Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thinking About Knitting Socks

Progress on my brown socks.  I cast on 64 using size 2 1/4mm needles (US1) for the rib and then switched to 2 mm (US0) for the pattern.  The pattern is 2 rows of K2, P2 and then 2 rows of K.  The "pattern" is named Gravel Grid on the internet, but I am not using the entire sock pattern because I have my own "sock recipe" that I use.  I was constantly forgetting where I was on the pattern so made myself a little check list grid and I check off as I go.  One thing about solid yarn - usually you get more on a ball, so you can see that I will have a fair bit left over which I can use as stripes, heels and toes in another pair of socks.  
Today, I am wondering when I switched to such small needles to make socks - I am slightly annoyed that this pair of socks is taking me so long!  I am using the smallest size, ugh!  If you knit socks - what size needle do you usually use?  I used to knit socks on 2 sizes up ( 2/34mm) and I am going back to that size.

I learned how to knit socks in Canada.  I had some help and also a good book and You Tube to guide me along.  It seemed like my early sock making attempts went much faster - even though they are longer, because I used a slightly bigger needle!  I took a good look at a pair of those early socks today... 
It is the longer blue/gray sock.  I put the way I knit socks now down next to it  First, you can see - my friends in Canada knit their socks a bit longer than I do now!  Now I knit to the length of my knitting needle and then start the heel.  But I love these blue/gray socks and wear them all the time - they are longer and warm!  And despite the slightly larger needle - I still have not worn through the heel.  Some of the older ladies in Canada tsk tsk at me and have shown me how they re-inforce the heels and toes - I need to start doing that!  And my friend's in Canada - when they wear out the bottom of the sock, they just CUT it off and reknit a new foot - reusing that long cuff, which is still perfectly fine!
Pattern?  That blue/gray sock has NO pattern.  My friend showed me how to make it - it is the same sock that her mother has been making for years and years and years.  Her mother also has another pattern that uses 3 colors - frugally using up any left-over yarn and when I go back to Canada this year my friend is going to show me how to make that pattern.  When I first started making socks I did not believe that you don't need a pattern, but now I realize that there really isn't a pattern, just a "recipe" of what works for you.  I like to compare regional patterns.  My friends in Finland don't do a top rib and start decreasing down by the ankle to make a snugger fit - their socks are different than my socks and again - no pattern - just generations of doing what is handed down.
I am going to finish these brown socks and then I am going to start experimenting with my "old" way of making socks.  Come up with the perfect fit, a longer leg for cold weather, slightly snugger at the ankle, use a slightly larger needle so they get done and on my feet (after all, that IS the point, isn't it - nothing better than wearing nice, handknit socks).  Then, I am going to try to stick with that pattern - maybe some day MY socks will be recognized as MY socks, just like there is no mistaking a pair of socks that my friend's mother has knit!
Learning to make socks or want to try?  I recommend Ann Budd's book.  And don't start with a sock with the smallest needle!

 It is raining today so we have stayed in - enjoying the last few days of our Christmas tree, son playing with Lego's, DH listening to music and cooking up a fabulous beef stew and me stewing over my knitting.  We are in relaxation mode.  I knew the bad weather was coming so for the past few days we have been outside a lot - here are a few snapshots to entertain you!  

1 comment:

Paula, the quilter said...

I like those blue and gray ones too. They have a really long cuff don't they? I use a size US2 (2.25 mm) on my socks.