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


Kristebee said...

What a touching story. Knitting is simply amazing! Hugs... Kriste

Trina said...

I hope one day I will be able to meet you in person. You're blog is fun and inspiring

Anonymous said...

Susie, what a lovely note from Beverly. You DO inspire us with your great patterns enthusiasm. And Beverly inspires me to pass this great craft on to young girls. Thanks again for sharing this note. Cheers!

Dorothy said...

This is the kind of stuff-your post and the wonderful letter-that non-knitters just don't appreciate, but that keeps us knitters going! Thanks so much to both of you.

Anonymous said...

Sweet message from Beverly. Thanks for sharing.

Another reason for sock knitting: I can keep knitting wool in the summer. It's too hot and humid to knit any woolie thing bigger than socks in the summer.

Anonymous said...

Sweet message from Beverly. Thanks for sharing.

Another reason for sock knitting: I can keep knitting wool in the summer. It's too hot and humid to knit any woolie thing bigger than socks in the summer.

Jules said...

What a nice email! Very inspiring. Your Monkey sock is gorgeous. It almost looks like gems are on it. RAVID: Tanknit

Ana said...

Yay for Beverly! I loved reading that.......

Anonymous said...

Anything I have to say seems banal after reading Beverly's note, but I knit socks, too. Do you find wearing handknit socks makes you feel more self-confident? Plus I store my tiny balls of leftover sock yarn in a plastic box, and seeing them there is kind of cheerful. (I work in my LYS, and my boss asked me, "Don't all those little balls of yarn kind of make you happy?") I think it's all the bright colors.

Unknown said...

That's such a lovely letter from Beverly! You and your sock drawer have been an inspiration to so many, myself included! I never thought I would be a "sock knitter" but I cast on my 3rd pair last night! (The first were sport weight, and the second were tube socks for my daughter, so these are my first "my size" in sock weight - feels like a milestone!)

camby said...

The part about the blind girl knitting really got to me! So sweet!!

fsmilla said...

LG from Germany

Unknown said...

As Beverly requested, is there somewhere with a list of places you are scheduled for classes? Sandy

Deb said...

I can't think of a greater email than the one you received. It must have warmed your heart and your needles:) You are an inspiration to so many. I think it would be great if you had a video class on making socks!
Thanks for all you do

Idiosyncratic Eye said...

Happy knitting Beverly! :)

Rose said...

I also love knitting socks for all the reasons you have stated. I also love giving them as gifts.

Do you have a tutorial or video on darning socks? I am still trying to learn how to do that and would love if you could show us how you do yours.

What a great note from Beverly.

I love your blog and podcast!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! What a wonderful note from Beverly -- I'm so glad you were able to share that. I also enjoy looking at your sock drawer and socks on the needles.

I wish this post came about a week earlier, as I'm attempting my 2nd ever set of man's socks, and your notes would have been helpful. :) I swatched for both sets of socks, but I'm obviously messing up some math/measuring/something at some point (or the pattern generator I'm using is lacking). My first set, for my dad, turned out decidedly too big. I'm almost done with the first sock in the set I'm doing now for myself, and I think it's going to be too small. I cast on 88 socks for Dad and 64 socks for me. I'm switching to your recipe and going to try 72.

It's OK, it's just yarn. I'll finish up the sock I'm working on (save the kitchner bind off) and try it on, just to confirm it's definitely too big, rip it all out, and start over.

Some day, I'll have a full sock drawer, too. And so will my wife.

-greg, RavID: KnittingDaddy

elizabeth said...

what a lovely, heartwarming letter! thank you so much for sharing it with us!

and i love your little handmade notebook! what a great idea! i use post it notes when i need to keep track of where i am in a pattern (hash marks, a few notes sometimes), but how much nicer it would be to have a little book instead. that would make it so much easier to find notes and changes i've made to a pattern as i go, in case i knit it again.

how do you make your little books? i should look more closely at your photo and see.... but do you have any tips for those of us who want to try? thank you!


Unknown said...

Loving this post for so many reasons.

Knitting is a rhythmic, relaxing activity for me. My job is fast paced and intense. Knitting gives me a place to run away to after work. I have a long commute also, too bad I can't knit & drive.

I love knitting socks for many of the same reasons; small, portable, quick, easy to memorize. My sock drawer caontains about 20-25 pairs.

My first pair of men's socks are on the needles. A gift for a Madison man I love very much. The men in your family have much larger feet than mine though! Yikes!

