Monday, March 24, 2008

it's a...sock?

It took about a week for me to knit the first pair of socks I have made in thirty years. There they are, above, in all their glory made of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the colorway Amish, courtesy of Ruth of Ruthless Knitting.

Considering the time gap, I think they came out pretty well. I used five double pointed # 3 (US) bamboo needles. I chose to use five rather than four because of TECHknitting, who recommended five. I believe everything TECHknitter says, no questions asked. She points out that distributing the work over four needles rather than three holds the stitches at a shallower angle and leads to neater stitches between the needles. And guess what, she's right! Anyway, the four needles felt more flexible and relaxed than the stiff-ish triangle formed by three.

The first sock I knit had problems with the picked up stitches at the bottom of the gusset. They were horribly loose and I had to fix them with a yarn needle. The second sock was much better. You will note that the socks don't match in terms of the color distribution. Was I supposed to try and match up the yarn? I didn't want to. I think the uneveness of the colors is part of their charm (ahem). Here is a view of them being blocked (they are unblocked above) with the leftover yarn. What are you supposed to do with the leftovers?

The photo above isn't very good, but you can see that the feet of these socks are sort of blockily shaped. They fit all right. I customized the length, but I wish they were a little tighter in the width. I knit the women's medium from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. Next time I will further customize the fit or maybe knit a smaller size. I wear a size 8 1/2 shoe; maybe that isn't quite a medium, at least in Ann Budd's sizing scheme.

In any case, I am unlikely to use the Ann Budd book again. She did a good job on getting me started (as she promises in her title), but I think I would like a little more refinement next time, maybe try a different heel. Also, the smallest gauge Ann gives is 8 stitches to the inch. Charlene Schurch in Sensational Knitted Socks gives gauges as small as 10 stitch to the inch for sock-weight (fingering weight) yarn. I think I would like a tighter gauge better. However, I am glad I used a size 3 needle (to get 7 stitches to the inch) for the first time. Size 0 needles might have driven me insane.

Because I haven't knitted socks in forever, I only have five sock books in my library. Now of course I will have to get some more. I do think that if I could only have one book, I would choose the Schurch book. She gives all the basics, but goes beyond the basics in the patterns she gives. I especially like her practical guide to picking a decorative pattern based on sock size and kntting gauge.


Ruth said...

Way to go, Beverly! You sure cranked those out like a pro. I'm so pleased that yarn that was languishing under my guest room bed less than two weeks ago will now have a more productive life.

Wool Enough said...

The socks are lovely. Wonderful colors.

I think you'll really like SKS. It's my favorite sock book (along with More SKS). The Ann Budd book is a good introduction to socks, but for an experienced knitter it is, as you say, awfully basic.

Oh, and the leftover yarn? You save it. And save it and save it. Until you have lots of bits from different socks, and then you use it to make someting else.

zippiknits said...

Your socks are so very beautiful. Now I'll stop obsessing about the two not quite the same LLs skeins I have and knit some socks from them. A week???? That's truly amazing. Stunning, really.