Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sock talk

I am running late this morning, all due to the computer installing updates… it took forever, it kept restarting, shutting down and in the end told me that all is not well. It seems to be working, fingers crossed that it will keep working for a good while, although this companion of mine is 8 years soon.

There is very little one can say about socks that has not been said a million times before – it feels that way. But thank you for asking for the cuff pattern; we can linger little longer in sock talk.
This pattern:
*Round1: knit
Round2: k2, p2*
Repeat these two rounds. My grey cuff has 70 rounds. This is the only downside of the pattern, it squishes down, the progress is slow. I think it is lovely in a little bit larger scale, like in these alpaca socks which were knitted with 2,75mm needles. (These socks are exceptionally nice among the ones I have made, the fit is very good, they are warm, soft and thick.)
I did give in, did order some Christmassy sock yarn for Christmas Eve cast-on. I very much doubt that after all the work that goes into my Eve (we eat a big dinner already on the 24th), I might be too tired to cast-on for anything, but in case I have some energy left, I have the yarn.

I have mixed feelings about the sock knitting.

I love socks, I wear them all the time, more than any other knitted item. I love simple socks, I am willing to play little bit with yarn and colors, but not that much with texture and colorwork. I love good, hardwearing sock yarn. I don’t want to buy expensive yarn for socks, I admire the hand painted skeins, but cannot justify spending all that money on them. For scarves, mittens and sweaters, it is fine, but for socks… too expensive for me. I mostly use Regia, Opal, Austermann, Arwetta… I am sure I am forgetting a few.
Lots of my knitting is motivated by the need, warm socks are compulsory all the year round. Even on most summer evenings, it is nice to slip on wool socks. I have tried several heels (always come back to heel flaps), different toe decreases (always come back to the one that is grafted in the end), love long cuffs with ribbing, love dpn’s (have tried magic loop several times), love top down (have done few pairs toe up). All this trial and error has rooted me into my usual way of knitting socks. I have made so many pairs that the fit is now good; know how many stitches to cast on, how many to decrease before the ankle, how many rows are needed for the heel flap and toe decreases. All tried and true. I often read while I knit, or the other way around, thus handling dpn’s feels the most natural way to go. Socks are easy to do, and make me feel productive.
The down side… I could do some adventurous knitting, be learning more, be trying out larger variety of yarns, stitches, colorwork. Socks are easy and light to pick up while reading, but how hard would it be to knit sleeves, or the back piece of a plain cardigan, which I also wear and appreciate. I wonder if I would look at this in the time point of view, I knit socks quickly, but I wonder if I knitted a sweater instead, just how many pairs of socks I would have done in the same amount of time.

When I finish a simple pair of socks, I am happy, fold them away, put in a sock drawer, cast on for a new pair. Often, I don’t take pictures of them and don’t show them here, thinking that they are not that interesting, although I am always inspired when I see somebody else knitting socks. Even though I am happy and satisfied with them, there is not quite the same thrill there is when I have accomplished something more demanding. Not having this burst of positive energy, feel of achievement and success, I eat away my enthusiasm for knitting. I see lovely patterns and yarns and at times I shy away thinking that these day I KNIT ONLY SOCKS… see only socks. Just socks. Plain old boring socks…
As I said, cold toes are quite a motivation, but such is also a successful finished item that I can be little bit proud of. I love socks, don’t get me wrong and will keep knitting them, but I must confess, the plain way I make them, they don’t make me feel proud of my work.

I am little bit scared to say this out loud, because I don’t want to sound obnoxious. There are lots of sock designers out there making beautiful patterns and adventurous socks, socks are not boring, but mine are… and yet I love wearing them. Maybe I need to reconsider, try out something different.
Do you have the same kind of dilemma? Is this just Christmas angst that is creeping into my sock knitting? Or is it time to cast on for something else, something new and interesting? (In addition … to sock knitting.)

Wool with you,

PS. Again, just rambling, thoughts that wander through my head during the day while I potter along in my daily tasks… Thoughts that I might have forgotten come tomorrow… Benefits of being old, no need to take oneself or one’s opinions too seriously. 
PPS. The pictures were taken yesterday while in town.


  1. I so enjoy your lovely daily posts. Thank you. You have warm, kind thoughts and an appreciation for life and beautiful things. Please keep posting. Your arctic life is so different than mine in the southern US, and I love the glimpses your share.

    I believe your simple socks are beautiful. I would like to try the long ribbing since my last pair with short ribbing fall down. How did you knit the border after the ribbing and before the stocking knit?

    Thank you and take care,


  2. I'm a simple sock knitter also. Have tried several options and even a couple of fancy patterns, but always come back to the simple 3-1 ribbing, top down, heel flap, kitchener toe. After about 5 years, they start to wear thin or develop a hole under the heel. I grab my scrap bag and mend them with whatever color suits my fancy. Then I can usually get another couple of years wear out of them. Love my simple socks.

  3. You know, I don't think there is such a thing as a boring hand-knit sock. :-) I love to see your socks, even if they are not complex and hard to make. I love to hear about your socks. Truly, I don't think other knitters will ever be bored by your socks, even if you show us every single pair. :-)

  4. I'm with you on socks! Cuff down, love my dpn's, heel flap have been on a Eye of Partridge stitch kick lately, and graft the toe. Perfection!

  5. Love the pictures of your town. Everything looks so beautiful and festive. I love knitting socks also. They are (relatively for me) quick and therefore satisfying. I've made some different patterns and enjoy that, but I love my plain socks with a ribbed (2x2) cuff, heel flap (eye of partridge) and Kitchener toes. Easy peasy and I know the recipe by heart. I always love seeing your socks.

