Making boot socks for Baby Girl set off a renewed effort at sock making in general. After the success of the star toes on her little sport-weight tubes, I felt brave enough to take another attempt at working heels, and figured I might as well learn a new toe at the same time. For this, I returned to Tin Can Knits’ “Simple Collection”, a group of free patterns that are very popular on Ravelry for their clean, tailored style and straightforward approach to knitting techniques. The patterns in the collection are all named after a type of grain, and their beginner-level sock is called “Rye”. It’s a worsted-weight sock with a wedge toe and heel flap done on US size 5 needles, mostly stockinette but with a section of garter stitch in the center front that adds interest. This time I decided to do socks for me. I chose to do this pattern in two different colors of the same yarn, so I’d be able to easily notice my level of improvement between socks one and two. On the first sock, I did struggle a bit with the heel, but by the time I got to the second sock, something just clicked, and I understood how the heel was meant to work. Shaping the toe was no problem at all, once I realized how the decreases created the toe. The second sock was a breeze:
My next effort went down two needle sizes, lightened up the yarn weight, and utilized another free Ravelry pattern: Marie Turner’s “Marie’s Basic Sock Pattern”. For this I used a self-striping Kroy sock yarn from Patons. Because the end of the first ball of yarn started in the middle of one of the contrast color repeats, I trimmed about 18 inches off the working yarn to begin with the base color. The pattern is divided into very clear sections, which I found extremely useful for my lifestyle’s stop-and-start style of knitting. Cuff, heel, toe, all went smoothly, and I finished the first sock on the third evening, knitting for half an hour to an hour sittings. Starting the second sock on the second ball of yarn, I noticed that this ball started in a completely different place on the color repeat, and thought for a while as to whether it was really important to have the stripes fall in the same place on each sock. I started the cuff, without adjusting the yarn, knitted about an inch, and decided that it was important. This time, I trimmed a considerably longer amount from the ball, about 3 repeat’s worth. I don’t really mind, since although I want this pair to more or less match, I’m saving up ends of sock yarn to make a bunch of mismatched striped socks for myself and Baby Girl. I could also use the larger leftovers for contrasting heel and toe combinations – the possibilities are many, since I’m now a confirmed sock knitter.
The portability of a sock project is great, and the small needle sizes give my hands a nice break from the ginormo needles I’ve been using for the cowls and scarves in my Etsy shop. I love the cool colors and patterns that sock yarns come in, the socks I’ve done fit wonderfully, and I am having a blast looking up sock patterns in books and online, and planning which construction techniques I’ll learn. I would, however, like to get comfortable with a method of knitting two items at a time, since I can feel a strong possibility of developing second-sock syndrome. All of the socks I have knitted so far have been done one at a time, on double pointed needles. I learned how to do a sort of unjoined double-knitting method on double-points several months ago, which knits one sock inside the other, but found it was very easy to mix up the yarns unless I used contrasting colors. Since I would like to have at least some pairs of matching socks, I guess I’ll have to seriously learn how to do them on Magic Loop. I do have some very long US size 1 and 2 needles, so I’ll have to pick a nice simple toddler-size pattern and give it a try, but first I think I’ll still do one sock at a time until I get used to the technique.