So all those sock sacks that I made a few weeks back were for a reason! I mentioned that I’d been watching knitting podcasts and several of those involved a lot of sock knitting which influenced me to cast on with abandon and try out new techniques and some new to me yarns and yarn from deep in my stash.
I feel that yarn podcasts could be really enabling if you are susceptible to that kind of influence. They can be very consumerist and often involve a lot of ‘look what I bought’ which, if said podcast becomes popular, turns into ‘look what other well-known podcasters gave me’. Add to that segments on what they’ve bought recently and often the podcasters sitting in front of their stashes showing off their yarn and it can all be a bit much.
I’ve watched a ton of different podcasts now, I think it really depends on the viewer’s personality as to whether they will ‘click’ with what they’re seeing. The podcaster could be knitting everything I am and sharing really great information, but if I don’t feel comfortable listening to their voice or like the way they have shot their video then I just can’t go on. I’ve found a lot of very popular podcasters just rub me the wrong way and I don’t get why they’re popular, but that’s life really, not everyone appeals to everyone else! Podcasts I have been enjoying are The Grocery Girls, I love their relationship and their attitude. It can be a little cliquey at times but they are generally fun to watch. I like Legacy Knitz which is a mother and daughter podcast, again it’s a nice relationship to watch and there’s a lot of advice and information shared as they talk about their projects. I like watching Yarngasm and am safe from the temptation of the yarn she dyes as there’s nothing vegan available, which is a good thing as her colours are lovely. I enjoyed a few episodes of Hue Loco, again pretty yarn that I won’t be buying and some nice projects. I’ve watched a couple of Fairy Little podcasts and there are some nice things to see. I’ve also enjoyed the Yarn Hoarder episodes, she has a nice personality, her stash does make me quake with fear sometimes though and I’m glad it’s not mine!
My favourite podcast though to date is 10,000 Stitches which is done by a woman called Andi. I watched a random episode and then went back and started right from the beginning (episodes are weekly but less than an hour so it didn’t take that long!). Her podcasts cover her WIPS, FOs, knit alongs and some general yarn/knitting chat and then she spends some time on ‘chit chat’ telling you about her week and what she’s been up to which makes it a lot more personal than most podcasts I’ve seen. Andi set herself the challenge this year to knit 50 pairs of socks. Not just plain socks though, she had different challenges like lace, cables, ribbing and colourwork to break up the year. Something I really enjoy about this podcast is the transparency of what she’s spending and why she is or isn’t working on something. As I’ve mentioned, the consumerism displayed in podcasts can be a bit much, so to have someone explicitly say how much they spent (she set herself a budget for the challenge and keeps a tight yarn budget anyway), what they’re planning to buy from a sale and how much that will cost etc is refreshing and open and something I’ve not seen on any other podcast to date. Also, other podcasts will show something cast on and then you’ll never see it again, whereas Andi will say what’s happening to her projects, and generally she’s very decisive and will rip rather than let something hibernate. I’m definitely not a monogamous knitter like she is and I enjoy having a lot of projects on the go, but the differences between how we work was one of the interesting things to me and I watched her podcasts like a tv series cheering her on and looking forward so seeing how she was doing, I’m a little sad that I’m up to date now and have to wait for new podcasts to come out!
Anyway, watching these things did influence me to go out and buy some new sock yarn and also to cast on for quite a few pairs of socks, so this is what is on my sock needles at the moment.
These are my first socks on 9 inch circular needles. I have tried both Hiya Hiya and ChiaoGoo needles and my hands seem to prefer the ChiaoGoos. I might sell the Hiya Hiyas (in my post surgery stupor I ordered HH needles by mistake wondering why the cords were blue and not red, obviously reading was too hard for me….) as they just don’t fit my hands as well. The tiny needles are actually a tiny bit shorter than the ChiaoGoo needles which makes a difference. These socks are with Wendy Happy in the Aquarius colourway. I cast on 68 stitches and then just went round and round and round. I used a Fish Lips Kiss heel (new to me, I learnt about it from the podcasts along with the fact that 9 inch circulars existed).
Something discussed on The Grocery Girls was that they were playing about with stitch counts on their socks to figure out which fit their feet best. It is such a simple thing but was an ‘aha’ moment for me. Generally I have gone with whatever the pattern says and I’ve knit a lot of socks that are quite baggy or just don’t quite work for my feet. I go back and forth between being a process and finished object knitter, and socks I think it’s generally been more about the process, just enjoying the knit without thinking too much about how it will turn out. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about changing things or using less stitches, I think I just went with what the pattern said should fit my feet. Usually I would have done 72 stitches when I use 2.25mm needles, 68 is a much better fit, I’m trying some 64 stitch socks as well to see if that works on this needle size. It’s funny how we get stuck in a rut even if what we’re doing isn’t working that well!
