Monthly Archives: October 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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Knitterly Celebration

This weekend, I finished the fair isle sleeves…

I finished Pomatomus sock #1 (with about 3 yards of yarn left to spare), and cast on sock #2…

And to celebrate, I cast on for a new winter scarf. (The chilly weather seemed to arrive in a hurry this weekend. Why can’t scarves knit up at lighting speed, I ask you?)


Once again I’ve started sniffing around the pattern for Mariah. Because, you know, I need more projects to add to the winter knitting queue ;) We’ll see…

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I’m supposed to be loving socks right now…

It’s Socktoberfest right now, and I’m feeling like a horrible Socktoberfester. I’m knitting socks, yes, but they have become what is easily the most challenging project I’ve done to date (for me…maybe some other people would rather knit these than do fair isle or cables, but I’m sitting here looking longingly at my fair isle whenever I pick up these socks…)

(Pomatomus - again, slightly blurry..I’ve got to get that fixed…)

Every step of this sock has been a struggle for me. The leg, the heel, the gussets (I do not see any good reason for switching to 5 needles for the gusset and then back to 4 for the leg), the charts (they read fine, I just hate looking at them 10 times every row), the pattern (starting rows with yarnovers is not my cup of tea)…And I’m quite sure the sock knows I’m struggling with it, because every inch or so I find myself rescuing yet another dropped stitch or wondering how the heck I have 12 stitches at the end of a repeat when I should only have 8 or something like that…

What’s worse is this: I don’t know if I’m going to have enough yarn. That little itty bitty ball of yarn in the picture is all I have left on the first ball, and I still have another half inch of foot to go before starting the 2-inch toe. It’s the icing on the cake, really.

The thing is, I know without a doubt that when these socks are finished they will be gorgeous, and probably extremely comfortable, given how stretchy the stitch pattern is. People who have seen me knitting them have exclaimed saying how lovely the colour is or how nice the pattern is…and then I tell them how much I’m hating the knitting and they look at me like I’m covered in crazy.

Not only do I have Socktoberfest to think about right now (Lolly, is it a rule that we must love all sock knitting during Socktoberfest? If it is I think I’d better disqualify myself or start up a basic pair right quick…) but I also have to finish a pair for October for the Sock-A-Month Knitalong. (Let’s not even get me started on my bitterness towards the folks who are merrily churning out stockinette children’s socks at the rate of 8 pairs a month and racking up bonus points. No no, I had to pick challenging things to fit my Size 11 feet.) I’d better pick up the pace.

Maybe I’ll love it more on the 2nd sock. Hmm.

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Progress

Thanksgiving weekend = food + knitting = awesome.
This is why I love Fair Isle colour work:


Because after just 4 days, I have 1 completed sleeve and 1/3 of the 2nd sleeve. I’m in love with the colours, too, I have to say. I’m glad I waited to add in another one. Of course, I recognize that this wouldn’t go quite as fast if I were using fingering-weight or sport-weight yarn like more traditional Fair Isle, but hey, I’m enjoying the instant gratification.

I also went back to the Pomatomus socks (although I cannot seem to get a non-blurry picture of this…):


So, I’m just a few rows shy of a complete leg and then I’ll move on to the heel. I’ve got to pick up the pace on these, though, I’m a little concerned that I finish them in time for my October socks for the “Sock-A-Month” knitalong, PLUS there is Socktoberfest to think about…

I have to admit that, until the third repeat of the leg pattern, I was hating this pattern. It took that long for the pattern to become intuitive, and I had to keep looking back at the chart multiple times every row. I also think the sock knew I was hating it, because I cannot remember ever having so many problems with dropped stitches within such a small knitting time frame.

I think I’m over the worst of the frustration, though, and would love to have a completed sock (at least) by this time next week. Sadly, the Real World is harsh and cruel and doesn’t have nearly enough knitting time, so I will have to wait until this evening to return to it. Onwards…

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Thanksgiving Knitting

It’s Turkey weekend around these parts, and although I won’t be feasting for another couple of days, it’s never too late to lay in the holiday knitting plans, right? Behold the yarny goodness:


This is the 2nd beginning on the first sleeve of my 2nd Philosopher’s Wool sweater. This one is using the “Colour Your Own” style, and will be a pullover. My first one was a cardigan, so I’ve decided to try something a bit different. Also, I can’t say enough about how much I love the colours this yarn comes in. All you have to do is sit down next to it and you get a lovely whiff of lanolin, and also, it softens your hands while you work with it. How much more yarn love can you get?

My mother bought me the yarn for my 1st PW sweater last year, and this one is going to be made from a few skeins leftover from that one, a few skeins found in my LYS, and a few purchased additionally by my parents and myself. I think I’m happy with the colour combination as it stands at the moment, it needed some sitting and thinking time. But the beauty of this scheme is that it doesn’t really and truly matter what colours you’re using, because you keep combining them in different ways every few lines. I’m looking forward to seeing what this looks like! Also, Fair Isle = love. Not nearly as skeery as you think, I promise.

Over there on the WIP list at the sidebar, I went and took off the Feather and Fan stole I’d been working on. To say it was a work in “progress” would be entirely too generous. It’s not a difficult stitch, Feather and Fan, but the idea of knitting another 4 feet of it was making me have twitches and spasms. I considered ripping it out altogether, but my sister reasoned with me that it’s not harming anyone just sitting in the stash in its partially-finished state, so that is where it will rest for the time being. I’d rather track a WIP list that I can feel good about.

I’d like to say there’s been more movement on Pomatomus since my last post, but sadly I am only finished the first repeat of Chart A. It’ll come with me this weekend and I’ll see if I can put in some time with it – I’m remembering why I like colour work more than charted work. But knitting is nothing if not a challenge, right?

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the north!

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Socktober!

I wasn’t here in blog-land for the first ‘Socktoberfest’, but by gar I’m ready to stand and be counted for Socktoberfest 2006! The Lovely Lolly is hosting it once again, and I’m kicking it off for myself by starting on my very first pair of Pomatomus:


I’m halfway through the first chart pattern on the leg. So far the only major mishap is that the ribbing and the beginning of the chart don’t line up all swish-like, like they’re supposed to. I did the ribbing in k1b, p1, instead of p1, k1b. Silly me. Also, I gotta say I never really did give much love to the k1b stitch, but it’s lookin’ quite fine in this pattern. Just as long as my chart-fear doesn’t get the better of me, it’ll be all good. The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks, in the ‘winter eclipse’ colourway, and couldn’t be nicer.

My 2nd Ivy is this close to being done. I just need to do the sashes and the finishing and then I’ll have a new sweater. (Hah. I say “just”, as if these things take two seconds. I should know the finishing always takes me 5 times longer than I think it will.) More importantly, though, once I finish this one that means I’ll be able to carry on with one of the other sweaters that has been in the queue for some time. I have itchy knitting fingers. So, I think that will be my Thanksgiving project this weekend.

As for the Socktoberfest (blending nicely with the Sock-A-Month 2 Knitalong) knitting, I’ve got all sorts of sockish plans – argyle ones, knee-high ones, my first toe-up ones perhaps…It’s really a shame that life keeps getting in the way of all this knitting. ;)

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