I’m doing something new, something I said I didn’t want to do: I’m knitting socks! All along, I’ve resisted for a number of reasons: you have to make two of them, turning a heel sounded hard, you put them on your feet so they get dirty and sweaty, and they’ll wear out. Why spend ours on something just so you can wear holes in it?
But. I’ve been knitting longer now. I’m more willing and eager to learn new skills and techniques. Making one of a pair doesn’t take so long that a second one is discouraging. Turning a heel doesn’t scare me. I still don’t think I’ll want to spend hours making things to wear on my feet that might require mending, but who knows? So far this has been fun.
What brought this on? A couple of ladies in my knitting group at work have been wanting to learn to make socks, and we have a master knitter to be our sock guide. I resisted at first but finally gave in — I didn’t want to be the party pooper. Our guide suggested a pattern, a simple worsted weight top-down sock, and I sent out notes and tips for choosing the right yarn and needles and checking gauge. I happened to have just the right yarn in my stash: two skeins of Artyarns Supermerino in variegated pinks and purples. It’s listed as Aran but feels more like worsted to me.
The beginning was easy, no different than starting a fingerless glove. It’s always fun for me to do ribbing and stockinette in the round, so I had my tube done quickly. It looked pretty but awfully small. Still, it had plenty of stretch and my gauge was right, so I trusted the pattern and kept knitting. (Confession time: I didn’t make a gauge swatch. Well, I used the sock as the swatch. I’m lucky enough to get gauge with the recommended yarn weight and needles 99% of the time, so I typically just go with it. I knew if my gauge was off I’d have to rip out and start over, but I was okay with it. And it worked out!)
Making the heel flap was simple too, just back and forth on one needle.
Then with a few rows with well-placed SSKs and P2togs, I had turned my heel! I could see a hint of a sock!
After that it was just a matter of picking up stitches along the sides of the heel flap and then I was knitting in the round again!
At that point I measured my foot: it was 10 1/4″ long, so I knit until the foot of the sock was 8 1/4″ (it was a little hard to measure that precisely but I think I got pretty close) and then I started shaping the toe with decreases. And then suddenly I had a finished sock! With a bit of trepidation I slipped it on…and it fit! And it was beautiful!
I wore my new sock the rest of the evening, and here’s what I think so far: it wasn’t as snug as I like my socks. I like my socks to hug my feet (probably because that’s what I’ve gotten used to with store-bought socks) so these felt kind of loose. They stretched as I wore them, not so much as to be baggy, just…not tight. I’m sure they’ll go back when I wash them, but I think my next sock will be with sock yarn, negative ease, and more ribbing. Still, I had so much fun making this sock and watching it appear on my needles almost as if by magic, and I’ve already got the second started. In fact, I might even work on it today while I catch up on the Australian Open tennis finals!