17 July 2013

Checking Off: Socks

 Now that I have a to-do list of crafty things on this blog (see that page next to my designs page), I thought it might be fun to do the occasional post on one of the techniques or materials. This may turn into tutorials for some things, but not for others. For today, I'm picking something that I've already done, but in the future, I will use this as an excuse to check some items off the list. Today, let's talk socks.

I love socks. I loved brightly coloured, interesting socks well before I became a knitter, so I knit a couple pairs of socks in my first year of being a knitter. Then I knit many more pairs. Obsessively. I'm on a quest to replace all my store-bought socks with hand-knit ones. My Ravelry library has over 300 sock patterns in it, and I currently own 4 books dedicated to sock knitting.

Socks can be as simple or as complex as the knitter prefers. They can be worked toe-up, cuff-down, or started somewhere in the middle (haven't tried that kind yet, but I will at some point). There are numerous ways to do the heels and toes. It's hard to get bored with something that is so simple and ordinary, yet has so many permutations that it's impossible to try them all.

I have a fondness for intricate sock patterns. One of my current sock projects is Hunter Hammersen's "Khotan" pattern from her book, Silk Road Socks. It's interesting and lacy and I love it. I'm using a nice yarn for these socks that's a mostly solid colour, because otherwise the stitch pattern will get lost. I love good solid and semi-solid colourways when I'm knitting the more complex socks.

But simple socks are also a favourite. They're much faster to knit, and they require less thought when being carried around in my purse because I don't have to bring a pattern to consult (although very, very simple pattern repeats don't usually require a pattern copy once I've knit through them a couple times). I'm knitting a simple pair of baby socks right now for my cousin's daughter. The only weird thing about these ones is that they're so small that it feels a little awkward to work them. These are perfect for self-striping sock yarns. There's the obligatory pink in the colourway, and it's pastel-ish, so it looks appropriately girly (my cousin doesn't seem to be too insistent on pink everything, so these look girly without being over the top).

Socks aren't for every knitter. For some, the thought of tiny needles and fine yarn puts them off. For others, they just aren't interested. For some of us, though, they become a favourite project, and we end up with many balls of sock yarn in our stashes (I've even heard it said, I believe by the Yarn Harlot, that sock yarn "doesn't count" as stash). We can justify this by pointing out all the shawl and mitt patterns that can be made with sock yarn--our sock yarn stashes don't have to be exclusively for socks.

But this is about socks. I think I'd better go cast on the second baby sock.

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