Well, clearly I’m going to talk about Sock Club, so don’t let the title fool you! We had our first virtual meet up yesterday afternoon/evening (we spanned several time zones). It was awesome to meet some fellow bloggers and fiber aficionados. I had my pattern and yarn all picked out and was all set to start swatching so I dug out my US1 dpns, two sets of 4, new in their packages. I tend to like thinner socks so I figured I would go with typical fingering weight sock yarn and little needles in able to achieve that. Well, the dpns looked a little small so I checked them on my fancy schmancy gauge doohicky. Yep, US0s, not US1s.
Rats. I thought about swatching anyway but I sort of hate to start off with the wrong equipment. I suppose I could have gone up to US2s since I’m typically a bit of a snug knitter, but it just didn’t seem like it was coming together. So, I started to rethink. I wasn’t in love with the pattern I had chosen, really. It just seemed like the clearest first-time sock tutorial I could come up with. Based on my gut and some guidance in the comments of my last post, I picked out another pattern. This one calls for worsted or aran weight yarn and is knit on US3s and 5s. I took a virtual dive into the stash, came up with some lemon yellow Lamb’s Pride Superwash, and started swatching. Well, my first swatch didn’t work out on 5s, so I went down to 3s. That was maybe a little tight if anything so I settled on 4s. I cast on for the first cuff and started on the ribbing. As usual, I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. Over the course of the evening yesterday, I got through the ribbing and a couple of inches into the leg. The garter stitch panel will be in the center ultimately–it’s just off center here because of how it is on the dpns. Warning: obligatory foot selfie is coming!
I’m pretty pleased with it so far. I’m doing a combination of sizes –L for leg circumference but it will be shorter in the foot to fit me. It’s a little strange because knitting worsted yarn on size 4s makes for a very dense fabric, and it’s also making the wool seem a little coarse. They’re probably not socks I will be thrilled to wear all the time. But really, I don’t think that’s the important thing here. The important thing is that I’m doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, challenging myself, and learning something new. My first pair doesn’t have to be perfect (neither does my 100th pair, for that matter). My goals are really just to get a pair of socks that fit me reasonably well, that resemble each other to a high degree, and are reasonably similar to the pattern I’m using to make them. That’s more than enough to take on, especially for my first real try!
After working on and off on my socks last night, I picked up my Drachenfels to put in some work there. Whew, what a difference!! To explain why, I suppose I need to back up a little. I have accumulated a lot of knitting supplies over the years. I have lots of straight needles and dpns that I got from my mom and from various other knitters who had extra. I’ve bought needles here and there as needed when I didn’t have the right size for a project I wanted to do. I’ve picked up needles on sale when I’ve found them. I have a pretty large assortment of supplies, but they’re not all what I would have chosen if I was building it from the ground up, knowing what I know now. What this means for my sock project is that the only size 4 dpns I happen to have are these random bamboo (?) ones from a “Joy of Sox” knitting kit someone gifted me. They have weird splitty tips, not unlike the Surina ones I blogged about here. They are cheap quality and not very easy to work with. After wrestling with them and rather coarse worsted yarn, I picked up my Drachenfels on my gorgeous Addi sock rockets. The knitting seemed completely frictionless. WordPress is telling me “frictionless” isn’t a word, but that’s the only way I can describe it. The stitches seemed to fly from one needle to the next. Sooooo dreamy!!
What this means, I think, is that I need to slowly let go of some of my borderline hoarder tendencies and gradually replace my less awesome needles with new ones as the opportunities arise. I’m not going to buy a complete set all at once or anything like that–plenty of what I have is still very useful–I’m just going to pay attention when I see sales turn up for needles that are nicer than the weakest links of my collection. I’m going to let my “needle snob” tendencies loose a little more and stop feeling obligated to use tools that I do not like, simply because I have them and they were cheap or free. Sometimes the non-monetary price of a bargain just isn’t worth it.