Daily Archives: October 17, 2006

Socktoberfest! My sock knitting history

Lolly posted these questions for Socktoberfest, and I hadn’t gotten around to answering them yet! Here is my extremely brief sock-knitting history.

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

The first pair of socks I knitted was for a belated Christmas gift last year (so, January-ish), using worsted weight wool from Belle Valle Wools (an Ontario sheepswool producer). I had my sister around, thankfully, to help explain the heel-turning part, because it really did confuse the heck out of me. I still have a skein of this yarn in grey and am hoping to knit a pair of mitts with it this winter.

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

The first pair of socks I knitted for myself, and the second pair I ever made, used a free pattern from Patons yarns and was made on 68 sts using 2.75mm needles, with Fortissima Colori self-striping yarn.

I still have 2 balls of this yarn in a slightly lighter colourway, and they’re waiting to be turned into a basic pair of stockinette socks as soon as I finish the current Pomatomuses (Pomatomi?). The first pair has held up well, but they’re just slightly brighter than what I normally wear, so if I wear them at all it’s with jeans.

What would you have done differently?

I would have used slightly fewer stitches. I seem to like the 64 sts on 2.75 mm needles for my feet, it’s worked out well for the basic pairs that I’ve done, although I do wonder if I could go down to 2.25mm needles on the same # of stitches, for my feet.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

For basic sock yarn, I quite enjoy Patons Kroy. It feels nice in my hands as I work, and while it doesn’t come in a huge # of colours, I do like the colours it comes in. I’ve knitted 3 pairs of socks using Kroy so far, and have 2 balls of black lying in wait. I’m still deciding if I want to just do basic black stockinette (because who doesn’t need black socks, I ask you?) or to try something with a bit of a pattern, like Jaywalkers or Baudelaire.

I have a pair of skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (my first LL purchase – Black Purl colourway for those curious) also waiting to be turned into something. I already love how it feels in my hands.

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

I don’t crochet. I’m not exactly sure why one would want to crochet socks, but I suppose it’s one way of doing it. I knit socks using a set of 4 DPNs, top-down. I do want to try toe-up method, but that’s a pair or two down the road. I even learned that I can do fair isle on DPNs and it won’t kill me. :D

Honestly, though, after I read “Knitting Rules” by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, her chapter on socks made a world of difference to me. Now I understand sock principles and I just go ahead on basic ones without worrying about the pattern.

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

Heel-flap. I’ve done a short-row heel, but the heel-flap just seems sturdier to me. It is a great frustration of mine that 99% of all toe-up patterns (which I would dearly love to try) have short-row heels instead of flaps, but I know there are 1 or 2 out there that do make the attempt with heel-flaps, and therefore so will I.

How many pairs have you made?

All-told, I think I’ve only made 7 pairs, counting the 2/3-done Pomatomus pair that’s currently on the needles. I look forward to making more. :)

(Also, as an addendum, my friend K and I just ordered a whack of supplies to have our own dye-your-own-sock-yarn adventure, and I’m waiting on a sock yarn order from KnitPicks, so I’m sure I’ll have PLENTY of sock knitting to come. If only there were more knitting hours in the day.)

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