Monday, 30 January 2017

A knitty issue - my first socks, my first knitting in fact.....

If you read this blog you know that I am a crocheter - pretty obvious really!!

What you might not have realised - although I have mentioned it I am sure - is that I have never shown you any knitting.  Until very recently.

My knitting journey has been a long and difficult one.  As a child my mother and grandmother - and who knows, probably other people too - tried to teach me to knit.  I could never figure it out though.  I got confused between the stitches, where the put the needle, all this rabbit round the hole stuff and loads of other things which I never understood and indeed I still have no idea what the rabbit round the hole thing is!!!

I tried to knit more than once, many more times in fact, but no matter what I did, all I could produce ranged either from a stringy and holey mess at the worst to at the very best a very long and thin garter stitch scarf - which wasn't so terrible, but I only managed it once and in very very chunky yarn with massive needles.

When I started blogging I saw all of these wonderful socks being knitted and I so wanted to knit socks.  Being unable to knit though stopped me from doing it.  I looked at these socks, adored them, drooled over them, wanted them, admired them.  I commented about how lovely they were and how I would love to knit socks.  I read carefully through all of Christine's (Winwick Mum's sockalong tutorials), but still no socks.  No knitting in fact.

Then last year I decided to bite the bullet and have a go.

The thing that spurred me on was seeing a podcast and the Sue said - more eloquently than I am about to - that if you want to learn to knit and what you want to knit is socks then learn to knit socks.  Don't start with scarves or squares or something else if that isn't what you want to make.  In the past I had been put off trying the socks because I didn't know how to knit, but here was someone telling me to learn to knit socks.  This was the lightbulb moment that I needed.  The podcast is LegacyKnitz.

Well, of course, there were many false starts.  The casting on was tricky and then getting the knitting to join up so I could keep going round and round in a circle was nigh on impossible for me.  I knitted and ripped back and tried again and again and again.  Then suddenly it worked.  I was knitting round and it was joining up.  To be honest I am still not sure how it happened, but it did.

I don't yet have anything decent to show you, but I am getting there and I will share some glimpses with you.


This is my first "finished" sock.  It isn't one that anyone would want to wear as it is very baggy and has a lot of flaws.  However, it is the first thing that I have ever actually finished knitting so I am very proud of it!


One side - ignore the heel issue - isn't too bad and you can see that the gusset didn't go too badly on this side.



The other side though is a catalogue of disasters.  Holes all over the place and other problems too.  For some reason as I started to turn the heel I was working the wrong way round so the first part of the heel turn is "inside out" with garter stitch on the outside where there should be stockinet.

Also, I am having problems with SSK decreases to make the gusset.  Any idea what I am doing wrong anyone?  When I do a K2tog or a P2tog I don't have this problem, it is just when I work the SSK that I get this sort of laddery gap appearing.



You can see the problem I am having really well in this photo, one side - the bottom - of the toe decrease is fine and all lines up nicely with no gaps and then on the SSK side I have this gappy ladder.



Oh, and just because we all like to know what the yarn is, it is this.  Stylecraft Head Over Heels in colour 3098 which is called Everest - the range all seems to be named after various mountains.  It is an 80/20 wool/nylon and is, I think, reasonably priced as it is a 100g ball so good for beginners.  I am working on 4mm Knit Pro Zings DPN's which I am enjoying working with, they are lovely and smooth and not too heavy either.  I have a 52 stitch count - because I am working very loosely on large needles.

I am onto the second sock now and just starting the heel flap, it is going much better than the first one did - so far.........



I am also working on a second pair of socks at the same time.  Crazy I know!

This one isn't finished yet, but you can see that it is going much better than the first.  I am working this a little differently, a DK yarn so it is thicker and on 3.5mm Knit Pro Zings Fixed Circulars with a 40cm cord.  The needles are good, but I should have gone for a longer cord.  I am working 60 stitches because this is a slightly smaller needle and also the yarn is much thicker.


It is going fairly well, and I have had far less issues with this sock than I did with the other one.  There is one hole at the start of the heel gusset, I don't think I picked up the last stitch.


However, I am having another issue.  On the second side of the sock, so once I have worked across the top of the foot and am coming back down the other side to the heel turn again, I am having another gappy laddery problem.  I don't know if it is the same one as I was having on the other sock or a different issue.

Should I pick up the stitches differently on this side?  Strangely I am not having the SSK problems on this sock - but I couldn't tell you why!!!



