Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Confessions of a Sock Yarn Junkie's Accomplice

Flying the Sock Flag

So here's the thing: once you start knitting socks you can't stop. Oh, you can try. I stopped for a few months until Sandra (yes, Sandra who was on this blog and who has shared many a rowdy conference hotel suite with Dallas and me) sent me some absolutely gorgeous Fortissima Colori and 5 bamboo needles two birthdays ago and Cupid's arrow finally found its mark.

I didn't fall immediately. I fought the feeling. I didn't just roll over (on a bed of roving) and give in. I worked on scarves. I made a few really bad Uxbridge Tweed hats. I even frogged a couple of sweaters. But that yarn, that gorgeous yarn, kept calling to me.

This spring I gave in. I cast on 56 stitches, Magic Loop style, on #1US Addi Turbos and I was off and running. I used my regular sock pattern (trust me, once you understand the architecture of a sock you'll never need a pattern again) with heel flap and gusset and I tried the round toe for the first time. (Love love love it.)

The yarn seduced me. I was mesmerized by the color changes. I was, quite frankly, madly in love with a hunk of spun fiber and not ashamed to admit it.

If I could knit just one thing for the rest of my life (you know, if the Evil Knitting Fairy cast a magic spell on me . . . it could happen) it would be socks. That's how much I love the process. Short enough to keep you interested. Important enough to actually be used. Small enough to be affordable (or not.) And they wear out so you have to make more of them. It's not that you're addicted to the process or anything, right? The socks wore out and you can't run around barefoot in NJ in the dead of winter, can you? Neither can your family. Or your friends. Or barefoot strangers you happen upon in the supermarket.

Or Tom Selleck. (Yes, this one's for you, Dallas.) The poor boy needs a pair of socks.

Who knew our Sock Hop had a humanitarian side?



Blogger Fran Baker said...

Nice picture. Very nice. I could learn to knit socks in record time for those naked feet. Naked? I mean bare. Bare feet.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Fran, dare I say this? First there was Liam. Then Sean. Now Tom. Could you be -- is it possible -- oh, Fran, are you an easy knitter?? You can tell me. Are there roundheels on more than your socks??

You're a girl after my own heart!

10:44 PM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

I'm doing it! I'm doing it! I'm knitting a sock. The fear is gone!

Of course I haven't gotten to the turning the heel or the gusset part yet, or even that Kish-something or another stitch for the toe, so the fear may return.

I took Cindi's wise advice and found a "How to Knit Socks" book. It has pictures and everything. I even learned how to do a fancy new cast on method. I'm so chuffed.

It's easy to imagine this will become my latest obsession.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Jean Brashear said...

Jamie, I'm totally jealous and impressed! Here's hoping I can catch up with you soon! (Though I'm currently--well, okay, I've done nothing for days but revisions, but--doing THE Wendy's toe-up pattern so we're working from different ends.;))

But I'm like you, however little I've done so far, I'm pumped! (But still scared of that heel thing.)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

I too, am a sock junkie! Since I learned to knit socks two years ago, I've done almost nothing else. The dog sweater I'm working on now is the first non-sock project I've done in ages.

And now I want to go purchase some of that lovely yarn Dallas showed us. (Welcome Dallas -- so glad you're here!)

Question -- has anyone knit cashmere socks? I have some lovely teal cashmere yarn I purchased on eBay. It's the perfect weight for socks, and though not as dear as cashmere can be (since it was eBay) I love the idea of having wonderfully soft socks from it. But I'm afraid they won't wear well -- that I'll knit up this expensive yarn only to have the heals wear through the first time I don the socks. Any feedback here?

10:57 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I made a pair with Kureyon and they literally wore through within a week. My mistake (one of them) was wearing them on tile floors. The grout chewed right through the soft, thick & thin yarn. If you do use the cashmere, Cindi, baby them. Maybe wear them for lounging around. Or knit in a reinforcement thread at heels and toes. Or even the entire sole. Or you could always sew on a pair of leather non-stick bottoms and turn them into slipper socks.

Me? I'd knit them and baby them. They're gorgeous luxurious treasures: why not make them last as long as possible?

11:34 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

And an important PS: I learned the hard way (why didn't I listen to Better Knitters earlier??) that a firmer fabric makes a better sock. You don't want a rigid sock, of course, but I tend to go a size beneath the recommended needle size on the ball band. Sock weight yarn, for me, works best at #0US or #1US. Firmer fabric wears longer.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

I guess I'll just have to knit some of those round-heeled socks, Barbara.

Fran ... AKA Easy Knitter

12:42 PM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Jean - With my current deadline keeping me from working on the socks, you'll no doubt be able to catch up in no time at all. And there is that heel thing I'm slowing inching toward which still has me trembling in my fuzzy slippers to slow me down.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Barbara - Now, you're pulling out the big guns - pictures of Tom Selleck. Be still my beating heart! And you're right, if I were absolutely forced to choose just one project to knit for the rest of my life, it would be socks. Cable socks, lace socks, toe up, cuff down - I could stay entertained for a long time with just socks.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Cindi - I've been told that cashmere socks are totally practical and wear well. ColourMart UK sells cashmere on cones that is oiled for commercial knitting. They're on Ebay. Their recommendation is to knit with the yarn still oiled then - imagine this! - machine wash and dry the item and the yarn will magically fluff and soften and become wonderful. I have some of their yarn but haven't yet had the courage to try it. The yarn is very reasonably price - for cashmere - and I've seen pictures of some stunning garments but I'll admit that the thought of throwing handknit cashmere into the washing machine gives me the willies.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

Barbara, tell me more about the reinforcing thread. I like the idea and it seems simple to knit it in the heels. (Noticed I misspelled that earlier -- duh!) What kind of thread would you use?

4:03 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Cindi, I have Regia reinforcing thread in a variety of colors. It's a superfine nylon yarn that you can knit up with the regular yarn and not affect gauge at all. It's maybe $1.50 a card and that's more than enough (in my experience) for toes and heels.

I've seen it at my local LYSs, at Patternworks.com, herrschners.com, and elann.com

10:17 PM  

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