Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I’m shaping the toes of the second outré sock – so tonight’s session should see it finished. I mean to cast on Van Gogh for Ketki and get the ribbing established and then relegate socks, for the time being, to their old role as travel-and-waiting-room-and-emergency comfort. On to the sailor’s hat.

I found Gibson-Roberts’ “Simple Socks”. I have no memory of it – it must have gone straight from Amazon box to bookshelf. I also have her “Ethnic Socks and Stockings” which I will revisit today.

Simple Socks is more or less an EPS-for-feet. [=Elizabeth’s Percentage System – the EZ way to plan and knit a sweater.] It produced two reactions in me – one was embarrassment, that I have been knitting socks all these years without shaping the leg (except for kilt hose) and without even measuring the circumference of the foot. And the other was confusion – I think she spins things out a bit, to make a whole book of one system for knitting a sock. I got bogged down in the long-winded explanations. That should go better with an actual foot to measure, and an actual sock in hand being knit.

I am quite taken, at the moment, with the idea of a Sock Year (or however long it takes). Part of the point would be to deal with the sock-yarn element of the stash. Too boring to knit? Out! I’ll buy some more Kaffe. 

Those are good ideas, both, for making collections of heels without knitting entire socks, Marilyn and Tamar. But I think I want to knit entire socks. 

The difficulty is finding yarns boring enough to be worn by gents and interesting enough to be knit by me. Does anybody know anything about the wearing qualities of madelinetosh sock yarn? I notice that it’s 100% wool, which may be a bad start. But that’s the wrong approach – I’ve got plenty of things to knit in the stash and plenty of ladies who don’t mind lively socks, to knit them for.


Zite has been rich in curiosities lately.

This one for a knitted Mona Lisa, President Obama, and much more.

This one for a clock that knits a scarf (really).


  1. I do like your idea for a Sock Year to try out various heels.
    I haven't tried madtoshsock but malabrigo sock is hopelessly too-soft (100% wool) and only suitable for shawls. My husband's malabrigo socks barely survived two washings before he wore them through.
    Man-friendly colours can be elusive, but Austermann and Online (both German brands) are worth exploring for longevity and comfort. (Softer than Opal.)

  2. I found 100% wool quite hopeless for socks, especially male socks!
    My father, ultra conservative with a long line of Scottish forefathers, is not a fan of Opal either. I have used Regia for him - they do some nice dark solids. (The only problem is that they are very boring to knit!)

  3. Barbara M.11:59 AM

    There used to be some nice semi-solids in Trekking, which knits up beautifully. Austermann step is another I have loved working with...... I don't really think the aloe used in it makes it softer, but it does feel really nice both on the hands and on the feet.

    Barbara M. in NH

  4. Dream in Color Classy has some nice semi-solids, and it seems to hold up pretty well. Nothing seems to wear like the harder twist mixed with nylon yarns, though. Not soft or fun, but sturdy.

  5. Ooops, not Classy, but Smooshy is the sock yarn.

  6. Ruth in Ottawa2:03 PM

    My all time favourite for man socks is Regia. Mary Lou, my Smooshy socks wear out quite quickly; I no longer use it for socks. I think a bit of nylon is the key to long wear.

  7. Love the knitting clock! I entertained myself for several minutes thinking about my cat's reaction to a clock that knits.

  8. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Great posting. I found Malabrigo sock yarn a delight to use. I knit at a tight tension for socks so that helps wearability because of the density of the fabric. A tight spun yarn also helps the durability. The idea of a supply of sock heel samples is a good one - especially for teaching - but I'd rather knit socks as well. I guess you could alternate between more conservative yarns for men's socks and fancier colorways for women. - Joe-in Wyoming