Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Totally Unrelated Sons of One Mother

sockpair.jpg
Dear Kay,
Sock on the left: “What’s your problem?”
Sock on the right: “What’s YOUR problem?”
Left: “You’re boring.”
Right: “You’re loud.”
Left: “I hate you.”
Right: “I hate you more.”
Left: “You suck.”
Right: “Mommmmm he said suck.”
I can’t believe these two socks came from a single ball of yarn. One’s loud, one’s quiet–it seems so obvious now, but as I nursed these socks along, I thought they would be more alike.
sockpairflat.jpg
See? In their, um, deflated state you can see the randomness that is Trekking XXL sock yarn. How many miles of yarn would I need to go through to find a repeat?
I would like to point out the single most spectacular fact about these socks: they are LONG! So LONG! Incredibly LONG! Can ya see how long they are? Anybody out there who has lived with a size 10 foot (which is, like, a 41 in Europe, or a 1,000 in Esperanto) knows the disappointment of the average sock department, the heartbreak of heel creep–O! what does it take to get a fitting sock that doesn’t look like a Man Sock?
It takes making them yourself.
Which brings me to
Technical Observations I Have Made While Making This First Pair of Socks
1. If you are on the cusp of manufacturing your own socks, my only advice is to do what I did and purchase a copy of Cat Bordhi’s book Socks Soar on Two Circulars. She has been sitting beside me the whole way through this process–I can hear her voice in the advice she dishes out so cheerfully. I think these socks turned out because she told me how to do it, in the clearest possible way. There was no way to screw up if I did what she said to do. The screw ups came when I was sleepy or distracted or trying to knit during “Casino Night,” the epic final episode of The Office. Would the secretary and the sales rep finally get together? Who wouldn’t drop a stitch and knit backward?
2. Circulars v. double-pointed needles. Two needles v. five. I was warned that the dangliness of the circulars could prove troublesome. This was not a problem. And I was relieved that I wasn’t losing double-pointed needles in my car. And because there are only two joins instead of four, I didn’t lose stitches over the ends of the DPNs–at the end of each circular needle’s work, I’d zip the needle halfway through. Which was a tidy little security feature. And–I didn’t do that thing I do sometimes with DPNs, which is to inadvertently yank one totally out of the thing I’m working on. Which would have been disastrous with these size 1 stitches.
sockpairtoes.jpg
3. Merciful yarn. A crazy yarn hides a world of sin: warbly ribbing, the occasional yanked stitch, the entire toe portion of the program. I’m thinking I grafted down there, but who the hell knows or cares? It covers up the end of my foot, and I’m grateful.
sockpairribbing.jpg
4. If you can read, you can do anything. My experience with socks proves this. But I will say that I couldn’t have done it so easily had I not spent time at the yarn shop studying socks with patient Charisse. Once she showed me where the gusset starts and stops, what parts should not be considered gusset, and where exactly the heel turns, Cat’s directions were ace. But it made a big difference to see a basic heel flap sock in the flesh before I had to attempt a gusset.
Off to go find another pattern. This is the BEST.
Love,
Ann

87 Comments

87 Comments

  1. Ann: welcome! I too used to wonder about knitting socks- resist it even! No more. It is the best, for sure. Before I bought your book, I was wary of knitting dishcloths, too… and now I’m hooked! I have a drawer full of dishcloths and a package on the way to my mom! Good times.

  2. Oh, you’re hooked, you’re hooked! Which is only fair because I can’t stop knitting warshrags.
    Can I say how awesome and true “If you can read, you can do anything” is? I try to convince non-knitters of this all the time and no one believes me. But IT IS TRUE. (But remind me of it later, after I’ve started down the wicked path of lace.)

  3. I agree! The Socks Soar book is the best & although I’ve only used dpn’s for hats before I learned the circular technique from Cat, I can’t imagine ever having to knit socks with dpn’s… NO THANK YOU!
    Love your “un-twin” socks!

  4. Welcome to the sock club! We’ve been expecting you, in fact we have a plate full of moon pies waiting. It’s addicting. In fact, I find myself buying more sock yarn than anythng else.

  5. Excellent first socks! I’m knitting up my first sock on Trekking XXL right now, and am really hoping for fraternal twins. I love watching the way the colours blend.

  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed your first pair! Knitting socks is just cool…and very impressive!

