Books · Craft · Knitting

Knitting socks (which actually fit)

Yesterday I picked up my knitting and started a new sock. It’s for a friend from yarn they bought. I have their foot measurements already, so I did a gauge swatch (I know, shocking for me!) and figured out the maths of the whole thing. This is much, much more organised than I usually am in sock knitting, but there’s a reason for it: if I’ve worked it out right, they’ll actually fit my friend.

In the past I’ve been lax about this, bizarrely. I’m a bit of a lax person when it comes to fine details anyway, so it’s not a shock that it transferred over to my knitting. Relaxed, that’s what I am. That sounds a lot better than ‘absent-minded and all over the place’. Sometimes I’ve knitted socks that barely fit my foot and are too loose around the leg, but I don’t care. I kept them, I wear them. I’m stubborn that way, and I still love my creations.

However, it is possible to make socks that actually fit, and I learnt that last year.

I think I mentioned that my friend and I went to a class with Kate Atherley at The Purple Purl. We turned up late because Toronto traffic is evil but even in that time we learnt so much.

Kate Atherley has very strong feelings on socks. I respect that. She showed us how to measure our feet and what gauge to aim for and what yarn is best for socks. By the end of the night I was so inspired by the awesomeness that is knitting and maths that I went out and designed my own shawl – not sure how that is what my brain took out of it, but you can’t account for the little grey cells.

If you want to learn about this magic and set your knitting brain aflame, you should check out Kate Atherley’s book Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet. No, this is not a sponsored post; I do not yet even own this book, though it’s on my wishlist and one day I shall have it, it shall be mine, my precioussss. However, I’ve had enough looks at it to know that it’s incredibly useful.

Even better, it’s logical thinking that’s tricked my illogical mind into actually planning ahead when knitting something. Sometimes. Okay, occasionally at best, but it’s a start.

Do you use unmodified patterns for socks or do you do your own thing to make it fit perfectly?

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Craft · Knitting

Let’s talk about socks, baby.

You remember that song in the nineties? Let’s Talk About Sex by Salt-N-Pepa. I used to sing it enthusiastically even though I was under ten, to my mum’s embarrassment. Listening to it now thanks to my inappropriate title and I have to say it’s badass. (And this time I understand what the eff they’re talking about!)

Anyway.

SOCKS. I have knit an unreal amount of them for other people lately, and for myself too. I have knit vanilla socks so much I’m not 100% sure I remember how to knit anything else. Best of all: I am okay with that. If I could knit nothing but vanilla socks for the rest of my life I would still knit as much as I do now, I’d just have REALLY WARM FEET.

Who else shares my love of knitting socks? It’s my default, the thing I slip back to when I mess up on another project or when I’m feeling stressed or distracted.

If sock knitting doesn’t do that for you, what does? What’s your default?

For those who love knitting socks, what’s your favourite pattern? Or are you like me, do you just pick up the needles and go with a plain sock? Do you prefer 1×1 or 2×2 ribbing for the cuff, or something else? Do you use a fancy heel or stick with the heel flap? Do you, like me, have a passionate love for eye of partridge? Do you get excited when you buy Lang sock yarn and it has a yarn baby inside for reinforcement? Are you weirded out that we refer to it as a yarn baby around here? Tell me! I love socks, I am rolling in socks.

Let’s talk about socks, baby.

Craft · Knitting · Needles · Tools

How I Avoid Ladders on DPNs

Whenever I talk about how much I love knitting with double-pointed needles (DPNs), people who aren’t converts talk about the ladder. It’s that awful run of loose stitches you get where you switch needles, and it does make your knitting look less than tidy.

It took me a long time to get the hang of avoiding that ladder and sometimes even now I’ll end up with one if I’m working at an unusual gauge, but I’ve mostly got the hang of avoiding it and this video shows you what I do.

I wasn’t feeling chatty so you get slightly sarcastic, extremely silly captions instead (which is basically my natural speaking tone anyway).

Oh, and you also get some old timey music to cheer you along. You’re welcome.

