Pointy Sticks of Doom is something my hubby would say, or to everyone else they are call Double Pointed Needles (DPN's).
I learned to knit last summer because I kept seeing lots of beautiful things on Ravelry that I wanted to make but couldn't, so I decided to learn. I quickly came across the concept of knitting socks but initially didn't understand why someone would do so. However, over time I kept seeing beautiful yarn and patterns for socks and I got drawn in.
It seems the more traditional way of knitting socks is on DPN's so that's where I started, this is where the Pointy Sticks of Doom come in. You see, having a tube of knitting with four or five six inch sticks in it, that you are expected to knit with and not hurt yourself is a bit frightening. Now, there are other ways to knit socks without using DPN's but part of me was upset that I couldn't get the hang of them so every now and then I keep getting them out and trying again, as someone else said "its like wrestling a hedgehog!".
Over time I learned the other ways to knit socks, magic loop, two circular needles and even a tiny nine inch circular needle. However each of these presented their own problems, the tiny circulars was too small to hold for instance. As for using longer circulars (two circulars or one in magic loop style), well the amount of time it was taking me to move the stitches around from needle to cable and back again was getting me down. That's not mentioning the fact I was knitting tightly and getting the loops over the join at the cable was tough at times.
So as a result, yet again, I got out my pointy Sticks of Doom and went to a group on Ravelry where a very nice lady was helping some crocheters learn to knit socks. I was a late starter to all the fun but they answered my questions and made me feel welcome (Even though I was being a pain with daft questions).
With their help I figured out how to hold the DPN's so I could actually knit with them (this turned out to be very important). Something else they helped me with, and I feel silly for not realising it, is why I was getting ladders. Now ladders tend to form at the point where two needles meet, the stitches look stretched out and as a result the stitches look like a ladder. To be honest very small ladders come out in the wash but these were too big for my liking (I'm a perfectionist, or as my mum would say "your a pain!" lol)
The most common way to get rid of ladders is to knit the first stitches on every needle quite tightly, this is based on the theory that the ladder is formed because your knitting is loose at that point. So that's what I had been doing, but oh no, it wasn't working.
The lady who was helping the crocheters to knit, suggested that my actions to prevent ladders may actually be causing them. At first I ignored her comment, then out of desperation I tried, in effect I actually stopped trying. That was the light bulb moment, the ladders vanished, together with the way I was holding the DPN's I now get virtually no ladders at all. Although to be honest there are two points where you can see not a ladder, but that a column of stitches is ever so slightly looser than those around it. Now this should come out in the wash, and I would bet chocolate that no one else could see it (well if I could find the cable for my camera).
So where does this leave me? Well I Had started my socks with my Opal yarn but with circular needles, however I'm getting ladders and gauge problems. So I reckon I will stop and frog them and start again with Pointy Sticks of Doom!
Phew, I didnt mean to go on so long, espescially without pictures :)