Friday, February 7, 2014

Pondering Socks

So all this talk about socks for Elise have me craving a pair for my own feet.  As you know, I have the yarn ready to go.

Now it's time to pic a method/pattern/etc.

A few years back I knit a pair of socks for Joe, and I knit them toe up.  

This is my only experience knitting socks.  So, this is where you more experienced sock knitters come in.  I know you're out there- you knitters who own multiple sock blockers and those special sock needle holders.  Those who always have a pair of socks in progress, even if you occasionally decide to work on a different project- yup, I'm talking to you!

I've been pinning favorite sock patterns on Ravelry but would love some input.  

What's your favorite way to knit a sock- why?  

Should I stick with something basic, or is a patterned sock easy enough?

If there are purl bumps/cables on a sock, do you feel those when you are wearing them?

Also, how do I avoid droopy socks?  I want my socks to be snug and fit nicely, the thought of droopy socks makes me cringe a bit.

What was the first sock pattern you ever knit??

Ok- if you can think of any other tips or hints that might help, throw them out there.  Give me something to work on this weekend!

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  1. I have recently started knitting socks and be warned - its addictive! I'm on my second pair of Susan B. Anderson's "How I Make My Socks" FREE pattern. Its a great, basic, top-down pattern. I really like it. However, I have been wanting to try Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern (I think it is free on ravelry). It seems to be a nice place to start on something that has some pattern in it. Also, Susan Anderson has a worsted weight pattern that sounds fun - something fast and cushy for around the house/under boots. Have fun!

  2. I'm a huge fan of cuff-down socks, mainly because I can't get the heel right when I go toe-up. The heel turn sounds like it won't work, but just go with it - it's kind of like magic. Or voodoo.

    If you're worried about droopy socks, have a firm ribbing at the top, and go for patterns with ribbing and/or cables. Those will tend to pull in a little bit. The yarn can make a difference in the "droop factor," too. Check out comments on Rav to see how much it stretches. And try the socks on a lot while you're making them.

    As long as the bottom of the sock is straight stockinette, I haven't found that patterns on the top of the foot or leg make a difference to how it feels. The only exception is the beaded anklets my sister made me. I can't wear them in my snow boots, because they slip down, and I end up walking on beads. Not awesome, let me tell you. If your feet swell a lot (my mom has this problem), you might end up with patterns pressed into your feet. But, in that case, you're probably used to it from your normal socks.

    Patterned socks aren't really much harder than plain socks (unless you pick a hard pattern). Basically, you're making fingerless mitts, minus the thumb, add heel and toe. If the pattern wouldn't be harder for you on a pair of fingerless mitts, you should be fine doing it on a pair of socks.

    One thing to consider when you make socks - how do you wear out your socks? Do you wear through the heels? The toes? The ball of the foot? Wherever your weak spots are, you can reinforce the socks as you make them, either by holding reinforcing thread with the yarn, or by inserting a slip stitch pattern, like eye of partridge.

    Good luck on your socks!

  3. I much prefer toe up construction as it lets you use up all the yarn you have if you want to do that. My favorite and now go to pattern is Laura Linneman's Socks on a Plane. I have it memorized which is nice and I like the detail with the cables on opposite sides as between the left and right foot. I also like the Fish Kiss Heel socks and the approach of I think it was Rachel Coopy in a sock book titled something like Big Foot or Big Foot Knits. Any Wendy Johnson book/pattern is also great. Cat Bordhi and the Sweet Tomato heel are good. I would leave the Cookie A patterns until you have more a sense of what your doing in a "plainer" sock. Enjoy whatever pattern(s) you settle on!

  4. I prefer toe-up, magic loop but opinions really vary widely and everyone seems to have a favorite. I have small feet (size 6) and have found that a lot of socks are just the tiniest bit too big and are saggy. I just used Wendy Johnson's toe up pattern and cast on 56 stitches - they are perfect!! In my experience, I prefer Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato heel, there is a tutorial on youtube. I like when a heel turn is presented in an intuitive way rather than explicit. I find that with the explicit instructions, if I have any variation, it is more likely to go wrong. With intuitive instructions, I am better at reading my knitting. The Ampersand (upside down) socks are a great pattern, easy to memorize and visual interest. Have fun!

  5. I am a new sock knitter. After 10 years of knitting everything else, I have found a sock that works for me. I knit top down, using the magic loop. Ihave a couple pairs in 2x2 rib which stay fairly snug in boots. I am also a huge fan of the after thought heel. Normal heels always seem to show up at a tedious time, and i like to power through all the way to the end, then make the toe and heel match, in color and construction. My most recent pair is knit in a dk weight yarn, and they are quite squishy and maybe my favorite pair yet. Good luck!

  6. I second the Susan B Anderson pattern "How I Make My Socks". It knits up like a dream! I changed to a 1x1 rib at the cuff for a more snug fit, but otherwise follow the instructions exactly. I've knit several pairs and love them all!

  7. The secret to snug fitting socks is negative ease... Not so much in width, but in length. I have been knitting socks since I was a teenager. For many years it was cuff up, traditional square heel, the way my mother taught me twenty-odd years ago. Recently I have discovered toe up and love it. Why don't you experiment with different construction methods and try to find one you like?
    When it comes to patterns, our family prefers plain socks with a stockinette foot and ribbing all the way up the cuff. The smooth foot with a little negative ease sits nicely in a shoe and does nut bulk, the cuff stays up where it belongs and does not slide all over the place. They are not the most interesting projects, but great for mindless knitting when talking to a friend, reading a book, riding on the train etc.
    For my husbands socks I cast on 64 st, for me 56 st are usually enough. As mentioned before, anything else just gets too bulky when squeezed into a shoe.

  8. I think top down are easiest with an afterthought heel. Why? Because you basically knit a tube, add in scrap yarn then keep knitting that tube till you close the toe. The go back in, put your sts back on the needles as you remove the waste yarn, decrease and viola! Done. I also think magic loop is less fiddly and quicker

  9. I've tried toe-up and cuff-down and much prefer knitting cuff-down because I enjoy knitting the heel flap and gusset more than short-row heels. I am on my 4th or 5th pair of Susan B Anderson's pattern (mentioned here by others) and it's brilliant. I've also knit some no-purl "Monkeys" (free on Ravelry), a really pleasing pattern to knit (I think it was the second pair of socks I ever knitted). Enjoy! I look forward to seeing what you make!

  10. I have always knit cuff down. One of my favorite socks to knit is from the book Pints & Purls and it's the Dancing Bamboo sock. I also like the Super Simple Short Sock pattern that is free on Ravelry. Unless it's a pattern I love I tend to choke at knitting a 6-9" leg...
    Twinkleberry is also a fun and beautiful pattern to knit and not difficult at all...