Monday, 4 June 2012

Photo a day June - CLOSE UP - and thoughts on sock knitting

(c) divacultura 2012
Here's a close up of the heel area of the pair of socks I finished on the weekend.

This is where all the action happens in a sock.  There's the heel flap (at the left of the photo).  This is knitted back and forth (rather than in the round like the rest of the sock.)  At the bottom is where the heel is "turned".  You might remember this moment from reading "Little Women".  They always seemed to be turning a heel or on the brink of turning a heel.

The diagonal line is where the gusset of the sock is being decreased to continue on and knit the rest of the foot.

I've now made 59 pairs of socks.  I made the first pair in September 2008 as skill development.  Everyone seemed to be knitting socks and so I decided to learn.  I bought a book and I looked at you tube for some of the techniques.  It took me two weeks to finish the first pair.  I still have them and still wear them.  My socks last me for a long time.  I've seen other friends wear through theirs in a very short space of time.  I wonder why?

Socks are the perfect place to learn knew stitches and approaches.  The scale is small so mistakes don't cost a lot of time.  I read somewhere over the weekend that it's good to make your mistakes fast.  Lately I've just been "auto knitting" plain socks from the top down.  I have all the numbers in my head and can make them without any reference to a pattern now.  I'm doing this because I have a big stash of gorgeous sock yarn which I really need to use.  So I am.

Hand knitted socks also make lovely gifts.  Many of my friends and family are wearing my hand knitted socks right now.  They are always received gratefully.  My father loves them.  Apart from feeling wonderful on the feet, they aren't so tight around the leg that the foot is at risk of falling off.  It has also solved the dilemma of what to give the person who has everything.  At least my current mission to knit through my stash has resulted in a healthy stockpile of gifts.  I can also go shopping in my own home when I feel the need for a new pair.

Often I'm asked how much I sell my socks for.  I've made a decision not to offer them for sale.  After purchasing the yarn and fairly considering my investment of time, the selling price would be around $175 - more if the yarn is a "luxury" yarn with cashmere or silk in it.  I'm not sure there's a market for socks at this price.  Instead, I offer to teach people how to knit their own.  None of my prospective students have turned into actual students yet.

I've recently signed up for some on-line classes to build my skills.  One is for "toe-up" socks.  I just need to find some clear air and be in the mood.  It will be interesting to see how different it is from going cuff-down.  The other class I've signed up for is called Mastering Lace Shawls.  I've watched the first class and wound the two huge skeins of lace yarn into usable cakes.  I think I'm going to need to have my wits about me!

Are you a sock knitter? Are you a sock wearer? What do you look for in a sock?


  1. Again, yummy colours! I want to be a sock knitter. I've started and stopped one pair. I think I probably could have managed the pattern but I found the yarn colours uninspiring and that progress seemed to be incredibly slow. I kept taking longer and longer breaks, to the point that it became months in between picking it back up. I usually manage to write myself a note of where I'm up to but when I come back to it it's never as clear as I thought it was when I wrote it!

    I would love to become one of your sock students, but suspect I'll remain only a "prospective" sock student for a while yet. Not enough free time to tackle it right now. Perhaps around October? ;)

  2. Ah the patience that slow progress teaches us! That's one of the things I like most about knitting - you have to keep going!
    So great to have another prospective student. Let me know when you wanna go live.