Recently I posted on my personal Facebook page and asked if any of my friends wanted to knit socks together.
I was not greeted with tons of enthusiasm and learned that most of my Facebook friends are not interested in knitting socks! In fact, most were not fans of any circular knitting projects and said they knitted square or rectangular items only.
This is not the case with folks on Ravelry and other knitting groups, as it seems many knitters have a favorite sock pattern or two. I have knit socks twice before, both with the IBH’s Toasty Socks pattern from The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book.
Many sock knitters use a technique called The Magic Loop. I experimented with this technique many moons ago and decided I prefer DPNs (double pointed needles). Like most things I do in knitting, I do what I want, not always necessarily the “best” way, or the most popular way, but what I’m comfortable with and works best for me.
I was excited to try this pattern “Gro Socks” that my friend Laura showed me and we both decided that her Sweet Grass sock yarn would be adorable with this pattern. Laura hand dyes superwash wool yarns and sells them on Etsy as OlannGra.
Some of the challenges for me getting started with this pattern, and why I was ultimately glad none of my Facebook friends had opted to join in, is that I don’t knit with dpns very often, except when finishing up a hat or cuffs on a sweater. And even then, I’m usually using a size U.S. 5 or larger needle. This sock pattern called for size 1 needles. I didn’t have those on hand, so used size 1.5 instead. I think there was a difference and I now think if I knit these again, or the next socks I knit, I will use size 1. These came out a tiny bit big. And looking at my other socks pictured above, I think I’ve never actually knit a pair of socks that fit.
Positive and Negative Ease
There’s a thing in knitting called “ease.” For a sweater, you might want 10 inches of “positive ease” so that it’s loosely fitting and comfortable. With socks – and I didn’t know this until recently – you want “negative” ease, so that the sock is more fitted and has to stretch a tiny bit. My socks are a bit too loose, they don’t hug the foot, so I will know this for next time.
The Gro Socks are a “top down” sock pattern, so you start with the ribbing (as opposed to “toe up” socks, which starts knitting from the bottom up). I was getting into the swing of things with K2P2 ribbing, when it was time to start the little leaves pattern. This is a mini-cable stitch. The pattern comes with a video that demonstrates the stitch, but the pattern designer is much more coordinated, and frankly, more brave, than I am, as she doesn’t use a cable needle for the stitch, she holds the stitches off the needle while working the cable and then picks them up. I tried this a few times and, since these are such tiny stitches, I was afraid I would drop them and not be able to pick them back up.
Luckily I live an hour away from Web’s, so I drove down and got a tiny little cable needle (and tried my best not to buy any more yarn) so that I could continue knitting the cable part of the socks without stress.
One thing about knitting is that I think it’s great for your memory. I didn’t have a steady rhythm with the cable pattern on the first sock, mostly because of apprehension, but on the second sock I was much more confident and able to blow through that part without much stress. I also felt like my hands had developed a memory as well and I was more comfortable working with the size 1.5 dpn’s.
I finished the socks today and it’s still cold in Vermont so I’m wearing them now! Toasty warm!
If you have any questions about any of the above, let me know! I’d love to hear about what you’re working on too.