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View Full Version : sock gurus - a few questions


earthchick
01-29-2006, 10:53 AM
So I think I'm going to enter the knitting olympics with the goal of making my first pair of socks, but I've got some questions about yarn.

We've always teased my dad about asking for socks for presents (he's never able to think of anything else he needs) and this year I'd like to present him with a homemade pair for his bday in March. I'm planning to follow Silver's sock tutorial (thanks, Silver! :thumbsup: ) but I don't know where to start in terms of yarn. I had imagined I would go with a worsted weight, b/c I was thinking of a sort of thick sock that he could wear around the house with (or instead of) slippers. But would it be better to go with a true sock yarn instead, for my first sock? And do I go with a wool blend? A cotton blend? I need it to be machine washable, b/c my dad is just too busy to be handwashing socks.

Can someone point me in the right direction, in terms of yarn weight and specific yarn?

Darhain
01-29-2006, 11:13 AM
Well, since I am about to RIP MY HAIR OUT with my first sock project (first time with DPNs, first time with sock weight yarn), I would say definitely go with worsted weight yarn! I am about to put my project away, go buy some size 8 or 9 DPNs, and try again with worsted weight yarn, myself.

earthchick
01-29-2006, 11:33 AM
Darhain, do you know which worsted weight you are going to use? There are lots of worsted weights that I love, but none of them fit the bill for these socks (i.e., most are either not soft enough or not washable). Have you found one you like for socks?

Jenelle
01-29-2006, 11:58 AM
I'm using worsted weight yarn for my socks right now. It's pretty fun.

I havn't tried to use sock weight yarn yet.. Hopefully soon I can get smaller DPN's :)


I'd go for the worsted weight though. They knit up quick too(mine took me probably 12 hours total for my first sock).

Jeremy
01-29-2006, 12:38 PM
I have knit socks before but if I were doing them for the first time I would do these first http://www.knittingpureandsimple.com/free.html. They knit up very quickly especially if you forget about the moon and stars for starters. I would use silver' sock tutorial. After you do these you'll have the principles down and you can go right to sock yarn if you want.

Julie
01-29-2006, 01:23 PM
I'd definitely use worsted for your first pair -- especially because they're men's socks! Knitting your first pair of men's socks with fingering wight yarn might make you never want to make socks again, lol...

Or even sport weight...I'm knitting a pair for myself right now out of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash on US4s and they are really nice...so toasty!!

CateKnits
01-29-2006, 01:31 PM
I made my first pair in Plymouth Encore worsted weight. They're soft, machine washable, and warm. AND, they only took me a day and a half to make.

Darhain
01-29-2006, 01:52 PM
Darhain, do you know which worsted weight you are going to use? There are lots of worsted weights that I love, but none of them fit the bill for these socks (i.e., most are either not soft enough or not washable). Have you found one you like for socks?

Actually, I've been looking around, and I think I might go with a DK weight instead. In fact, I'm thinking maybe Interlacements Toasty Toes. It's 100% machine washable wool -- I'm thinking I'm going to knit it with a strand of wooly nylon to give it some more durability. They also have some really beautiful colorways.

If I decide to go with worsted, I'm thinking maybe Schachenmayr Only Stretch -- it's 40% superwash wool, 30% nylon, 30% acrylic. A friend of mine says it is very soft. It's not exactly what I am looking for, though, as I'd prefer to avoid acrylic for socks. (Actually, I'm a yarn snob, so I'd prefer to avoid acrylic completely. :D )

Of course, this is all assuming that I can figure out these *bleeping* DPN needles!

earthchick
01-29-2006, 04:21 PM
Thanks for the input, folks. Am getting psyched about doing this. I called my parents a bit ago, and they were both on the phone with me when I asked to speak to just my mother so I could talk about my dad's birthday present. To which my dad replied, laughingly, "Don't forget - I could always use socks!" :lol:

So anyway, I'm definitely going to go with a worsted weight. :thumbsup: Now, though I tend to be a bit of a wool snob myself, I thought I had read somewhere that socks should have a smidge of nylon or acrylic for give - is that right? I had been thinking of maybe a superwash merino - thoughts about that?

And this is a pattern I've been eyeing for awhile: Thuja socks (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/PATTthuja.html)
What do y'all think of that one for a beginning sock knitter? I think with the help of Silver's sock tutorial I might be able to manage it.

earthchick
01-29-2006, 04:35 PM
Okay, what about Lorna's Laces worsted weight (a superwash wool)? It looks yummy (but expensive). Anyone have any experience with this?

I'm thinking now of maybe doing the Knitting Pure and Simple men's sock pattern - it looks straightforward, and the more I look at the Thuja, the more I think my dad would probably prefer a simpler sock.

knittingdoula
01-29-2006, 04:40 PM
Here's another suggestion:

Make the baby socks that Amy has listed in her free patterns page, the one with her accompanying video. You cast on only 24 stitches, and so it makes for a very quick project.

The thing I like about this approach is that you learn the basic of working the heel, the gusset, etc and aren't going nuts over a larger sock. For me, working the baby sock helped make everything "click". Once you go onto a larger sock for your dad, you'll have a lot more confidence. I love Silver's sock tutorial, but I'm also a person who really likes to be shown something, and can't always learn from pictures or directions.

