Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fear of Footwear

Afraid to tackle your first pair of socks? Help is at hand.

Up until (maybe) eighteen months ago, socks absolutely terrified me. I had a raging case of sockophobia. No, I didn't scream when I pulled a pair out of the dryer but the thought of sitting down with a fistful of double points and a ball of skinny yarn had me casting longing looks in the direction of the Kahlua in the closet.

I really never thought I'd ever be able to master knitting in the round. The concept itself sent my brain into a tailspin. (I tend to overthink knitterly concepts and create lots of trouble for myself.)

Anyway, in those days before I entered the blissful world of circular knitting (which, come to think of it, might share much in common with the world of circular logic) I discovered seminary student Mary Ann Croisant's famous pattern for Seabury Socks and I was on my way. (Mary Ann published her pattern in 1995 while she was studying to be an Episcopal priest. I've often wondered where she settled and if she's still knitting.)

I made my first pair of Seaburys with Noro Kureyon (is there a more perfect yarn on this planet or any other?) on a pair of #7US straights and thought I'd been assumed into Knitter's Heaven. The strangely shaped object really did sew up into a sock and a comfortable one at that. I was delighted. I was empowered. I was woman see me knit! The only problem with using Kureyon for socks was the fact that our floor and hallway are tiled and grout is very cruel to tender yarn. The soles were trashed within two weeks and my heart was broken.

So here's what I learned: reinforce wear-prone sock areas with nylon reinforcing thread in an appropriate color. Or sew on a leather sole to the sock in question. Or use two or three strands of actual sock yarn made to stand up to wear.

Or else just ask your male knitting slave to carry you from chaise to desk then back again.

Seriously, if you're dying to make socks and don't feel ready to tackle double points or circs quite yet (although I have to say there's nothing to be afraid of;believe me if I can do it so can you) this pattern is an easy and delightful way to turn out a pair of socks in record time and impress everyone you meet.

OTN (On The Needles): sock #2, black Fixation Bulky, Addi Turbo #4US circs, Magic Loop technique, my basic sock pattern - this time on 48 sts; 2K2P ribbing; standard heel flap and gusset; round toe (These are for my husband and he prefers a round toe to a Kitchenered)

Barbara Bretton
My Other Blog


Blogger Jean Brashear said...

Barbara, is it a problem to knit these socks out of a non-wool yarn? I wish oh wish oh wish it weren't the case, but wool makes me itch like crazy!


2:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Jean, for the most part I can't wear wool either. I wore these w/very thin cotton socks underneath them. I have found, however, that superwash wool (wool that's been magically treated to prevent felting and shrinking in the washer) doesn't bother my feet at all. But I wouldn't hesitate to go acrylic or acrylic blend with these. It's all about what makes you happy, right? (Yarn snobbery makes me as uncomfortable as literary snobbery. Whatever floats your boat, that's my motto.)

3:09 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I like the male knitting slave solution the best but where do you get one?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Jean Brashear said...

LOL, Nancy! I do admit that the male knitting slave notion gets me all tingly...and not from the wool. ;)

Thanks, Barbara--and thanks for making me feel okay about using non-exotic yarns!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

where do you get reinforcing thread? I've never seen it in my local shops.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Elizabeth, I've purchased it through Herrschner's, Patternworks, and Elann. My LYS in Princeton also carries it. Regia manufactures it. I'd be happy to send you some so you can decide for yourself. Send me your snail mail addy privately and I'll zip some out for you. --BB

10:37 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Can you buy reinforcing thread in bulk? The last time I saw it in a catalog I was stunned at the price for such a skimpy quantity.

4:23 PM  

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