  7. those socks are great. I love the randomness of them. I have now knit 5 socks and am working on the 6th to make it’s partner happy. I am addicted hardcore. I love my little sock project to carry around everywhere. Plus it impresses the heck out of people who don’t knit. All those tiny needles and a sock, a real life sock???!!!!
    it’s good to impress people once in awhile. Hope the book tour brings you to portland oregon
    Joycelyn

  8. I love those socks. I love that they look like they’re from different skeins of yarn. Are they soft? They don’t look soft and soft is a must!! I have to say that if you think 2 needles are better than 4 or 5, you’ll love 1 needle! The magic loop makes it so simple to do 2 socks at a time. It’s the only way to go for me (because I have the dreaded SSS bad (second sock syndrome or second sleeve for that matter). Did I write this already? If so, please excuse this senior moment!!
    Knit on…

  9. Excellent sockage my dear. I tried socks on dpns once and I don’t know what happened to it. Then I tried socks on two circulars and well, the rest is history (coughjaywalkercough.)

  10. Those are great socks! Ha ha!
    You fell into the sock making trap (crocheted socks are just as fun as knit!)! you will never get out. :)
    [I bought bags and bags of those potholder loops so I can make the rug from the book! I can't wait! ]

  11. THEY LOOK WONDERFUL! Don’t worry about the length. Wash those puppies a few times, dry them a few times (in the big bad dryer) and they will conform beautifully to your feet.
    Congratulations!

  12. And another (darn good) sock knitter is born! They’re just fabulous, and the randomness is charming. I’m glad I like it, because I have a ball of this exact same yarn and colorway waiting for me. Nice to know I’ll like the result.
    Socks are good, now matter how they’re made – I prefer dpns for basic socks, but can and do use the 2 circs for some. They’re all socks, and they all fit your feet!
    Congratulations. Oh, and make room in your stash storage – sock yarn has a way to sucking you in.

  13. Woo Hoo! can those really be your first socks? They are perfect!

  14. Welcome to the club! May I suggest that you find yourself a copy of Charlene Schurch’s “Sensational Knitted Socks”? TONS of patterns, broken down by repeat (4 stitch patterns, 6 stitch patterns, etc.), and she gives directions for knitting every pattern on 4 or 5 dpns or … two circs. There’s some toe-up stuff in there, too.
    (great socks, btw)

  15. Awesome socks! I love the colors even though they don’t match. It makes it even more fun. I agree with Ruth – Sensational Knitted Socks is a great book with tons of stitch patterns. You’ll never run out of socks with it!

  16. Yay Ann! Wait till you realize one day whilst walking around that nobody, I mean NOBODY, has the same socks as you!

  17. I love that they aren’t exact copies! Socks should be unique and funky! I love the colors in yours! Beautiful. Congrats on getting them down.

  18. Yea, Ann! Hooray for you and your first socks. I’m done with felted boxes now and seeking Euroflax for a curtain ~ everybody’s MDK’ing this spring! XXO

  19. Beautiful socks, Ann! Great job! I’m knitting my first sock (on DPNs), and I’m loving it. Thanks for the great example!

  20. I think Trekking is the secret. If everyone tried their first pair of socks with it, they’d never look back. I didn’t think I liked knitting socks until I started working on a pair with Trekking. They were supposed to be a gift. Now they’re mine…all mine! And I keep buying more.

  21. Here’s a bit of a tip that a freind passed on to me. In order for the color to continue without interuption over the front of your ankle (the part opposite the heel), knit the heel flap using the yarn from the other end of the ball. I think your loud sock could have benefited from this trick.

  22. Totally awesome post :o) Being a size 10 also, I appreciate your observations! And – not yet being so good in the sock dept yet (but trying!) I also appreciate the pointers! Great socks, even if they are fraternal twins :o)

  23. I’ve also found that the best thing for an odd sized foot is to knit socks. I can’t wait to finish the ones I’m working on for my size 3 foot (yup, that’s a kid size, and I’m 24). Also, Charisse is amazing. She taught me how to knit! =)

  24. Same yarn, same results. Your socks look like mine! I thought I was doing something wrong!! (I loved them anyway, but I’ve always been a sucker for outrageous socks.)

  25. From what I can tell, the season finale of The Office was responsible for absent-minded knitting mistakes all across the country. I myself created an accidental YO, and dropped a stitch, before finally giving up on the knitting altogether until the episode was over!

  26. Welcome to the wonder of Trekking sock yarn – there are NO repeats! No way to get identical socks, EVER.
    I have learned to knit one sock from the inside of the skein, and the other one from the outside of the skein. The “boring” stuff tends to be in the middle, and the “loud” stuff on the innermost and outermost parts. I had to frog half a second sock that was knit following the first sock out of the center of the skein.
    I like the Magic Loop more than the socks on two circs method. Mainly because I don’t want to own two of every size of Addi Turbo needle. For Magic Loop I only need one!
    Congratulations for becoming hooked on socks! They are fabulous!