Now, as for yarn. As a fellow yarn snob, I can really relate to your feelings over yarn. I have been using Art Yarn for my baby socks, and they carry a lovely superwas merino in fabulous colorways. And I currently have socks on the needles in worsted, DK and sock weight. The sock weight is Koigu yarn, which is admittedly FABULOUS, but it's gonna take me until retirement to finish the damn things! So it's a little slow going. (I admit I haven't been working on it consistently.) Art Yarn is somewhere between a worsted and a DK.

I just got a bunch of Malabrigo yarn in that I ordered from WEBS and eBay, and it's BEYOND fabulous. I may post the pictures. It's soft and scrumptious, and like buttah, dahling!
:heart: It's a true yarn snobs' yarn. They also have amazing colorways. It's a worsted weight, by the way, and I can picture it working up very quickly on the needles.

Hope this helps. PM me if you want any more information. :D

Oh, and one other thing. If you're going to work those baby socks (and they make a cute little gift, by the way!), use 5" DPN's. I used both wood and plastic DPN's in the 5" size, and it felt really nice to use. I didn't feel like I was wrestling a sock octopus, especially since I only had 8 stitches per needle. Truth be told, I'm going to use the 5 inchers for an adult sock, too. They're lots of fun, and even more portable than the longer sock needles.

Good luck and have lots of fun!

Alison

knittingdoula
01-29-2006, 04:42 PM
Oh, and I like Lorna's Laces ok, but the colorway I used was kinda funky and uneven. Still, it's very soft.

earthchick
01-29-2006, 05:59 PM
Thanks, knittingdoula!! :thumbsup: I will check out the baby sock video for sure. Great suggestion (didn't realize there was one).

I have heard great things about Malabrigo. It sounds delish. Is there any chance at all that it is machine washable?

And thanks for the tip about the DPNs. I own a couple of sets in 8" and a couple in 5" and I tend to prefer the shorter ones, so will definitely make my first effort with those.

Thanks for all your input!

Julie
01-29-2006, 07:03 PM
Nope, Malabrigo is not machine washable. It's sooooo wonderful though http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v486/j-m-h/smilies/cloud9.gif

earthchick
01-30-2006, 08:58 AM
I have become totally fixated on the Malabrigo. Honestly went to bed thinking of it last night, and I keep going back to the WEBS website to look at samples. I think I'm in :heart: . But I know my dad won't handwash a sock. Julie, what do you think would happen if a sock made of Malabrigo was put in a lingerie bag and washed on delicate and then hung dry? Do you think it might be okay? I think my dad would do that. At any rate, I'll definitely be making myself a pair of socks in Malabrigo (and have plans for making my boys some longies out of it, once I use up the Manos I bought to make two pairs last November :blush: ).

I'm sure my dad would be totally happy with something less luscious, but I really want to enjoy knitting these, kwim? I've thought about the Plymouth Encore, but I just don't like working with it all that much (at least not on my Addis, maybe it would be better on my bamboo dpns). I also wanted a little bit thicker of a sock (it's funny to me how two yarns can both be considered "worsted" and yet they knit up totally differently in terms of thickness).

I keep coming back to considering a superwash merino, but they are all just so darn expensive. My dad would be horrified if he knew I was contemplating spending over $30 to make him a pair of socks! :shock:

Julie
01-30-2006, 10:27 AM
Honestly I think it would felt. :crying:

You know what's just luscious though, that is machine washable: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. There's a display sock at my LYS knit with it and it is soooo yummy, I dream of knitting myself socks with it! It's on sale here for $6 a ball...and they do have manly colors: Knit 2 Purl 2 (http://knit2purl2.com/debbie_bliss_cashmerino_aran.html) (It is machine washable -- though you are supposed to lay flat to dry.)

kemp
01-30-2006, 11:30 AM
I'd definitely use worsted for your first pair -- especially because they're men's socks! Knitting your first pair of men's socks with fingering wight yarn might make you never want to make socks again, lol...

Or even sport weight...I'm knitting a pair for myself right now out of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash on US4s and they are really nice...so toasty!! :roflhard: Isn't that the truth! I've had Jim's socks on the needles for months now and just can't seem to make myself finish them. It seemed to take FOREVER just to get the foot part done (doesn't help that he's a 12-13)!

I knit my first socks with regular sock yarn. It took a little getting use to the smaller needles, but it really wasn't bad.

earthchick
01-30-2006, 12:37 PM
Oh, Julie, you are my hero!!!! :notworthy: That is PERFECT! Great price, great color selection, and looks very yummy. I'm thrilled that it's machine washable (drying flat will be no problem). Will definitely be ordering this - thanks for turning me on to it!

Am still utterly fixated on the Malabrigo and think I'm just going to have to knit myself a pair of socks in it. :inlove:

kitkat
01-30-2006, 12:44 PM
My vote (not that you asked) is as follows:

For Dad, think washable, and easy. Men are just harder on their stuff (even if your mom is still doing the laundry). I would probably use the Plymouth. Maybe even (GASP!) Lionbrand wool=ease. This is your first sock, and there may be a little ripping and snorting going on as you knit. Don't make this hard on yourself!

For yourself, then, the Malabrigo. Yep! Which reminds me ----I have one skein of that I bought for a scarf - wonder if it would be enough for a pair of pretty sockers for me, or if I would need a second skein.........

brightspot
01-30-2006, 01:17 PM
Does the Lionbrand wool-ease have enough wool in it to wear it all day without bothering your feet? Hubby works outside and needs warm socks, but I don't want his feet to sweat.

Julie
01-30-2006, 02:25 PM
Kitkat, Malabrigo is 200 yards...I think that's enough :thumbsup: