Friday, February 15, 2008

Socks Ho!

My husband has asked me to make him hand-knitted socks for his Valentine's Day present, and I promised myself last year, in the midst of the sock furor sweeping knitters' blogdom, that I would never learn to spin or make socks.

How many crafts does a woman need? I gotta stop somewhere. Even though my neighbor at Melissa Leapman's cable class at last year's Stitches tried to talk me into the wonders of spinning. I'm fairly open-minded, but not to spinning. Cause then I'd want the sheep, and the carding combs, and the fleece shears, and the farm. See where spinning would lead? (My younger daughter called me long-distance from a beautiful knitting shop down South and wanted to know if I wanted carding combs. I spoke gibberish for a bit (at least to my mind); I was embarrassed to admit that I am afraid of owning any spinning tools, because that could be the first step on the slippery slope.)

Socks may be more controllable. Although, there seems to be a definite relationship between sock knitting and a very large stash of yarn. Maybe those little skeins don't seem like much, and then suddenly. Well, we've all seen that Star Trek episode about the tribbles.

But, really, can anyone help me out here? Any suggestions for how to's or books? Toe up? Cuff down? (I'm so new to this that I don't even know the right lingo.) And I'm frightened by even the thought of the tiny doublepointed needles.

2 comments:

houseelf said...

Fuzzy Feet are a great first sock project for learning the way a cuff down sock is constructed. You make oversized socks, then felt them down into slippers.

I like toe up socks the best because you do the important part of a sock first (the foot) and then can make the cuffs as long or as short as your remaining yarn and your patience allow. Cuff down means having to guess how much yarn to reserve for the foot. The bad part of toe up socks is the toe - there are multiple ways to get started, and they're all fiddly in their own unique ways.

I personally prefer DPNs because the dangling ends of circs annoy me, but some people like to do socks on two circular needles instead, or to get a really long circular needle and do what's called magic loop. I don't have references for either, but you can probably google them easily enough if it sounds less scary than DPNs.

Resources... A lot of people swear by a book that I think is called "Sensational Knitted Socks". Or, this Knitty pattern is a good generic pattern for toe up socks. And once you're comfortable with how to knit socks and have a solid idea of how they "should" be constructed, you have to check out Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways For Sock Knitters". It's a great book, but not really a beginner book, in my opinion.

-- Becky H.

Cindy said...

houseelf has some wonderful ideas. I just dove in. I bought dpns and a beginner's pattern book from my LYS and went at it. It isn't rocket science. Don't overthink the patterns. Just follow the directions (after checking with those in the know on a pattern you like). Really, they are a blast and you never ever tire of the miracle of turning a heel. Keep us posted!