Happy Feet!

Well, there was big excitement around here lately!  After many long nights, close calls, and muttered cusses, I've done it!

I've finished my first pair of socks!

I was very happy to have achieved this because every time I've attempted to learn to knit, it was the thought of home-made socks and mittens that I had in mind.  As I've mentioned before, all my previous attempts at learning to knit ended a few short centimeters off the end of a needle.  But this time something clicked and I actually started finishing projects.  Every time I would complete a project I felt a bit more like I would actually achieve my goal of toasty warm hands and feet.  

Anyone who's ever learned to knit understands the process involved.  Most people start with a simple project, like a scarf or a dish cloth, something that can be worked simply on two needles using basic stitches and techniques.  You'll struggle with stitch tension, trying heroically to scrape squeaky tight stitches off one needle to another. In time you will master the basics and then perhaps move on to using a round needle (LOVE round needles!) and make a toque.  Now, the round needles are tons of fun, but if you're anything like me, ambition will start to pick at you and you will want to take the plunge and try socks and mittens.  And that means one thing - knitting on four needles.

In all honestly, prior to learning how to knit I couldn't wrap my head around how people knit on four needles.  I thought surely that these folks must have hands possessed by magical wool-working craft fairies that showed their fingers where to go.  It makes no sense!!! And yet, it does!  It really does and once you've been properly shown how, there's no turning back!  It's great!

So, I decided to start with socks.  In retrospect, mittens may have been easier to start with.  There is actually more to knitting socks then just mastering knitting on four needles.  You will also have to learn to "turn the heel" and form the toe using "kitchener stitch."  "Turning the heel" went swimmingly for me despite a few errors with a technique know as "slip slip knit" or "SSK."  Let's just say that it's a small miracle that I have socks.  The toe, not so good.  One piece of advice that I kept hearing was to look up videos of techniques on YouTube.  I chose not to do that for sock number one, but did check out a few for sock number two. I found two great videos from Craft TV for both SSK and Kitchener stitch.  I still had some trouble with the Kitchener stitch so I am going to get a little help with it for my second pair. 

I have some great wool for my next pair; SRK On Your Toes DK Boot Sock Yarn with Aloe Vera by Kertzer.  It's 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon, so it should make a nice, weighty sock that will wear well and be comfy.  It's a pretty red (actually, it's two reds twisted together!) called "Fireside".  I've only gotten a couple of inches knit on the leg of the first sock but it's looking very "old school," like socks I might've had as a kid.  I like that it's heavier because I wear Doc Martens a lot and I find they need a heavier sock.

My first socks!
My first socks, pictured here, are worked using Patons Kroy Socks in Mulberry Stripes.  This wool is a lighter weight so it makes a more traditional feeling sock in terms of thickness.  It comes in a variety of self-patterning stripes and jacquards, as well as some solids.  Working with the self-patterning stripe wool was fun but I would suggest a solid for a first time sock maker as I had to be conscious of where I started my sock so that the socks would match.  As you can see in the photo, when I messed up the toe I messed up the pattern. However, these are my first socks and while they aren't perfect, I'm quite proud of them!  I was pleased to get them finished; some friends were telling me about "second sock syndrome" which occurs once you've finished sock number one and never get back to finishing sock number two! I can understand this; I was so excited when I finished that first sock, mistakes and all, and then I had to pick up and start all over again!  But I did, and now I have cute cozy Mulberry Stripe socks to keep my feet warm!  

By fall, I mean to have a drawer-full!

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