A Lesson in Each Failure

I love to knit socks. To me they are kind of perfect in so many ways. My top three reasons for enjoying sock knitting are:
1.) Socks take lots of knitting with a relatively small amount of yardage (more bang for your buck.)
2.) Portability! I almost always have a sock project going because of how easy it is for me to grab my project bag and take it along anywhere!
3.) Socks are a fantastic canvas for colors and textures that I would NEVER make a sweater with. I love the wildly bright and variegated sock yarns that are out there, but wouldn’t commit to wearing them except on my feet.

So far all the socks I have knit (6.5 pairs) have been from the cuff down. I decided last week that I really needed to learn to knit socks from the toe up. I wasn’t unhappy with the technique I’d been using. It had more to do with running across several sock patterns I really liked that used toe-up. Rather than trying to convert the pattern to be knit cuff down I thought I’d give some toe-up socks a try.

In the end the socks were a massive failure. But, I won’t say that it was a mistake to start them. I accomplished my actual goal…learning how to knit socks toe-up. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t understand the technique or that for some reason it didn’t work, it was a gauge issue. My needles were too large (I think) and my yarn too slippery and the socks would fit someone who’s feet were roughly as wide as they were long (I personally don’t know anyone with feet fitting that description.) I could tell early on that they were turning out oddly wide but persisted until I turned the heel and had made it about a half-inch up the leg before calling it quits so I’d at least get the full benefit of my experiment’s goal. I did try to just stop knitting the foot early and move onto the heel in hopes that they would stretch longer and use up some of that width to fit my feet…but they were just weirdly wrong.

I have ordered some smaller circular needles and will try toe up again, perhaps with some stickier yarn when they arrive.

The pattern I used was Aradena. The pattern assumed that you had experience knitting toe-up before, but did include excellent links to help if you hadn’t. I used Silver’s Sock Class online to help me. It was not a link that was mentioned in the pattern, but I remembered looking at before. It was excellent!

What I am knitting:

The Multnomah Shawl is going well. I made it to the lace portion and it is totally addicting. I keep wanting to knit another row to watch the lace pattern as it appears. I’m on the third lace repeat out of ten. I imagine I will finish this up before next Monday.

The Beekeeper’s Quilt is not something I will report on every time I post a new blog entry as it will be such a long-term project. I am up to 10 hexipuffs! I did go through all of my yarn stash and pull out odds and ends of left over sock/fingering weight yarn to use for this and I’ll slowly work through all of it. It feels oddly liberating to finally have a use for this yarn since I don’t seem capable of just throwing it away. (Gasp!!)

The Lintilla for my Mom is still hibernating but I have resolved to finish it. I am trying to work out some sort of promise/bribe with myself to motivate me into finishing this up. Like, no starting any new projects until this has been finished or no buying any new yarn until this is finished…we’ll see.

My husband wore his new socks all day yesterday and he seemed to enjoy them. They looked like they fit well too! I was dying to ask him about them, but resisted.

Happy Knitting!


4 thoughts on “A Lesson in Each Failure

  1. Cathy says:

    I have a pair of socks that I started forever ago, now I want to finish them just so I can think about starting the beekeeper’s quilt. Thanks for the great idea!

    • I will be watching Ravelry to see when you start it up 🙂 I discovered this week that some yarn companies are starting to see smaller quantities of yarn and branding it as “Great for Hexipuffs for the BeeKeeper’s Quilt.” Funny how some ideas really take off. Thanks!

  2. I love knitting socks for those reasons too! I haven’t tried toe up yet but would like to sometime. I can’t wait to see that beekeepers quilt bigger!

    • I remember when I first got back into knitting and seeing people’s (including yours) sock projects on Ravelry was so amazing to me. That seemed like the absolute pinnacle for me…my goal was to be able to do that some day! I’ll let you know how toe-up goes and if it is worth trying out. Thanks!

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