The joy of sox

Bad title pun intended – sorry!

I have joined the pilgrimage that many others before me have travelled. What is it about knitting socks that is so addictive and inspiring. I am a complete babe in the woods – one pair of small child socks, three pairs of baby socks, and currently in the midst of the second sock of my first adult pair – but I already want to design my own sock patterns. Half the saved tabs in my browser window are sock knitting tips. So to add to the plethora out there here is my two cents worth on the joy of sox (my mother often wrote socks this way – think it may have been a shorthand trick).

eye of partridge stitchI have stumbled across Kate Atherley and highly recommend her Toe-Up versus Top-Down post. With my nascent sock knitting this is a great reminder that you need to try the various combinations to see what suits you. That is simple but stellar advice. My personal tip is to start with a pair of child or baby socks in a DK yarn. The socks knit very quickly as you are learning and practicing the techniques. I am going to do that for trialling toe-up, so far I have only knitted top-down.

I am totally in love with the eye of partridge stitch for the back of the heel (aka the heel flap). If you have not tried this stitch before here is a link. It creates a lattice effect.

alegria manos del uruguayI have already purchased the next yarn for my next pair of socks – yep mine, for me – I am knitting for me! I have always liked socks and buy fun, brightly coloured pairs. I do not wear through socks quickly so they can last for years. Even if I only make two pairs of socks for myself a year, over time I would end up with a fabulous collection. Anyway how gorgeous is this yarn? It is the Alegria range, from Manos del Uruguay which I purchased from the lovely Morris & Sons in Melbourne. I am also going to be trialling a different pair of needles. My first pair of adult socks are currently being knit on a set of Symfonie 2 mm bamboo DPNs , my second pair will be knit on a set of Karbonz 2.25 mm carbon fibre DPNs.

I have scanned lots of other posts and three others that I have read and found helpful are one about needles, one about avoiding ladders on DPNs, and one about socks in general. And will I be trying out my own pattern with the Alegria, you betcha! Something small to aid the time passing in the knitting of the foot.

And now there are two!

Need I say more?!

At the end of most days I ask my daughter what was her favourite thing about the day, and I do the same back. ‘Kid’s rules’ means I am never allowed to have the same favourite, even if it is my favourite. Tonight she said, “that you finished the socks and I got to try on two socks“. Damn! Finishing the second sock today was absolutely my favourite thing today. And my little girl already thinks I will be making more!

And when there was only one is here.

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…

To steal two lines from a Pointer Sisters chorus! About what I hear you ask…

Socks! The knitting of socks. And I have my daughter and Tin Can Knits to thank.

Did I say I was excited?? I have just finished my first ever knitted sock. I am SO proud of myself. Back to the start, and heed this advice to avoid my predicament, “don’t ask an almost five year old what they want, and if you do then don’t listen”!! My daughter sees me knit, and she is starting to show some potential interest herself, and very recently she actually asked me to knit her something. I of course being a generous foolhardy mum asked her what she would like, “socks Mum” came the reply. Where the *insert swear word of choice* did that come from? Now I have had a desire to try knitting a pair of socks; indeed I bought a ball of wool and some double pointed needles at least a year ago to embark on this adventure, the afore mentioned wool and needles languishing in the cupboard hidden from sight, untouched by my hands. I half heartedly tried the, “I have never made socks” line on my little girl, to no avail. Mum clearly can do anything. What is more she wanted me to use her rainbow yarn. This girl knows what she wants.

How to get out of this dilemma? Tin Can Knits to the rescue. I had stumbled upon them quite some time back, and quite fancy more than one of their knits. Their whole seamless approach to knitting has great appeal (translation: I think I would almost rather lose a limb they have to sew up my knitting!). And in hunting for a sock pattern for a child I stumbled upon their Rye pattern (here) and the words learn how to knit socks. For some reason I took the plunge. All I can say is if you have never knitted a sock before I utterly recommend this pattern. The instructions, particularly all the additional links you can click on, are fabulous. I feel like I am being enabled to tackle other patterns and knit more socks. My poor other half, he has been subjected to me going, “look at this, look at this” more than once through the course of the sock. I was so taken by what I was doing that I actually took the knitting with me to a venue, it initiated a conversation with a lady who worked there, and I gave her the pattern.

The other reason I may become hooked on knitting socks is this will be the fastest I have ever completed a knitted item…socks are small…I sense more socks in my future…I am about to lose control…

Finally the verdict of the small person who triggered such dilemma followed by such joy. Let’s just say the one sock is already being worn. I am happy.

And to really show I am approaching my dotage… I recorded the song this blog post references on a cassette tape off the radio!

Sometimes it is all about me…

…well at least a little bit more me than everyone else!  On the Thursday before Easter I had a meeting light day at work, and as someone who rarely stops to eat lunch I had pre-persuaded myself to head into town.  Perhaps partly fuelled by the fact that Lincraft has made a reappearance in the CBD (yay by the way!) and I had a $10 voucher, but I went wild and crazy and did the trifecta by also visiting Cleggs (also on Elizabeth St in the city), followed by Morris & Sons on Collins St – and bought something from every store!

So this does not yet explain what this may have to do with me.  Maybe it has something to do with one particular purchase.  I have never, ever, spent so much on a single ball of yarn in my entire life!  But I am going to knit myself… wait for it… a pair of socks, with some great variegated blue yarn.  I am excited and not worried if it takes me until next winter to finish these socks!  I love to read other blogs and those that I frequent of a knitting ilk have either been long on the sock bandwagon or have hitched a recent ride. Why not me too! This boldness being incited in two ways.  One is that I have recently finished knitting myself a very simple scarf (the intention to do so being a little while ago!).  I suddenly realised that what knitting I have been doing, nothing was for me.  So I have fixed that, and am looking forward to wrapping some bright red around my neck this winter.  The second is, and I should not be so surprised (read here treat myself like an idiot!), that I am actually capable of learning new techniques, as they say learning keeps the Alzheimers at bay!

As you can see I have made great progress on my little’s girl shrug, just the sleeves and sides to sew up.  I am not admonishing myself for taking a little longer to get around to sewing it up than I should have.  While autumn has arrived here and she may only wear it once or twice now, looking at the size I am hopeful that it will make a reappearance next spring/summer.  I have picked up stitches for what I think is either just the second or third time in my entire life.  I should point out I was too lazy to go and buy another ball of yarn when I realised I would not have enough to finish the ribbing, and used some leftover yarn from my stash.  Having already had to go and purchase a third ball compared to the pattern (oh that’s right I have never knitted a tension square – bad me; plus have also now learnt the very tricky task of reading the length of yarn on the label!).  I actually love the two tone/contrast ribbing.  Think it makes the shrug look better than if I had not run out and been too lazy to go get more.  Anyway I digress.  The whole point was to say I can learn new things.  And moreover where would we be without YouTube? Acting like mum, aunt, and grandma replacements and alternates (not the knitting should be solely considered a female domain) in our more dislocated world. For those like me with a reluctance to sew up knitting I can highly recommend this for shoulder seams and this for sleeves.  I was actually excited about doing both of these!   And with a tip about using Judy’s Magic Cast on for the toe up socks – there ain’t no holding me back!