Hello! I must apologize – I have been terribly derelict in keeping my blog up-to-date. Yet again, it’s been a month since my last post. Somehow, I just never seem to find the time to sit down and write a post. I haven’t even picked up a book since Christmas! (Anyone who knows me, knows I never go anywhere without a book, so this is a shocker indeed). So the question is, what have I been doing with my time?
I have finally gathered up enough courage to try my hand at knitting socks. Gussets, turning heels, short rows, wrap and turns, magic loop (what is that?!) – it all just seemed so complicated. Not to mention sizing. I hate gauge. I’m horrible at it. Needless to say, I ended up frogging my first attempt (a toe-up sock) after finishing the heel turn because it was massive. That darn gauge!
I knit this sock following Jesse Loseberg’s Basic Toe-Up Socks pattern over on Ravelry. As you can see, it is too big in circumference. I also had some trouble following his instructions to calculate the length of the sock before increasing for the gusset. I did like his method for the toe and gusset increases though. I ended up using this increase method in my next attempt.
My second go at socks went better. I followed Liat’s Fingering Weight Sock Pattern over on KnitFreedom. You do have to register with her sight to view the patterns, but it its free, and you get emails with helpful tips and tricks. Since I had no idea at the time what magic loop was, nor did I have a circular needle smaller than a size 6, I followed her instructions using size 3 double pointed needles. Since my stitches were distributed on 3 needles for all but the first few rows of the sock, I just used a stitch marker to distinguish the stitches from “needle 1” and “needle 2.” As I mentioned above, I liked Jesse Loseberg’s method of increases, and used that in this pattern instead (having 2 stitches before or after the increase, instead of just one, and increasing by knitting into the stitch below). I also made the smallest size as I have tiny feet – I just bought some new heels for my friend’s bachelorette party next weekend in a 5.5 (not easy to find). Instead of the Invisible Rib Bind-off recommended in the pattern, I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.
As you can see in the last picture, the leg and cuff of the sock look a bit stretched out. I do find myself tugging them up from time-to-time while wearing them. These were knit with Knit Picks Memories 100% Merino wool I picked up at a garage sale years ago. You can see in the photo some pilling going on: I machine washed them in cold water and partially dried them in the dryer – I will be washing by hand from now on.
For my next pair of socks, I didn’t find any sock yarn at my local craft store that I was particularly happy with – it all seemed a bit scratchy. I ended up deciding to try an acrylic yarn that felt very soft and was on sale (yay!) called Elegance by Loops and Threads. I started off with the size 3 double points, but wound up frogging and going down to size 2 double points. I also started with a cast-on of 10 st on each needle instead of 12, and only increased to 40 st on the heel needle with the gusset increases. After turning the heel, I had a total of 46 st. In the first round of ribbing for the cuff, I decreased 4 st evenly around for a total of 42 st, and continued in the ribbing until the cuff measure about 1.5 inches, then again used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.
I love that in toe-up socks, you have the ability to try them on as you go (if using double points, you do have to distribute on more needles to get them on your feet)! It saves you the trouble of getting all the way through the sock only to find it doesn’t fit. I’m currently working on a pair for my co-worker, Karen, who loved the thought of some warm, hand-knit socks. We’ve definitely had some fittings during lunch breaks, lol.
I have a top-down sock sitting on some needles too. The pattern was given to me by a client who has a friend that loves to knit socks. I had some trouble figuring out some of the instructions, so that has gone to the back burner while I finish up Karen’s Socks. These top-down socks are also going to be my first pair using the not-so-pleasing sock yarn from my craft store. So, it will be interesting on two fronts to see how these turn out: top-down and itchy wool sock yarn.
As always, questions and comments are welcome! If any of you are old-hands at knitting socks, I’d welcome any advice, favorite tips or patterns. I’ve only used the Fleegle heel in my successful socks, but I know there are a bunch of other methods out there. For any of you sock novices, I don’t know that I can offer much advice as of yet, but know that you are not alone, and you can do it!