Monday, January 19, 2015

FO: My First Vanilla Socks (with Sprinkles)


It may surprise you to hear that in all the years I have been knitting socks (9?), I have never made a pair of completely plain stockinette "vanilla" socks.
My first two pairs were both Jaywalkers.  I loved them to bits (literally), even though they were too big round the ankles and slid down into my shoes.
My sock-knitting ambitions quickly outstripped my experience and I actually designed my Cinderella's Secret Stockings pattern very soon after making those first few pairs of ankle-highs.
So here we are, in 2015, and I have just finished knitting my first pair of plain socks.
And guess what?  They fit!
They fit properly!
OK, so I haven't washed or worn them yet, but I can tell straightaway that this is a different sort of a sockish beast.  They have negative ease - that is to say, they are snug-fitting, and stretch slightly to accommodate my foot and ankle.  It had never occurred to me that this might be a good idea.  I have always erred on the side of comfortable caution, with the result that at least one pair of my handknitted socks can perform a 3-point turn inside my wellies.
I have had a few people contact me over the years, asking for advice on a good basic sock pattern for the beginner.  Readers?  Here it is!
There are plenty of other sock recipes like it, but I can confirm that this one works for me.  I will be making more of these!
Stats:
Pattern:  Vanilla with Sprinkles by Jenna Krupar (Retro Lemon Studios), 56 stitch cast on
Yarn: Regia Colorations or Garden Effects by Kristin Nicholas, colourway 3311.  If you buy it branded "Colorations", it comes in a 100g ball.  If you buy it as "Garden Effects", it will come in 2 x 50g balls.  It's the same product, just a different put-up.
Needles:  A set of 5 x 2.5mm double pointed Clover bamboos.  They are still my favourites.

Process:
I cast these on on Christmas Eve and finished sock one in the hospital waiting room.
An elderly lady patient was absolutely fascinated by the self-patterning yarn and said she would love a cardigan knit up in it.  I don't think she was dropping hints!
And that's the thing about this sort of wool - it impresses both knitters and non-knitters alike.
FL kept asking me how I managed to get the stripes to line up like that. Honestly?  The yarn does it all by itself!  I would love to say it was all about my Mad Skillz but it's not true.
So, combining a super-simple well-written pattern with a super-clever Fake Isle yarn, even a beginner sock knitter can be the star of any waiting room entertainment scenario ;)
In case you are wondering, I deliberately avoided making them identical to each other.
Asymmetry strikes again!

Verdict?
I love them.
They are mine all mine and you can't have them... unless you knit your own.  And you definitely could - go for it!


8 comments:

serendipturas said...

I've been on a similar journey, through Jaywalkers and lace, and now rarely knit anything but plain vanilla or ribbed socks, BECAUSE THEY FIT. (Although I love seeing beautiful patterned socks that you and other knitters produce). I'm a sucker for a bit of self patterning fairisle too.

poppyinstitches said...

they are beautiful! I have been given some sock yarn and just favorited the pattern on ravelry - next project lined up!

Joan said...

I have been skirting gingerly around the idea of knitting socks. What's holding me back? My low threshold of boredom makes me a candidate for Second Sock Syndrome. That pair, though, is irresistible. The yarn arrived yesterday!

Donna Hensley said...

I love those - that's some of the best self-striped yarn I've ever seen :)

RooKnits said...

I am sitting here in my Roobeedoo made socks (still going strong, maybe 5 ish years on) and I'm amazed you have never made vanilla socks until now. Those are lovely :o)

pennylibrarian said...

I love these and I love that you can do heel and toe combos. I may just have added these to my Ravelry queue!

Lucy said...

Negative ease is wonderful. Having started off sock knitting around the time of the FLK heel pattern release, I've only ever done it that way and have regularly wondered why my (narrow) size 9s only need 54-56 stitches where other people are merrily knitting with 72. Your post has confirmed my suspicions - surely their socks are all really loose and baggy?

Daisy said...

Will definitely have to look that pattern up.