Something strange has happened over the past few months: my sock knitting has taken an unexpected back seat. By this time last year, I’d made eight pairs. And this year? Until a couple of weeks ago, when my mojo came back with a frustrated vengeance, I was stuck on three. The two pairs below, as you have probably come to expect from me by now, are as stripy and as colourful as they come….
This first pair, was started back in January. I intended to give these to my mother for her birthday, but as that was in February, I guess I missed the boat by quite some way. They’re still going to her, but she’s imposed a ‘tax’ for their lateness, which, funnily enough just so happens to be another pair of socks…
Issues with the quality of this yarn held me back from finishing this pair. On the first sock, I noticed that dark splodges of green had been carried into other lighter coloured stripes. Although you can only really see this if you look closely, for a perfectionist such myself, it really threw a dampener on the project. I will say though, that as soon as I flagged this issue with West Yorkshire Spinners Customer Service on Twitter, they were very quick to send out a replacement ball of yarn to me. Unfortunately, the splodge problem wasn’t my only issue with this yarn. Much more important was how scratchy it was.
This came as a surprise, as I know many people in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Group rave about WYS. In hindsight, I suspect this has rather a lot to do with the fact Christine promotes them quite heavily and, I would think, she receives commission from sales of their sock yarn. It makes me quite sad that beginner sock knitters are faced with such strong brand influencing, particularly as the quality of the yarn isn’t that great at all. It has nothing on Opal and Regia. Although I have two balls of WYS sock yarn left in my stash, I don’t think I’m going to be in a hurry to use it up. For go-to commercial sock yarn, I will stick with Opal and Regia: much softer, nicer to knit with and, I suspect, more durable.
This second pair, I am pleased to say, was much more enjoyable. As with the previous pair, I used another yarn brand I’ve heard a lot about but hadn’t yet tried. Stray Cat Socks not only produce wonderful colourways, but their Essential base is a pleasure to work with. I can’t wait for the weather to get colder so that I can wear them!
I used DPNs for this pair, which I haven’t touched for a while. For some reason, I stuck to Magic Loop and had completely forgotten how much I prefer DPNs to circulars. I have the KnitPro Karbonz to thank for resurrecting my love for DPNs. On my knitting shelf, I have multiple packs of both metal and wood DPNs (the KnitPro Nova and KnitPro Symfonie sets). Over the years, I’ve found that the wooden ones seem too ‘bendy’, blunt easily and make my hands sweat. This makes the stitches stick to the needles. The metal needles, by contrast, are great if you’re not taking your knitting out with you – the stitches slip off far too easily, unless you have DPN holders or similar (yes, I’ve learned the hard way I need to get some of these!!). The Karbonz, by comparison, combine the benefits of metal tips with the lightness of wood. The plastic-type body mean that there’s extra grip for the stitches too. They aren’t for everyone, admittedly, but I’ve found them to be the best sock needles I’ve used so far.
I’m very glad that I want to make socks again. They really are my favourite thing to knit, and I suspect the fact that the desire left me has quite a lot to do with the decline in my mental health and my attempt to cope with increasingly crippling PTSD and depression.
After a sort through of all my WIPs last week, I’ve discovered no less than six (!!) pairs of socks that I need to finish off:
Ignoring the fact I cast on a whole new pair yesterday, for my boyfriend to wear in his Dr Martens…
I’m making it my goal to finish these incomplete pairs over the next few weeks and months. Let’s not think about my other non-sock WIPs though, hmm?
What are you making at the moment?
Do you have a particular type of project that you can’t get enough of?