This is the yarn.  It is a DK, Stylecarft Batik, the colour is Cherry and it is quite a cheery cherry isn't it.  I like the mottled effect that it gives in knitting, I will see what it is like for crochet as I am planning to make some hearts to show you soon in the same yarn.


So that is my sock journey so far and my knitting journey in fact.  Apart from the garter stitch scarf - there might have been two actually now I come to think about it - this is my first finished - albeit terrible! - knitting.  I can see an improvement already on the pink sock and the second striped one so perhaps it will improve.

Once I get a whole pair of decent socks of course I will very proudly show them off to you in a full Ta Dah! moment, but for the meantime, this is my Ta Dah! and it is thanks to Christine of Winwick Mum tutorials and to Sue from LegacyKnitz for spurring me on to try and to make it work.

The moral of this knitty issue....  Don't give up, keep trying and if you really want to do it, then you will do it and if you want to learn to knit socks, then learn to knit them.  Don't start with a garter stitch scarf if that isn't what you want to make and if that is what you want to make then go for it and enjoy it!  I am pretty sure now that a garter stitch scarf would fly off my needles so I already ahead of the game now.

Happy knitting everyone!!!

Oh, and don't worry, it will take a very very very long time before knitting overtakes crochet for me!

And a second Oh!  If you have any advice about that SSK issue or the laddery bit where I am picking up stitches to go back down the heel flap I would be most grateful.

Amy

44 comments:

  1. Well I'm impressed because, as you know, I have absolutely no craft genes. I do remember having to do knitting at infant school - it probably scarred me for life - who said British schools believed in sexual stereotypes? Keep at it, Amy!!

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  2. Fair play to you Amy - I'm a very experienced knitter, shawls, jumpers, whatever ... but I cannot knit socks!!! I've had several attempts and none of them are wearable - so I am very impressed with what you have produced - and especially as a beginner. Wow. And you sorted out the SSK on your own too. The good thing now about knitting, and crochet, is that there are lots of videos to show how to do different stitches. Keep up the good work and you've inspired me to have another go :) Fil

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  3. It might have lots of errors but it's still a great first attempt at knitting socks - well done! The second one you're making is certainly looking better, but as with all crafts, it's all about practicing to get things perfect. I'm wishing lots of luck on your sock journey!! x

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  4. aw well done, so much progress between those two sock, you'll be creating your own "box of socks" in no time :)

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  5. Oh my! I would no more attempt socks than to try sending the next rocket to the moon. Well done, I say, and also that you are one tenacious gal. I leave my wool socks to LLBean.

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  6. As I write this I'm wearing the first pair of socks I knitted, thanks to Winwick mum's brilliant tutorial. You've done really well Amy and I love the yarn you've used.
    I really struggle with picking up stitches and have been left with little gaps even when I know I've picked up the amount of stitches required. One day I'll get it right. Until then I'll just keep trying. And I'll check back on comments to see if anyone leaves you some advice. X

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  7. I like the Everest wool yarn very much - it has an ethnic look about it. Good first attempt, better than I could do.

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  8. Good for you, my Mum has spent many an hour sitting with me teaching me how to knit socks but sadly I do not get the same thrill as I do from crochet.

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  9. Respect Amy! I wouldn't even attempt a pair of socks, your sock looks pretty good to me. I'm sure with your talent, you'll master it.

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  10. Hurray for you! I want to knit, but I'm daunted by the prospect of using two needles, I can just barely use one to crochet.

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  11. Oh well done Amy! my sock journey hasn't been smooth either as well you know and I can knit! the SSk bit is all down to tension sometimes I find it easier to slip one knit one pass slip st over. I still get ladders when picking up stitches along the heel flap and the odd hole but they are so easy to fix invisibly when you're finished it doesn't bother me anymore. I have yet to make the perfect sock each time I start a new pair I say, this time they will be perfect and they never are, who cares as long as they are wearable that's all that counts. :) xx

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  12. That's actually impressive. I know how to knit but I've always wanted to knit socks and it just intimidates me, but I think I'm going to bite the bullet and give it a crack as well :)

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  13. Be warned....... sock knitting is soooo very, very addictive!!!

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  14. Oh, well done you for sticking with it! I've never attempted to knit socks (probably never will!) and so can't offer any advice, but your second attempt looks very impressive.

