On Knitting Socks

My first socks are cruising along. I finished the first one last weekend. They aren’t anything special. Just socks.  Pure and simple. In an average, go-with most-anything color. Socks.

Now I am no expert on sock knitting. I have knit only one. A single sock. I still need to weave in the ends. That is how incredibly non-expert I am.

I have found sock knitting requires a lot of time fiddling with needles, sliding the needle back and forth to use the magic loop. I image using double pointed needles would result in even more needle fiddling. This needle fiddling business must simply be accepted. Part of the process. It just is. As far as I can tell, there is no way around it.

There are lots of itty bitty stitches on those itty bitty needles, but they knit up quick. Although I can see how good eye sight is required. And how years of sock knitting might cumulatively impair said eye sight.

Once I got the math down, the socks were flying off the needles. I can see the appeal. Now that I have a better sense of the ideal number of cast on stitches of sock yarn in my gauge, I feel like I am better poised to evaluate future sock patterns and more quickly determine if they will work for my size 6 feet without having to adjust a bunch of math. This overconfidence is probably not deserved.

I used a sock weight yarn, and I was surprised by how thick the first sock felt on my foot. Toward the bulky end if the sock spectrum. Definitely an apparel for winter. Warm. For those mornings when your feet really need something warm to take the chill out of your bones.

Have I mentioned how much disdain I hold for winter? Lots. Those of you who reside in Canada and other colder regions will always baffle me. Why can’t we all just colonize a nice, tidy tropical island and start an entire nation of knitters, bound together, knitting lightweight tees and tanks? And sipping piña coladas. And mojitos.

My second sock is flying along. No signs of Second Sock Symdrome. I already ordered my second skein of sock yarn. I don’t want my first pair to be lonely. Socks seem like an all or nothing effort,  based on laundry processes alone. I don’t want to sort and hand dry a single pair of socks. I am more likely to succeed if I simultaneously care for a week’s worth of socks all at once. They will keep each safe and well cared for. Power in numbers.

Hand knit socks need to stick together to survive.

But what do I know? So far, I only have one.

<Linking up with Ginny. Between books. >

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35 Comments

  • Reply Amanda Dymacek September 2, 2015 at 6:33 am

    I have recently thought many of those thoughts, though I have zero socks finished. I think my 2013 resolution was to learn to knit socks. Yesterday I cuddled a skein of handpainted sock yarn in the store… I don’t know what stopped me from taking the plunge. Fiddling with DPNs, though – its like wrestling a porcupine.

  • Reply Tina September 2, 2015 at 6:39 am

    What a pretty color you are using for your socks! They will be lovely when finished 🙂

  • Reply IamDWJ September 2, 2015 at 6:48 am

    I have yet to try sock knitting, the idea of tiny needles and tiny stitches does not appeal to me at all. So I found a nice worsted weight beginner pair instead and may try my hand at them. Hopefully I’ll see the appeal.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I can definitely see the appeal of a worsted sock. Would go much quicker. I prefer my socks on the lighter side though…Humph.

  • Reply Karin September 2, 2015 at 6:50 am

    I’ve been knitting socks forever and favour the dpn method. I think it’s a good thing to try the different styles and you may find one is less fiddly once you’ve done it a few times. Once bitten, I was addicted 🙂

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Do you think double pointed requires less needle fiddling? Maybe I should try that…

      • Reply Karin September 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

        Personally, I do. No cables flopping about, tips right there for the next group of stitches. I use sets of four, I do find sets of five fiddly. Ladders aren’t a problem if you keep your tension firm for the first 5 stitches each time you move to the next needle in a round. Also, I have smallish hands and I love that there are 10 and 13cm needles. I’ve come to love bamboo in particular, so lightweight for knitting a small project like socks 🙂

      • Reply Karin September 4, 2015 at 6:19 am

        Rats! I wrote a lengthy reply and I guess closed without sending it! I’m having the most scattered week…
        I really do prefer dpns. This after trying other methods. I like them for size, weight and no floppy cables. My preference is for bamboo these days – super lightweight and suited to the size of the knitted piece. Dpns don’t need to be “managed” like a cable, the next tip in a round is right there, no need to pull through and possibly overstretch stitches. Ladders are NP if you keep your tension firm for the first five stitches of each subsequent needle. I like a set of four as I’ve found sets of five to be as floppy as cables.
        I’d say the “Two socks on Two cables” is great for someone who suffers from “second sock syndrome” but I personally don’t have that problem – very often! 🙂
        I’m taking up a lot of space here but just to mention that if you have small or arthritic hands and I have both, dpns seem to cause far less stress as they come in short lengths as well as standard and that is a big reason why I favour bamboo now. The wrist motion to wrestle a cable on a small-circumference piece has become painful (even though you’ll have to take my circulars out of my cold, stiff hands for anything else!)
        I hope you’ll find what’s right for you – we’re all different 🙂

  • Reply Donna September 2, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I don’t weave in the ends until I finish both socks. I’m glad you seem to be a sock convert now. I can envision another pair in your immediate future!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Glad to know I am not the only one Donna. As long as the ends are woven in before the first wear, things are looking good!