  27. Wonderful socks. I love the randomness of Trekking XXL. My daughter wears a size 12 shoe. She is why I knit socks. Before I did, all she could find to wear were mens socks. Now her feet just vibrate color. She is a teacher, and the kids always want to see which socks she is wearing.
    Socking knitting is a joy for me, cause it makes her smile :)
    Welcome to the Alice in Sockerland spot.
    IK knits usually has a sock pattern going. You tend not to notice them if you don’t knit socks. I never paid them much mind.
    And Socknitters.com is loaded down with free patterns.
    Elann has sock yarn on sale, just thought you might have missed that. Regia

  28. Lovely socks. You should have bought all the yarn that was in the sidebar, we wouldn’t have thought it unreasonable and it wouldn’t have taken up much room. Some people just don’t get knitted socks (why knit them for £x when you can buy then for £Y), luckily my husband does and it’s much quicker to knt him a pair of socks than a sweater. My mother likes beads on hers, they look fantastic and are easy to do. Cables, lace, beads, fairisle – they’re all waiting for you on a sock cuff.

  29. You are SO hooked! Congratulations, they look great!

  30. Fabulous ! I have the most perfect sock yarn for you…!
    In defence of double points : I love knitting with my sexy ebony or rosewood dps. The perfect long,slender,pointy points [very particular about needle points !] ,the neat,non flappy,package of sock and needles. I’ve tried two circulars and the loop methods but just prefer the rythmn and feel of knitting around with five needles.

  31. Fab socks! I’m so envious of the variety of wool you guys have over there! (It’s a hassle just to get some dishcloth cotton here in the UK).
    I too love Cat Bordi’s book – ditched the sock needles after my first pair and changed to circulars – haven’t looked back since!
    My favorite pattern has to be Wendy’s (yes-that Wendy) Toe-up Sock Pattern, you should check it out – it’s so much easier to try socks on as you go, and there is NO GRAFTING!!
    P.S. – Love the book too guys! (I’m already 52 squares into the mitre square blankie)

  32. That episode of the Office was so good! I can’t believe we have to wait now for a new episode, I’ll miss it so much! Your socks looks great, the colors are lush and vibrant and full of character.

  33. Your socks came out great and the colors are beautiful.

  34. i’m still the odd one out here!
    i have knitted a few pairs of socks, but give me a sweater, or even better: a sweater in gloomy tweedy yarns, on small size needles any day, please! nothing can beat that, not even one of your beautiful washrags. and certainly not socks!
    yours are beautiful, BTW!

  35. I love fraternal socks! (The only time I have nearly identical are from the jacquard patterned sock yarns.) Your socks look great.

  36. Your first pair?! Wow – so gifted! Gorgeous socks. :)

  37. bravo darling! with the long feet and skinny ankles, they look like socks for Olive Oyl – a beautiful, blonde Olive Oyl!

  38. You are soooo right about Cat Bordhi’s book. I’m doing the gusset on my first sock right now, and I love the way she is walking me through it.

  39. I highly recommend the Jaywalker pattern. Fun to knit but not very difficult to memorize.
    The socks in Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks are also brilliant.

  40. Yay, another sock convert! I started making socks in March ’06 using the 2 circ method, toe up (see Wendy Knits Generic Toe Up)and have moved on to Magic Loop(even LESS needles), Magic 8 cast on (no crochet hook/scrap yarn necessary-see Knitty)and haven’t looked back–SOCKS THAT FIT! Where there was once fear is now a sock knitting machine. You go girl!

  41. beeeyootiful socks- your feet look very happy in ‘em. thanks for your enthusiasm–

  42. Congratulations on a great first pair of socks! I like the one on the left with the kicky thin blue stripe around the toe knuckles(?). It’s like a toe anklet. A tanklet?

  43. Thanks for the kudos. I love your socks! I love knitting socks which are the best small “in the car, Walmart, post office, your husband’s glove compartment if you’ve forgotten your knitting” knitting project. I am still old school and love DPNs. I, too, have a size 10/41 foot, but the plus side is that you can buy unisex shoes on sale as a size 8 (one of the sizes always left) in the men’s shoe dept. Whoo hoo!

  44. Congratulations! I was converted to the cult of the sock last year and I haven’t looked back. Here’s another vote for Sensational Knitted Socks – it’s just great. There are also some great patterns on knitty.com, and check out http://sockbug.blog-city.com/ for lots of circ patterns.

