converted – a sock knitting epiphany…

I may have mentioned here previously that the first thing I ever knit was a pair of socks… there’s nothing like jumping in at the deep end to find out if a new hobby/sport/venture is the right one for you!

I was seduced by the amazing self-striping yarns that were popping up on the new blogs I was discovering back in 2002/3 and I just had to knit a pair for myself. The fact that I’d not picked up a pair of knitting needles (let alone 4!) since early childhood seemed irrelevant at the time πŸ˜‰

My nan was a knitter – not prolific as far as I know, I can’t honestly say I ever remember seeing her knit but the evidence of her handy work is clear in pictures of myself and my sister in the early 70’s… My mum is a dressmaker. She’s at one with her ancient Singer sewing machine and doesn’t hesitate to comment on my ‘peculiar’ hobby at every opportunity. So, I don’t think knitting *was* ‘in my blood’ but it might well be now!

Back to those socks… they were not a huge success. I think it was some Lana Grossa yarn of some sort. Probably a slightly inappropriate cotton blend if I recall… One of the heel was decidedly misshapen after I accidentally started knitting ‘the wrong way’ round the needles and didn’t notice for a few rows πŸ˜‰ Now I realise that truly gifted knitters are the ones that can quickly ‘read’ their work and see where the problem is and then have the ability to fix it without forever ripping back row after row! I’m definitely not in that category but I’m better than I was!

Having had a sock on the needles almost constantly since that first pair 10 years ago, I’ve knitted them all sorts of ways, top down, lacy, with cables, on circulars, on dpns and I’ve even attempted two-at-a-time-on-two-circulars (and discovered my brain won’t do that!) but until now I’d never knitted a pair of socks from the toe up. No particular reason why – aside from regarding socks as my ‘knit without thinking’ project and thinking that I’d have to think to knit a sock upside down..

Turns out I’ve been missing a trick all these years!

‘Socks from the Toe Up’ by Wendy Johnson is a great book. Full of techniques (at least 4 different ways to cast on)Β  as well as some lovely patterns. I’d recommend it as a great resource for all sock knitters, experienced ‘toe-uppers’ or not.

Coincidentally, I wanted to knit Chris some socks to test the indestructableness (I know, but it *should* be a word!) of the John Arbon Alpaca Sock yarn that comes in such a fab range of shades. I chose a simple – but apparently not idiot proof judging by the number of mistakes I’m making – ‘mock cable pattern’ with a nice double thickness heel flap which will, fingers crossed, last through at least one winter (or summer, if it carries on like this!!)

Look! A whole sock…

With my other new trick incorporated… the Super Stretchy Bind Off. Thanks to Cat Bordhi and Jeny Staiman. Make sure to watch for Cat’s excellent finishing tip at the end…

It’s always gratifying when you realise that knitting knowledge is accumulative too. Barely a project passes without adding to or refining a skill that will be forever useful.

And look again…

Do you recognise that rare beast above? That my friends, is a very elusive creature indeed. That… is a Second Sock! Amazing!

Now, I’ve finished one and started the second. Is it OK if I go and cast on a new cardigan now? Please?

2 thoughts on “converted – a sock knitting epiphany…

  1. I managed to make a pair of socks (both of them) years ago. But they were too huge to put on feet and get them into shoes. So they are slippers for the house. But mostly hang out in the cedar chest where I occasionally find them and feel a bit of satisfaction that I made both of them. I recently came across a single slipper I made for my daughter a few years ago. Never made the second one. And now the first is way too small for her growing feet. Sigh. I think I’ll stick with sewing!

  2. I’ve found that I’ve been able to learn to read my knitting but it has definitely taken practice. Know what you mean about the summer thing, I’m still wearing all my hand knitted socks, so they’re getting twice the wear and stocks that I thought (with a little topping up) would last me into next winter aren’t going to, they’ve had so much extra wear. I need to knit faster.

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