Readers of Lolly's blog are aware of Socktoberfest 2006. As a good little sock knitter, I've joined. If you can remember from a previous posts, I love socks, and this knit-along is perfect! Afterall, I usually always have socks on my needles. Yesterday, she posted about her first sock and asked readers to do the same. Since Socktoberfest is a celebration of handcrafted socks, talking about socks seems rather fitting. Lolly put together a few questions and asked people to talk about their sock knitting history.
When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first socks are kinda blurred in together with my second pair of socks. The first pair of socks I ever knitted, I gave them to my dad. They were his Christmas present last year. I had been knitting for about a year, and had made a baby sweater, a tanktop, and a cable purse (that was really a swatch). I was intrigued by the idea of sock knitting and my dad is particular about his socks. He only wears SmartWool socks because they are the most comfortable. I wanted to be able to recreate these socks for him as one of his gifts. I signed up for a sock knitting class because the idea of making socks terrified me. All those teeny tiny needles and lots of stitches going around and around was frightening. I went to the class, bought some fun blue wool and tiny needles and waited for instruction. The class was not the most organized, but it tackled my fears. After an hour, I felt very comfortable and even left the class early. I picked out some wool for my dad, and casted on. I have no idea how they fit or if they even did fit. They did bring a smile to his face when he opened the gift.
The second pair of socks were for me. I followed the pattern for the Yarn Harlot's Tip Toe socks. I was hooked. Unfortunately, the socks didn't fit. he gauge was correct, the size just didn't fit my foot. I was able to find a suitable match for the socks though and they now live happily with my stepmom. As far as I know, both pairs of socks are still functioning today.
What would you have done differently?
Well, for my dad's socks, I wouldn't have done anything differently. For the Tip Toe Socks, I would have made them to the measurements of my foot instead of just following a pattern. At that time, my knowledge of sock knitting was pretty low. I didn't read up on them before knitting them. I would have also gotten a reference book, and I would have done a generic sock pattern first, one that is customizable, like Wendy's Sock pattern.
What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I love working with Trekking XXL. I love watching the stripes appear and the socks are comfy to wear and knit. I have some Regia Silk in my stash that I haven't used yet, but it feels like it could definitely be a future favorite.
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I knit my socks using 5 DPNs. I knit a teddy bear using two circulars, and it was okay, but the DPNs seem to suit me more.
Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I prefer wearing and knitting a heel flap. Ilove the way the flap looks and it seems to be the mark of handcrafted socks. I love knitting toe-up though and am still working through the math of the heel flap for toe-ups. I have seen toe-up with flap patterns, but I haven't seen a formula for toe-up heel flap socks. I don't want to rely on a sockulator either.
How many pairs have you made?
I have only made four pairs. Pair number five is only needles right now. They are a pair from Italian. I'm using Schaefer Anne in this purple color. I've frogged them once because they were too small and the gauge didn't match my guesstamation for the formula I was using.
I'm also planning on knitting pair six this Socktoberfest and creating a formula for toe-up heel flap socks.