Wednesday, April 21, 2010


There are lots of ways to approach the knitting of socks.
One approach is not to do it at all.

But that's not for me.
I love knitting socks. Once upon a time, I never thought I'd make such a statement, as sock
knitting is labor intensive.
Yet I find that it suits me.

I started with tiny knitting needles made of bamboo - 4 (sometimes 5) little sticks with points at both ends.
Skinny yarn.
A basic sock pattern.
I tend to stay with ribbed leg and instep designs. They fit nicely and knit up without too much bulk - or frustration. Socks that are entirely made up of stockinette stitch have a tendency to get stretchy and baggy. I like snuggy socks.

There are numerous ways to knit socks, and I intend to explore more of them from this point onward. I've completed almost 15 pair of hand-knit socks in the last few years, so it's time to branch out a bit. That doesn't necessarily mean that I will be adopting another approach more pleasing than the one I currently use, which is the 'classic approach' (see below). Just that the variations are out there and one may as well give 'em a try.

Matter of fact, I've already got the first sock of a little pair going on two circular needles for DollinkGranddaughterLB.

Starting another pair this week: 'toe-up'. After that - 'two toe up on circs'.

There's more. All good, to be sure.

I really enjoy the traditional old-fashioned/style/way, of using little porcupine aka toothpick sticks and thinnish fiber. The needle weight feels right in my hands, yarn dances onto each needle with a subtle smoothness and the gentle click click click is soothing to my soul. It's quite satisfying to watch a sock 'grow', row by row, from those teensy needles.

I knit and I knit and when I'm done, I have a pair of pretty new socks.
And I do get done.
And I do wear those socks.

This is probably my second or third blog post devoted to hand-knit socks. Since learning to knit in my early 20's, I've knit many other garments and accessories over the ensuing decades (egads, but I'm old), but return again and again to sock knitting for Pure Knit Satisfaction.

Go figure.

A knit-wit sock knitting tip:
I prefer a wool and nylon blend for hand-knit socks. Washable is nice, though I tend to hand-wash and line-dry my sock creations. Just because. All the new wools are non-itchy -- that is, the offending fibers that makes for itchy wool is not present in the yarn. Wool socks are soft and comfortable. Some sock yarn twists and/or splits when being knit on. It matters not whether the yarn is expensive or inexpensive. Much depends on a combination of factors: the knitter's hold on the needles, the needles themselves and the yarn. I've had pricey sock split and twist on me, and have knitted with cheaper sock yarn sans any break, split or twist incidents at all.

Pictured above is a recent sock completed; with the other awaiting a cast onto those little needles.
The yarn is a beautiful wool/nylon blend. A pricier sock yarn than what I usually use ($17.50 to knit a pair of socks). The color was right, so I bought it. Otherwise, I tend to use sock yarns that cost considerably less. 

If you knit, and haven't yet tackled sock-knitting, why not give it a go? There's no big secret to it, save for 'follow the directions'. If that holds no interest, find someone (other than me) who is willing to knit a pair for you. At the very least, someone who will let you try a pair on, so you can feel the difference - and wish - that you too - had a pair of hand-knitted socks.


Conn said...

i have never knitted socks. but you make a great case. i will have to try... and i have some yummy yarn that louie gave me a few years ago... yes... a few years ago. i never wanted to use it for anything other than socks. now is a good time to have a warm pair for next winter.

Liz said...

I envy how you can knit with those dpn needles. Knitting this way realy cramps my hands and fingers which probably why I prefer using 2 circular needles. However, I seem to find my joy with hats and bags. I've got the sock yarn and I really love the color so I DO need to KNIT those socks.