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

The magical sock pattern

Spoiler: a friend and owner of my local yarn store wrote the pattern I’m speaking about here, so I’m entirely biased on its merits.

That doesn’t mean the pattern isn’t awesome though.

Recently it seems everyone I know is writing amazing patterns and I have to keep knitting them. No, it’s not out of a sense of obligation; I won’t knit something that I don’t like in general, because life’s too short for that. Nope, turns out the talented folks I know write damn good patterns.

Martina Munroe published Camber Twist Socks around the same time as Vickie Hartog published the Grandifolia Shawl (which I’ve finished and you shall see soon). Another friend asked me to knit her some Camber Twists and I began, and as soon as I memorised the pattern I was hooked.

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The yarn I’m using is Cascade Heritage Wave (I would recommend not googling ‘Cascade Wave’ as I just did, as it turns out it is something very different). It’s red plied with shades of grey, and it is SO SQUISHY I have since bought a skein for myself. I’m adapting the pattern to be knee-high socks for a friend, hence the little stitch markers and the odd shape.

See, these are excellent socks. The pattern looks quite plain on the needles but when you put it on it turns magic. My coworkers watched me knit and when I showed them what it would look like stretched around the leg, their minds were blown.

This is why:

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Look how cute that is!

Not only is it cute, but it’s a great idea for a sock stitch. It’s less boring to knit than plain ribbing but will be snug and comfortable against the leg despite that. I have a problem with skinny ankles that means a lot of socks don’t fit well but these would be super versatile for anyone.

And yes, that is my pinky sticking out at the top of the sock.  My legs were too far away.

I know I spoke about knitting for Christmas last week but these are the exception. I have, however, started a pair of fingerless gloves in the same stitch as above. Apparently I dig it enough to have multiple projects on the go with it.

The best thing about Camber Twist? It’s still free until the end of August. Go get it now!

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.

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?

Knitting

Thoughts on Sock Sizing

Sawk1I have a problem.

No, that problem isn’t my raging addiction to knitting socks that’s been taking hold lately, though that’s certainly part of it. No, the problem is that I always knit exactly the same default socks. I cast on 60 stitches on whichever sock-relevant DPNs I have near (usually my 2.75mm cubics) and have at it.

This is not working for me.

You see, I have always had tiny ankles. My stepdad used to say they looked like matchsticks with the wood shaved off. Even when I was quite a bit larger on the rest of my body, my ankles were spindly little pins beneath it all. Skinny jeans look ridiculous on me, baggy around the bottom. I often wonder how they keep me upright without snapping.

And it turns out 60 stitches is just too much. I am sad about this because I don’t have to think about it; the sock just comes off the needles and I love the results. I’ve knit three pairs for myself in the past month, however, and not one of them fits right around the ankles.

I could continue as I am, letting the baggy ankles be a thing. Or I could suck it up and cut it back a few stitches so that they actually stay up on my leg. Of course it’s always good to allow for shrinkage considering my tendency to throw them in the wash without looking, but I need to find a good balance.

This might be the last time for a while that I make a vanilla sock; I’ve got Maureen Fould’s Poirot sock designs to play with once I get some new solid or heathered sock yarn. But I hope that when I get back to the plain sock kick (pun intended) I remember to cut back on the stitches.