Monday, March 27, 2006

Sock Stuff

When last I reported on my sock progress, I mentioned that I had somehow added an extra stitch and wasn't sure how to fix the problem, but hoped Bess would be able to help me the following day when we met for my spinning lesson. Bess did not disappoint, and lent her invaluable expertise while we were eating lunch at the LGBG teahouse. Turns out, for Magic Loop sock knitting, (and maybe for DPN sock knitting, too -- I don't really know), at the beginning of each side, the working yarn needs to be pulled up between the needles, rather than down and behind the back needle, otherwise it wraps weirdly around the cord of the circulars and will fake you out, making you think there's an extra stitch when you get back around to the end of that side. Sherry (my sock instructor) showed me this in my first lesson, but I'd conveniently forgotten. Now I know why it's important!

I've since knit about 1¼" of the ribbed cuff, and am trying to decide how much more ribbing I want before I switch to stockinette for the rest of the leg. Anyone have any opinions as to the length of cuff ribbing? I'm thinking I might stop at about 1½", but wouldn't mind continuing on until 2", if there's any advantage to that.

Here's a peek at my progress:

I love this yarn. Who'da thunk I could love browns and greens so much? But Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock "Baltic Sea" is just lovely!


You may recall that in preparation for my first sock lesson, I was on a quest for a nice sock yarn to use, and was curious as to what were some favorite yarns of the experienced sock knitters out there. I emailed a few sock knitters I knew, and also posted a question out on the Sock Knitters forum, and from that hit the mother-load of great sock yarn recommendations. I finally compiled all of that information into an Excel spreadsheet and am pasting an abbreviated list here, for your edification. If anyone would like a copy of the spreadsheet, email me at maryklarson [AT] comcast [DOT] net, and you'll get a two-tabbed workbook, the second tab containing a third column with everyone's (anonymous) comments about their particular favorite yarns.

click image ^ to make larger, or email me for the spreadsheet

After researching a lot of these suggestions, it occurred to me that I wished I had asked for recommendations for non-wool sock yarns, as I am hot-natured and don't wear socks all that often, so want them to be cool when I do wear them. Amy at Knitty, known for her lack of fondness for wool, offered a couple of helpful suggestions, but I wanted more. Not to worry -- the venerable Grumperina (Kathy) has also been seeking such information, and has started to compile a decent list of non-woolly sock yarns, to which she'll be editing continually, as appropriate. Thanks for that effort, Kathy -- much appreciated here! I'll be returning to that list often.

It's been fun immersing myself into this unique sub-genre of sock knitting. I hope I still feel this way when I start turning my first heel!



Bess said...

I bought some fixation cotton and lycra yarn for socks, but I haven't tried to knit them yet. hmmm. they might just be my Charleston trip socks. Thanks for the idea.

Glad to hear you are knitting away on socks. And yes yes yes - have fun with the koolaid!

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Your socks look great so far! Love the colour! I am attempting socks out of a book. Being a lefty, it's just easier for me to use books. For my first pair, I picked up a wool blend. I've frogged them 3 times so far. If I ever manage to finish one pair, I also picked up some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton: it's a blend of 45% cotton/42% wool and 13% polyamide. It's lovely and soft and comes in beautiful colours and patterns. It seems like it'll knit up a nice cool spring/summer weight sock.

the sweetheart said...

I just wanted to say how brave you are for starting socks.. I personally fear them. But I am still contempleting them... I guess it's just inevitable in the life of a knitter.