October 11, 2006

Socktoberfest

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting at 9:21 am by nephele

So just because I have an absolutely ridiculous number of projects on the needles, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t join a knit-a-long, right? Hey, at least this particular knit-a-long, Socktoberfest, might encourage me to get a few of those started projects finished and off the needles, namely the four pairs of socks. The host of the knit-a-long has asked us some questions. Here are my answers.

  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
  • Back in 1998 I went to New Zealand for vacation. I was traveling alone and needed a good project to keep me entertained on those 14 hour flights. Now New Zealand still has more sheep than people so it would have been kind of silly to haul a bunch of yarn down there with me but I didn’t want something small and simple that I’d finish too fast.

    So I decided I’d try socks. I had some leftover mystery yarn that a friend had given me. It was the right weight though sadly not the right fiber content (I think now that it was acrylic). This allowed me to save a little money and to not worry about screwing up the project, after all it didn’t cost me anything. I pulled out my Vogue to Go Socks book and decided to try the Lealt lace sock pattern. I didn’t have any knitting friends at the time so no one told me socks were supposed to be difficult and I should start with something simple.

    You probably think you know where this is going, straight to a knitting disaster right? Wrong. I don’t know if that pattern is unusually well written or if was my ignorance-is-bliss lack of fear, or both. I had no problems at all. I finished the socks during my vacation and they were (except for the yarn) perfect.

    I really do think we talk ourselves into making things difficult. We look at all the steps and say “it’s too hard” but when you sit down and just follow the steps it really isn’t that bad. Granted, a poorly written, confusing or error filled pattern can really mess with your confidence. I’m lucky enough to be good at translating diagrams and written instructions into three dimensional actions too. That’s why I was able to teach myself to knit successfully. It’s an inborn aptitude that not everyone has but if you’ve got a knitting buddy or a good LYS to help you through any tricky spots you can knit anything you want.

    Wow, this is the second time I wrote this post (the first draft got lost in cyberspace) and I don’t remember being so preachy last time. Sorry 🙂

    By the way, I went to New Zealand with one checked bag and came home with two. For less than $100 US I bought enough yarn for 3 adult sweaters, 1 baby sweater, 2 hats, 1 head/ear band, 3 pairs of mittens, four pairs of baby booties and a duffle bag to hold it all.

  • What was your first pair?  How have they “held up” over time?
  • Well I already answered the first part here. As for how they held up? They didn’t. Thanks to the mystery yarn, I walked huge holes into them very quickly. They have since been thrown away. I have also re-knit that pattern using some much better, hand-painted wool.

  • What would you have done differently?
  • Used good yarn in the first place. Live and learn.

  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
  • So far my current favorite is Koigu. For inexpensive commercial dyed stuff I’ve always enjoyed Regia yarns. I’ve got Opal, Socks that Rock, and Scheaffer in the stash waiting to be tried though so my opinions may change.

  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
  • I started off with dpns. I’ve since learned and completely switched to, the 2 circulars method. I know how to do Magic Loop (it’s not that different after all) but I can’t help thinking it would be hard on the cable of the needle over time. Besides, I’ve already got all those pairs of short-ish needles and I don’t have any long circulars in sock appropriate sizes.

    Just my opinion of course, but I don’t think crochet makes a good sock. Slippers, yes, socks, no. If I never learned to knit I might feel differently about it.

  • Which kind of heel do you prefer?  (flap? or short-row?)
  • Heel-flap all the way. I like the sturdiness of it for one. Another reason is it allows me to extend the gusset a bit (I typically decrease every 3rd row instead of every other) to better fit my feet. Depending on other pattern details I usually use heel stitch for the flap and a half-round heel turning.

  • How many pairs have you made?
  • Not all that many actually. I think the tally is just few over a dozen. By the time I get through my stash though… heh.

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