How to Become A Sock Knitting Addict

Note from Sandi: Here’s some wonderful info from Carol Sulcoski, author of Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn. Heeeeerrrreee’s Carol!

Hi. My name is Carol and I’m a sockhead.

Now, I don’t want everyone who’s ever attended a twelve-step group to email me – I mean no offense – but anyone who owns as much sock yarn as I do will have to entertain the possibility that there is something, well, addictive about sock knitting – particularly with handpainted yarn.

I wasn’t always a sockhead.  When I first returned to knitting after a long hiatus, I busied myself with other projects – hats and scarves and baby sweaters.  The concept of handknit socks puzzled me a bit:  you could buy a pair of socks for a couple of bucks at just about any store.  You had to use those teeny tiny double-pointed needles and that skinny little yarn that I found so hard to juggle.  And when all was said and done, they were for your grungy old feet, right?

Gentle readers, I was so wrong in so many ways.

Let’s take my misconceptions one by one.

Double-pointed needles.  I happen to be one of those klutzes for whom double-pointed needles present only opportunities for stabbing oneself.  I never got to the point where I felt comfortable using them, and I always seemed to forget to switch needles or to get unsightly ladders at the place where the needles joined.  Enter the two-circular method of knitting in the round.  It was a sock knitting epiphany. All of a sudden, I really enjoyed knitting little tubes for cuffs or sleeves.   The switch from DPNs to circulars was all I needed to make sock knitting seem enticing and exciting.

Thin yarns.  Ha, ha!  Do I really need to blather on more about the joys of fine yarns (see, e.g., my book Knit So Fine)?  Well, if you still need convincing, I’ve got one word for you:  handpaints.  If the sight of a skein of Koigu, or Socks That Rock, or Dream in Color, or Black Bunny Fibers doesn’t get your knitter’s blood flowing, then perhaps you don’t have a pulse!

Cheap machine-made options.  It is true that you can buy socks for a pittance at any big-box retailer. I say to this: So what? You can also buy big white nylon underpants that go all the way up to your armpits for a pittance at a big-box retailer, and I wouldn’t want to wear them.

But you put them on your feet!  Well, far be it from me to cure feet-y squeamishness in one little blog post. I throw out this thought: your feet carry you around all day, and nothing, nothing feels better on them than a pair of socks you’ve knit yourself, custom-fit to your very own feet and all their quirks. Got a wide foot like me? Increase a couple of stitches at the foot. Long legs? Knit longer socks and/or longer cuffs. Lose a few toes in an unfortunate hunting accident? A few artful decreases will take care of that problem. Maybe it’s a chicken or the egg problem: if you start taking care of those poor feet, clothing them in a glorious colorway of Koigu, maybe they won’t seem so gnarly and grungy.  (Or you can at least cover them up with some gorgeous yarn so the rest of us don’t have to look at them.)

And as if all of the above reasons weren’t enough to entice you, then I suggest you take a look at the beautiful, creative designs my colleagues and I have come up with in KSWHY.  Whether your taste is bold (like Lorna Miser’s Flamethrowers) or demure (like Ann Budd’s Punctuated Rib socks), whether you like swirling eyelets (which you’ll find in Charlene Schurch’s Schooner Socks) or simple stranded patterns (as in Courtney Kelley’s Corrugated Stripe Socks), you’re sure to find an enticing design that will help you make the most of your handpainted yarn stash.  (Or you can even find a pattern to help use up those odds and ends of leftover handpaints, like Véronik Avery’s Staccato Socks.)

Before you know it, you too will be saying “My name is __________ and I am a sockhead.”

— Carol


About The Stars of Our Show!

The stars of Monday’s Dancing Knitted Socks movie are no ordinary socks, you understand. These are 21 pairs of handknit socks, each pair knit from handpainted yarns. These socks are new, never-before-seen sock designs, from eighteen designers like Veronik Avery, Lorna Miser, Chrissy Gardiner, Ann Budd, Nancy Bush, Patricia Gibson-Roberts, Charlene Schurch…you know. All the Sock Greats.

Where can you find these beautiful sock patterns? In our brand-new, just-out-today book Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, by Carol Sulcoski. Not only are there patterns, there is also a ton of great information from Carol about how to make best use of all those gorgeous handpainted yarns we all drool over in the shops. She tells us what to look for in a yarn, and how to make sure you get pretty results and not weird results like pooling or strange stripes–in any kind of project, not just in knitted socks!

Check your local yarn shop to see if they have a copy you can get your hands on right away, or order a copy online from us.

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What’s on Sandi’s Needles.



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