Thursday, July 5, 2012


In an earlier blog, I talked about my introduction to knitting socks (so cool!). There was so much to share that I had to stop and save the rest for another time.

Red Lace socks for women
So today I’ll talk about needles and the importance of the first row.

I used my grandmother’s metal double-pointed knitting needles at first, perhaps getting some knitting effluvia from them while sending her happy thanks. But I found them a bit slippery. I knit loose. My grandmother was a very tight knitter. I remember watching her force her needles into stitches. That’s not me. So, the metal needles sometimes led to “Gah! My stitches fell off!” and the painstaking effort of getting them back on. (Sadly, reading glasses have become a must when knitting socks, especially with dark yarns.)

I’d been ordering quite a bit of yarn from websites, and came across Knit Picks, which has all sorts of cool accessories along with yarns. I ordered the 6" Harmony Wood Double Pointed Knitting Needle Set. The wooden needles were lovely. Best of all, they kept my stitches on, unless, of course I pulled the wrong needle when finishing a row. Yikes! Argh!
Selection of socks knit for my husband
(some have stretchers in to see the
pattern better)

When, much to my delight, my sister started knitting socks, I ordered a set for her, which she also enjoys.

A slight challenge I encountered on entering the world of sock knitting was that they were often a bit tight to get on, which could lead to tearing—or a frustrated recipient deciding not to wear the socks. (Heaven forbid!) This was due mainly to the first row cast on. My solution has been to knit the first 5 rows on slightly larger needles and then switch to my usual size for the rest of the sock. Since then, no problems getting them on feet … and no tearing!

My sister found another way to alleviate the too-tight first row using a different cast on, which provides for a more elastic first row. It’s called Old Norwegian cast-on. It’s a little tricky at first, but it results in a lovely cast-on row. Illustrations and instructions can be found at Knitting Daily. You can also watch a YouTube.
The only problem I have found with knitting socks is that once I give someone a pair, they love them so much they become regulars on my Christmas gift list. But I so-o-o love to knit them! (So, not really a problem!)

Happy socking,

Reah Janise 

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