Friday, July 5, 2013

Study in Socks - Your first time

You never forget your first time - knitting socks, that is. Usually because it is scary, frustrating, confusing and not quite as much fun as you'd imagined.

I always get a bit nostalgic reading people's posts on Ravelry about their first sock attempt. I, too, hated my first sock experience. I recall it vividly. I was using an Opal self-patterning yarn and some cheap metal DPNs. Because I wanted to replicate the nice firm fabric of a commercial sock and wanted to avoid laddering, I was knitting very, very tightly. So tightly that I literally had to struggle to push each stitch across the DPNs to knit them. Sometimes it took me a good 5 minutes to move those stitches from one end of the DPN to the other.

I was miserable. I put away the first sock in disgust and swore that sock knitting wasn't for me. Never again, I promised myself.

A year later, I got a sudden desire to try it again. As is usual, the desire struck when all yarn stores were closed and I didn't have the right kind of needles. But I fixed that the next day and tackled socks again, this time using wooden needles and loosening my knitting. A lot. The rest as they say, is history.

Lately I've been contemplating writing up a tutorial for first-time sock knitters to make their experience much more enjoyable than mine was. But then I found several pertinent threads on Ravelry with links to existing tutorials. Why reinvent the wheel? So I decided to gather up a list of resources for first timers.

If you know someone who wants to try knitting socks, this might be a good place for them to start looking for help. Or, if you know of any resources that should be listed here, by all means, let me know.

Socks, for the first time (advice and reference links):
  • As long as at least a few people have successfully knitted the pattern: Stop over thinking. Just follow the pattern one stitch at a time. It will all make sense in the end. Just trust the pattern.
  • Silver's Sock Class: This was what I used for my first sock.
  • Easy Peasy Socks for First-Timers, by Stacey Trock. This is the tutorial I would have written. I love her sense of humor and straight-forward style. For example,
    • "heel flap
      For the heel flap, you will only work the 20 sts that are on the first needle. (yes, this
      means that some parts of your sock will get longer, while other stitches sit around
      looking lonely. Don’t feel bad for those stitches. They’ll get to do exciting stuff later on.)
  • Socks 101, by Kate Atherly
  • The Humble Sock goes Toe Up, by Nikki Burns
  • Learn to Knit Socks, by Staci Perry.  You do have to pay $8 for the pattern, but it includes a series of Youtube videos showing each difficult part step by step, and people say she is a phenomenal teacher.
  • Just your basic baby sock, by Patti Pierce Stone. Many people recommend learning on a baby size sock so you finish it faster and thus don't get discouraged by how long it takes.
  • Lucy Neatby offers a free workshop-style sock pattern on her website. Just register and look in your Notebook under free patterns.
And the mother-lode of information for first time sock knitters: Links and resources for beginning sock knitters from the Sock Knitters group on Ravelry.

This isn't a comprehensive list. There's Youtube videos, websites and blogs all over the Web with handy info. Mayhap I'll keep updating this list as I find new resources that I think will be helpful.

1 comment :

  1. Look how far you've come, baby! :D

    My first time was with Silver, too. I used worsted weight yarn and I think that made all the difference. I finished that first pair and just kept going and going...