Greetings. Welcome back. If you are a new visitor, welcome. It has been a while, and there are many exciting things going on around here. I am looking at a potential lifestyle change, and I will keep you posted on that. School is back in session, so life is returning to a somewhat normal pace, rather than an absolutely insane pace. The really excellent news is that I am back to knitting, and that is what I want to talk about today.
One of the first things I did when we moved to New Jersey was to join a knitting group. I found a really great group of ladies. We meet twice a month, and going has really ignited my passion for knitting again. They are all really talented and experienced knitters, and I really look forward to going.
OK. Let's talk about socks. I have been knitting for about six years, off and on. Probably five years total knitting. I consider myself to be an advanced beginner/new intermediate knitter. I try to challenge myself with learning something new. Until recently, I had never knit socks. My big fear was that I would knit one, and then never start the second, and I would end up with a drawer full of half pairs. There I was, hanging out at knitting, and the knitting ladies started raving about the awesomeness of wearing a hand knit sock. This discussion ended with one of them saying, "And no. You can't try mine. Knit your own." Okay. Gauntlet thrown. I decided to knit socks when my baby blankets were finished and mailed.
So where does a complete novice begin? I asked my Knitting group for recommendations. Within hours, I had four great recommendations. The suggestions included: Susan B. Anderson's "How I Make My Socks", Ann Budd's "Basic Sock", Yarn Harlot's "Sock Recipe: A Good Plain Sock" and Churchmouse Yarn and Teas' "Basic Sock".
They are all great suggestions, but if you have ever met me, then you know that patience is not my strongest suit. I simply could not wait until the aforementioned patterns arrived and I had sifted through all of the instructions. I went over to my shelf and pulled out "Hand Knit Socks" by Threads Magazine. I read the basic information, grabbed a skein of yarn and ran out the door. (I was on my way to a long weekend in Virginia and I knew I was going to need car knitting for the return trip.)
The pattern I chose, Tweed Worsted Weight Tube Sock by Kathleen Taylor, is pretty straightforward. You cast on, join in the round, knit ribbing for a while, switch to stockinette for a time, then decrease for the toe. The big questions for me were, "Would I actually knit a second one?" and if I did, "Would they actually match?"
The skein of yarn I grabbed was Brown Sheep Cotton Top in color c45. This was my first big mistake. I learned, once I started watching the Knitgirllls video blog, that twist is really important in sock yarn. Twist gives your socks that extra little bit of elasticity. Soooo, the Cotton Top yarn has exactly no twist and no flexibility. I knit the first sock on my 4" knit picks wooden dpns. My hands were in so much pain by the time I was finished. I really the think the flexibility was a factor. I pressed on, despite my knowledge of an inferior yarn choice. I did 16 rows of K3,P3 ribbing, and then knit stockinette in the round until the entire sock measured 14".
I am pleased with the consistency of the stitching. It is fairly uniform. I think I should have left a little more space between my cast-on stitches to accommodate my gigantic calves, but otherwise, I am okay with the way it turned out. I have noticed that the last stitch of my knitted ribbing is always loose when I transition to purls, so at some point, I think I am going to try and correct my tension with Portuguese knitting. But I digress...
The decrease went well, and I am pretty pleased with the way the toe turned out. It is a star toe decrease. I have the answer to my first question. Yes. I would start the other sock. I cast on the second sock immediately after finishing the first. Progress on the first sock was a little faster than on the second. My knitting friend tells me that this indicates that I am probably already addicted to sock knitting. I got myself some 8" size 5 dpns in size 5, and I was much more comfortable working on the second pair, at least until the very last round of the decrease. And here they are: A pair of tube socks. Due to the inelastic nature of the yarn, they will be lounging socks only, but I am pleased with the overall outcome. And yes, they do match.
After weaving in the ends, I immediately cast on for the Basic Adult-Size Worsted Weight Ragg Wool Flap and Gusset Sock. I have decided to knit this one and all of the vanilla socks listed above, and report back on which one makes the most sense as a first knitted sock. Until next time, Happy Knitting. -deb