Monday, June 02, 2014

Sock Report including a Formula for Men's Socks

Hi, Knitters,
I hope you all had a good weekend. We sure did.

I am focusing on a Sock Report on this first Monday of June. The photo above is a newer photo of my sock drawers. There is a small basket of socks waiting to be washed that aren't included in this gathering of socks. These drawers are double-stacked both underneath and going back. There is a third drawer on the top that I am starting to fill. That makes me happy.

What is it about socks, mainly simple stockinette stitch socks, that continues to pull me in with such love and diligence? Well, I'll give answering this question a shot.

10 things I love about sock knitting:

1. the actual knitting of the socks (for me nothing is more pleasurable, fast and simple to knit)

2. the joy of wearing the finished socks (socks are my most worn knit item by far)

3. the yarn ~ endlessly new and fascinating and fun

4. the portability of the project (the easiest knitting project to tote along anywhere)

5. the easy care (machine or hand wash)

6. darning when they wear a hole (yes, I actually enjoy this)

7. the way your socks can be wild and crazy stripes and colors when you mainly wear black and neutrals 

8. the fun of knitting a small project and finishing in not too much time

9. the joy of flying around the small circumference on my beloved double-pointed needles

10. the fact that the pattern is so easy to memorize

There are many more reasons to love sock knitting. Do you have any to add to my list? I'd love to hear what you love about knitting socks.

I am going to share the information about the following socks, some partially finished and some finished. At the end of the post I asked permission to share a very sweet email I received from a knitter, so you will see it at the bottom.

Needles: 2.5mm Signature Needle Arts dpns
Progress: One done, one to go!

Yarn: Opal Hundertwassers Winterbild with sparkle (I'm not sure where to purchase this yarn)
Needles: US 1s, 2.25mm Signature Needle Arts dpns
Pattern: How I make my socks (free pattern from me!)
Click here for the Ravelry page for How I Make My Socks.
Progress: Finished!
Sock blockers: from The Loopy Ewe

Yarn: Regia Super Jacquard (search on Etsy and Ebay to find this yarn!)
Needles: US 1s, Knit Picks dpns
Pattern: How I make my socks (free pattern by me! modified for men)
Progress: Finished! 

Note: These are for my son who has US men's shoe size 11.  He is coming home next week so I will have these waiting for him. I've been asked how I knit these socks for men using my How I make my socks pattern.

Here is what I did differently from the women's directions to make men's socks: 
Cast on 72 sts (24 sts on each of 3 dpns)
k2, p2 rib for 15 rounds 
Worked an 8 inch cuff (my boys like long cuffs)
Worked the heel flap using 36 sts, working 18 slip stitch rows
Worked the heel turn starting with purling 20 sts across
Picked up 18 sts on the sides of the heel flap
Decreased the gusset down to 72 sts
Worked the foot to 9-inches in length measured from the back of the heel (specific for a US men's shoe size 11) - this can be knit to any length, about 2-inches shorter than the finished desired length. 
Worked the toe, decreasing down to 32 sts (16 on the top of the foot and 16 on the bottom of the foot)
Grafted the toe closed!

Oh, and see that tiny ball of yarn to the right of the socks? That's how much I had left from the 100 gram ball of Regia! Phew! It is about the size of a quarter.

Yarn: Kristin Nicholas' Best Foot Forward (discontinued)
Needles: US size 1 dpns from Knit Picks
Pattern: How I make my socks for Men! (see above)
Progress: On the cuff of the first sock.

These socks are for my other son so I cast on 72 stitches to start. He loves the yarn.

Project bag: lovesockwool on Etsy (beautifully made, I want that piggy one in her shop right now!)

I've been making these little handmade notebooks lately and keeping them in my project bags. I stuff the pages full with fun paper clips, sticky notes, washi tape, tags, tea envelopes, family photos, stickers, and more. I leave many of the pages blank for notes, too. 

Here on this page I have a doodle and I jotted down the formula for the number of repeats I use in the Monkey socks. I use different colors and kinds of paper in these little treasure books, too. It's really fun.

