Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Addiction of Hand-Knitted/ing Socks

A year ago, (gosh is it only a year ago?!) I made my first pair of hand-knitted socks.  A daughter had lovingly gifted me a hank of sock yarn for a birthday, and so, well I didn't have much choice really, did I!
My first knitted socks - delicious!
And being a Kiwi of the age I am, referring to "wool" as "yarn" goes against the grain, but as it's not 100% wool I have to get with the programme.  Today I notice that whatever you knit with is called "yarn", where back in the day any self-respecting New Zealand knitter only ever used 100% wool, and "yarn" was a nasty plastic-feeling acrylic!
And for the record, and to justify it NOT being 100% Pure NZ Wool, socks need some (whisper it) nylon (sigh) in the mix or they just wear through.  And that's a lot of work for little wear....
Sock yarn is usually 75% superwashable merino and 25% nylon, and there are wonderful small businesses that spin and hand-dye so your socks are real works of art and creations of love.

Vintage Purls in Dunedin, Woolrae Studios in Te Awamutu (she sells on TradeMe) are just two of my favourite artists,  Raeleen of Woolrae has 25% NZ mulberry silk in her socks - with 65% merino, 10% nylon - this is a truly delicious yarn!
Sarah's Basket Weave Rib Pattern

I've knitted socks on circular needles, but my preference is on double pointed needles, I love my set of 5 size2.5mm bamboo ones from Ashford NZ.

Since that first pair, I've knitted nine pairs of socks.
I wonder if I need counselling?  That's bordering on obsessive.....
I've knitted other things as well - beanies for Kidscan, for instance, an intarsia hooded jacket for a grandson, and an aran jersey for a granddaughter, but socks are such an interesting project.
My daughter Sarah designs (amongst other things) yummy socks, and most of my sock knitting has been from her patterns.  I've test knitted for her, and her patterns are easy to follow, and accurate.

There is NOTHING as warm as hand knitted socks!  They are enormously comforting and toes are toasty in the frostiest weather!

To start with, my socks were for ME, but I am starting to heal my obsession by making them to gift.....
And although I probably have enough pairs for now, I do quite fancy a pair in purple...