handknitsocks

Stripy socks really do go faster

Stripy-socks-go-faster.jpg

I’ve been plugging away on a plain vanilla sock - no pattern - for what seems like eons now but which is in actual fact just a few weeks. It’s lovely yarn, a hand dyed sock yarn blank. Dyed to create lovely speckles and splashes of colour as you knit, but if it weren’t for a few strategically placed stitch markers I would feel as though I were making no progress at all.

A recent pair of stripy socks though positively flew off the needles. So much so that I swear house elves have been coming in at night in a scenario reminiscent of the Elves and the Shoemaker fairytale. The magic promise of “just one more colour” combined with a few Netflix watching sessions - DH and I are currently addicted to The Last Kingdom - meant that a few times in the morning I picked up my knitting only to be genuinely surprised at how much I had done the previous night.

I don’t know about the laws of space and time but it seems to me that stripy socks occupy a time dimension all of their very own.

Socktober

wordswag_1506758269306.png

October really seems to have crept up on me this year and I can't quite believe we are in to Socktober already. Particularly bad planning on my part as I have 2 shawl patterns on the needles and an alpaca cardigan to finish.

I can't leave the day unmarked though so I'll be raiding my stash and casting on a new pair before the day is out. Even if they don't get finished for a while at least they will be on the needles.

Over on the Everyday Knitter Facebook group our monthly challenge is of course related to socks. There are a few sock novices who will be taking the plunge with their very first pair, as well as more experienced sock knitters who are setting themselves all manner of fun challenges. A tiny bit of my brain (the bit that is wildly over enthusiastic and fuelled by coffee) thought about trying to knit as many pairs as I could this month. Then, thankfully the more rational bit of my brain pointed to the aftermentioned knitting pile in progress and suggested that this might not be one of my better ideas.

Anyway, whatever your level of sock expertise I do hope you'll pop over to the group to join in. Even if you just lurk I hope you will pick up lots of ideas for inspiration and share our love for the way of the handknit sock.

Don't underestimate the humble stitch marker

I don't know about you but I never hesitate to use stitch markers to demarcate repeats when I'm knitting lace shawls. Somehow though I'm often reluctant to use them in sock knitting. Partly because they are on such a small scale, part of me thinks that I should be able to manage without them. And also, for ages I didn't have any stitch markers that were really suitable. Anything too large or too dangly got tangled up and anything too heavy just felt cumbersome.

Now I have found the very small solid type of stitch markers I am a complete convert and now own an impressive selection. I like my sock stitch markers to be very narrow - about 3mm - is perfect and solid with nothing dangle or tangly to get in the way. These tiny fluorescent markers from The Little Grey Girl are ideal - especially as you can locate them when they ping off into the dark recesses of the sofa cushions.

February Sock Challenge

Following on from the success of January's Brioche Challenge, February is going to be all about the socks - a subject that pleases me greatly.

Obviously we are all at different stages in our sock journey and so the type of challenge you pick is entirely up to you. As long as it involves socks or sock yarn it totally counts. Some ways that you might participate include (but are not limited to):

  • A new type of sock construction for you - toe-up if you're a cuff down devotee
  • A new type of heel/toe
  • A new technique such as cabling, lace or even (dare I say it) brioche?
  • Challenge yourself to use up a long term resident of your sock yarn stash
  • Use a new type of yarn in your socks - alpaca maybe?

The choice is yours. There is always the option to 'double dip' and join in with the Ravelry UK Sock Knitters group who have a sock KAL starting shortly. And of course, with spring not quite making its presence felt here in the Northern Hemisphere, February sees the return of last year's seasonal #knityellowsocks project- because whose day isn't cheered up by seeing a pair of sunny yellow socks?

So, in short, grab your needles, chose some yarn and get ready for a sock cast on. There will be lots of links and resources over in the Facebook Everyday Knitter group so hop on over and join us if you haven't already.