Yarn: Abi Grasso's Watermelon Sock Yarn 
Needles: US size 1s, Knit Picks dpns (I always get the 6-inch length for all of my dpns)
Pattern: How I make my socks (free pattern by me!)
Click here for the Ravelry page for How I Make My Socks.
Progress: One done, one to go! On the rib of the second sock.
Project Bag: from Sew Bendy on Etsy (one of my long-time faves)

I hand-wound the ball like that. It comes in a regular skein from the shop.

Okay, now for a sweet letter from Beverly. Beverly gave me permission to share her email on my blog.

Thank you, Beverly, for inspiring me and bringing a tear to my eye. And yes, I will be putting together a post with all of my upcoming teaching dates that I can link permanently on the sidebar and update as needed. That is long overdue. Thank you for writing, dear Beverly.

I hope to meet you soon!
best, susie

Hi Susie,

I may be too late for the two giveaways (STASH t-shirt which is very clever with its military appearance)and the yarn and project bag kit by Anne Vally, but I wanted to write to you anyway.  I recently retired after 36 years of teaching elementary school in the city of Buffalo, New York. I was taught to knit at the age of seven by an elderly neighbor and have LOVED knitting ever since.  

During my last three years of teaching, I taught knitting to 5th - 8th grade inner-city youth in an after-school program.  I took the job to earn extra money to help pay college tuition for the last of our three daughters; however, it turned out to be the best time of my teaching career.  When I suggested the enrichment activity of knitting, I was met with both excitement and opposition.  Some of the adults wanted to join in while others couldn't believe that I would actually let "these children" take knitting needles home.  I forged ahead and was amazed at how popular my "knitting class" became.  

Before long, I would walk into the cafeteria during the school day to see an entire table of students knitting as they ate their lunch.  One of my favorite memories was the day one of the teacher's aides approached me to tell me (in a not so nice tone) that two of my girls were knitting in music class.  I responded with a very enthusiastic "Two of my girls were knitting during music class?  I knew then that I was truly making a difference in the lives of children.  

One more student story and then I'll stop.  Two years ago we got a 7th grade student from Iran who had been in a car when it was bombed (she was nine at the time). Her father was killed and she lost both of her eyes (among other injuries).  She came to us with an incredible spirit and much determination to be independent.  One day I walked in to find a note on my desk.  It said that Ruah needed me to teach her how to bind off her knitting.  I was very confused.  How could she be a knitter?  After all, she had NO eyes.  She wasn't part of our after school program and I had no idea that she was a knitter.  I was very curious yet apprehensive about teaching a blind child how to bind off her knitting.  I went to her lunchroom and sure enough, she had knitted a scarf for her brother.  I sat down with her and took her hands.  She learned (by feel) in approximately five minutes, how to bind off her knitting.  Talk about inspiration.  

Now, the reason I'm writing to you is to thank you for all you have taught me and will teach me about knitting.  People asked me what I was going to do when I retired and I kept saying that I was going to knit.  Then they'd ask me again - "but what are you going to do?"  Anyway, I started taking books out of the library and one of the first ones I borrowed was "The Knitter's Life List by Gwen Steege.  What a great springboard.  That book introduced me to the world of knitting and knitters.  I found you through this book and went on to purchase all of your books.  I also purchased my very first class on CRAFTSY which was your class.  Last week I made the elephant while in a hotel room in Washington, DC.  

This leads me to the reason why I'm writing to you at this time.  Is there somewhere that I can go on-line to find out where you will be teaching in the future.  I would love to try to take some of your classes if you're going to be somewhere on the East Coast (not too far from me).  I spend time visiting my sister in Cape Cod and my daughter in Washington, DC.  I was in Cape Cod when I read that you were going to be at Fiber Space in Alexandria but there wasn't enough time for me to get everything together to get to DC on a few day's notice.  I have been so inspired by your patterns and your enthusiasm.  I love the links on your blog and have discovered such a large knitting world through these.  I visit all of the knitting shops that I can when I travel and because of your "Sock Drawer" I now purchase sock yarn (at least) at each shop that I visit.  I always have a pair on my needles. Thanks again for all of the inspiration and HAPPY KNITTING!
Beverly Szen