I got the book Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch, from my local public library. In this book, Ms. Schurch explains the basics of sock knitting, including the parts of a sock, and the various techniques involved in creating them. The first project is what she calls a “class sock”; that is, the sock that she teaches first when she is teaching a knitting class. It’s much smaller than a regular sock, but has all the constituent parts: cuff, leg, heel flap, heel turn, gusset, foot, and toe. You cast on 32 stitches across four DPNs (double-pointed needles), five DPNs, or two sets of circular needles; less than half of what I would need for a sock for myself. I chose to use the four DPNs.
I’ve now knitted three of this sock. The first I did over several days spanning the last two weeks. I would make really good progress, and then something catastrophic would happen. Mostly this involved counting stitches only to discover too many, or too few, in such a way that the pattern was destroyed. Once or twice one of the needles slipped out, and before I could stop it, multiple stitches were heading for the hills. I corrected several problems, but in many cases, it was easier, and more aesthetically pleasing, just to unravel the whole thing and start over. The last time I started that first sock turned out to be the charm, and it took me about ten hours to finish it. It was decent, but had a glaringly obvious purl-where-it-should-have-been-knit row, which I didn’t notice until about ten rows ahead of it.
Lessons learned from this sock:
- be fanatical about counting stitches
- be fanatical about checking each row, to ensure the pattern is intact
I was able to do the second sock, from start to finish, in about five hours on Saturday. The only real issue with this one was a small gap on each side of the gusset. This is a common problem when knitting socks. The biggest accomplishment with this sock was that once I started, I didn’t have to start over. And I knitted where I was supposed to knit, and purled where I was supposed to purl.
I started the third sock on Sunday, and was making fantastic progress, when I got distracted, lost count, lost a stitch, had it escape as I tried to fix it, and ended up unraveling and starting over. I got through the heel turn last night, and then resumed tonight. After a couple of hours, I was finished. I didn’t make any further errors, and it looks like it matches the second one.
Next, I’ll be moving on to an actual pair of socks, that I will actually wear.
You can see the full album at Flickr.