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  15. It's been years since I knit a pair of socks from the cuff down to the toes (I start at the toes), but for first socks, yours are pretty good. As others have said, it's a case of practice. With the SSK, have a look online at different methods and try them out to see if there's one that you like more than the others. When picking up the stitches along the sides of the heel flap, are you knitting through the back loop of the picked up stitch? That can help tighten things up. As for the 'hole' at the bottom of the heel flap, you could try picking up an extra stitch right at the corner and then knitting it together with the stitch next to it on the next round.

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  16. I do crochet, but I'm worst than you at knitting. I've tried to find a knitting group thinking I would benefit from their advice, but seems there aren't any in our area. I will enjoy watching you find your way through it and celebrate your success.

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  17. Well done on your first sock finish! I love the yarn colours too. Even if they are too baggy to wear out and about they would make great bed socks. I have only made a few pairs but they get easier. One suggestion for when you feel like trying a different way of turning the heel. I discovered the "fish lips kiss" heel technique by Sox therapist on Ravelry and never looked back. It gives a really neat finish. There is a whole forum about it too. It's worth taking a look.

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  18. Well done... I can see the logic but it seems really ambitious starting with sock knitting. But here you are, proof that it is working as you have already improved leaps and bounds!

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  19. I too wanted to learn how to knit socks & I would like to suggest Craftsy courses. I bought 'My First Toe-Up Socks' by Susan Anderson & I am now on to my 6th pair! I've have bought many Craftsy courses (but only when they're on offer as they can be quite pricey) but this one has been my favourite by far & I go back to it again and again. Once you get the hang of it, I think you'll find sock knitting quite addictive :) Alice x

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  20. I've been pondering socks and thinking about what a challenge they must be! I agree with Catherine - big socks make wonderful bed socks (well, shop-bought ones do, so I'm assuming handmade would probably feel even more comforting and cosy). The pink sock is an impressive thing to behold - you've made such a leap forward!

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  21. your knitting journey is very much similar to mine one.. My mom and my sister used to knit a lot. However, I never like knitting. My mom tried hard to teach me, but I couldn't learn. Till date I don't like knit. If I watch any new kind of craft, I usually give a try, but knitting, never.. ha ha ha.. I always try find out the crochet version of any knitted thing... :D

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  22. Can't be of any help with sock knitting & I keep saying I'm going to knit a pair & even have a ball of sock wool, so may try them for this winter. Yes, I know I've said on my blog that I've been knitting for a lo......ng time, so now is the time for those socks for me make a start, because if a non-knitter can do it, so can I, if I find the nerve. Take care.

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  23. Congratulations Amy, what a great achievement. You learn fast, and your yarn choices are very pretty too. I finished my knitting 'career' in my mid teens - just could not get into it. Also have never even seen a pair of knitted sox, but they must be a joy to wear. Its sandals most of the year around here!

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  24. AMy I want to encourage you. Im a sock knitting addict and they give me endless joy. I have one thought for you on the little holes we sometimes get at the start of the heel gusset. When You finish the sock, turn it inside out. Performa a circlage, as my dear friend Jan says. Yes just like the medical term. Take a piece of yarn and stitch a circle around the hole. Pull it together and the hole disappears. :) NO one has to know!

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  25. Nice job . Hubs here is the crafty one lol as for me not so much . Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

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  26. I can crochet up a storm, but I have tried, on several occasions, to learn to knit but it just doesn't work! Your first socks are just lovely :)

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  27. Hi Amy,

    Well done for your first pair of socks - let me tell you it is very addictive and therapeutic.
    Something really nice sitting watching tv in the evening and having something to do.
    Have a great week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  28. I am impressed! I can only knit a straight line - like a scarf. :)
    I love the colors too.

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  29. Christine65 has suggested what I was taught about getting rid of the little hole at the bottom of the heel flap...just pick up an extra stitch. I am so impressed that you are on your own learning with online help. I had a friend who coached me through most of my socks. She now lives hundreds of miles away and I miss her and the times we had crafting together which was one of the reasons I started my blog...hoping to find others like you with creative interests like mine. My niece called this morning to tell me my BIL in Burbank, CA passed away and yesterday would have been my husband's 72nd birthday so while I am grateful for the time I had with my BIL and my husband, I am missing them and somehow comforted remembering you missing Man and reading about your creative determination to knit socks Bravo! and Thanks! I am cheering you on. xx

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  30. Yes perseverance is the key, and not to be afraid of making mistakes - it's the only way to learn. I love YouTube for picking up tips and yes its all about finding the right one. Also you'll find once you've done a few which method is your favourite - I'm a toe up girl and love a slipstitch heel.
    Hand knitted socks are the best too, so comfy
    Cx

