Knitwit

Friday, 22 March 2013

Charlie is teaching himself to play the guitar. He's a long way from being Jimmy Page but with the help of books and Youtube he is making progress.

I am teaching myself to knit properly, also with the help of books and Youtube. While I know how to knit I am not very good at it -a bit of a knitwit really. However, inspired by the formidable sock making skills of blogger friends I am attempting to knit a pair of socks.

It's a steep learning curve and as Charlie observed maybe I should have started with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star rather than Stairway To Heaven.

He's probably right. This was the first time I had tried knitting with four needles at once and it isn't easy. It took me at least six attempts before I was able to produce this poor practice sample. But despite its obvious faults -I seem to have purled the last row- I am pleased with it. I know that knitting the leg part of the sock is the easy bit. Heel turning is a complete mystery to me but I am feeling ready to learn in spite of Charlie's doubts




I bought my sock yarn from The Fibreworks in Chipping Norton. What a lovely shop it is. Beautiful yarns and such helpful and friendly ladies. They have their own blog, do pop over and pay them a visit.

The yarn I chose is a self-striping sock yarn called Jawoll Magic Dégradé from Lang Yarn (peacock 88). It's a wool and nylon mix. I shall enjoy seeing the stripes appear as I go round and round.



I like what Jane Brocket has to say about sock knitting and domesticity

'The only way to knit a sock in the round is to keep coming back to your starting point. But, almost imperceptibly, progress is made. It's a pattern, yes, but it's not really a circle, it's a spiral and all the stitches and rows, like days and weeks, are linked to form an unbroken chain. We can think we are getting nowhere with the cyclical nature of domesticity, and yet all the time, as with sock-knitting, we are moving on to a new stitch or a new day and then, suddenly, a whole new row or colour..'

Jane Brocket -The Gentle Art of Domesticity

I shall ponder the nature of domesticity as I knit. Until I get into a mess, then I shall swear.




55 comments:

  1. The yarn looks lovely, you will get a pair of socks, you really will. It doesn't matter how long it takes you or how many attempts you make; there is no-one pushing you but yourself, just relax and enjoy it.

    I was in Chipping Norton on Tuesday, I wish I had known about the yarn shop. Not to worry, I shall get there eventually. thank you for the link.

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  2. You created such a lovely vision of peaceful domesticity... and then I laughed when I got to the swearing bit!!! (A bit like me and my cake decorating yesterday)

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  3. Am looking forward to sock-wearing photos soon. Or soonish, anyway. Ax

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  4. I can't knit. Really, it's one of those things, like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, that some folk can do, and others just, well, CAN'T - I'm in the latter camp. I can crochet though...I suspect that crocheted socks would be of limited use and lifespan....

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  5. Sock knitting does seem very brave. I can just about manage a scarf! But I look with envy at all the lovely handmade items on people's blogs.

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  6. "I shall ponder the nature of domesticity as I knit. Until I get into a mess, then I shall swear."

    I've been told that a sign of an experienced knitter is a colorful vocabulary. :-)

    I'm much like you -- I can knit, but not very well. I've had experienced knitters (those with colorful vocabularies) watch me, shrug their shoulders and say "Your positioning is all wrong, but as long as the fabric comes out right..." I hold pencils oddly, as well, so I guess I should have expected this. Socks are on my agenda for this year. I'll be interested in hearing how your vocabulary expands as you master heel turning.

    To Robyn, I can only say that a very unscientific survey has led me to conclude that one is either a knitter or a crocheter. As a teen, I was a crocheter and knitting left me in tears. Now, I've finally managed to knit, and I can't seem to regain any of my crochet skills. Let Sue knit you a pair of socks. ;-)

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  7. Anyone capable of knitting socks has my immediate respect and to plunge in on four needles I think is really brave! But how worth while when you've mastered it as looking at your sample you clearly are doing. I always look longingly at variegated sock yarn but sadly I know this really is beyond me! You will have a wonderful pair of socks to wear with very well-earned pride. Go for it, Sue! E x

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    1. I'm not sure I am capable of knitting socks yet.

      I also bought that lovely Noro crochet book you featured on your blog a while back.

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  8. All of my attempts at knitting have dissolved into profuse swearing. But it looks like you're getting the hang of it. Your socks will be lovely.

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  9. Purl is advanced, never mind four needles!

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  10. I am so impressed - learning to knits socks is one of my resolutions for this year. I really really want to knit them, and I've collected some beautiful sock yarn (including some of that fabulous Mind the Gap yarn that Domesticali used recently) but I'm a bit scared to begin. I am so impressed - and can't wait to see your socks!

