Over the past weeks, even months, a few have asked me about sock knitting.
I advise anyone who fancies having a bash to visit Winwick Mum, her blog has a wealth of information and help. There are free patterns and tutorials and she has published a book on the subject.
Sandra at the Cherry Heart Blog and Podcast has a simple pattern with stacks of help for sale on ravelry.
Ellie of the Craft House Magic Podcast has video tutorials for toe up and top down socks.
Cristi-Lael from the Relatively Crafty podcast has a very good tutorial for the Turkish cast on.
That is the method that I use, in fact it was watching Cristi that got me knitting toe up socks.
There are many other good blogs and tutorials out there, you just need to "go fishing" and find the method and person that suits you.
This should carry a health warning, there is a (massive) group of knitters who after knitting their first pair become addicted.
(Hello, my name is Pam and I am a sock knitting addict.)
The main things that I did not learn from all of this info is the difference that you find within one weight group of yarn, and the effect that pattern has on fit.
I know that you should swatch, and if I knit socks with a new pattern then I cast on the smallest size, knit 4 rows of rib and then one pattern, I can then measure, and even try it for size on leg and foot. It doesn't take long and frogs out before the yarn takes on the stitch shape, I hate knitting with wiggly yarn so would never buy a sock blank.
At least this is what I do after I knitted half of a sock in a new yarn and a textured pattern only to find when trying it on the recipients foot that it was too small. All that frogging made me much more aware of yarn weight and the effect that pattern has.
My current pair are in King Cole Zig zag and it is a very plump yarn, I am using the normal amount of stitches but will need less rounds of kitting to get the length.
I have a small note book with records of socks that I have knitted. All the stitch and row counts are listed along with a yarn sample and the label.
I looked back through this and found that I had knitted a pair of socks in this yarn. They were the some of the first socks that I made and were for Francesca. I will follow that "recipe" for this pair.
I also have a recipe for her feet in several other yarns and patterns. For instance, when I use the Hermione's everyday socks pattern for Francesca it needs 4 more stitches than a lace pattern. This is because a lace pattern gives much more ease, a bit like a stretch jersey dress over a cotton one.
All these things are part of the wonderful, never ending journey through sock knitting, or any knitting come to that.
If you have a go and find yourself struggling then consider trying a different method. Some people swear by magic loop, (my method)
either one or two at a time. Some love the short circulars, I tried that and my hands cramped up.
Then there are dpns, double pointed needles, sets of 4 or 5, beloved by some and hated by the rest.
I have never tried them, I saw my Granny knit socks on them every day of her life, just about, and was horrified at the sight. All those flashing sharp points, not to mention the noise. She could drown out the Billy Cotton Band Show!
I did buy a set with the intention of trying them, I was inspired by Dan of the Bakery Bears, but so far am still a chicken. Part of the problem is that I do like to knit 2 at a time, it saves on all that row counting and perhaps having a pair with one 2 rows longer than the other.
One reason why I went to 2 at a time, you only need to keep a check on where in the pattern you are.
I should add that if knitting in the round scares you silly, you can knit perfectly acceptable socks flat. There are books around, Knit your socks on straight by Alice Curtis for example. A quick search and you will find dozens of books, patterns and tutorials. I knitted a few pairs like this and then plucked up the courage to buy a circular needle. I have never looked back.
I believe that I have prattled on for far too long. If there is anything that I have left out just ask me in the comments.