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  31. Well done, it's definitely a sock and much better than I could do. When you start something new there are bound to be a few issues but no doubt you'll get it all sorted and won't be able to make a ladder or hole again and wonder how you did it in the first place. The stripe wool is brilliant. x

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  32. Amy, kudos to you! I tried knitting when I was first married and wasn't very good at it, and so after knitting a sweater that my husband never wore (it was huge and stretchy and had no shape, of course), I quit. Now, my daughter is interested, and she's considering joining a group in the next village over that teaches knitting for beginners. BTW, I'd definitely wear your beautiful rainbow socks! Looking forward to seeing more of your creations!

    Poppy

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  33. Full of admiration! I remember being taught knitting at junior school and also my Mum trying to teach me but I've never been any good at knitting or sewing and crochet is like a foreign language to me. Keep on with those socks, they look wonderful and very cosy:)

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  34. Well done Amy. That looks pretty fine for a first attempt. I knitted my first pair of socks four years ago and have knitted at least a dozen pairs since and I can confirm that practice makes (almost) perfect. Christine's tutorials are fab but I started before she published them and I used this tutorial - https://www.knittersreview.com/how-to-knit-socks/ - and I prefer this way of doing the SSK. Also, have a look at this - http://grumperina.com/knitblog/archives/2005/10/theres_the_easy.htm - which may be useful for picking up stitches. (And I always have a teeny hole on the same side of the heel gusset and nobody else ever notices it!) You'll be addicted soon! x

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  35. you are a sock knitter!!! fabulous knitting and well done!!!

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  36. That looks great. I can't believe that it's your first finished knitting project! I'm trying to slowly work my way up to socks but I think it will be a little while before I tackle them.

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  37. you've inspired me Amy! I did mean to do the sockalong when Christine first did it but never quite got round to it. So Ive looked it up and I'm being very good and doing a tension square thingy! Will be posting about it next week I hope :)
    Jillxo

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  38. Wow!! Amy!! Your first sock (and a half). I still have not knit a single sock, although I'd like to. I agree with your philosophy for knitting the sock. Once you have mastered the knit and purl stitches, sometimes it's just best to dive right in. Lots of things can be found on youtube for specific stitches and specific trouble shooting. I can't help you with the ladder issue, and the hole sounds similar to the one I get when knitting mittens (the thumb gusset). I tug those stitches tighter than I normally knit, and if there is a hole at the end, I cheat and run the tail of yarn from the start of the thumb through the hole and darn it together a bit more. It works, and is not visible. I'm impressed that you have started right in with knitting on DPNs too. Your bravery knows no bounds! I have to agree with many people above, and say that practice is the best thing. Also, don't be afraid to try a different sock pattern with different methods and stitches. You might find something that works better for you in certain areas. Keep those first socks though, and you can refer back to them as you knit more pairs and you will be amazed at how you progress with each pair. Hugs to you!
    Wendy xox

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  39. Brilliant! Your socks are some achievement when you have little knitting experience. Despite having knitted since I was small I had not attempted socks until January last year and now I'm hooked!

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  40. You're my crafty hero Amy! Is there anything you can't do? You're doing awesome! Keep up the great work Sweetie. xoxo

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  41. Crikey! All hats off to you! I've never known anyone to start their knitting career with socks - you have done brilliantly! I'm the sock queen and can get a pair out in a week when I've time... knitting two together is a whole another thing ;) Have fun with all your divine English wool!

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  42. You did a great job. My first socks didn't look quite good as yours *laugh*.
    A few tipps: instead of SSK I knit the two stiches together by knitting to the back loop. Hope you know what I mean. And than tighten the yarn. That prevents from these "ladders".

    I get a tiny hole if I make the same heel in exakt the same spots as in your socks. Now I knit a Fish-Lips-Kiss-Heel, Tomato Heel or boomarang heel or any kind of heel, that I do not have to pick up stiches.

    Hope I could help.
    Gusta

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  43. P.s. did you try to "knooking"? It's like knitting with a crochet hook. Loos very easy and exactly like knitting stiches.

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  44. I'm very envious! Knitting socks is something I can only dream off. My trouble is if I have a go I want to do it well immediately and as we all know in life you have to put the hard work in to reap rewards, practice makes perfect. It must be most satisfying to create a pair of your own favourite socks to wear.

    Angela - Garden Tea Cakes and Me

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