Sock knitting will probably always be my first love as far as knitting goes. Socks are the the reason I got back into knitting after so many years of not knitting. I learned to knit in high school, did some amount of knitting in college but it was basic things – nothing fancy, mostly flat pieces that were fairly plain with no increases or decreases. At some point after I was out of school, I knitted a couple of sweaters but I never finished anything. I would give up, send them to a German friend in Jasper, Texas and she would finish them for me. Probably in 1984 or 1985 I put it down and never touched it again til about 2005 or 2006 when I learned to knit socks.
There are many reasons why I love knitting socks.
- They’re portable. One grocery sack of sock yarn will keep me busy for weeks so if we’re going somewhere, I can wind up several skeins of fingering weight yarn and know I won’t run out of something to knit.
- They’re giftable. A pair of socks can cost less than $10 with JoAnn or Hobby Lobby yarn, and that isn’t bad yarn. They can cost $30 or more with hand dyed yarn. Even at $30, I still feel that’s not so much I can’t give it away. Even a scarf often costs over $100 for the yarn so I don’t give many of those away.
- Plain Jane works! Most of the time, socks are completely hidden by the show and pants legs so there’s not much use in spending a lot of time on a fancy design, though sometimes, fancy designs are fun.
- Wool socks are warm but they are not hot. My feet never feel itchy and sweaty even if I wear my wool socks in the summer . . in Texas. Addie once told Nicole that only the socks Granny makes keep her toes warm. I never knew why she said that til one day I was in MO and hadn’t brought any socks with me, bought a bunch of the nylon-ish socks there and my toes almost froze.
I do hand wash my socks but don’t gasp! It isn’t much trouble. I keep a little metal trash can in the bathroom. I think it’s from Ikea and it’s the kind that you step on the button and it opens. I drop my socks into there when they need washing and then I’ll have sometimes 15 pairs of socks at once to wash. I dump them all in the sink, add a drop or two of Soak, or any mild detergent. Swish them around in room temp water. Rinse if needed. Soak does not need to be rinsed. Then I lay them out on a couple of bath towels, roll the towels up, step on the roll to squeeze excess water out. Then I shape the socks the way I want them on a plastic mat of some kind on an top of an extra bed, turn the fan on, leave them all day, then flip them over, leave them another day and they’re dry.
Socks can be made toe up (meaning you start with the toe, work the foot, then the heel, then the leg, cuff and bind off) or cuff down (meaning you start with the cuff, work the leg, then the heel, then the foot, then the toe and bind off). I like both methods about equally. I will make toe up if I want to make the leg longer and don’t want to run out of yarn. Get the foot made, then knit the leg til the yarn is almost gone, saving enough for the ribbed cuff and bind off. I like cuff down because I’ve done that enough that I can do it without using a pattern.
For toe up, I like Sockmatician’s Toe Up sock pattern and for cuff down, I like Basic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow (Yankee Knitter).
What brought up the subject of socks tonight? I’ve been wanting to start a pair of socks for a while!