The First Rule of Sock Club

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. image_mediumWell, 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. IMG_3869The 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!

IMG_3868I’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.



  1. Orange Smoothie · September 12, 2015

    That’s a lovely beginning of a sock! And life is way too short to knit with cheap tools. Upgrade and your craft with no longer suffer your hesitation. I love Addi sock rockets and covet my Addi long lace and Natura interchangeables. But I still happen to have the odd non-Addi DPNs because I’m afraid there’ll come a project that I’ll need them. (I’m such a hypocrite, LOL!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • alexand knits · September 12, 2015

      Ha! I totally understand. Whenever I think about getting rid of something I always think “but what if I NEED it?”. It’s so hard to let go!

      These craptastic dpns, though? When the time comes, I will have no problem letting them go. I swear it only takes a little longer to knit a row on my 300 stitch shawl than it does to do a round on my 48 stitch sock!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maggienesium · September 12, 2015

    Everyone can go home now, you just won the internet!!!
    Sock Club is perfect!!!
    The first rule of Sock Club is that you will talk about Sock Club.
    The second rule of Sock Club is that you will geek out on craft whenever possible 😉

    You’ve got me wanting to knit socks with a heavier weight yarn now! They look so comfy and soft!

    I’m with Orange Smoothie though, life is too short to work with something that doesn’t feel like a hot knife through butter – and I feel really strongly about this when it comes to socks. If you want leads to some pretty nice bamboo needles at a nice price, I can give you leads – I have several staked out already for when I can get a set of US 2’s but I’m not trying to be a frienemy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • alexand knits · September 12, 2015

      Haha, cute cats and baby animals everywhere can cancel their photo shoots. The internet has been won by a knitter!
      So far I would definitely recommend the pattern I’m using, but I wouldn’t recommend pairing this yarn with it. It’s fine and all and I’ll see it through, but I think it’s just a little too dense and stiff for this gauge. Next time I would use something much squooshier. That’s a word, really.
      I’m scoping out needles now. I mostly wait for deals just because getting stuff for less just makes me happy. But, this is a desperate situation, so I will do what I need to do!
      BTdubs I have four sets of 2s. If you want one, I’d be more than happy to send a set your way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggienesium · September 13, 2015

        You are so salt of the earth. I’d love a set thank you!!! I don’t have a lot of experience bargain hunting but Lena Brown (the woman who made my needle holder) sells dpn’s in a set of sizes 0-4 for $10. Their bamboo so they’re pretty good for sock knitting but I’m not sure if that’s your speed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. pkcacciola · September 12, 2015

    The right needles definitely make a huge difference! I have really enjoyed working with the set of DPNs that I got for really cheap on Amazon; however do notice that they are starting to bend a little. I’m not sure if that is because of the way I hold the needles or from keeping them in my project knitting bag. I may have to invest in a better pair; however these will do for now! Your sock is looking fantastic!!!! I wish I could have joined all of you yesterday and can’t wait to hear how it went 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · September 12, 2015

      Yeah, usually bad needles don’t bug me this much. I’m more or less happy knitting on anything that meets some basic specs. This is ridiculous, though! I’m looking for new ones because otherwise I might just stab something with these.
      Sounds like Maggs will be making this a regular thing, so hopefully we’ll all be able to make the next one! It was pretty cool. I hope you enjoyed your vacation!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bekki Hill · September 13, 2015

    I too have recently had to admit I need to stop knitting on some of my beloved old needles, because there’s a whole new world of much better needles out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy · September 13, 2015

    I know what you mean, I have a bunch of material that was given to me, and that is stalling me in a way. Because I didn’t choose it, I don’t feel inspired by it. And For a long time it stalled me. Until I decided to buy yarn I absolutely love, and the knitmojo was back again is a second.

    Liked by 1 person

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