Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Count Sockula invites you to knit.

Everyone has a blog. Everyone has multiple blogs, in fact. So do I. I don't really need another.

But there is so much awesome on this site, especially in the sock kingdom, that I need to encourage beginners in sockdom, in order to point you to more advanced blogs.

You can knit socks.  You really can.  Even though you don't know how to knit.  Even though heel turn directions are incomprehensible (and that's just for conventional heels!  Never mind short rows or afterthoughts!!!).

One of the most useful sock books I've found is I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks, by Leisure Arts.

The book has got a great tutorial (shows each part of the sock in a different color, which was pretty cool) and introduced me to the concept of knitting on five needles.  It also covers knitting with two circulars and one long circular.

Besides socks, I have an interest in fountain pens, horses and racing, barbecue (no, there is NO connection there!! Really!) and anime, from which I am learning about ten words of Japanese and one or two complete sentences.  There will be more on those to come.   And beginners are welcome.

My Life In The World of Socks:
My first sock goes wayyy back to before I taught myself how to knit. I didn't even want socks. I wanted leg warmers. So I went to one of those stores that carried curtains, fabric, and yarn.

Leg warmers are circular, right? Of course they are. Never mind the fact that I couldn't knit, and I didn't have a leg warmer pattern. I knew how to crochet, so how hard could it be?

I bought a big plastic CIRCULAR needle, a knitting book, and two skeins of loud acrylic ombre, one red, one green.

It was Christmas. What can I say?

Once I got my stuff home I realized I was never, ever going to be able to learn knitting from that book. What? Huh? WHAT did those diagrams mean???

So I put the circular needle aside and used up the yarn in a giant Christmas granny square afghan. I still have the afghan.

One Christmas when I had to stay off my feet for a bit, I planted myself in a chair and forced myself to learn knitting from that book. I knitted a Christmas dishcloth out of loud red and green cotton ombre yarn. I still have the dishcloth.

Then I didn't want leg warmers any more. I wanted socks. A couple Christmases later I bought a sock book and dug up some double pointed needles and experienced brain freeze on reading the heel turn instructions. Uwaaa!!! Made no sense! So I attended a knitting class, hoping the teacher could help me knit socks.

She didn't know how to knit socks. She just pretty much wanted to get paid to sit there in front of a slew of befuddled first-timers and finish her own giant knit coat.

I found double pointed needles about as easy to work with as handling a batch of live snakes that were stiff as a board but could still bite you.

But the coat-knitting teacher did do one thing for me: she read the heel turn pattern aloud as I turned my first heel. It made no sense, but it worked! I was a sock-knitter!

Took me six months to knit that first pair of socks. One was larger than the other. I still have those socks.

I'm not a master, by any means. I just like knitting socks and still like LOUD self-striping colors, and I am impatient so I still knit mostly in good ol' Red Heart worsted weight acrylic to produce either dorm socks or Croc socks.  Like these Prince of Tennis socklets:

Though I did recently buy a Zauberball Crazy and a set of (shudder) size ONE needles. Ehh. We'll see if I can dredge up the patience.

All kinds of needles find their way into my project bag: sproingy plastic vintage circs, sleek modern Bryspun and Inox circs, dpns (yeah, I got used to them), straights (figured out a couple of ways to knit socks on two needles), wood, bamboo, plastic, metal.

When I knit socks, I use needle sizes from 4-9, stitch numbers from 28-36 (with worsted weight acrylic), depending how loose and dorm-y I want the sock. I don't need a pattern any more, apart from a conventional heel turn (yes, I understand there's a formula for these but I haven't memorized it yet).
Since Sept. of this year I've finished nine pair of socks and am starting on my tenth (Varsity sockies, kind of Gryffindor-ish colors with a dash of Ravenclaw).

Every blog should have a point.  I guess mine is this:  you don't have to start with high-end tools to master sock-knitting, or even to enjoy and collect fountain pens.  In fact, I highly recommend you start small, and cheap, so you understand each element of a sock and its demands before you move onward and upward.  Fountain pens, too.

Postscript and furthermore: 
Once upon a time I was a real writer, but retired to happily write fan fic.   If I can figure it out I'll add links to my fanfic accounts.

And if anyone can lend a hand in making this bloggy thingie do what it's supposed to do, I am much obliged.

Watch this space for further developments.


  1. You are a fantastic writer.... thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog... the picture of the short bright tennis socks... now I must have some!!!
    As for myself, I have been knitting since I was a teenager and finally made a pair of socks last year... now I have found a pattern for a two-needle sock... willing to give it a try since I knit booties for new babies all the time.
    Happy Holidays, all best,
    May in Atlanta

  2. I also enjoyed reading your blog. Both subjects, fountain pens and knitting socks were interesting to me. I just recently found my old fountain pen from back in the dark ages and it still works! I love it. Socks? I knit for myself, DS and a DF. Sock projects keep my "to go" bag full. DS has decided he likes the bright "circus" colors and does not always wear his socks as matching pairs. I now have special yarn for 3 more pairs, just for him.

    Keep knitting! But, how about an argyle pair? Branch out. So much to learn.

  3. Thanks, one and all! ^^

    Argyle, you say...???...

    --'Count Sockula'