Yesterday I started knitting my first pair of toe up socks.
My first attempt at knitting socks was back at Cal. It was also my first time using double pointed needles and it frustrated me to no end that I was so incapable of figuring out how to hold the needles just to get started. It didn’t take long for me to throw them back in the drawer in frustration, vowing never to bother with them again.
Well, as many of my emotional outbursts go, this statement didn’t last long. I picked the needles up again, this time without anything else going on around me, and ever so slowly figured the process out. I used Knit Socks! to get started and found it incredibly helpful in understanding the end result of each section of knitting. And slowly but surely, top down, I had a pair of socks. I didn’t know much about types and weights of yarn (or even about the existence of sock yarn) so I made them out of purple acrylic worsted weight yarn from Joann’s (Caron’s SimplySoft to be precise), thinking that they’d be warm and soft. They definitely were warm, but mostly because they didn’t breathe at all.
Years go by, my interest in knitting at all wavers as sewing starts to creep in, and then this year I was bit by enough knitting bugs to last me a lifetime. I picked up two skeins of sock yarn at Stitches West this year. I was so excited about relearning to knit them, this time with a yarn that was sure to breathe and wear well, and finished them in just under 3 weeks. The yarn was great, the pattern was simple, but the down side was that even the small wound up being large on my feet. I probably should have used a size smaller needle even though the gauge was correct. And, since the yarn is superwash, it looks like I’m probably stuck with them this size.
I gave myself a week to finish another project that had been sitting around for a few years, and now it’s time the knit the next pair. The Hedera’s were a source of stress because I had no clue how much yarn I’d need. They were knit top down, one at a time and I was constantly worried I’d get stuck partway through the second sock and have to buy an entire extra skein (it didn’t help that the yarn has since been discontinued). Luckily, I finished by the skin of my teeth.
That is all I was left with at the very end of the second sock. Lucky indeed.
But I vowed never to have to go through *that* again and set myself to the task of learning toe up socks and knitting two at the same time.
I’m currently borrowing Ruth’s copy of Socks from the Toe Up, and it’s been pretty helpful. I decided to try the Magic Loop method using one large circular needle instead of two smaller ones. This is mainly because I’m trying to condense the amount of stuff I have in my life and being able to eliminate using straight needles and double pointed needles from my stash would be a big help. At first I was really getting into Judy’s Magic Cast On, but couldn’t find a way to use it in a way that would allow me to cast on two socks. It’s possible I just needed a more visual guide (which SftTU did not have two two at the same time), and I eventually found a step by step for using the Figure Eight Cast On for two socks. It took about 30 minutes to figure out the basics of what needle went where and you flip this here and then pull that there and then I was off and it’s the simplest thing ever.
The only real downside I can see so far is that you need to keep pulling the extra cable through the other socks when you reach the end of a side and this slows down my overall knitting process. I haven’t figured out if I just need to wait until I hit a groove or if I’ve missed some simple step for smoothing out the process.
However, I can firmly say that I will never go back to knitting one sock at a time ever again and can probably say the same about toe up knitting. I’m now done with the toes. Both of them. I’m about to start knitting the foot and it’s perfectly clear where I am in the pattern and where I need to stop to get ready for the next bit.