I make both hand cranked socks and hand knit socks and I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s nice about socks. Many (perhaps most) people wear socks on a daily basis, so that makes them one of the most wearable items you can knit. When knitting socks on my antique reproduction sock machine or by hand, I feel connected with the past. Machine made socks are relatively new, hand made socks have been around at least since the Egyptians in 1000-1400AD.
I like the fact that there are so many choices when making a sock: what type of needles you use, whether you start at the toe or the cuff or somewhere in between, how you shape the toe and heel area, what kind of patterning you use. The possibilities are endless! If you are in the Santa Cruz, CA, area, and you want some motivation to try different kinds of socks, I’ll be hosting a monthly sock club at Yarn Shop Santa Cruz on the first Sunday of every month. Call the shop for details and to register!
Once you have a pattern, especially a “vanilla” sock pattern, that you like, it’s easy to memorize the steps involved. (A “vanilla” sock is one with no special patterning.) For a cuff down sock, just know how many to cast on and how many stitches to start with to turn the heel, and the rest pretty much takes care of itself! Make the first sock to your liking lengthwise and carry it around to compare to the second sock as you make it!
My biggest tip: always start the second sock right away! It’s easy to get “second sock syndrome” where your first sock never gets it’s mate, but if you’ve got it cast on, usually, it gets done!
Creating a pattern is a many step process. I’ve recently been playing with the project management tool Trello and setting up a master list of all the steps it takes to get a pattern from concept to publication. I created 17 items that need to be to be completed for test knitting alone!
This post is step 7 or so: announcing the test knit on my blog. So, on that note, I would like to show you the Vedru Shawl.
Vedru is a classic top down crescent shawl design perfect for using a special collection of mini-skeins. There are no complex stitches or purling in this lovely, peaceful garter stitch lace knit. The design works well with solid yarns, tonal yarns, or yarns with subtle variegation. The pattern includes directions for two sizes with six or eight stripes. All directions are written.
If you are interested in participating, please visit my Ravelry group, Heddi Craft Designs, and sign up in the test thread.
Like many knitters, I often have several projects going on at once. I always have a dishcloth going that I keep in my car for emergency knitting. I usually have a sock project that I take with me on trips. I have whatever I’m currently designing in another project bag. I usually have some project (often a garment) that was designed by someone else that I’m working on. And I often have some comfort knitting.
What is comfort knitting? For me, it’s a project that is easy but pleasant in pattern, soothing to work because it’s simple enough that I don’t have to think, and the end result is going to be enjoyable. Right now, that project is the Hue Shift Afghan from Knit Picks. I’m calling mine the Love Still Wins Afghan. In the end it will be 100 mitered squares in all the combinations of ten rainbow hues. Once you do the initial cast on count to establish a square, the rest comes pretty easily. The alternating colors and ever shorter rows make each square quite satisfying to finish.
What is your comfort knitting?