Sunday, April 29, 2007

Socks - Big Honking Men's Socks

I need to find friends with smaller feet.

Actually, these are for the boy's oldest brother (recently turned 30). They were supposed to be for his birthday party (which I was invited to) but I since I didn't go (I was sick), I figured they didn't have to be done just yet. So that was about 3 weeks ago. I've seen Brother #1 (he has 4) twice since then, but I ran into one disaster after another with these socks.

To begin with, I'm not really sure what I was thinking. Men have big feet. Very big feet, particularly compared to me, the only person I've ever knit socks for. Still, I had to knit socks for him. At one point, he expressed an opinion on the construction of socks - he particularly liked reinforced heels and toes.

Take a minute to absorb that. A male, non-knitter expressed a reasonably sophisticated 0pinion on the construction of socks. This, for a knitter, is a call to arms. Or needles.

Things started well at first. I picked up some plain black Cherry Tree Hill and a new pair of size 1's (I'm brutal on those things) while I was in DC and set about knitting. When I got home, I picked up some dark grey sock reinforcement from the secondary LYS for heels and toes. I did an afterthought heel, which was totally new to me, and kind of fun. I got to the end of the first sock with little problem, except for the heel and kitchenering the toe (something I had not yet successfully done).

The second sock, though. It's not that I have second sock syndrome, I really don't. One sock doesn't do you much good (especially since wearing one sock is a particular pet peeve of mine), so it's hard to think of them as anything but a pair. But this sock was cursed.

I had missed the deadline a little, but I thought I could finish them up quickly before I saw the brother again. Not so.You may remember seeing these socks when I went to go see the Yarn Harlot. Look closely at that picture. See how many needles are in that sock? Two, with a third haphazardly pushed in. (She kindly didn't mention that.) I was knitting with a set of 5 dpns. I managed, by throwing them in bag when I went to go see the Yarn Harlot, Queen of Socks, to entirely pull out two sock needles and drop a handful of stitches. I was so frustrated after that, and didn't want to recover from that mess, that the socks sat untouched for about a week.

When I was done being angry with them, I started anew. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I had only dropped a few stitches, and only a few rows down. The rest hopped back on the needles without incident. Okay, I thought. I could get these done in a day.

Not so fast. I brought them with on one of my long boring shifts (they may suck, but at least I can knit at work) and was ready to go. I finished toe #2 (sans kitchenering) and hopped back onto the heel. It turns out you can work an afterthought heel just like a toe. Isn't that spiffy? I'm going to try the more complicated heels at some point, but I really the way that works. Nice symmetry. I got a little help from the Favorite Socks book, which I got with a coupon at the LBS.

Unfortunately, I ran out of sock reinforcement. I don't know if I got a short skein, or what, because the ladies working at the secondary LYS assured me that one card would be more than enough for a pair of men's socks. The hours I was working did not permit me to get back into the shop for a couple of days, which was past the time I would be seeing the brother again. Sigh.

I complained the people at the secondary LYS, and they were very nice and apologetic. They offered me another card free of charge, which I thankfully took.

Back to the heel then. Except, then I started measuring it. I had planned on a fairly deep heel, but as I kept knitting, it became obvious that I had done something slightly wrong in the math. Never mind the fact that I'm a physicist, that I minored in math, that at this point I think calculus is so easy as to be boring. I can't do simle addition and subtraction. I was figuring out the length based on his shoe size and this chart, but I hadn't left enough leeway for a very deep heel. I really don't know what I was thinking. I had to pause again, and wait till the boy could try it on and let me know. I stopped the heel just at the point where it fit his foot. I wish I had made the instep part shorter, but I certainly wasn't going to rip back, so a shallower heel it was. The boy assured me it was a very comfy sock though.

After that, it was only a matter of kitchenering heels and toes. I hadn't actually done that before, mostly because I'm too lazy to get out a needle. All the socks for myself had a three-needle bind off, which I don't mind at all. But since these are a gift, and since a three-needle bind off wouldn't feel very good at the heel (you really can't feel it at the toe), I broke down and did my kitchener. It wasn't so bad, really, especially when you do all the grafting parts at once. I suspect that for myself, I will still be lazy and do the three-needle bindoff, just because I don't want to go find a sewing needle.

I have to say, I'm extremely happy with how they came out, after all that. They look really good with the reinforcement. I may do that again.

I know these are all pictures of the socks all unfilled and unformed, but I assure you, they look really silly on me.

Here's the boy modelling them, but he's not a very good foot model.

In other sock news, the boy wants a pair now. I suppose it's not fair to have them for his brother and not him. I'm planning on doing the Space Invader socks from knitty, but we'll see how long that takes. Maybe by his birthday (a mere 6 months away).

In Summary:
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in black (100% superwash merino) , 1 skein, with sock reinforcement in dark grey, 1.5 cards
Pattern: K2P2 ribbing at top, basic toe, afterthought heel, reinforcement at heel and toe
Needles: Size 1 dpns (set of 5), which actually survived this time
Cost: $22.50
Time: Could have been about a week, wound up being about three and a half

1 comment:

DancingFish said...

At least your feet are small so only your gift socks are big! I will be able to gift small socks but ones for myself will have to be big =)