Friday, March 3, 2017

Sock Drawer Update

One of the amazing things I've learned so far this year is sock knitting.  I am enchanted by it and have fallen in love (as well as fallen down the rabbit hole) of sock yarn.  Self-striping preferred.  It's been raining for days here and there's no decent light to be had for love nor money.  I had to lighten these photos quite a bit, so if they look wonky, that's why.

The turning point in starting to knit socks came when I reread Christine, aka Winwick Mum's, free basic sock pattern where she listed tiny 30 cm circular needles as the main tools with DPNs only coming in at the end to knit the toe.

Let me tell you, the heavens opened and the angels sang when I read that.

I have always wanted to knit my own socks but my hands and fingers cannot tolerate using DPNs for an entire project.  As soon as I saw that it was possible to knit socks with circulars (my personal favourites), I whizzed online and bought a pair, as well as a skein of beautiful yarn. Then I stalked our poor postman until they arrived.

I was instantly hooked.  Since casting on my first pair, I have knit a total of 10 pairs since January!  I am amazed at myself and how easily I picked up this new skill.  Much of the credit is due to Christine and her exemplary pattern writing skills, step-by-step blog posts, and her inherent faith in you, as a knitter, that you can do this.  I really needed that.

Once I had finished my second pair, my daughter became very interested in handknit socks.  I have always made a lot of clothes and accessories for her but when she saw the colours and patterns available, she asked if I would make her some.

I made it a point to try several different sock yarns to see which one suited my hands and feet best.  I am amazed and enchanted by the sheer volume of choice available - both through corporate and independent dyers - and it's Opal Sock Yarn that has really captured my heart.  I love, love all the self-patterning options, the warm wooliness of the yarn, and the saturated colours; it's happiness in a ball for me! 

My daughter, on the other hand, is an avowed superwash merino fan.  She has sensitive skin and the superwash merino feels like heaven on her feet (her words).  Her favourite yarns are Knit Picks Felice - she adores the rainbow colourway - and Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted.  She loves choosing her own yarn and watching the stripes appear as I knit.

Sock knitting has been more than just a joyful new skill for me.  What I haven't mentioned before is that my PsA flared significantly in November, which has impacted my mobility and my creative abilities hugely.  I thank my years of typing and sign language interpreting for giving me strong hands which spared me some of the pain and swelling of the rest of my body.  I also have anxiety and it became active during this time, leaving me another factor to contend with.  Even when I could not do more than sit up in bed (and that took me over an hour to achieve), I could still knit a row or two on a sock and feel like I accomplished something that day, which went a long way in calming my personal dragons.  Without this, I would have most surely gone mad.

I seem to always have a pair of socks on the needles now, which I find quite satisfying.  Before this, my knitting projects were most often cardigans or sweaters which aren't as portable as socks.  I have spend a lot of time at various doctors' appointments lately and being able to bring my socks not only helped to pass the time but improved my overall mood.  I even found out that my family doctor is a knitter, too!

Both my daughter and I wear our socks daily, unless the weather is too warm.  My feet have been nice and toasty for the first time in years!  I wanted to post photographs of my daughter's socks, too; however, they're either on her feet or in the wash. 

Our handmade socks are joyfully coloured and patterned and are already showing signs of love with some pilling.  I thought of getting one of those knit shaver gadgets until my daughter reminded me that pilling isn't a big deal.  She's right.  For isn't that one of the joys of making?  Seeing your creations becoming worn and loved?

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What are your favourite sock patterns?  Do you like to knit toe up or cuff down?  Let me know in the comments below - I'd love to know.

I like cuff down as my cast on is always stretchier than my cast off.  Plus, I find making the heel flap very satisfying.

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