A Knitter Needs a Support Crew

I started some new socks recently. The pattern I’d originally begun with this yarn really, truly wasn’t doing it for me and so, as the rules of this nice not-so-little sock club I’m part of state, if you don’t like the pattern, do another one.

So I did. A Cookie A. pattern I’ve wanted to do for so long. Kai-Mei. These ones. You can’t help but be drawn to the lace panel that snakes around the foot.

They appealed to me because the variegated yarn I was using, Vintage Purls in ‘Tuesdays Child’ would look good with all that ribbing. The leg went surprisingly fast – less than a week thanks to buses and coffee dates at lunch.


I started the foot with great excitement. Finally I was going to find out how to construct that lovely panel.

It took me three attempts. THREE! Now I’m not dense when it comes to knitting. I know my way around cables, lace, charts and some interesting construction techniques so when this one threw me I was not happy.

This is where a Support Crew comes in handy. I tell you, when you’re in a knitting pickle, get yourself a Support Crew, even if that crew amounts to one person. I learned – well really I already knew it – that one experienced knitter achieves more in a few emails than hours of scouring forums and blogs looking for some clue as to what on earth was going wrong.

I was rescued. By Drk. By the time I was emailing her for the third time in twenty-four hours asking if she had a clue where I was going wrong, I was starting to feel like she must be at the other end of the email shaking her head with frustration. She said to me, ‘You’ve done much harder knitting. You’ll have a light bulb moment. You really will.’

And I did. Proof. This is the heel end of the foot, with the beginning of the lace panel, which is astoundingly easy to memorise. Sometimes, we can’t see the wood for the trees.


If you’re curious about what it was that had me stumped, and you’re thinking of making these let me explain. At the end of the chart, you’ve got four yarn overs on your needle and you’re asked to scoop them together with the next stitch. I could not figure out what this meant. I was actually trying to knit them together but trust me, that’s not possible. You have to drop the four yarn overs and scoop them up that way. Simple. Couldn’t be easier. Did I see that right away? No.

Also, you nibble (to borrow a word from Elizabeth Zimmermann) across the foot, eating into the ribbing on the top of the foot. That’s how you get that panel to curve across the foot. I so didn’t get that at first.


Now, I get it. And I’m will beย fine. Heartfelt thanks to DrK and her patience. I hope the panel looks neater by the time I reach the end of the foot. Each one gets a little better.


Edited: In discussions after this post, Drk suggested maybe I hadn’t quite got the stitch right. I looked hard at the pattern and other examples and saw she was right. I ripped the foot out, started again and now have it, finally, right. Phew.


23 thoughts on “A Knitter Needs a Support Crew

  1. Pingback: Kai-Mei Socks « Bellsknits

  2. Wow. The kai-mei’s are looking stunning! And that VP really does look like it lends itself to the pattern. Can’t wait to see them as an FO!

  3. That is looking so pretty! Support crews is a great term. I think of Ravelry as a giant melting pot of support crews. Good Luck with the rest of it and I cant wait to see them finished. It looks as though that yarn is perfect for the lace. Well done on persevering.

  4. Gosh I read that and thought phew.. she got it ! to only read the edited part and figure out you hadn’t quite …lol, so glad you finally did though…ahahah

    Knit friends are life savers at times .) …I too love the pattern and on my ‘to do’ list also.

  5. I have admired those socks quite a bit and wanted to try the pattern but my complaint is that no one will see that lovely pattern once I put shoes on. I can’t wander around in just socks, doesn’t feel right.
    Yours look beautiful. That’s a good choice in yarns.

  6. what gorgeous socks they will be! i guess innovative designs like this are bound to have to use less common terminology. i know i would have been stumped on that one too. and hooray for the online knitting community that means help is always at hand!

  7. Bells! Oh my goodness! You are such an amazing knitter, you give me inspiration! If you can get muddled over a pattern, then it’s ok when I get totally lost and perplexed in mine! The socks are just divine! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Good for you! It does help to have someone to ask questions. My sister is my go-to. I’ll never be knitting those socks, though. Lace on the foot = cold, to me! I need my tootsies well covered in winter and naked in the summer and really, there’s no in between for me!

  9. I’m in! I love this sock pattern, but I have trouble with Cookie A., too. Would you believe I abandoned the Monkey pattern? Sacrilege, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. Thank goodness you have DrK. Unfortunately for YOU, you’re my lifeline. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I’m so tickled to see the bell sheep markers are coming in handy. Yay!

  10. I can’t wait to see these all done. I have Sock Innovation and have yet to make anything because I’m intimidated by the patterns. Hoping to get one done soon though!

  11. oh, it can be frustrating, can’t it?? sometimes as you say, it takes our respective Knitting Support Groups to get us through ๐Ÿ˜‰

    glad they did – the socks are beautiful!

    • Do it! You’ll be fine. They’re actually not hard once you know what is being asked. The stitch itself is easy – just took me a bit to understand it!

  12. I was really pleased to be able to help you with these, as hard as it can be in email! I did feel kind of responsible for swaying you from shurtugal to these. They look fantastic. The yarn is perfect. Knitting support crews are the best, they save my arse, a lot!

  13. I would have done exactly the same as you – tried to knit the 4 yo with the next stitch, all together. When I make these, I’m glad I will have learnt from yours (and DrK’s) experience! They look great so far – excellent yarn for the pattern!

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