Let’s just take a second to appreciate my terrible pun in the title. Sorry to subject you to that.
I recently posted about my forays into the world of sock knitting – and I was so excited to post about conquering my biggest crafting fear, that I hadn’t even finished my first pair!
You’ve guessed what’s coming.
I have finished my first pair of socks!!!
I can’t tell you how proud I am – even if I do say so myself, these socks are really great.
The Madeline Tosh yarn was really beautiful to work with. I’ve been told before that “if you find Madeline Tosh, buy it” because it can be tough to get your hands on. I would absolutely reiterate that. I bought this online in a sale last year and I haven’t seen it come back into stock since. I will definitely be buying some more whenever I see it.
Well, I actually already have some more – the gorgeous yarn I bought in San Francisco a little while back. I think socks might be on the agenda for that yarn too – I haven’t found a crochet project that I want to entrust it to yet, and it is designed for socks after all.
In other sock-related news…
I have finished my second pair of socks!
So it turns out that people aren’t lying when they tell you sock knitting is completely addictive.
I have to confess, I started on my second pair before I finished my first pair. “I’ll just see how I get on with these short circular needles instead of the double pointed needles, they look like fun” – and then, boom! Another set of socks on the go.
The second pair I made, I wanted to experience self-striping sock yarn the way it is meant to be enjoyed, so I picked up a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in Peacock.
It. Is. Amazing.
Crocheters don’t get yarns made for them like this. It’s like magic watching this multi-coloured yarn turn into these neat, consistent stripes all the way down your sock.
They almost match – they’re not quite perfect on the toe, but I think I know where I went wrong.
I love both pairs equally – but already I have different plans for them. The first pair are for snuggling on the sofa at the weekend; for wearing to bed when it’s getting cold but we don’t want to put the heating on; to wear on winter mornings so the tiles in the kitchen aren’t a freezing cold shock.
I’ll be wearing my second pair out of the house, with boots in the winter; they’ll keep my ankles warm when I wear my jeans to work on a cold morning; they’re coming on bracing dog walks where I keep my chin tucked into my scarf to shelter from the wind.
My next piece of news won’t come as a shock to anyone.
I have cast on my third pair of socks!
These ones are a Christmas present. It turns out that other people admire a hand-knitted sock as much as us knitters. (I called myself a knitter! I’m a knitter!)
I’d like to think that the people I love enough to make Christmas presents for are readers of this blog, so I won’t post any progress pictures of the third pair (or the fourth, or the fifth) – but let me just say – West Yorkshire Spinners strike again! I’m a big fan.
So what have I learnt?
I’m still obviously a beginner at this whole sock knitting game, but I’ve got a few pointers to get you through your first knitted socks:
Follow Christine’s tutorials!
This is the number one tip I could give anyone wanting to knit socks. Go to the Winwick Mum blog and do everything Christine tells you to do. She’s incredible.
Buy a selection of needles.
I wanted to do my first pair of socks on double pointed needles, to face the fear, but I’m really pleased I decided to try out some short circulars for my next pair. I love my DPNs, and I’m delighted that I can use them now – but for my needs as a commuter crafter, the short circulars are perfect.
Short circulars are great – but not too short!
I’ve tried short circulars in two sizes, and I would highly recommend the Addi 30cm short circulars – I tried the 20cm as well, but the actual needles are shorter, which made them harder to use and actually hurt my hands.
Get a self striping sock yarn!
I loved my first pair, but at times while I was making them I felt a bit “ugh it all looks the same”. They’re fab now they’re finished, but if you’re not a natural knitter there’s nothing like trying to get onto your next stripe to motivate you to carry on!
Knitting stitch markers are crucial.
As a crocheter, I’ve always used locking stitch markers – they don’t get in the way when you crochet and I need something I can open up quickly and re-fasten. I’ve always found myself baffled by the tiny little metal loops on stitch markers I see for knitters – they just aren’t for crocheters.
Tiny little metal loop stitch markers are a sock knitter’s best friend, and in this revelation I have seen a whole world of possibilities open up in front of me. Shall I make my own? How many can I get away with buying? What colours can I find them in? GIVE ME THE STITCH MARKERS.
Travel with your sock knitting.
Yeah, yeah, I would say this – I crochet on the move all the time. But I never used to knit when I was out and about – I tend to knit with my elbows, which doesn’t make you a lot of friends on the train.
But socks are a different story! The stitches are small, most of the knitting is a plain knit stitch so you won’t have to count or think or do anything too intricate, and most importantly – with short circular needles, my elbows don’t seem to fly about. The smaller needles are nicely contained in my hands and so my fingers can do most of the juggling without needing to involve my elbows. My fellow commuters seem very pleased.
Sock knitting looks much scarier than it is. I think it would’ve been scary forever without Christine’s tutorials, but I promise – if you use those, you will be absolutely fine!
Until next time,
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