My first pair of knit socks was a failure. It was a very chunky pair by the awesome Stacy of VeryPink Knits in the earlier stages of my still baby knitting career. Whilst the pattern and videos were very well produced and extremely user friendly, my inability to follow through was due to a severe case of second sock syndrome stemmed from the discomfort that was caused by imperfections. I was quite chuffed initially when I had the first sock finished and proceeded to walk around the house like a happy idiot with only one cosy foot. Eventually when it was time to make the other side, I realised that I didn’t want to continue anymore. I didn’t like the scratchy feel of the yarn, the colours I had chosen and also the wonky stitches caused by my amateur wraps and turns. I didn’t know how to pick up stitches nicely and as a result, there were a couple of tiny holes around the heel area. I wasn’t able to look past those pesky things so I decided to abandon the project.
That was enough to put me off knitting socks for a while because I couldn’t bear to face more holey disappointments. Petty, yes. Childish, yes. Really I hadn’t been able to get used to the concept of handmade items and making things my own. What I knew all along was machine tailored items that were pre-determined by designers. The liberty of being able to make things wasn’t in my DNA and it was something that I had to get use to. I would say that I have a reasonably good eye when it comes to colour combos but my inability to match colours and fibre types to the projects I wanted to try my hands on was VERY VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I felt like I’ve lost control over what I thought I was good at and I was struggling with the slowness of the craft. I wasn’t sure whether making things with my own hands was even worth it in the end. Of course, being a newbie, identifying good materials from bad ones was also a struggle and I felt constrained as I didn’t know how to justify buying more expensive yarns (which isn’t a problem for me now haha!).
I continued pouring my heart into the craft for a few months but hadn’t gone back to socks because of that “trauma” and the hugeness of the task. Why would I want to knit something that could be widely purchased at a cheap cost? Knitting podcasters were showing off their sock projects but I found it so difficult to relate to their excitement. Yes I get you about the crazy stripes and patterns on your handmade socks but really, are they necessary?!? Well, I’m eating words now, very much so.
I’m trying to make sense of my conversion from meh to sock knitting addiction and I think these are pretty valid reasons:
#1. The Yarns
The endless options of yarns and fibres are what kept me going back to knitting over and over again. Instead of purchasing something new for my wardrobe, I find myself purchasing plenty of woolly goodness instead. The lusciousness and squishiness of the fibres and beautiful colour palettes are highly serotonin-inducing, ah I just couldn’t keep myself away from happiness!
Of course, this applies to anything handmade but with socks, there’s a lot of flexibility to be more experimental as you could show them off as much or as little as you want. I know of a proportion of knitters who would prefer to invest their time in something else but to me, they are great fashion statement items. A peek of beautiful patterned/textured sock above your boot cuff would make a world of difference. Right now I cannot wait to break out in them and to show them off!
#3. Excellent Warm-Weather Project
As the yarns used are generally fingering-weight i.e. thin, they are more manageable when your palms get sweaty. I tried to make myself another DK weight i.e. moderately thick beanie (for my Iceland trip in the near future) and the yarn was so sticky, so much so that I decided to wait for a bit before jumping on it again. A word of caution though, the best needles to knit with if you have sweaty palms are wooden needles (Knit Pro cubic won my heart!). Although metal needles give you the kind you speed you want, a bit of moisture would make the needles squeak and can be annoying
#4. Quick and Easy
Yes, they are more fun, quicker and easier than I thought. Almost instant gratification. Nuff said!’
#5. Holes Could Be Avoided
There are plenty of heel types to choose from out there and my go-to for now is the very well-received ‘kiss lips fish heel’. This kind of heel provides a smooth finishing and makes you want to go back to it over and over again. That being said, I also love a good textured heel like the heel and eye of partridge heel. I’ve yet to experiment with it yet and cannot wait to try it on when I cast on a new pair in the near future.
There you have it, a little bit on my journey in sock knitting. I still haven’t gotten over this phase and even contemplated on taking my knitting with me on the plane…
Before I sign off, a bit about the pair of speckled socks above. These are my very first pair after my sock-fast and they are super fun and easy to make. The speckles really kept me going and yarn was bought from an Aussie hand-dyer. They are not perfect, in fact they are a tad smaller than what I was hoping for but they are definitely good enough. I would pick them up and ogle at them for a few seconds now and again because I’m in awe! I know it’s not humble to be in awe at your own work but for someone who didn’t grow up in the creative camp, I think I’m allowed to 😛
What’s currently on your needles? For those who don’t knit, would you ever consider this wonderful sport?