I’m pleased to introduce “Mocha Parfait”, my first-ever socks. I used one skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, in color #305 (Safari). Because I only had one skein of yarn, and wasn’t sure how far that would go, I used Wendy’s Generic Toe-Up sock pattern, so that I could just make the cuff as long as possible with the yarn I had. This was not only my first experience knitting socks, but also my first use of short rows and a provisional cast-on. My first toe was appalling – I had huge holes along the short row wraps, because I just couldn’t figure out how to knit them. Then I found a website that suggested slipping the wrapped stitch over to the right needle first, then picking up the wraps separately with the left needle, and then finally knitting them all together. That was much less frustrating than trying to just knit them all together in place, and made the result much neater in appearance. After that, I really didn’t have any problems with the toes, but the heels were another story. First I did ‘something’ wrong, and one side was really holey. So I frogged that. Then on the next try, I got interrupted while trying to knit one of the final wraps (and it was looking beautiful, by the way), and had to set the knitting down. Unfortunately, I apparently dropped one of the wrapped stitches and couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I had to frog that one, too. I finally got a good heel, but then decided that the foot of the sock was too short (even though I thought I’d measured carefully). It fit, but the sock was pretty stretched from toe to heel. So, once again, I had to frog it back to before the heel and add a few more rows. I had also decided that it wasn’t really quite big enough in circumference, either, so I frogged it back almost to the toe and increased 4 stitches. Well, this time, the sock ended up being a little too long! (Gee, I didn’t add that many rows!) But by now I was really tired of frogging, so I decided to call it good. I knitted it up to the ankle and then set it aside, while starting the second sock from the other end of the yarn. Again, trouble with the heel… somehow I got off-center, and when I was just finishing the heel, I noticed that I had 0 stitches on one side, and 2 stitches on the other. Grrrrrr… More frogging. But finally, I had two socks knitted to the ankle. I then divided up the remaining yarn, and knitted the cuffs as long as I could (about 2″), and bound off. I tried a stretchy lace bind-off first, but really didn’t like the looks of it, so I just went up from size 2 to size 5 needles for the cast-off, which worked out fine). I ended up with between 5 and 6 yards of yarn left over. And finally… there they were… my first socks! I do have some gaps where I joined the heel to the instep, even though I picked up an extra stitch between. I guess I should have picked up two. But I can live with that. I am a virgin no more.
Things I learned:
- Provisional Cast-On
- Toe-up sock construction
- Short-rows (heels and toes, plus picking up wrapped stitches)
- Picking up stitches from an entire prior row so that I could rip away rows of knitting down to the needles without fear (just frustration).
- Stretchy lace bind-off (which I didn’t end up using)
What I liked:
- Learning new techniques
What I didn’t like:
- All of that boring stockinette for the foot of the sock on DPNs. I’d rather do some kind of pattern.
- Frogging over and over – I must have frogged at least two whole socks worth of knitting.
- I also felt that the instep was too long on the top of the foot, relative to the heel. The sock bunches up a bit on the top of the foot where it meets the leg. I don’t know if that’s due to the toe-up construction in general, or just this particular pattern.