Don’t Ever Give Up

With the Dreambird project coming up (see right sidebar if you’re interested), I want to remind you or give you a pep talk about giving up.

In September, 2006, when I first began knitting socks, it had been so many years since I had knitted, I could not even remember how to cast on.  I hung out on the yarn aisle at Hobby Lobby and asked everyone who picked up a skein of  yarn “Do you knit?  Can you show me how to cast on?”  Finally one lady told me about a group of ladies who met once a week the Methodist Church to knit prayer shawls and she was sure they could help me and they did.

First Socks

Knitting those socks was the most frustrating thing I had done in a while.  Casting on and getting the stitches divided across three needles and then joined in a circle . . took several tries.  I finally got that mastered and I would get a few inches done and realize I had missed a stitch.  Once I even went from needle 1 to needle 3 and had a long piece of yarn stretched across needle 2.  I had no idea how to rip out so every time I saw a mistake or dropped a stitch, I had to rip out all the way to the beginning and cast on again.

After a week or so of trying, I got to the dreaded heel.  More ripping back, more casting on.  I wish I knew how many times I started over all the way back to the casting on.

One night, in the midst of my frustration while ripping out hours and hours of stitching, Vince looked at me and said “I don’t think you’re going to get it!  Why don’t you give up!”  What did he say?  Give up?  Quit?  No way!  I looked at him and I said “I don’t ever give up!”  I may quit because I’ve decided it isn’t something I really want to do but giving up . . letting something like that get the best of me .. not gonna happen.

So . . as we get closer to the Dreambird project (or anything else that’s about to get the best of you), here’s what I always say:  If someone else can do it . . so can I (and . . so can you!).


  1. 1


    Well, Judy, I did give up on those socks I was trying to knit–I did not enjoy it and it was a daily struggle. Not to say I won’t try to knit something else but the socks had to go! 🙂

  2. 2

    lynne quinsland says

    when i was learning to knit, it was NOT a pretty sight. i was totally frustrated with myself that i kept making mistakes and didnt know how to fix them. i would end up throwing it across the floor with some not so choice words…my kids were all like–mom, why dont you just not do it then?? it doesnt look like you enjoy it? or that it is worth all that frustration…..i was like, but i will!!! and the frustration WILL be worth it….they were all, well it sure isnt now! and when they saw me get my stuff out, they would leave the room.
    i was learning how to knit at the community college in their free adult classes. the teacher was AMAZING and soooo patient. i would knit on something at home, then hit a snag. so i would start something new. then i would hit a snag. start something new…hit a snag….sometimes i would bring Irene 6 projects to have her look at and help me fix. that was probably the best thing i could have ever done. she taught me how to recognize problems and how to fix them without ripping back to the beginning. she must have been near 80 and had taught at the college for 50 years. i bet she has taught thousands upon thousands to knit over the years, and i mean really knit. like to do complicated stuff and to read patterns etc…her philosophy was that if you could knit and purl, you could do anything. and, she was right!

  3. 3

    Julie says

    Hi, Judy…You are so right. I was so inspired by your year of socks last year that I just stuck to it, ripped when needed, and finally “got” it! I firmly believed if all those people on your site could do socks, so could I. I’ve made 5 pair so far and am still going, going, going!! I did start with a worsted weight (which I felt was easier) and have moved on to sock weight yarns.

    Recently you had a woman ask how to begin to learn to knit socks. You tried to refer her to the Classic Sock pamplet, but it was no longer available. I finally learned with the aid of Paton’s booklet Next Steps Four: Socks and Slippers, a booklet which is sold at Joann’s. It has the same basic directions as Classic Socks, but the directions for the basic socks are really explained for the beginner with LOTS of photos (unlike Classic Socks). I’ve compared both sets of directions and the measurements, etc., are the same, but I feel the pamphlet really is a help for the beginning “socker.” You Tube can help out with the kitchener stitch!

    Love the “What’s on Your Needles” day–love reading your blog…Thanks for all you do!