  6. Anonymous17:05

    What good, good words and pictures. Your town and sock talk makes me linger over my morning coffee AND makes me think I need to cast on another pair. I, too, am top-down, kitchener toe and flap heel. Pair after pair. I bought your sock pattern a couple of years ago. This morning I am going to get it out and choose my colors. Maybe do a Christmas Eve cast on, too! I hate to sound selfish, but I sure would love it if you posted 365 days a year.

  7. Socks take me forEVer, and I can't read while knitting anything, so I am in awe.

  8. I agree with you on socks--simple patterns and a memorized pattern make it easiest. I see all the complex new patterns with cables and fancy yarn and think--wow--but- no. Not for me. These days, I knit a lot of sweaters for my twins (growing all the time) and buy some commercial wool socks because in Winnipeg, we too wear socks for at least 8 months of the year. My kids could not wait to start putting them on in October!

  9. The town pictures are so pretty and festive! Your socks are lovely so show them off! I too have found my sock niche and pretty well stick to it. I work for an airline and sit around a lot and socks are a small, easy project that I can put away when it's time to go. Boring old, plain short row heel and toe socks...unfortunately I don't need them because I live in a warm state, but someone will always take them!

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  11. Ellen in Connecticut00:08

    Making socks is like making scrambled eggs. It's just something that we do, because it has to be done, and the ones we make are better than the ones at the restaurant/store. The yarn is the only exciting thing about my socks. I use the same pattern every time, and I have sewn little thread markers in the knitting bag I keep socks-in-progress in, to show decreases, etc. Mine are the best for me.

  12. Me too, I knit a lot of socks, and they are all plain and boring. I don´t wear them myself, but my husband and my sons love them. And, I´m curious about the logistics of reading while knitting, can you elaborate?
    best wishes from Iceland

  13. I love plain socks and plain sock knitting. I don't knit fast, but I always have plain socks on the needles somewhere, and I finally have built up a supply so that I have handknit socks available all week long, in between loads of laundry!

  14. I usually have socks on the needles and have a generic recipe that fits my foot. I like that I am able to knit on a sock most anywhere without a pattern. The photos of your town are so pretty and bright. I wonder do the lights stay up most of the winter. They do add cheer.

  15. I am not a sock knitter. I tried a few times and a few ways (top down, toe up, magic loop) - nothing stuck with me. It seemed so silly to waste all that time knitting socks when one could knit a sweater instead and not have worn holes through it in a few years. I remember my mother darning store bought socks with a wooden darning egg and it looked like tedious work. But I am a knitter (everyday) and have several projects underway at any time. Your post makes me think I could maybe knit socks, or try if they were simple. They will not be quick because I am not a fast knitter, but maybe ordering special skein of yarn for Christmas Eve cast-on is in my future. Thank you for your daily posts Lene. From snowy Ohio, Jean

  16. I knit socks all the time, although here in Texas we need warm socks very seldom. It's just that they are the perfect size project to carry around with me. To keep it interesting to me, I switch up colors and types of yarns and try out all manner of stitches and patterns on the cuffs. Thankfully, I have friends in colder climes who appreciate the socks!

  17. Such an interesting read. I am the opposite these days. All I want to knit is socks. I am so busy lately. I do not have the block of time or concentration needed to apply myself to the world of cardigans and textured shawls that beckon to me in the back of my mind. But I like to knit, and socks even if I don't get very long to knit give me a sense of forward motion. Lala, here is a cuff, okay and now I have heel flap and heel. Even if I must piece meal small it makes me feel like I'm productive.

    I say, whatever is enjoyable to knit for you, you knit. This is not my job. I'm not a designer. Sometimes I like to think about my knitting a lot (not lately) and others, I just want to get into the zone, that happy meditative state. I'm rambling now, happy knitting to you!

  18. Many of your choices in socks are those I have come to myself: top down, heel flap, fairly simple, one pair cast on right after the other, even though I live in Northern California. We do have need to warm feet, but not for more than a few months of the year. I think one of the reasons that designers gravitate toward socks is the size of the canvas. It's small. It needs to be upsized or downsized only a bit to give the knitter a range of recipients. I often think of a sock like a sonnet: an opportunity for creativity within prescribed parameters. The shape is the same for all socks/sonnets, but the content is different!

  19. I love to have a few different kinds of projects (or even projects in different stages) around for whatever kind of knitting I feel like doing. Mostly now I am knitting sweaters, so I have at least one in the easy stockinette stitch, one that is ready for the yoke shaping, one that has cables, etc. When I feel like a challenge and I have some time to concentrate and learn something new I have one waiting in the wings(the cast on is something fussy). When I want to be reading or in front of the tv it's stockinette all the way.
    Keep knitting the socks you love and share them here. I love seeing socks- even plain ones, because socks are pretty awesome feats of engineering. And it's wonderful you enjoy them and get lots of use from them. It' a gift to have done the work and figured out the best pattern for you! Now every pair you make can be successful- that's a big win over the second-guessing I do all the time with sweaters. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, and then they don't get worn, which is the worst.
    Treasure your craft and do what makes you happy! You've done the hard work- now you can play (or not) as you please. :)

  20. Simple socks and dish cloths are my most frequent knitting projects. And they travel well. Thank you so much for the photos of your town. They are beautiful!

  21. There is beauty in simplicity. As I grow older the need for complex creations and tasks gets further from my mind, and I reach for the simple things over and over again. I have stopped fretting about it. I like simple and simple likes me and that is good.
    thanks you for continuing to post on your blog. Truly this is worthwhile reading and contemplation and I am grateful that there are those people like yourself who continue to share their life journey.
    Peace be with you always.