Woo Hoo!! I knit my first pair of socks!!
They were knit on size 1 needles using Lang’s JaWoll Jacquard fingering weight yarn – which comes with its own matching reinforcing thread.
Do you see how teeny tiny those needles are? And that really thin yarn? You think “Socks aren’t that big – it should not take so long”. HAH! Pick-up sticks are bigger than those needles – and I’m not sure that they are any larger than the round toothpicks you get at the grocery store. But my sister loves making socks – so I thought that I could handle this.
Because the bamboo needles are so thin they actually warp during the process from the pressure and heat of your hands. It didn’t affect the knitting though so I was not really concerned about that. It was just that the combination of tiny needles and very thin thread result in it taking an inordinately long time to knit a sock – especially a sock to fit the larger measurements of a man’s foot. I did not think they would ever be done.
The yarn is a self-patterning yarn which really would have worked better with a fairly simple pattern – ahhhh, but it is my first pair of socks and everything is a learning experience. I have no complaints with this yarn. It is 75% wool, 18% nylon and 7% acrylic and is washable – which is essential for a pair of socks for Chip. Chip picked out the yarn when we were at the Warm Ewe yarn shop one day which was why I used it. In hindsight I should have realized that this color combination would be much too busy and bright for my nature based hubby – but I was just happy he picked something that was on sale and we went with it.
The pattern is a free pattern which you can find here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEw11/PATTjava.php
One of the interesting parts of this pattern is that the toe ends in a circle in the center of the foot rather than on one side over the big toe.
It does not really affect how it is worn and is an easy toe to complete. I don’t think it affects the appearance either.
The pattern is a take on a knit 2 purl 1 ribbing, with the exception that every other row of knit is a two stitch cable – alternating between a back and a front cable to create this snaking effect – which would stand out much better in a different yarn – just not in this one. Sigh. That was alot of work for something that no one can see. But I learned how to do a two-stitch cable without a cable needle in the process so it is all good. (See my post on “I Love You Glenna C.” if you want to see where I learned how to do this.).
The other good part of the pattern is that you can alter it for the length of leg and foot as you just keep knitting until you hit the required lengths. Chip wanted the sock to cover 7 inches of his leg and he has a 10 1/2 inch foot and I was able to get these socks to fit him perfectly.
The bottom of the foot is just a straight stockinette stitch, so you can get a better idea of what the yarn would have looked like in a plain sock here.
You can see that the yarn lacks definition in the toe of the sock on the right. That is because I did not realize that the reinforcing thread with the yarn was supposed to be added to the sock until I had finished the first sock – so we experimented and I added the reinforcing thread to the heel and toe of the second sock. Even though it was supposed to be dyed to match the yarn, it just did not match up well in the knitting so the pattern is lost wherever the sock is reinforced. Chip also noticed a ridge where the reinforcement thread started and ended. He did not think it would affect him when he was wearing them though time will tell. I am curious to see if there is a real difference in how the two socks wear.
So that’s the Java Socks!!
On the whole I would say that making these socks was a long but positive experience. There was nothing involved that I could not figure out and they fit – which is the best part of all.
Now I have to go back to working on finishing Chris’s sweater – which will probably result in one of my grumpier posts because I am very unhappy about how this pattern is written in the end and I am unhappy with the yarn. Grumble, grumble, grumble . . . . .
Now back to work – life has been a wee bit more demanding on the work end lately so posts may be a bit more sporadic – but I’m hopeful that I can get everything back on track soon. Have a wonderful day wherever you are.