Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Sock History

I have been a sock addict for a few years now, and I am on a real sock-knitting jag since it's Socktoberfest. Here are my answers to Lolly's Socktoberfest Questionnaire to give you an idea of how I became so obsessed with socks.

When did you start making socks?
I started making socks shortly after I knitted our family's Christmas stockings four years ago. I knew if I could handle the technical aspects of a stocking then I could definitely handle the intricacies of a sock.

Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I taught myself, of course! What else would an obsessed knitter do??? I had never used DPNs before in my life when I picked up the knitting magazine (can't remember which one) which featured the Christmas stocking patterns. I just followed the directions in the magazine and did my best. After a few years of knitting socks, I know there are a few things I would have changed about the patterns, but the stockings work just fine the way they are. After I finished the stockings, I went surfing on the internet looking for sock patterns which specifically called for DPNs. I avoided circulars like the plague until this summer when I finally tried them out and realized they are pretty cool. It was all downhill from there--I kept looking for more patterns and buying almost every sock book I could find in the local Barnes & Noble. I just stuck with reading instructions, and I picked up helpful hints here and there which I have gradually incorporated into my knitting.

What was your first pair?
Oh dear! I have no idea anymore about which pair came first. I think it may have been a pair of "slipper socks" (worsted weight on U.S. size 3 needles) that I knit for myself but then gave to my mom. They were lavender and very soft--I made them from baby yarn. Our daughter has a matching pair.

How have they "held up" over time?
They must be holding up well--she hasn't asked for a new pair like the first one. I have knitted her other socks since then, and she has mentioned that she prefers heel flaps like those in the first pair over the short-row heels used in subsequent pairs.

What would you have done differently?
I know I would have twisted the stitches that I picked up along the heel flap by knitting through the back loop. None of the instructions in the first few pairs I knitted said to do this, and it causes some "holeyness" in that part of the sock. I fixed this in all my later pairs of socks after reading a sock book.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I like all the sock yarns I have met so far. They are actually the first yarns I look for when stepping inside any yarn store. I have used Opal, Regia, Trekking, Sockotta, Socka Fortissima, Socks That Rock, Lisa Souza, Scout's Swag, Black Bunny Fibers, and even some worsted weight yarns. I finished a Scout's Swag pair yesterday, and I have two more pair--Socks That Rock and Lisa Souza--in progress.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I do not crochet my socks--they seem too holey and bulky for my taste. I use both DPNs and two circulars when I'm working on socks. My circular needles aren't long enough for me to try Magic Loop, but I'm hoping I get a chance when I get some longer needles. (Christmas??? Hint, hint, DCA!)

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I make both kinds of heel depending on the pattern and whether I start toe-up or cuff-down. I do prefer a flap though--it fits my foot better. Actually, almost everyone for whom I have made socks says they prefer the flap also.

How many pairs have you made?
I have made more pairs than I can remember. I make at least one pair for each of the children every summer, and I knit socks all year long. They make great traveling projects because they're so easy to carry around. A lot of my socks have been given away, so I don't think I could even guess at an accurate count because of that.

So now you know almost as much about my sock history as I do, and in the spirit of Socktoberfest, I am now going back to work on my chosen socks of the day.

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