24 August, 2006

I give in

Socks, socks, socks are everywhere. I love handknitted wool socks, and I still wear some made for me by my grandmothers. Thick socks for winter boots. They are so comfortable and they could never, never be duplicated by something store-bought.

Myself, though, I was never interested in knitting socks, except for replacing my grandmothers' socks when they wear out some day. When Nancy Bush started coming out with her sock books, oh more than ten years ago, I thought why would anybody want to knit socks enough to write a book about it? How many socks could a person possibly want? Socks are just for utility, kind of dull. I mostly associated handknit socks with Birkenstocks, and I was never one for Birkenstocks either. Knitting socks was just silly when you could be knitting a sweater, or a jacket, or a scarf, something that can be seen while you are wearing it. To me, knitting was all about the glory of a beautiful sweater, the drape and warmth of a large knitted fabric.

Forgive me for my prejudice. My resolve to never make socks is wearing down. First of all, there are all these magically beautiful sock yarns. Here is one that Kris showed on her blog, and here is the result. Turquoise, lime green, with a touch of yellow, such a gorgeous color combination. Here is another on Yahaira's blog. The stripes are so cheerful, looking at them just make me smile. I drool over Lornas Laces Bittersweet and Socks That Rock County Clare and Curious Yarns Ocean. The truth is, I really just want more reasons to handle beautiful, gorgeous, soft, colorful yarn.


So, I determined to knit some socks. I started my preparations by buying a book. I like to do my research properly. The Charlene Schurch book Sensational Knitted Socks seemed like a good comprehensive intro. Charts for making all the patterns in any gauge, and toe up, toe down, any way you want. The patterns are divided into chapters with four stitch patterns, five stitch patterns, cable patterns and so on, all of which you can make in any gauge and any size. I LOVE this kind of layout. And after a while I had to have Nancy Bush Vintage Socks, who could resist?

And then I started picking up a sock yarn here and there. First secretly some Wildfoote in brown and gray, handknit socks were for boots after all. This was months before I even acknowledged that knitting socks might be ok. Then I got a bunch of Silja, in solid colors, I had to stock up as it was being discontinued in this country. And some Plymouth Sockotta. And some Patons Kroy. And some GGH Marathon. Last week I got a ball of Trekking. It doesn't seem so expensive to get a skein here and there. Wait, is this some kind of marketing ploy?




The time is right for my first basic, solid colored sock:



I decided to do a very simple pattern for the first pair. This is the Beaded Rib in Sensational Socks, knit with Silja sockyarn. I am extremely paranoid about either running out of yarn, or making the sock too short, so it's toe up for me this time. I am also extremely picky about wanting socks that are very stretchy, so I went with a variation of rib. For the same reason, I will probably never do anything really fancy in patterning.

I am enjoying it. It's going pretty fast in spite of the thin needles. Each round is so short, that when I tell myself I'll just do one more round I end up doing several. The sock is growing at a VERY satisfying rate. And there will be no finishing, and only four ends to darn in. I might be a convert! But will they be comfortable? Will I be able to wear wool socks over bare feet? Time will tell.

From a fashion standpoint, one thing I have not figured out yet, is when I will wear them. All my shoes are either dressy for wearing with hose, or they are for wearing with bare feet in the summer. I don't wear any shoes at all that require "trouser socks". I certainly can't wear them with sneakers.

Will this be a fashion faux pas? Will I be able to coordinate? Stay tuned.

14 comments:

  1. Hiking boots with a straight skirt and gorgeous socks... you can't go wrong

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  2. muah-ha-ha-ha! we have won you over!

    i love both those sock books. you have a great autumn ahead of you!

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  3. it worked!! everyone falls eventually : )

    the beauty of socks is that they let you get more shoes!

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  4. Yeah great, another sock-knitting-convert! I actually had the same thoughts about knitting socks like you did - and mind you, I changed my mind quickly when I saw all those amazing patterns and yarn out there, how could anybody resist? And I realized, my personal opinion though, that a girl can never have too many socks :)
    As for shoes, well, that's a bit more of a problem, but I just have to agree with yahaira: You'll just have to be getting more shoes! ;)

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  5. yay you caught the sock bug too! i have only made 2 pairs but am already a steadfast convert. i personally have only worn my handknit socks around the house with no shoes, to counteract the chilly summer weather, but i love them anyway.
    knitting vintage socks was my first sock book purchase too, i love the pictures.

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  6. Oh, welcome to the club! There are so many things to love about sock knitting, no finishing required, portable and socks don't need much yarn! I am keeping my socks for the rare times when we travel to somewhere cold. I remember our last trip to Paris, we all had literally cold feet :)

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  7. I am in a similar shoe dilemma. For now, I think I'll be wearing mine with my snow boots and rain boots. I bought a pair of Kenneth Cole boots that I thought would be good, but with my tiny frame it looked like I was playing dress up. :/

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  8. oh hege, that blue sock looks great!!!! i know you will make gorgeous socks. don't worry about how/when to wear handknit socks. you'll find a way.

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  9. Yay! I love knitting socks ... and I'm sure you'll like it too! But I have to warn you ... sock yarns is a dangerous spot for stashing ... one ball here ... one ball there ... in no time you'll have enough sock yarns for the whole village! :D

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  10. Sock yarn is just like chocolates or potato chips...you always want just one more skein... I have two skeins of the Curious Yarn sock in Ocean and it is glorious. So much so that I have yet to bring myself to knit anything with it. About socks, I have the same dilemma as you...lots of skeins of sock yarn, a strong desire to knit socks, and no wool-sock appropriate shoes. Perhaps it is time that I invested in loafers...

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  11. Yay. It is time to join the sock knitting bandwagon. It is relatively cheap to knit and small enough to carry around. Love all those sock yarns you have. Especially the 'trekking' yarn:)

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  12. Love the sock yarn candy! Welcome to socknitting. : ) Your socks look great!

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  13. Hi Hege. I would love to trade books with you. My copy of Vintage Knits has a few cracks in the spine, but no pages are falling out. What is your email address? I don't want to post mine publicly because it has my full name in it.

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  14. I have often wondered that too...when to wear those bright colored hand-knit socks!

    Looks like you are really having fun!

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