It warms my heart to know that teachers never stop teaching, or being the student. Beverly is an inspiration indeed.

Lisa said...

The heart of knitters brings warmth to my soul and tears to my eyes (now dripping into my coffee).

Kristin Nicholas said...

Susan - the letter made me tear up as well. YOU are such an inspiration. XO Kristin

Unknown said...

What a lovely letter. It made my heart happy.
Although I've known "of your work" for awhile, I've only just now started following your blog. After watching you work on Operation Sock Drawer and seeing all your adorable little creations, I felt you are a woman after my own heart. Oh, to be able to knit for a living. You're truly an inspiration and a kindred spirit to many.

Hugs from Sunny Southern California!


Elida said...

I really enjoyed the note from Beverly. What we teach matters and is a gift we give and receive.

I just finished knitting my 5th pair of socks and cast on for the next pair. I have a hat box full of sock yarn and I always want more. I agree with all 10 of your reasons for loving to knit socks. I also love how customizable they are. You can choose different heels, toes, cuffs and patterns for the leg and foot. They are as much fun as legos and dressing paper dolls used to be.
Clix on Ravelry

Holly said...

Thank you for sharing your "sock drawer" and Beverly's story. I so look forward to reading your blog posts. I knit one sock a few years ago, I really do need to make it a pair. Have a great day. xx Holly

Whatzitknitz said...

How wonderful.....I woke today to see that I had a post from your blog in my emails and it was the first I opened. I love seeing the sock report I aspire to be you when I grow up ; ) I want a sock drawer just like yours. Currently I have one drawer full and I have 3 different pairs of socks going on my needles. This year I have staying with my mom who is in her late 80's and am always amazed at the delight she takes in knitting and sewing. On days when she doesn't have the energy to knit she still helps me untangling balls of yarn and picking colors. I hope that I will have a couple pair of socks going when I reach this age and that I take such comfort in my fiber

bitten78 said...

What a great email to receive! I have been following you from the very first day I picked up knitting needles, right about the same time the Spud & Chloe blog started up. I have knit so many things, socks being a favorite for all the reasons you gave plus they are wonderful for giving away as gifts. If it was not for your encouragement and range of things you do I am not sure what kind of knitter I would be. Thanks to you there is no project I can't tackle, sweaters or shawls, socks and toys, the sky is the limit! I've never been afraid to try any project and I thank you for helping me succeed.

Beverly said...

Thanks so much for all of your comments. Knitters are so heartwarming. I have another reason for knitting socks: I LOVE the reaction I get from recipients after they wear a pair of my hand-knit socks for the first time. People who have commented on (or in the case of my daughters - have been embarrassed by) my knitting in public, no longer care where I knit as long as they keep getting socks.

Unknown said...

Thank you sooooooooo much!
You made my day!!!

Beverly said...

Thanks so much for all of your comments. Knitters are so heartwarming. I have another reason for knitting socks: I LOVE the reaction I get from recipients after they wear a pair of my hand-knit socks for the first time. People who have commented on (or in the case of my daughters - have been embarrassed by) my knitting in public, no longer care where I knit as long as they keep getting socks.

Andrea said...

What a great email and thank you for creating a calendar of your teaching events. I live in Dubuque, Iowa, just a little more than an hour from Madison, and would love to take one of your classes - I just find out about them either as they're happening or after. My Stitch 'n' Bitch friends and I have talked about making a trip to attend a workshop or weekend, so now I know where to come to plan it. :) And can I just add my thanks too for all of your work. I make hats for of my friends when they have babies and they're always out of your Itty-Bitty Baby Hats book. I made my nephew the snowman hat for Christmas when he was living in El Paso, Texas, and my sister-in-law said they were stopped everywhere they went. People loved it. Thank you. :)

BoxySweaterGal said...

Beverly's note is so inspiring. It reinforces my desire to pursue teaching kids to knit when I retire.

Additional reasons I love to knit socks - they actually keep my feet warm!!
- it seems like magic to friends who don't knit!! LOL

sako said...

Such an awesome letter from Beverly we need more teachers like her in our childrens lives. Thank you also Susan for all that you do to inspire us follow knitters.
God Bless

Andrea said...

