You remember that I showed you the other day that I’d managed to do some knitting in the round, on DPNs? Well that little test was just that, a little test that was never going to be something but it gave the confidence to try a something, a proper knitting pattern. Now the most obvious application for DPN knitting is socks, a something that I never even dreamt that I’d be able to conquer some day.
Knitting socks terrifies me. It’s not just knitting in the round, it’s all the sizing and shaping that really scares me. How do I work out the perfect number of stitches to go around my calf? And then does it have to go in and out with the highly unfashionable shaping of my calf? And how do you get a handknit sock to fit properly? Drooping socks are hideous to wear. There’s a lot to worry about with socks even if you can master the appropriate knitting technique and I thought even that was beyond me.
The problem is I’ve never known anyone knit or wear homemade socks. Well, no, I lie. My maternal grandmother knit us a collection of handknit bedsocks which endured our entire childhood even though she died when I was very little. Just bedsocks though and the expectations of bedsocks are entirely different of course. You don’t have to walk in them and it doesn’t really matter if they fall down or off in the night. Which they did. Despite the fact that they had the most ridiculously tight cast on imaginable. Which was another reason we hated them. Mine were pink, my brother’s were blue. Classic.
But blogging has introduced me to other knitters, knitters of appreciable talents, knitters who make and wear socks, for example Susan B Anderson who was the one who induced me to try knitting in the round in the first place. It’s nice to have proof.
So once I’d made that first tube of knitting and I’d eyed up all my proofs, I decided that I should make some socks. Now, unusually, I did apply a certain degree of common sense to this and felt that I should start with a wee pair of socks first, try out the techniques in miniature first before even starting on a me-sized sock.
Fortunately having formed this idea, a knitting magazine came out with a free baby sock kit. I don’t buy knitting magazines very often, although I am a sucker for free bamboo needles, but this was perfect, absolutely perfect.
Unfortunately the victim I had in mind for this brand new adventure was a Boy Bump so as the supplied yarns were a bit too girly I found some other yarns that I had received free some other time and that needed using on a small-scale project and I skipped the slightly frilly edge to the cuff, I don’t reckon that most folks would have thought it very boy-ish.
The hardest bit was the mysterious and complicated w&t, an alien term and technique which although I had never encountered before in a pattern, I knew to dread. w&t stands for wrap and turn and on the first sock I went in rather blind and ignorant which didn’t exactly help the shaping. I had to research some videos online (I would of course credit them if I could remember which ones I used!) and the second sock went a lot better. No holes! I proudly texted my husband to this effect. Who replied ‘O-K’. Thanks, try to remember what a w&t is, dear, it is very important! Then I had a second look and despite not having any holes in those dreaded w&ts, I had somehow ended up with one giant hole on the side of the sock! Not so good. I’m not sure how that happened. If anyone has any expert advice then I’d very gratefully receive it! Fortunately judicious darning has solved all such problems.
The first sock was finished as per the pattern with Kitchener stitch (or grafting) which is supposed to be ‘invisible’. Hmm, maybe I need to work on that technique too! The second I was inspired by seeing something about a three-needle cast off so I invented the two-needle cast off. It may be well-known to other knitters but if not then I claim the credit for that one! I’m not entirely sure which came up better.
What surprises me most is that they actually look like socks, you know, proper socks. I’m rather impressed (if that’s not too big-headed to claim). I love how the little heels formed, I love those magical processes in knitting which transform something so simple into something so effective. I also love the alternating colours rows, it’s not actually that fiddly to work either.
So my first pair of socks ever! And why they’re the first and third project I’d worked in the round? I have a limited attention span. After completing the first sock I went off and worked on something else which I will share with you another day.