  45. I think you’re gonna have to sit between those two.

  46. So, I should mail you more sock yarn?

  47. Wow they look great… if a tad different… different fathers perhaps? I’ll never tell! Thanks for the book advice. I will begin my sock knitting odyssey this summer!

  48. The socks look great!
    Now, on the topic of the June 8th knitting party at the LIBRARY. Are we going to be shushing each other? Are we knitting in silence? Explain!

  49. So, you’ve finally crossed over to the Dark Side.

  50. Yay, Ann!
    And the best thing is, sock yarn on the whole is less expensive than sweater yarn. At least, it is if you buy it in “reasonable quantities” (although I’m still fuzzy on exactly what that means for normal people).

  51. You’re one of them now. It’s the yarn, isn’t it? It’s so seductive, with all those crazy colorways and patterns and tricks. And you only have to buy one skein! Oh, sly temptress.

  52. Well, I think your socks are gorgeous precisely because they are different. Do I see the Magic Loop method in your future?

  53. Great socks!
    Nancy Bush has the best collections of patterns. So clear, so neat….

  54. Great – I was hoping Trekking would be enough for either my size 11’s or my 15 year olds size 12 feet. After doing my first Jaywalker on 2 circulars I’m hooked on that method – double points require too much messing around with needles for me (and I can’t seem to get rid of those dreaded ladders).
    For toe up I love the Magic Cast On: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/FEATmagiccaston.html
    Welcome to the fold!

  55. Beautiful! Way to go Ann!! I love the random-non matchiness of the socks…wear them with pride!!

  56. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated…

  57. I second the suggestion of “Sensational Knitted Socks.” Between Cat Borhdi’s book, SKS, and the grafting clip on KnittingHelp.com, I feeling pretty confident as I head down the road to sockmania.
    BTW, love the Moderne Log Cabin blanket. It is already in progress. Bibs coming up.

  58. What??!!! I missed the final episode of The Office? When? I am sooooo bummed :( .
    I will have to knit a pair of socks to soothe me.
    Great job on yours by the way – I prefer it when they don’t match perfectly… gives me a carefree kinda feelin’!

  59. I am a disciple of the one long circ. needle – known as the magic circle. No danglys…

  60. I like the fiddly daintiness of bamboo double points, but that inadvertent yanking does stink.

  61. I’m sorry, did you just write “size 1 stitches.” Sweet Jesus Joseph and Mary that is a lot of work. I cannot imagine!
    But the yarn is beautiful!

  62. must. go. buy. trekking.

  63. hee hee. I am so glad to say I was there at Loop in Philly when you succumbed to buying sock yarn.
    Philly sock knitters are so proud of you!

  64. I love socks! I’m super addicted to them. But I do mine on DPNs…scares my hubby when I sit next to him!

  65. which one’s the evil twin?

  66. loved the sibling rivalry, and loved even more that, mismatchment notwithstanding, there’s not a whiff of hesitation about wearing the pair (which, whether they like it or not, are family). Most of all, though, I loved the size 10 issue — I think you may have just gotten me off my butt. I think I’m going to do it — knit my own socks, for my own size 12 feet (added half a size with each pregnancy. Not pretty). Just as soon as I knock off all my other WIPs or get a paycheck. Whichever comes first.
    I love those and would totally wear them. With SHORTS and Birks, just to mortify my daughter.

  67. double circs are also the answer for hats of all sizes, sweater sleeves, you name it. a brilliant invention. glad you’re hooked!

  68. What the HECK???? That is such a HOOT about how different they are. But I love them anyway. I’m looking forward to my first foray into Trekking.

  69. Hey ya’ll from North Carolina. I see that you went and got The Yarlot’s beloved sock yarn to try first. I love the colors, too though I’ve never done circs, only stuck to 4 dpns (Ann Norling pattern). Fraternal twin socks are so much better than identical ones. Rock on!
    My husband gave me your book for my birthday and I love it. And this was even before I started reading your blog on a daily basis. Secretly I am glad that Amazon chose to “bundle” your book with Steph’s as to get him to buy the “whole package”.
    I’ve always loved making quick, simple, cotton dishcloths. Thanks for reprinting the ball band pattern and showing us lots of great examples. You now have also inspired me to try linen for the first time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  70. Nice socks! They sound a little too much like home but look fab in their mismatchy way. Must try that Trekking. Must try more patterns. Must try something other than dpn’s, I impaled some important papers in my purse this week while losing 2 stitches. Those size 0-1 needles are way more dangerous than their big sisters. Too stressful.