  4. 4

    Helen Koenig1 says

    You’re right! When I first ever knitted something I was pregnant with my daughter – and wanted to make something for her. Saw a pattern for soakers and decided to make those. Of course I didn’t realize that different sized needles make a difference in the pattern and I didn’t know what a gauge was. But I knit those things. My mom came for a visit and nearly died laughing at my efforts. But I kept on. Finally finished them – kept them for years. When my daughter was 6 years old she discovered them stashed away in some bin or other – pulled them out and put them on. they were HUGE – even on her! And she was NOT a little child! Took me years before I decided to knit something ever again. (And then I knit a narrow – turns out it was SUPPOSED to be 12 stitches – a SKINNY scarf – that I thought was supposed to be 20 stitches and somehow ended up at 42 stitches! And it looks like it is pregnant and about to give birth to baby scarves!)
    Lots of things are like that – I wouldn’t have a garden or fresh produce if I gave up (back yard was a ravine, and full of weeds and cinders – very little top soil). Still isn’t where I want it to be – but it’s a LOT LOT better than when I started!
    Same for piano – if I gave up I never would have learned to play Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto in C, nor Tchaikovsky’s “months” work. nor really anything else. It takes effort, sometimes some ranting and raving, sometimes saying NEVER again – but in the end going back to it, analyzing where the problems are and what to do about it – and continuing on – and one day you get it!

  5. 5


    I have to laugh. It sounds like me and the endless learn how to knit socks project from earlier this year. But in the end, I did have a pair of wearable socks. Too bad it turns out I don’t really like wearing hand knit socks. I have now worn and washed them, so I will try them on again once it gets cold out. I might change my mind.

  6. 6

    Susan T says

    In my family, growing up, we were not allowed to use the word “can’t”. We were told that we could do anything, as long as we were willing to learn and practice long and hard enough. That attitude has worked for me all my life. There are lots of things that I am unable to do, but only because I’m not interested, or not willing to spend the time to learn or improve. I taught both my sons that “can’t” is an unacceptable word!

  7. 7

    Wenda says

    I have been flowing your blog for many months now. I call you snake boot lady because I loved that post about going to buy boots and coming home with more flip flops. I was telling my family about the spagette post last night. My husband hates spaghetti and my kids love it. and one of my daughters said that I talk about you so much that they feel like you are one of the family.

    I wanted to let you know that we have many of the same views and your statement at the end of the post is sort of my life motto. I have always believed that If someone else did it then I can too. Not that I always want too. Thanks so much for all your post.

  8. 8

    AngieG9 says

    My first knitting project was a sweater. Supposed to be my size, but my knitting was so tight it actually fit my 4 year old daughter. I never told her it wasn’t for her in the beginning, so she loved it. The last sweater I made was for my hubby, and I had loosened my knitting so much that I couldn’t find anyone heavy enough to wear it, so I ravelled it out and made an afghan. That took the blue ribbon at the county fair. I haven’t tried to make clothing since then, but have made dozens of afghans, scarves, and ponchos. Now I need to suck it up and try for another sweater. I made a lot of wearable ones between the first and last ones, but just gave up after the last one.

  9. 9


    I learend to knit scarfs, and washcloths about the time you started doing socks. I had never knitted b4. My DD came to visit one day and said she wanted to learn to knit. I taught her to knit washcloths and scarfs. The nextt ime I saw her she was knitting socks, and LACE OMG…. She found knitting videos to teach herself to knit!
    I started on a sock shortly after that and when I have difficulty w casting on, or the heel, I google knitting video’s to see what I need to do..

  10. 10

    Carol says

    Like SusanT, my dad encouraged us to never say “I can’t” and always try try and try until you get it. So after reading your post after post of knitting socks and how anyone could do it, I got the info from you for the sock pattern. Then you did a post similar to this one on just getting busy and doing it and not letting excuses stop you. So that is what I did and yes, I pulled out that first sock so many times, it’s a wonder there was any yarn left. But I eventually got a pair made and by watching videos I found online, it was so helpful to see someone doing particular parts. Now the second pair are at a standstill after getting the first sock done and starting the second. The yarn started breaking and it got worse, at times I would come to a piece that was just held together by a thin strand. I was sick and could hardly stand the thought of unraveling all that work…so it has sat for months with only a few rows started. (and yes, it was good quality and I emailed the seller and she never would answer emails!) After reading the post above by AngieG9 who unraveled a whole sweater, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad…but what would I do with this yarn (all those little knots I have tied?) I thought about a scarf as maybe the little knots wouldn’t show as much. I pay attention to the yarns you mention and have thought I would place an order and see how it goes. That Hitchhiker pattern really catches my eye.

  11. 12


    I am doing the crafsty sock knitting class…I too am determined to learn to knit socks (despite the fact that I live in AZ and RARELY wear socks)’s to us!