Sock Lab: Week 1
Last night was our first week of SOCK LAB and it was super fun! Sandra brought a half-finished sock, Liane brought something in progress (she’s prodigious and always has a pair of socks on the go), Jonathan started something new with a very sheepy yarn, and Judy and her friend were trying their hands at their first sock EVER. Shelna is a total sock knitter, but she forgot to bring hers because she’s pretty focused on chemo hats right now. Remy from Les Sheependales was working on a gorgeous mystery knit-a-long shawl, and I think Nicole is deep into a blanket. And as for me, I hauled out a long-neglected, half-finished sock project and inadvertently ‘cheated’ (it’s not a contest) and finished the FIRST sock of Sock Lab!
The Back Story
Now, to start, you should know that I am not a sock knitter. Some people love knitting socks, others can take it or leave it – I fall into the latter group. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love wearing my handknit socks, they’re the best thing EVER, but making them isn’t really my groove.
Flash back to a couple of years ago, I started a pair of knee socks, completed one sock, and promptly lost interest. I do this, I suffer from Second Sock Syndrome, I totally own it. I also have no issue with letting projects lay fallow; I’m very human and feel shame about lots of things, but this is not one of them. So, for Sock Lab, I pulled out my estranged sock project. Sock Lab is about collective support, which I clearly needed to finish this shock. I unsealed the ziplock, stuck my nose in, and pulled out all the component parts (many mislaid accessories and needles were recovered), and evaluated the situation.
I tried on my sock, remembered how much I love the feel of hand-knit wool socks, and then also recalled that I no longer enjoy wearing hand knit knee socks. This must be why I dropped the project. The prospect of making a second knee sock definitely did NOT fill me with joy, but the prospect of wearing a pair of regular socks was motivating. So I changed the project! I decided to make these socks something that I *would* wear, and performed a little surgery.
How I Did It
Surgery isn’t necessarily hard, it just requires good light and a bit of uninterrupted free time:
- I cut the sock about 4 or 5 rows above the place I wanted to pick up the live stitches. Cutting knitting makes a deliciously crunchy sound and feeling, it was very satisfying.
- I ripped back to the row above the one I wanted to put the needles in.
- One by one, I took out the last row of stitches and put them back on the needles.
- I re-knit the cuff.
Having finished the first sock of Sock Lab, I gloated a little and moved on to the second sock … which I had conveniently already started!
- The stripey yarn I used is some iteration of Lang Jawoll Colour that has since been discontinued. Lang is a Swiss company, and their Jawoll sock yarn is a conventional, long-wearing, Teutonic sock yarn, very similar to Regia. If you are now jonesing for a stripey sock I highly recommend the Urth Uneek Sock Kits – they’re GORGEOUS and come with three different patterns that work perfectly for the yarn. If I’d started with the Urth I doubt that I would have put the project down!
- The grey yarn is a solid from Regia (I enjoy the aesthetic of having the toes and heels in a contrasting colour. Sock yarn technology has come along since I started my sock, and Regia now makes sock yarns with the contrast colour built-in! Both Regia Pairfect Design Line and Wool & The Gang/Regia Kinda Magic Sock have got all the patterning sorted out for you.
- If you’re wondering about the pins in the sock, they mark increases I made. I leave them in as a guide until the very end of the project as a kind of guide (because I have the memory of a goldfish and constantly lose things like little pieces of paper where I have written down notes). Read more about this hack HERE. Why did I increase? I have narrow feet and I can’t stand the feel of loose socks, so I start with a narrow toe and increase around the ball of the foot and as I inch towards the instep (this is the beauty of making yourself socks – you can try them on as you go and tailor them completely).
- FYI: I knit these socks toe-up, with a short row toe. The heel is a toe-up gusseted heel, I used the Toe-Up Slip Stitch Heel Sock Formula for this.
So, not bad for the first week, no? So much drama: trying to remember things from a few years ago, feeling feelings, making decisions, cutting, picking up stitches, re-knitting, feeling different feelings …. it feels a little like the Nickelodeon tween sitcoms my niece watches. Drink it in, because I don’t think my socksperience will get interesting again until I have to remember how I did the heel.
See ya next week!