stitch when i got to the gaps and i knit it together with the next one. not fancy, but it worked, no holes, and i was ready to get to the leg.
so i had all this pretty yarn and i wanted to use all of it--which was why i was knitting toe up--so i had the grand idea that these would be knee socks, but after 8 inches of K4 P4, on 64 stitches over 88 rows--after those 5632 stitches--i decided that knee socks were overrated, and hatched the even grander and betterer idea to use the rest of the yarn to make socks for ella.
total elapsed time: 14 months.
now--the problem with knitting socks for a three year old is that three year old feet have a habit of becoming a different size overnight, without warning and without permission. so i hatched the most grandest and bestest plan yet, i would knit tube socks toe up, using a round toe which i worked in reverse and a spiral rib, with the idea that the three year old wouldn't need help putting them on because there would be no heel to maneuver, and when the three year old feet turned into four year old feet--which potentially could have happened before the socks were done--i could just rip out the last couple of rows and knit them longer.
and since i wasn't going to be working a heel, and since knitpicks had finally started carrying very affordable circular needles in the size i needed, it seemed like a logical time to try out the highly-touted two socks on two circular needles. which, for me, turns out to be one of the singularly most fiddly processes i have ever encountered. between making sure i had picked up the correct needle, and making sure the yarn was coming up between the needles the right way and not making a yarn over, and keeping the two yarn balls separated and not wrapped around each other, the socks, or me, and between the mind-numbing tedium of knitting K4 P4 ribbing for 8 inches on 56 stitches over 88 rows--after those 5720 stitches--i have decided that i gave it my very best try and that 2socks/2circs is not for me.
all of which is to say that 19 months after starting the first sock, i now have one complete mommy/daughter set to be mightily proud of and to be bragged on and to be worn to bits.