    Nikki

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  11. Wool (sorry 'yarn') from Chipping Norton, eh? You'll be part of the Chippy Set next and we'll be reading about you in the Sundays.... I did once knit a pair of socks, many years ago, but I haven't done it again, not sure why! Have a good weekend! x

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    1. Is there something wrong with the word yarn? Surely it's only wool if it is 100 percent wool.

      I'm afraid I've not heard of the Chippy Set :)

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  12. Are there no patterns for hand made tube socks?

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    1. Of course there are! I am using one -did you think I was improvising?

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  13. I like that quote very much.

    Well done on the knitting - four needles, though, good grief! I am in awe.

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  14. a lovely post and quote! I have an unfinished 4 needle sock hiding embarrassed in a dark drawer. I was doing well when I sat with the nice woman in the wool shop but then I forgot what to do. It seems that as we've turned to more complicated technologies like iPhones and digital whatsits that we have also turned to knitting in circles. I know it is supposed to be easier when you get it (like my new phone) but the waiting to get it is not so much fun. In the meantime I have been knitting scarves. but seeing this makes me think I should give the 4 needles another go.

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  15. The very best of British with this one. I too am tempted by the sock-making fraternity, and I too struggle with the whole knitting thing. I will watch this with interest. If you succeed then I shall follow faithfully in your footsteps. Isn't you tube a wonderful thing?

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  16. As a recent first sock completer, I'm sure you will do it too. Just follow the instructions and if those are good it is all pretty straight forward or at least not quite as complicated as it looks. The exciting bit is turning the heel as then it begins to look like something you could wear on a foot. I love your choice of your yarn
    Looking through books and patterns before I chose one, I was surprised at how many called for 5 double pointed needles. Five! I found four quite enough.

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    1. Five?! Oh my goodness.

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  17. My you are brave. I was a confirmed crocheter until I just saw too many gorgeous knitted items I just had to have. So I've been learning, slowly but surely. Lots of scrumptious scarves, but the only thing I've attempted to knit with four needles was a pair of wrist warmers. No heels, no thumbs. The knitting went fine, but I discovered when I went to put them on that I'd bound off so tightly they were too uncomfortable to wear. Lots of words added to my vocabulary after that little exercise.

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  18. It is not half as difficult as it sounds -turning the heel that is! I can knit, a bit and a couple of years ago decided to have a go at socks, started with some quite thick wool and they grew quite quickly. That fine wool takes ages but they are lovely here is my latest http://www.handmade-homemade-lizzy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/socks.html Just follow the instructions and keep counting!! you will soon be heading down to the toe!

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  19. You've cracked it girl.
    The hardest part is casting on and getting the first few rows under your belt, the heel is a cinch after that.
    Well done, and your tension looks even which is the most important thing in producing good knitting.
    Bravo

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  20. I'm only 10 miles away, if YouTube fails let me know if you want help! My mother taught me to knit when I was very small. She knitted socks until it became quite difficult to get sock wool in about 1970. She'd be in seventh heaven with the variety a available today. Can't help with the guitar though - keyboard instruments only here.

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  21. Jane Brocket inspired me to make socks after seeing a picture of some with a pile of sweets - the same one is in her book. I've just made a teeny cat with what was left of the wool - socks were so much easier! x

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  22. In at the deep end Sue, only way to go. And I love your choice of yarn.

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  23. Yay, you're knitting!!! :D

    Kudos to anyone who knits socks ... it's the having to knit a second one that gets me every time!

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  24. I agree with Ma Larkin casting on is the hard bit, turning the heel with be a doddle. When you find out what the chippy set get up to let us all know, I'm intrigued!

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  25. Good for you Sue. I find sock making incredibly hard and my attempts so far have remained as WIP and I can't remember where I'm up to in the pattern. Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing your finished socks.
    I'm sure Charlie is having fun learning the guitar. You'll be singing along with him, right?! :)
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Anne xx

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  26. I've knit many socks and turning the heel is always a mystery (like the baby surprise jacket), you just follow the directions and it works out. That what makes it magic.

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  27. Absolutely fantastic quote. One for me to remember. Good luck with the sock. Once you get your first one done, you'll never look back.
    Rosie

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  28. I have knitted sweaters galore but have never tackled The Sock. Must try.

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  29. Good luck Sue! The yarn looks lovely. I'm of the 'scarves only' school of knitting as patterns scare me - all those letters and numbers and symbols. I hope the socks are a success and you enjoy knitting them.
    Sarah.

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  30. I'm sure you'll have them on your feet in no time. Socks are addictive. You may find the magic loop method helpful as it's faster. These links might help too (apols. if you've already found them).

    I spent a long time pausing and replaying the various sections on this http://www.knittinghelp.com/ marvelling all the while that a woman somewhere in America had been thoughtful (obsessive?) enough to film herself knitting every conceivable stitch or combination of stitches for the benefit of new knitters like myself. Still pop back from time to time when I come across an instruction which is new to me, and she's never let me down!

    and http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/ very, very helpful for socks.

