Sock It To Me, Beowulf 7

At this point, having zoomed through a dozen lines of olde English lettering, and navigated past a heel, the major challenges of the project are more or less safely past. Some fine judgment will be called for at the toe, which will control the length of the sock foot (and thus the fit). But at that point I will not scruple to take the toe apart and reknit it if necessary.

The major issue ahead revolves around duplicating sock 1 exactly, so as to get a matching pair of socks. A singleton sock is useful only as a Christmas stocking; you really have to knit a pair if you want to wear them. And here is where many knitters, and indeed many creative people, fall off the sled. It is far more fun to begin a new project, and it is possible to begin many projects without ever getting past the beginning on any of them.  In knitting circles we even have a word for this: startitis.

Once you’ve happily zipped through all the fun parts, the challenge is to keep slugging away to the end of the project. This takes intestinal fortitude.  Many a knitter loses interest after the first sock, or the first sleeve, or the front half of that fascinating pullover — in knitter cant, these sad items are UFOs, UnFinished Objects.  And how many writers have partial manuscripts tucked into files on the word processor, or squirreled in desk drawers?

The work isn’t done until it’s completed — a Finished Object.  Groups of knitters will occasionally combat startitis by having project-finishing challenges, deliberately working down the pile of UFOs.  Writers are more solitary, and in dry spells will dig out the old mss and see if any are worth rewriting.  What do you do, to combat your UFOs?

Next: Tiptoeing

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Sock It To Me, Beowulf 7 — 5 Comments

  1. Well, it is certainly tidier and more organized to keep the UFOs in their own bag, box, shelf, steamer trunk, or rental storage unit. But then you fall into the Purgatory paradox: out of sight can be out of mind. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I look at the UFOs scattered randomly around my office!

  2. Oh the UFO’s! Mine are more in the lace category and require serious concentration when my current schedule calls for moderate concentration while watching TV and zoning out after 12 hours at the computer.

    I did finish the Celtic Dreams sweater during my annual “Farscape” marathon. The sweater is now officially known as the Farscape Project. I even finished it in time to wear it to Radcon. Alas it is too heavy to wear much longer until Orycon next November.

    Onto Lupin Lace socks.

  3. At the very, very least, it is important to keep the UFOs organized within themselves: the yarn for the project and the directions all together with the UFO itself. What is absolutely fatal is to sneak some of the yarn away for some other project. And it is nearly as bad to lose the instructions or chart. Then the UFO is really orphaned, forever.

  4. Orphan socks … serendipity strikes again. I posted about them recently on my blog, and had some interesting comments!! …

    … however on the topic of the Beowulf sock .. have you thought of using another quote, perhaps from the Bard. I’m sure he had something to say on the subject.