My First Socks

Okay, okay. So, I took a month off the blog. Our visitors came and went, various viruses came and went, and in the middle of the holiday chaos, some knitting actually happened. One of my projects was my first pair of socks.

Nob Hill socks finished

First pair of socks? It seems odd to be talking about my first knitted anything anymore. I’ve been knitting for almost 20 years, and just now made socks. What on Earth was the hold-up?

The biggest issue between socks and me are my leg braces. I have plastic leg braces that eat socks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s true regardless how well a sock fits or its quality. For me, socks are semi-disposable. So, I was always reluctant to spent the hours knitting socks up for myself.

But why not knit socks for someone else? Oh, I can definitely do that. But not knitting socks for myself first seems a bit foolhardy. See, I just about always conduct knitting experiments on myself first before inflicting them on other people. How would I know whether a sock washed up well, didn’t puddle at the ankles, or fall down, unless I knit some and wore them first? How could I give socks to others with any sort of confidence unless I tried them myself?

I didn’t spend that much time pondering those questions. For 20 years, I’ve been busily knitting everything but socks and I have a pretty lengthy queue and waiting list for sweaters and other things that people have asked me to knit. So, my dance card was pretty full, thank you very much.

And then? Well, I ordered this sock yarn, with the intent of making it into a hat to go with a cowl I’d made myself:

IMG_1651

This is Knit Picks Hawthorne in Nob Hill. It’s an interesting plum and brown combination. Interesting, but it didn’t go with the cowl and I really couldn’t figure out what to do with it. So, it marinated in my stash for a while.

I came to a point with my projects where I didn’t have handy a purse project. I made a stash dive and pulled out the Hawthorne. Gee, what if I made socks with sock yarn? That would be way different.

I turned the yarn over in my hands, examining it near a window. The colors would be great for socks. They’d go great with a pair of tan pants and maybe a purple top. Why not just make some geared to a women’s size 7ish and give them to one of my relatives whom they’d fit?

I pulled out the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules, and for the first time in my life, read a sock pattern from start to finish. Hmm. Not terribly difficult. Short rows? I knew how to do those from various crescent shawls I’d knitted. Gussets? Got ’em down, thanks to knitting mittens. DPN’s? Again, knitting mittens and hats helped me figure those out. So, I had all the requisite skills, and just needed to put them together in a new way. I cast on.

A ways into the sock, I decided to rip back, thinking the sock was way too big. I’d also not done the gusset decreases correctly. I re-cast on with 56 stitches and knit away, this time, nailing the gusset decreases.

I over-compensated by making the sock too small at 56 stitches, though. Realizing the socks were going to be on the small side, I decided they’d be for my 12-year-old niece. And then somehow, when I measured for foot length as I was finishing up, I didn’t measure from the correct point and ended up with socks just 7 1/2 inches long. On top of that, I found out that my niece wears a size 8. Criminy!

 

I debated what to do — take out the toes and knit the socks longer, and hope that they’d otherwise fit my niece, or keep them. I tried them on, sans braces. My feet are very short at 8 inches long (without braces, I’d wear about a size 3 wide), although their circumference is also about 8 inches. So for me, these fit perfectly.

I decided to keep them. I don’t always wear my braces around the house, particularly in the evenings. These could be my experimental socks, after all. Even light duty socks could be instructive.

So far, these have been very comfortable. They don’t bag or bunch up or fall down, and they’ve washed well. In fact, they’re so nice that I didn’t waste time casting on another pair to go in the gift pile. These will definitely be bigger. And I’ll also cast on more house socks for me.

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