  71. I love those socks!! A gold star is coming your way! I love that yarn.. might just have to copy you and make some like them!

  72. If you liked this, you gotta try the Two-at-Once, Toe Up Socks from http://www.KnitPicks.com
    You know how when you get one done, you still gotta do the other? Not this way – two done at the same time!

  73. Wonderful socks! They don’t even look all that long to me. I have been knitting for a size 12 foot for the past 5 years. Believe me, I really wish my feet were a dainty 10! However, the satisfaction of having a pair of socks that fit propetly on your feet will be what keeps you knitting on long after other people start whining about knitting for size 8 feet. Afterall, they can buy socks that fit. Those of us with a longer understanding, need to produce our own lovely foot coverings. I need to go investigate some of that yarn. I am trying to get over my anal retentive matchy poo-poo tendancies.

  74. I could resist no longer…. your talking socks were the final straw. I ordered your book yesterday! Thanks for all of the fun on your blog.

  75. Gorgeous socks! Size 10 (11 in winter) here and I absolutely know what you mean about “average socks” in department stores. I don’t think I ever had a decent pair till I started knitting my own.

  76. Wild child socks! well done- looking forward to seeing what other foot warming creations you create in the future.

  77. I really love your socks! I love them so much I went and harrassed my LYS to carry it, but she couldn’t find the color. So, I had to go on ebay and I ordered a ball that way.

  78. Nice socks. Try short row heels. They are my favorite. I’m trying to figure out why anyone would do a heel flap and gusset intead of just short rowing the heel and toe? Also, I only use bamboo dpn for socks, less likely to slide out when not asked to do so. ;) I haven’t tried the two circular method yet. It’s sounds like doing ‘pairs’ figure skating instead of solo. A new challange that I’ll probably get to try out once I’ve finished a few UFO’s I currently have sitting here staring at me.

  79. You did it (of course)! The pair is fun and sassy…wear ‘em with pride!

  80. Another size 10 here and hubby is size 13 — never ending socks. That just keep coming and coming. What is it about socks that is so satisfying? I’m mesmerized by the colors and the construction. Magic. Socks Soar is a great book, and another must-have sock book is Senstational Knitted Socks. Glad you’ve … um … crossed over. [smile]

  81. I love the lack of matching. I just love all of the marled trekking, though. And I clearly need more. Congrats on your first pair. I got to give two pairs to friends this weekend, and it was a hoot. Like Cinderella and the slipper, but without having to arrange any marriages.

  82. Making socks on a 12″ circular needle is the BEST.

  83. Fab socks!! So glad you’ve succumbed. Re: the question of why you would do a heel flap when you can do the short row? Fit! I’ve got a wide foot with a skinny heel and short of doing all kinds of math stuff (yuck) I get a great fit with a french heel and nothing close with short rows! The best part is there’s something for everyone. Go to Interweave Press’s Folk Socks for a great review of different toes and heels and find one that works for you!
    linda

  84. You know, I bought my first ever ball of Trekking the day before I saw your “in progress” photo. I was puzzled at the store, because the shop owner told me “I had to” wind it exactly into two balls so that I would get two socks that match. I didn’t say anything then, but kept wondering what made Trekking different from any other self patterning yarn. And of course, I knew right away that I didn’t care if they matched or not. Many of my socks don’t. Now that I see your socks, I see the difference, but so what? I think yours turned out great, and I wish I had my current pair of Lion Magic Stripes Socks done so I could start my Trekking socks. Sameness be dammned!

  85. Hi Ann – if you haven’t already be sure to catch the original BBC version of The Office – you can get it on netflix – although I do appreaciate the Americanized version the original is wicked fun – a friend of mine actually lived in the town where it is supposed to take place, Slough, & says it is true to true life

  86. I have a size 10 foot and I am having a hard time finding the right pattern that I can use.
    I followed a recent teacher’s advice to move from 2 down to size 0 needles and followed her large size instructions (cast on 64) but she tells me I knit loose continental wise. My foot circumference is 8 3/4.
    Any HELP anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated – I just want to have success with a sock FIRST and then I know I’ll plunge headfirst into more

  87. I have a size 10 foot and I am having a hard time finding the right pattern that I can use.
    I followed a recent teacher’s advice to move from 2 down to size 0 needles and followed her large size instructions (cast on 64) but she tells me I knit loose continental wise. My foot circumference is 8 3/4.
    Any HELP anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated – I just want to have success with a sock FIRST and then I know I’ll plunge headfirst into more