Monday, January 16, 2006

The First Sock

I've always wanted to knit socks. I read on another blog that sock knitters are envied, and they are. After pining away for the necessary skills, I decided, like all my knitting adventures, to try to acquire these skills on my own. I forced my boyfriend to buy me Betsy McCarthy's Knit Socks. I say "forced" because he would much rather buy me Russian literature or books that would, during these long nights of winter, allow us to discuss things literary, but no. It's the second Christmas in a row that I've asked for a knitting book. I thought this book would be a friendly one to begin with since the yarns used vary from worsted to sock yarn and the needles from size 6 to 1. I must say that even when I was beginning to knit, I didn't really enjoy large needles and bulky yarns. I loved the way stockinette stitches looked on size 6 needles, and I loved the feel of skinny needles in my hands.

I wanted to make the "Starter Stockinette" socks, with which the book begins. The pattern calls for Cascade 220 Quatro and size 3 needles. Nothing too intimidating. So I searched the web for the prettiest Quatro colors around and happened upon Angelika's Yarn Store. I bought two skeins of Raspberry Cream and one skein of Green Tea for the heels and toes.

I love the promise of untouched skeins, and although I have thought about buying a swift and ball-winder, there is something lovely about winding balls of yarn by hand.

Making my first sock was easier that I thought it would be, but it required more perfection than I would normally expend on a project. I think it was good for me. I learned that I was (I'm so embarrassed) knitting in the round incorrectly. I was knitting with the working needles away from me instead of close to me and with the fabric wrong-side-out instead of right-side-out. Many knitting books teach you how to join, but not how your project should look as you're knitting it in the round. I learned that correctly knitting in the round decreased ladders. I also learned how to avoid any worry about ladders and how to pick up stitches. Here is my first sock (unblocked):

I didn't follow the pattern perfectly because after all, I wanted these socks to fit me. I worked the sock foot until it measured 7" and not the 8 1/4" that the pattern called for. My advice to first-time sock knitters is to use post-its to write any alterations to the pattern because you may not remember exactly what you altered or how and since you want your socks to match, you might as well take the extra time and make notes.

Knitting socks for the first time will force you to learn the Kitchener Stitch. You might want to practice this before you close up your socks, but if you're like me, you're too excited to finish your first sock and dive right in. I think my toes look a little square-ish and not roundish because I did something a little funky during the Kitchner Stitch.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

The colors look so fun together! I'm knitting Jaywalker right now...