Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sock Start

If you recall my 2012 intentions, I'm to learn how to knit socks this year, and I think I'm off to a good start.

Knitting gear.  The blue yarn is the next sock project.

Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks has served as my text in getting me up and running.  I'm not a new knitter; I have made sweaters that I still wear, so I felt fairly confident starting socks, and I've used the lapful of double-pointed needles to make baby sweater sleeves.

Caroline's baby sweater, hand-knitted by me, before blocking

Still, I cast on 64 stitches as instructed, and I had to unravel at least three times before I remembered how to work double-pointed needles.  A normal cast-on with a slip stitch and knit-on doesn't work well with socks, either; I had to learn how to do a long-tail cast-on.  And take it out a few times, and do it over.

I'm knitting with four needles and fingering-weight wool/cotton/nylon blend yarn.

Then I remembered a breath of fresh air and sensibility on my bookshelf:  Elizabeth Zimmermann.  Do you know her?  I have her Knitting Without Tears at the ready, whenever the directions get too hairy, or the chart stops making sense, or the approach of the heel makes me think I'd prefer to knit legwarmers (which are inexplicably back in fashion, by the way).  Elizabeth Zimmermann sets it all right again with her no-nonsense advice to beginning knitters, or knitters beginning a new type of knitting.  She dismisses the intricacies of intarsia and instills confidence, teaches an easier way to turn a sock heel, provides adaptable patterns for all sorts of sweaters, and advises the new knitter to knit on with confidence through all crisis.

I read her bit on socks and felt ready to begin anew.  A bit of internet looking turned up Interweave Press' e-magazine Sockupied, which looks very intriguing, and I think I'll reward myself with a download once I've got a successful sock.  I like that the e-mag is interactive, with videos showing how to do things that still photography doesn't always quite capture.  Ann Budd is a regular contributor, as well as other sock designers, when I'm ready to branch out from K2-P2 and can turn a heel in my sleep.

I'm also a little delighted to see that the yarn I selected is self-striping, and is making diagonal candy-cane stripes as the pattern emerges:

Self-striping yarn is so much fun!  Pink and gray heathered stripes are starting to show.

I just hope they fit so I can wear them out.


  1. I have knit many, many pairs of socks and was recently thinking about getting back on the needles :O) I need some cute socks for myself!

  2. The yarn they have out now is absolutely adorable! I successfully "turned" my first sock heel (have no idea what the big deal was) so I think I have a new hobby. This is SO much faster than sweater knitting... what took me so long?!