Tuesday, April 10, 2012

socks, socks, socks, socks...

i now understand why people love to wear hand knit socks. it is like walking on a little slice of heaven that keep feet and toes toasty warm.  there is a strong temptation to wear hand knit socks 24/7, which is good in theory, but.....  how do i know this, because after years of knitting socks for other people, i have finally finished a couple of pairs for me.  yeah. so excited. here are the deets...

the first pair is a short sock, knit from crystal palaces panda cotton print. this yarn is mostly bamboo, some cotton and a touch of elastic.  i came up with the pattern myself, and i am not thrilled with it.  one, the pattern is to big and the yarn is very soft and floppy which makes for a big, soft and  floppy sock.  two, since the sock is big, soft and floppy, it slips and slides on my foot, which is a bit annoying.  i even washed them by machine and threw them into the dryer for a few moments in hopes they would shrink up.  no such luck. they trick me into being semi-fitting, but once i wear them for awhile, turn back into big, soft and floppy.  and, since they are short, my ankles get cold.  but i learned a lot about pattern making, which i will hopefully retain for the next time i decide to punt on a pattern.

i got the yarn during the lys', "last month in existence sale", last summer.  for some irrational and un-explainable reason i thought one 170 yd ball of yarn would be enough yarn for two short socks.  i have no idea what i was thinking because if i had thought about it for more than two seconds, i would have realized this wasn't enough yarn and purchased accordingly.  as it was, i did not realize it wasn't enough yarn until i was rather close to the toe of the first sock.  since i no longer had the lys, i had to find a reasonable facsimile yarn.  to the web i went where jimmy beans had gobs of this yarn for dirt cheap (since it was being discontinued).  so i bought a bunch to make it worth the shipping charges.  unfortunately none of the colors matched what i had previously purchased.  so necessity being the mother of invention, i decided i would make the cuff and toe out of one color with the body of the sock out of the other color.  then i would flip the scheme on the other sock.  i have done this before with very cute results.  except it was better in theory then in reality for this colorway.  not real excited about it.  and though i like the feel of the yarn, it splits...a lot.  which can be a bit of a challenge when k2tog or ssk-ing.  so on the whole, i give these socks a 4 out of 10.

the second pair was on the needles for over two years only because knitting gift projects was more of a priority.  the yarn is a sockpixie merino sock and the colorway is collette.  i have to say, i love this yarn, as i love all of sockpixies yarns.  the colorway was from her french women writers series.  being a huge collette fan, i am thankful i answered the call of the yarn.  the yarn itself is soft and squishy, easy to work with, looks great when washed, durable (read below) and beautifully dyed, even when the colors pool (which i really don't worry about).  i am sorry sockpixie yarns are no longer consistently available, because i am a big fan.

the original plan for this yarn was to knit a pattern from charlene schurchs, sensational knitted socks.  since i had recently completed a 4 stitch pattern, i wanted to expand my horizons to a 6 or more stitch pattern.  so i picked a pattern, cast on, and knitted away.  the 2x2 rib looked GREAT in the colorway, but would lose its spirit once it got to the actual pattern.  so i frogged, picked another pattern and repeated above. i did this about five times, even consciously acknowledging on the fifth try that the 2x2 rib looked great while the pattern fell flat.  after the fifth frog, the light bulb went off...the colorway looks great in a 4 stitch pattern!  duh!!  so i picked a 4 stitch pattern and the socks came to life.

the openwork rib pattern was simple with a touch of yarn-overs for some interest.  plus it was easy to memorize and keep track of so i could take it with me everywhere.

i find that socks knit from this book are a gem.  their construction makes sense, they are easy to knit and the finished product wears well.  if there wasn't an abundance of amazing sock patterns available, i would be quite content to knit every sock pattern out of this book.  i would even consider learning the toe up method...well, not really.

i love these socks and find every excuse to wear them.  and since i am from northern california and can legitimately wear socks with my birkenstock sandals, i show these socks off every chance i get.  yup, being a sock knitter is pretty fun!