On Friday, I finished knitting my second pair of socks. They took quite a while – I cast them on in December 2007. This was mainly because I got distracted by other projects. Once I picked the second sock back up and turned the heel, it was pretty smooth sailing.
These are a gift, and I am really, really hoping that they fit the recipient. They are a little too small for me, so hopefully they will fit her (that said, I think they might turn out to be a little bit big for her anyway. We’ll see.) I haven’t woven in any of the ends. I don’t know that I will have the strength to rip out the top of both of them and turn the heel again if they are too big, but it would be quick & easy enough to make them a bit shorter if she finds them too tall, or to decrease a bit if they are too big at the top. We’ll see what happens.
Anyway, the yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Red Rover, and I used about a skein and a half for the socks. I know a fair number of knitters will go to all kinds of lengths to avoid pooling when using hand-dyed yarns, but I like it. I like seeing how the colors shift and interact. And it was fantastic to work with. Not at all splitty and very forgiving to being ripped out and reknit a few times (I had trouble with the cast on for both of them, and then I had to turn the heel on the second sock three times before I got it right).
I used US 1 metal DPNs (I think they are Susan Bates), which were barely pointy enough to do the job. Another annoying thing about those needles is that I only have 4. There are definitely times when it would have been helpful to have 5. I really don’t like working with metal needles that are so small, but at that size I feel like I’m going to break my bamboo sock needles. Maybe it’s worth investing in a set of nicer wooden needles. Anybody out there worked with the Brittany birch needles? Do you get that same “Wow, I am going to snap this right in half” feeling when you knit with them?
The pattern isn’t anything special – it’s just a 4×2 rib over the instep, and then all around the leg, with a 1×1 ribbed cuff. I followed the pattern laid out in Ann Budd’s article “Working Socks From the Toe Up” in the Summer ’07 Interweave Knits. Overall I liked the pattern, but I think I might try a different method to turn the heel next time – this one leaves little holes going diagonally up the side of the heel. The pattern recommends going back with extra yarn and closing them up. (Right. About that . . . )