------------------------------- ------------------------------------ On and Off The Needles

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Sock Story....

Lolly put up a great questionnaire for Socktoberfest. I really enjoyed doing it. Thinking back to those first socks - the trials and tribulations and frustrations! Pictures of all the finished socks are in the links on the last question.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I started in April of 2005 (a mere 3 1/2 months after I first picked up a pair of needles) with the Very Tall Socks from Knitty (ambitious for a first project, no?). They were for my sister who always has cold legs in the fall and winter. I quickly got both bored and frustrated with the leg part - not only are my sisters legs not the exact match to what the pattern was (customize? what is that?) but they were too narrow. I stopped them mid calf and call them "Not so Very Tall Socks". It probably didn't help that I used Patons Classic Merino on size 2 needles, and did striping, and did a short row heel (yes, I knit with worsted yarn on size 2's. I had been knitting for 4 months. I knew no better). I shudder now just thinking about it! That pretty much sums up my knitting mentality - just jump right in and try it!

I learned sock knitting entirely from books and the internet (as I have 98% of my knitting in general). I'm a loner. I have to say, once I figured out how to turn the heel (my first real experience in having faith in directions and just doing it) and then did it, I thought it was pretty much hands down the coolest thing ever and wanted to knit another (though shorter) pair.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

My first pair were the Not so Very Tall Socks listed above. My sister does wear them around the house and being that the worsted yarn was knit on size 2's, it's wearing like iron. My first "real" pair were a pair of BMG Footies. I was much smarter and went for ankle socks the second time around. I used Magic Stripes yarn, and gifted them to a friend who they fit perfectly. I finished them in six days! (I still love anklets for that reason!)

What would you have done differently?

Not picked a knee sock, not used worsted yarn on #2 needles, not picked a pattern with shaping, not done striping, not done a short row heel (I think that covers everything!)

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I have tried to sample as many different sock yarns as I can - through trades or (sigh) purchase. The MD Sheep & Wool festival this past year was my sock yarn buying bonanza. So far, I have enjoyed (though not knitted all of them as of yet):
Socks That Rock (both the Medium and Light weight)
Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock - this has to be one of my favorites - I have 2 pairs knit from it and it was truly joy knitting with the yarn! I'd like to try some of their "almost solids"
Louet Gems Opal
Trekking XXL
Henry's Attic Kona (my newest addiction)
Three Waters Farm
Tess' Designer Yarn Supersock
Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra (the heathered colors are truly beautiful)
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (love the twist and color depth of their yarns!)
Dave's Cabin Cove Merino/Tencel (can't get much softer with a nice sheen)

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I'm a Magic Looper all the way. I started on DPN's but my hands ached after only 10-15 minutes of knitting. I think it's because I tend to hold the needles too tight. Probably the same reason my hands ache after driving a while - I grip the steering wheel too tight also! I have a 40" #3 Addi that I use as well as 32" KnitPicks circulars in 0, 1 and 2. I'm not a crocheter at all - I leave that to my sister.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I actually really enjoy both. Short row heels are great when I'm not in the mood to pick up stitches or purl a lot. They are also great on self striping or patterned yarn. I'm currently liking a flap heel as I've recently discovered I can carry the stitch pattern down the heel flap! Pretty neat! Plus, using Grumperina's "pretty" technique for picking up stitches, I have done a nearly perfect heel on my current pair.

How many pairs have you made?

Let's see (links are to pictures of finished pair) - 2 for my sister (Not so Tall and Lux Sockees), 2 for friends (BMG footies and Sprite footies), a pair of Dublin Bay for my mom, Jaywalkers, Jungle Socks, Falling Leaves, Simply Lovely Lace and Gentlemans Fancy Socks (my favorites so far) for me, 2 for the hubby (Thuja and RPM), and a pair of toe up's for dad.

That makes lucky 13 pairs! Holy Cow! I really had no idea I knit that many!

Looking back I'm really surprised! Lots of great patterns, fun yarns. For me, Socktoberfest is all about new things. I want to knit at least 3 pairs (a lofty goal) and use all stash yarn. I have one sock of my current pair done, and have the next pair waiting in the wings. Socks have really become a staple in my knitting bag - I feel lost without one on the needles! Lots of sock patterns are on my "to knit" wish list. Hopefully I can cross a few more off my list this month. (a few are already done!)

30 sock mosaic