What a great email - and thanks for creating a calendar of your upcoming teaching events. I live in Dubuque, Iowa, just a little more than an hour from Madison, and my Stitch 'n' Bitch friends have been wanting to take one of your classes for a long time. Now we know where to go to plan it. :)
I'd also like to say thank you for your work. I make baby hats for all the munchkins I love the most, and they're always out of the Itty Bitty Baby Hats book. I made my nephew the Snowman Hat when my brother and his family were living in El Paso, Texas, and my sister-in-law said they could hardly get through the grocery store. People loved it. Now I just need to get to work on your sock pattern, a 2014 knitting goal. :)

Unknown said...

Have socks will Travel is my motto, and I usually walk and knit and socks are perfect for that. But Susan .... how do you decide Which pair of beautiful socks to wear every morning?!?!!?

Lucy said...

More reasons to knit socks:
1) the look on someone's face when they put on their first pair of handknit socks.
2) the day the same person asks you to teach them how to knit socks.
Thank you for your wonderful blog! And a big Thank You for sharing your wonderful talent with all of us. May your needles always be busy and your yarn never split.

Pam said...

Oh, I really appreciate your sharing the numbers for men's socks! Thank you. :)
The letter is lovely.

Unknown said...

You refer to an 8" cuff on your socks for men. Is this a cuff and then the leg. I think of the cuff as the ribbed portion ie on the sleeve of a sweater. Can you clarify for me please.



Anonymous said...

I fell in love with the Opal socks in one of your podcasts and went on a hunt. Here is a link were I found it although it is in Germany, I paid only $20 with shipping. They have many Opal yarns in stick BTW..

Jill L.

craft-chick said...

You've touched the lives of so many knitters...and so many others...because we follow your patterns and create knit treasures that are loved and cherished. I too hope to be able to take one of your classes...until then, thank you for sharing!

AnnM said...

Love all of your socks! I'm on my second pair of HIMMS (love that acronym) and I love that you can leave it for a bit then just go back and pick it up again.

Such a great email too. Thanks for sharing!

Sam I Am...... said...

I concur with Beverly although I am not a life-long knitter like she is. I retired and then learned to knit and it has opened a whole other world for me.
What a great email from Beverly and I too thank you for all your inspiration. Also, thank you to Beverly for teaching our children all those years and for the book title!

LannieK said...

What a lovely email from Beverly. Truly an amazing story. Inspiration for us all.
You often make my day with your blog. :-) I stopped by to see Abi, and got some watermelon sock yarn. Here I go making socks, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

christine m. said...

I'm so happy that Beverly took the time to share her story and that you took the time to post it here where we can all enjoy it.

Stefanie said...

The magic of knitting. Yippee! You rock, Susan. My brother and sil are going to Madison this July. I wish they could pack me in so I could go and have tea with you.

Anonymous said...

my favourite colour I am presently knitting poodles from an antique pattern this wool would be perfect

Anonymous said...

thank you for your generosity
I can see this sweet wool as a jumper for a baby or a softie toy
my ravelry id is fairaisle

Kim said...

I always come back to your sock formula. Ribbed socks for bigger feet is my go to pattern. Thanks for the modifications for socks for men. I needed that for my teen son!

Jodi Blunt RavID: jodimccarty said...

Greg-I love that you are going to continue with your socks, knowing that trial and error are what makes knitting fun! See you on ravelry for your latest project :-)

Deborah said...

Hi there Susan!
I just popped over to see if by chance you had anything on knitting socks for men...and here it is!
Perfect...thanks so much!!!
Cant wait to try this out for my oldest son.
You know something? You just bless the socks off of me!!!! Lol
Hugs xo

All my heart,

Unknown said...

I have a question on the modification for men's socks. When turning the heel, on the second row, do you knit more than 5, as per the women's pattern?

Susan B. Anderson said...

Hi Ausra,
For the men's sock, I just knit 5 as I do in the women's pattern when turning the heel.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Susan! I love your sock pattern and have made many pairs of women's socks. Now I can continue with the pair I started for my husband.

Unknown said...

Things I Love About Sock Knitting:
11. Wearing "Jelly Boots" (rain boots) that are clear / see-through so that it shows off my latest sock project and it changes the appearance of my boots every time I change my socks.

nanad said...

Love all your socks I have made many woman'
s socks but first time trying a pair for my adult son. I am going to use the pattern you did for your son but I have one question. What size needle did you use ? Thank you

Anonymous said...

Love all your socks I have made many woman'
s socks but first time trying a pair for my adult son. I am going to use the pattern you did for your son but I have one question. What size needle did you use ? Thank you