Knitting

How I Knit My Socks (A Recipe)

Preview of sawkkThe yarn I bought the other day has inspired me.

There’s not much I like more than crispy, hard-wearing sock yarn. There’s something about the texture that makes me so happy even if it’s not the softest thing ever and in the space of two days the combination of colour and texture spurred me into this sock.

I am halfway down the calf of the other sock and realised I know my leg and skinny ankles so well that I can throw out a sock without thinking too hard. This is how I knit this sock (which is high enough to wear with my Doc Martens):

Ingredients

400ish yards pretty sock yarn

2.75mm needles (preferably wood)

Scissors

Darning needle

A foot on which to put the sock

  1. Cast on a multiple of 4 – for me I usually do 60, but as this sock is longer I’m doing 64.
  2. Do two-ish inches your ribbing of choice. I like 2×2 but 1×1 is fine and even 3×1 if you’re feeling adventurous.
  3. Switch to stockinette. Forget you’re doing stockinette halfway through the row and go back to ribbing. Curse enthusiastically. Tink and return to stockinette.
  4. Knit about two inches plain stockinette, then decrease at the beginning of the row every three rows until you’re down to 60.
  5. Admire the shapely calf curve.
  6. Knit until you’re about as long as you want it, then remember how skinny your ankles are and decrease another two for luck.
  7. Do a heel flap in eye of partridge until it looks roughly square, then pick up the side stitches and curse because despite years of experience you still forgot to turn the heel.
  8. Go back and turn the heel. Do the dance of joy.
  9. Pick up the stitches on the sides of the heel flap, realise it’s uneven in numbers, shrug and decrease an extra stitch.
  10. Decrease the gusset stitches every two rows until you’re back to 60.
  11. Knit until it reaches the bottom of your long monkey toes. Do another couple of rows for good luck.
  12. Decrease the toe stitches – first every other row (3 times), then every row until there’s either ten or eight stitches left.
  13. Kitchener the last stitches with sweat on your brow.
  14. Weave in the ends. Triumph!

Then you have to repeat all of that again, hoping against hope that the sock ends up roughly the same length as the other one. Somehow I never succeed in this, not even when the pattern repeats say there should be exactly the same stitches in each leg. I’m pretty sure it’s magic. Dark, bad magic.

Is your sock process anything like the above?

Geeky Patterns · Knitting · Patterns

A Triumphant Return!

At the end of the week I concluded my desperate struggle against lack of cares and finished a project. Yes, a sock came off the needles and – get this, people – I even kitchenered the toe and sewed in the ends. OOH YEAH! Look at this knitter go!

Yep, welcome to the world of crappy badly-lit camera photos taken in the joy of the moment. What the photo lacks in elegance it makes up for in enthusiasm.

These socks were a pleasure to knit. The pattern is Big Four, based on Poirot. Yes, the design was by a friend of mine (Maureen) but that doesn’t mean I’m completely biased. The design was intuitive past the first repeat and I barely looked back at the pattern despite how complicated they look. They are deceptively simple and when you’re not in a lover’s tiff with knitting, they go fast.

I knitted the first of these two socks in less than a week. The second took over a month. That’s the difference in my motivational skills right now.

Still, spring is coming and I have some pretty socks to wear into the breach. Things don’t completely suck.

Knitting

Look, I Know I Knit a lot of Socks, Okay?

P1010032If I look back at the last few months I would say it’s been a time of epic sock production. Since November I’ve been knitting pair after pair and even better I’ve been wearing the results.

Last week I finished the rainbow socks which I am wearing as I write this.

Before that I knitted these socks, and started wearing some socks that mean a lot to me that have been languishing in a drawer for a while.

These socks I finished at least a month ago, maybe longer. I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned them here before. I finished them a while ago and I’ve been wearing them a lot since then. they’re comfortable and warm and long, all very good traits in socks.

I can’t remember what yarn this is. I don’t know when I started them. This is either a sign that I’ve hit my head recently (I haven’t this time), or a clue that I am knitting too many socks.

But is there even such a thing?