    Good luck and have fun. Oh and make sure you do it on a train or a bus or something, people are amazed by the sight of knitting on four tiny needles!

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    1. But what if the train or bus jolts suddenly and I end up with four tiny needles stuck in my chest?!

      Thank you for those links. I have already subscribed to the Knitting help lady and I shall check out the other one.

      I have already encountered a problem in that my stocking stitch seems to be on the inside of my sock. That can't be right can it?

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    2. Odd things happening to my computer — I left a message but it vanished into the ether, so I'm sorry if you end up getting this twice.

      First of all - tiny needles in your chest will no doubt delight goggle-eyed passengers.

      Second, I think your sock has flipped itself inside out, don't worry, try poking your sock back through your needles and you'll see that it should right itself. Sometimes knitting this way, inside out, is recommended for fair isle as it stops the floats becoming too tight.

      And once you've mastered knitting socks, you'll find that knitting hats and mittens in the round is a complete doddle. So much nicer than having to sew things together at the end. Almost everything I knit is worked in the round as I hate sewing things together — I'm hopeless at it, and end up ruining a perfectly adequate piece of knitting with lumpy seams.

      Have fun.

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    3. Thanks Charlotte. I have sorted my inside-out problem. Google told me I should imagine my knitting was a cup and I should knit from the bit I would drink out of. I was knitting from the other side of my cup. I turned it round and pushed my knitting through so that the yarn was on the correct side and off I went -nearly finished the leg part now. Hell turning is coming up soon.

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    4. Freudian slip there! Heel turning is what I meant.

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  31. I love knitting, I've been knitting since I was old enough to hold the needles, but I have never made socks. I admire you:)

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  32. I frequently swear when I knit - socks anyway. Or anything lacy. I do believe it's obligatory? But I love knitting anyway.

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  33. It was just cool enough yesterday to return to my sock knitting after summer. What a lovely thing to come back to, socks are small enough to take anywhere and simple enough to put down and come back to easily. And then you get socks!

    I learnt to knit and knit socks from youtube too! And I still go back for tips and tricks. After trying a toe down, heel wrap and then a kitchener stitch finish I decided that I would do anything to avoid kitchener stitch. Now I do a toe up, short row heel and a stretchy bind off. But that's what suits me,

    Happy sock knitting!

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  34. Sue, it's great to see that you are knitting some socks. I am a Jane Brocket fan, and think that her books are inspiring in a very friendly way. When I was thinking about trying to knit some socks, i looked at a lot of books. The wonderful basic, clear words in Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks won me over and it is still my favorite sock book. It's published by Interweave Press. Highly recommended by me!

    Your yarn looks lovely. It's fun to knit socks with vari-colored yarn...keeps every round of that spiral interesting. Once you get the hang of the heel turn (and Ms. Budd explains this wonderfully) the rest is easy.

    xo

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    1. Thank you Frances for the recommendation I will check her out. I am enjoying my sock so much ...so far.

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  35. You're going to have some gorgeous socks! And I love the quote from Jane Brocket--so true--must have another read of The Gentle Art of Domesticity.

    K x

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  36. I love the yarn and I'm sure when finished you'll love wearing the socks!

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  37. I am in awe of sock knitting. I have just picked up my knitty sticks after 8 years and am sicking with a garter stitch rectangle blanket!!

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  38. Oh, well done you for having a go. Even if the heel turning proves too much, you'll still have leg warmers. And sorry, but there's only one, and will only ever be one, Jimmy Page.

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    1. I can announce that I have in fact turned a heel.

      And yes, you are right about JP

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  39. I love that Jawoll yarn! I must visit Chipping Norton. Or perhaps I should leave it until I've finished everything I've got on the go at the moment...

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  40. When you knitting in the round on 4/5 needles, starting on a new needle knit the first stitch, make as if to knit the second stitch but before you do tighten up the first stitch so you dont get a "ladder"
    Jawoll is great and so are some of the other german sock yarns.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Lizzie.

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  41. I'm learning the mandolin from books and Youtube. Sadly I won't get a sock out of it.

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  42. Goodness, that wool! The colours are causing me to hyperventilate.

    I am in awe of this four-needled shenanigans. It is tantamount to calculus if you ask me.

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  43. I learnt how to crochet on you tube...What would we do without the internet?? Isn't it fab? The yarn you've chosen looks lovely. Knitting socks sounds like a wonderful idea but I'm really pants at knitting.... I'll just have to stick to crochet for the moment. Good luck with it!! Pati x

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  44. Laughing here as Wyoming Cowboy learnt Stairway to Heaven as his first piece, always takes me back when I hear it. Sorry, haven't visited for a bit so going for a wander!

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