Thursday, October 05, 2006


Sock History

Yay, a sock survey! Here goes:

Socks were actually one of the first things I attempted to knit. I started crochet when I ws about 7 or 8 and was really into that for many years. Then about the time I graduated from high school I was realizing that there were some things that just didn't look right when you crocheted them and a bunch of afghan and lace patterns that you just couldn't do. So I picked up my old knitting needles (or possibly pulled them out of the scarf I'd started at age 7 and never finished) and relearned how to knit. I was able to borrow needles from my mom and I had a ton of yarn to play with. However, normal knitting was boring, I could make cloth just as well (and much faster) with my crochet hook. What I really wanted to knit were socks. For some reason I never really mentioned to my mom that I wanted to learn to knit socks, I just picked up a ball of (DK weight?) yarn from the yarn store. Then I borrowed some needles and a sock book out of my mom's collection and tried to make socks. This lead to a number of problems. First of all you will note that I said I picked up "a" ball of yarn, as in one. This was not some super magical giant ball of yarn, it was a normal ball of yarn, only enough for one sock (if that). The second problem was that I never bothered with a gauge swatch so the sock didn't come close to fitting. Also, by the time I got down to the foot I was getting pretty bored and had realized that I wouldn't be able to make a second sock nor was this going to be even close to fitting. At that point I decided that I should just work the toe so that I would at least know all the techniques involved in knitting a sock. This was the result:The first "pair" of socks I did however, went much better. I've been knitting for several years now, but I never really went back to socks after that first one. I've knit several sweaters as well as hats and mittens, but never more socks. That is until I saw the pattern for Grumperina's Jaywalkers... I had some sock yarn in my stash that I had originally started to knit into a sock, but I got less than an inch of cuff worked before I got banished to the stash. When I saw the Jaywalker I knew I had my socks. I ripped out the 1" of cuff I had started and started my Jaywalkers. I have no clue what the yarn is, but the pattern looks great and they are the most comfortable socks I have ever owned. This pair got me hooked on hand knit socks (though for some reason I still only own this one pair having given the others I've knit to family in an effort to share the joy.) Here they are, my Jaywalkers:

If this question is to the first sock I ever knit I would answer that I'd do everything differently. First, I wouldn't have just grabbed a random ball of yarn from the sale bin, I would have picked something pretty and exciting that would keep me interested. The second thing I would have done would have been to knit a gauge swatch. They really are worth the time, even for sock. The third thing is that I wish someone would have mentioned the importance of negative ease for a sock. It sounds so obvious after you know, but I didn't ask anyone...The final thing I would have done differently would have been to actually stick it out and knit the whole length of the foot. Though at that point I was pretty tired of it and knew I would never wear it so I figured why bother. As a result I have a sock meant for a baby moose, not a person. As for my Jaywalkers, I love them and I want more.
I really haven't knit socks with any of the sock yarns. For the most part lately I've been knitting up some worsted weight wool yarn from my stash to make warm winter socks for loved ones. However, I am also making a pair of socks for myself out of the wonderful handdyed cotton/lycra sock yarn from Greenwood Fiberworks. This yarn is absolutely beautiful and feels so wonderfully soft and squishy that I can't wait to get more. The only problem is that I'm not letting myself by more yarn until I finish a few of my projects...I hope she still has my favorite colors by then. I'll try to post a picture of that sock soon.
If I knew you could crochet socks I probably would never have learned to knit. However, now I you 4 or 5 DPNs to knit all my socks. Maybe someday I'll learn to crochet socks and then things will come full circle.
I've only ever worked a flap heel, but I do like the way they feel and they are pretty easy other than needing to count how many rows you've done.
I have made 3 full pairs of socks (1 for me, one for my sister and one for my mother-in-law), but I've had many false starts that I'm not counting. So far all the socks have been appriciated and both recipients have commented on how well they fit and how beautiful they were so that makes up for not having more socks for me. :)

Anyway, the thunder and lightning are getting closer so I should probably stop typing now. Hopefully I'll be able to post again sooner this time.

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