  • Reply Mary Jo September 2, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I’m kinda surprised at how many sock pairs I have, for a fairly beginner sock knitter. I haven’t reached the “sock euphoria” that some knitters have who can open their sock drawer and show it full of gorgeous rolled hand knit socks. I long for a drawer like that but I’m getting its because I love handpainted sock yarns so much and those drawers look so beautiful. When my feet are really cold I still reach for thick commercial (though merino wool) socks. I’m not a fan of the magic loop (I get that fiddly thing) but love the two sock/two circular method – less fiddly needles to work with, easier to store safely between knitting sessions. Having them fit well is still a challenge and why they may not have become the socks I reach for first. But the compulsion to make them hasn’t gone away!

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      I will have to try the two sock/two circular method. I haven’t even heard of that …will have to poke around on You Tube.

  • Reply Pom Pom September 2, 2015 at 9:09 am

    I think you’re a natural sock knitter! You chose a lovely color yarn.

  • Reply laura September 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Sounds like your hooked. I love my socks and knitting them, they make nice little projects to travel with.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Hooked until I am unhooked anyway…which will probably when I wear the first hole in a heel three months down the road…

  • Reply Ge Ge September 2, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Wow…are you sure you’re not an expert?!? Let trade feet– your 6s for my 10.5s. Keep up the good work All-star sock pro.

  • Reply Tamera L September 2, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    You might already know this, but Hiya Hiya and Addi both make 9″ circs in small sizes. Perhaps this would solve your problem with double-pointed stitch-dropping sticks? (I call them that because I spend much more time rescuing the stitches that have slid off the #&@+#&@+ dpn, than actually knitting with said tiny torture-stick.)

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 2, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      No, I don’t know. 9 inch is small enough for a sock? Cool!

      • Reply Tamera L September 3, 2015 at 7:17 am

        I wear a 6, too… I’ve ever knit a sock, but I think the short circs are great for fingerless mitts and wristers! I’m guessing that they’ll work great for you, too.

  • Reply Natalie September 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I agree that you need more knit socks once you start. I found that after my first pair, it was always the first pair I went to when they came out of the wash…and so I wore them out rather more quickly than I wished. Now I have a handful I can alternate between. As do my sons 🙂

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise September 3, 2015 at 7:31 am

    dpns are less fiddly than magic loop if you ask me. I love dpns with five needles (four on the sock and the fifth is the working needle). They zip by!! Love your socks 🙂

  • Reply Andi September 3, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Bravo on your first socks. I say once you have completed one, your an expert. I am a DPN girl, I have tried magic loop, but find it more fiddly.

  • Reply Socks Go Fishing - This Knitted Life September 4, 2015 at 8:16 am

    […] time I got smart. I brought a camp chair. And my socks. Don’t get me wrong, I love fishing. I do. But I don’t fish like I used to. I have my […]

  • Reply Lucy Bowen September 4, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I love dpns for socks I think I won’t get second sock syndrome with. Otherwise, I tend to use two long circulars and do both at once. Love it, it’s addictive!

  • Reply Verónica September 11, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I’m almost finished with my first sock too.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life September 12, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Let me know how they turn out! I just turned the heal on sock two yesterday….home stretch now!

  • Reply Dotti February 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    The first pair of socks that I gave away was to my daughter-in-law. Then she told me that she loved them so much that she wore them for three days before washing them. Then I gave some to my two teenage granddaughters and the other daughter-in-law and all three said that was the only thing that they now wanted for every birthday and Christmas present!! I was flabbergasted, but delighted, to know exactly what to give to all the women in my family. I wanted more for myself also, because they feel so much better on my feet that those store bought, small, tight socks that always leave marks on my ankles ( due to OLD skin ). So socks are just about all I knit now. And for me it’s “toe-up, two-at-a time, on one long needle doing magic loop. I know lots of people love DPs, but I hate them. I find THEM very fiddlely.
    One long needle is very simple.

    Oh, and I ONLY buy yarn that can be washed and machine dried. That’s usually Merino wool and nylon mix. I’ve also been satisfied with acrylic and polyester mixes. Right now I have approximately 40 – 50 skeins of yarn ( mostly 350 yds or more to each skein ), so I can just go down to my “knitting room” and pick and choose my colors to knit. I’m sure you can tell that I am now totally addicted. Watch out!! You will get addicted too.

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