Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On Socks

What is it about socks that grabs so many knitters? After all, as my husband never gets tired of pointing out: "You can buy three pairs for $9.99 at Farm and Fleet." And yet, many of us would rather pay $20 or more for yarn and then devote dozens of hours to produce a single pair.
A pair of plan vanilla socks pops with KnitCircus yarn.
I know what got me started: a skein of Opal sock yarn with specks of bright colors against a background of white. It became my first pair of socks (which I think my mother still wears) or, more accurately, my first pair of fingering-weight socks. Before taking on fingering-weight and size 1 needles, I practiced by knitting a handful of pairs in worsted weight -- a method I highly recommend.
These are Keith's Hanukkah socks. He rarely wears them because they are "too pretty" to wear, he says.
Once I knit up that Opal yarn, I was never again without at least one pair of socks on the needles. I swear I could knit a pair of plain stockinette socks in my sleep. They've become my go-to project for meetings and other settings that require simple knitting.
My Winter Rose socks in Great Lakes Tweed yarn.
But my favorite pairs tend to incorporate lace, and one of the best lace socks I've knit are these orange ones, Winter Rose by Helen Stewart. This pattern is downright meditative. I know I'll knit these again.
I am quite rigid about how I knit socks, though I'd like to branch out. At this point, I only knit cuff-down and I always use a heel flap/gusset construction. And I like DPNs. This summer I really want to learn toe-up on one long circular needle.
These are my current "meetings" socks. I bought the yarn on clearance, not realizing that it would knit up so well. They are Hermoine's Everyday Socks, which is beginning to be my plain vanilla. I just love the texture of this pattern.
The only bad thing I can say about sock knitting is that it tends to lead to sock-yarn stash explosion. It's so easy to buy "just one skein." It's amazing how fast those skeins accumulate. I suspect they multiply in the dark of a Rubbermaid bin because there is no way that I bought that much sock yarn.

I have quite a few pairs in my sock drawer, and I love giving socks as gifts. But at the rate I'm knitting them, I may need to make more friends to expand my sock-giving!

16 comments:

  1. The thing about socks .....

    1. They come in infinite patterns. Even though you are knitting SOCKS, it's always something different if you want it to be.

    2. Socks are fairly affordable --- as opposed to a sweater's worth of yarn.

    3. Socks don't take too much time. By the time you get bored with that pattern, you are almost done.

    4. Portable --- try stuffing an afghan project in your purse.

    Socks are just about perfect in every way AND they almost ALWAYS fit.

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  2. I tend to knit "plain socks" because they are mindless yet useful. After all, everyone wears socks. I've knit lacy patterns but find they are not comfortable to wear. My sock yarn stash is definitely out of control, but I'm working at reduction. A couple of women in my knitting group want to learn how to knit socks, and I love your idea of learning with worsted weight yarn & big needles.

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  3. I love to knit socks and am sad that I now have 70 plus pairs. I can never wear this many socks so it has taken the joy out of it quite a bit. I am not a good knit gifter either as I always fall in love with my socks and have a terrible time giving them up. I do love that first pair in your post. That yarn is to die for!

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  4. Ha! What a good problem-having to find new friends for the socks you knit! Doctors and nurses like to receive a pair as thanks, too, you know! I loved looking through your sock history-I haven't knit some for months-I need to dig out a skein of bare and dye it today!
    I tried toe-up on one needle years ago and never went back to dpn's again!!!!

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  5. Socks are so much fun - you are knitting along and suddenly it looks like a REAL SOCK! That never ceases to please me!

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  6. Beautiful knitting! And, nothing says love like hand knit socks!

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  7. Socks are portable and relatively easy. I have only made 2.5 pairs but I can see the attraction already.
    I love magic loop. I just made my first toe up sock with a short row heel as I hated doing the gusset. So far it seems great as far as fit but we’ll see how they fit in action. I recommend this pattern but there are many others that look good as well https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lifestyle-toe-up-socks---no-swatch-needed

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  8. OMG love that knit circus yarn. OK my love of socks is because even though I wear black all day every day, I can wear fun socks.

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  9. Lovely socks!! The orange pair is divine. I love to knit socks too. As Dee says, they are fast, affordable, portable, etc. And, I find the heel turn to be magical! I love that.

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  10. Great socks! I used to knit socks all the time -- but then slowed down because sock explosion. I have one-of-a-pair finished using the Hermione pattern. I love that design. It works so well with hand-dyed sock yarn. (You may have just inspired me to get moving on that second sock. . . ) :-)

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  11. I had to ration my sock knitting because I have enough, where enough = more than I can wear out. My solution for the sock yarn explosion in my stash was to knit double-stranded socks. Two strands of sock yarn are roughly the same as one strand of DK or light worsted. I knit the feet on US#2-1/2 needles and the legs on US#4s. My size 8-1/2 feet require a cast on of 48st. Check out my Ravelry socks page (https://www.ravelry.com/projects/kmkat? and search for "double socks".) The color combinations that come from combining two patterned sock yarns are endless fun! Plus, the floors in our house are cold, so having extra warm socks is a necessity. I bought a couple pairs of clogs that are a size larger than my normal size to accommodate the extra bulk of the double-stranded socks and my feet have never been happier!

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  12. I love your socks! I like socks because if I knit a vanilla one, I can knit and read at the same time and that makes me super happy and super productive :)

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  13. Hooray for sock knitting. Phooph on those comments about buying a store bought pair! What? Socks are Fun! I love to knit socks. I wear them out. Ive been intrigued by Winter Rose since you've begun and shown it to us. GORGEOUS. I will book mark that pattern

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  14. Small projects are fun and finishable (is that a word?) Sock yarns are always interesting and enticing; that part of my stash is way too big also. Another small project that is almost as addicting is fingerless mitts....lots of fun patterns. I LOVE those orange socks of your and the others as well. DPNs are my go-to also...I can do toe up but much prefer top down.

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  15. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. custom sock business

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  16. I used to knit lots of socks when my sons were smaller, but they've both grown into young men with size 13 feet. Socks for them take extra yarn and are quite a slog. I LOVE your KnitCircus socks!

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