A/N: This story was written for the Late-September Challenge over on Bonesology. I had lots of thoughts go through my head when I first read the challenge, but knew that I was not knowledgeable enough to be able to write most of them. I do introduce a character in this story that is out of canon. But I think that Angela is in character here.


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Following Directions

Catching the smile thrown her way as she entered, Angela smoothed her skirt, took a deep breath and walked to her friend's table. "Helen, thank you so much for making time to go over this with me, I really appreciate it. When I watch other people doing this, it sure looks a lot easier than it is!" Angela greeted her friend with a swift hug and, pushing some books and projects aside, sat down next to her at the table. "It's like learning a whole new language!"

Helen laughed, "I hear that all the time from newbies! But, you're doing fine Angela and it's what I'm here for, it's what keeps me in business! You're learning a new skill and once you get the rhythm of it, you'll wonder why you ever struggled. It'll become second nature. Now, let's see what you have."

Reaching into her bag, Angela pulled out the mess she had stuffed in there last night in a fit of frustration. "I don't know if you can even figure out what I'm doing, let alone what I'm doing wrong. I even pulled up a YouTube video to see if I could figure it out, but I am totally lost!"

Helen chuckled. "We are all beginners at some point. You didn't become an artist overnight, it's the same with this. You've got the basics down, you know how to increase and decrease, that's really all you need for this project. We're just taking those skills you've already learned and we're applying them a little differently. Now, let's see what you have here."

Placing the mess Angela had handed her on the table Helen moved it around a bit to get a better perspective. "When is the baby due, again?"

Angela grinned, "It's just a few months. Why? Do you think I won't be finished by then?"

Helen smiled. "Sweetie, we're going to get you on your way and you'll be done in no time. But let me warn you, my other customers swear that these are addictive. Once you get the first ones made, you'll want to make more! I warned you that it might be a little challenging, but what you have done so far looks like you're doing well, the cuff is perfect and the heel flap looks right. DPNs are a little more challenging than straights, aren't they?"

Angela rolled her eyes and scooted closer to watch Helen's fingers as they manipulated the needles and yarn. "I knew I had bit off a big chunk when I went from a scarf to socks, but these really are the perfect gift for this baby," looking up at Helen, she grinned. "You'd really have to know the Dad. I really want to get these made."

"Well, first I'm glad we were able to find a multi color yarn that you liked." Both women chuckled at the memory of Angela picking out a suitable yarn. "When I started knitting socks, we had to change yarns to get multi-colors and there was no superwash! But there is such a great selection available to knitters today. Okay, I see where you had your problem, let's go over this."

Angela watched Helen's hands nimbly handle the double pointed needles. She didn't think that she would ever be able to handle them that well. "I thought there might be a mistake in the instructions on this heel turn thingy, it doesn't make sense to me."

"That's what confuses most new sock-knitters," Helen admitted. "When I knit my first pair of socks I kept thinking that there should be an errata sheet for the directions. But the shop owner said that if I just did what the directions said, and not what I thought the directions said, I would be fine. I still have those socks, and they are my favorites!"

Placing the needles in Angela's hands Helen continued, "These are called short-rows. It allows you to manipulate the garment so that it will fit over the heel. We could have made tube socks, but babies kick those off before you can get the second sock on their other foot. Once you get this first pair finished, if you are not totally discouraged, you can experiment with different heels to see if there is one that you like knitting more than others."

Sitting at the table with Helen guiding her along, Angela followed the directions in front of her, k, slst, psso, k, turn, p.* It was like learning a new language, but as she did what the directions said, she watched the heel take shape knowing to just concentrate on the heel and not think ahead to the gusset. The colors she had chosen for this first pair were a wonderful hand dyed mix of bright colors in a wonderfully soft superwash yarn. She smiled as she worked under Helen's guiding eye, knowing that these socks will be perfect for the baby of her best friend and Special Agent Studly.


* knit, slip stitch, pass slipped stitch over, knit, turn, purl

BTW, Socks are amazingly addictive to knit. If you are a knitter and have not knit socks, I encourage you to take the leap. There was a group of knitters on Ravelry that made socks for DB. I'm not sure he "got it" though, since he said in an interview that they became puppets for Jaden. However, if you can increase and decrease, you really can make socks (and my experience has been that, like Helen tells Angela in the story above, if I do what the directions SAY and not MY interpretation of what they say, I wind up with a pair of socks!)