Just a quick note on needles, if you’re looking for ChiaoGoo needles I’ve found that Purlescence are the best UK source. I always comparison shop online and I’ve never found the needles cheaper elsewhere. When I got my 9 inch circulars they had a big sale on and I got 2 pairs with postage for less than the price of a single pair. They’re having free postage until the end of December. They’re not paying me to advertise for them, I’m just impressed with their prices and service, my third order is on the way from them right now!
Next up are in the new to me yarn by Lana Grossa called Solo Cotone. I ordered this direct from Germany and it came really fast. I tried 2 balls in each of the 3 print styles and it seems to be really nice yarn. As per the last post this yarn is on my allowed list for next year and I’ll definitely be getting some plain colours as I’ve been wanting to knit plain coloured socks for a while, there are so many patterns in my queue that look good in solids.
These are 60 stitches on 2.5mm 9 inch circulars. In order to get my hands used to the needles I’ve been doing a stripe a day on each of the 9 inch circular socks. I find I get a cramp in my right hand after a little bit and I’m hoping that if I keep working with the needles daily my muscle memory will improve and my hand will stop complaining. Again this is a Fish Lips Kiss heel (the pattern is on Ravelry) and these fit really nicely, I finished the first sock this morning and cast on right away for the second.
These Mercury Socks are directly influenced by the Yarngasm podcast as Kristen (or is it Kirsten?) knit a pair and then cast on for a second pair right away. I’m using Yarntopia Treasures Bamboo Cotton sock yarn (discontinued I believe, I got a custom order of about 12 colourways a few years back and am still working my way through it) in the Mercury colourway. It’s not showing well in this photo, it’s much prettier in real life.
These are on 2.25mm dpns, this set are a bit long and getting bendy now and I broke one of them the other day so they’re probably not long for this life! I ignored the heel instructions and did a Fish Lips Kiss heel here too. This time around as there was patterning in the sock I followed the instructions to knit an inch of plain above the heel. I’m not sure whether I like it or not, I can see why it’s a good idea as it will stop the pattern rubbing your heel in your shoes but it looks kind of odd. I will see how these wear and make up my mind whether to carry on doing it or not at a later date. The first one of these is done as I have just started the second as you can see.
These are the Jigsaw Socks using the second and last skein of Whimzy Pinzy Panda Cotton I have in the Bastille colourway.
They are on 2.5mm needles. I really love the way this colourway is working with the pattern. However, although it’s really really easy, it is one of those patterns where you have to count every single row so it’s not a mindless knit which means I’ve not picked them up as much as the other socks. I will finish them at some point though, not sure whether I’ll do the pattern called for heel or substitute, I’ve got a few inches to go before I need to decide.
I wanted to try a second print of the Lana Grossa yarn and had cast on for a pair using a different print but it totally obscured the pattern I was knitting so I ripped those out and cast on with another colourway using the Blether pattern.
This is a really simple and fast pattern on 2.5mm dpns. Again with the Fish Lips Kiss heel, but without the extra inch before starting it. I’m enjoying these so hopefully they won’t take long to make!
Next are the Vokuhila Socks which the description says is the German work for mullet, the patterning is different on the front to the back! I thought these would be a great pattern to try out making socks on two circulars.
I’m using ChiaoGoo 24″ circulars for these and Maizy yarn in the Springtime colourway. I’m running out of Maizy and I think it’s been discontinued which is sad as it is a nice yarn and I always find it amusing to make socks out of corn. I’m finding managing the cords quite a pain at the moment but considering how little I’ve knit using this technique that isn’t surprising. Dpns made me cry to start with so I know there is a learning curve with a new technique and I will plod on. My only concern is that the pattern on the front isn’t really showing up all that well and it’s a bit of pain to knit it if it’s not going to be visible. I will do another repeat and then see how I feel.
And finally, my newest socks on the needles, the Lemino Socks which I cast on for this afternoon. I’m further with them now than this photo having finished the cuff.
I’m using Mothy and the Squid vegan sock yarn in Nature Will Reclaim. It’s 100% cotton so I’m not sure how well these socks will wear, but it’s a great colour so I want to give it a go. These are 64 stitches on 2.25mm needles.
A note on patterns, I generally use free patterns for the socks I make. There are so many free ones available that I would rather spend my pattern money on shawl and jumper/cardigan patterns and I do buy plenty of those so pattern designers are still getting my cash on a regular basis. If there is something really special and like nothing else I’ve seen then I would pay for it, but at the moment there are 231 free sock patterns in my Ravelry queue, so I think I’m good for a while.
I did have one more sock on the needles but when I pulled it out of the bag I found that a load of stitches had come off. As it wasn’t showing the pattern very well in the yarn I’d chosen and I was finding it a pain to work on so it was just sitting there, I ripped it out. I’ve got 3 more empty sock sacks in the basket so I’m not making any promises that more socks won’t be cast on for, I’m enjoying the variety at the moment. At some point I might find it too much and have to make a huge effort to get them all finished, but hey, at least I’ll have loads of great socks!