Thursday, July 20, 2006

Goldisox Rides Again: A Rant

I have nicknamed my beloved husband Goldisox. He isn't crazy about the nickname but even he has to admit it fits. This Search for the Perfect Fit is a bit like a dog chasing her tail except for the fact the dog has better odds of catching her tail than I have of ever ever making a sock that fits him perfectly.

Now I'm not saying anything I didn't say to him (and at extremely elevated decibel levels) but when a man with an 11" long foot says to begin the toe decreases at 11" so there will be lots and lots of "extra room" and you do exactly what the man says and measure out a 13" long foot (with a round toe because Goldisox says they're roomier than grafted toes) that even my limited math skills say provide 2" ease for wiggle room and shrinkage and he puts them on and says -- and I quote here verbatim -- "They fit but just barely," --- well, would you blame me if I strung him up by the Bulky Fixation and hung him outside to dry?

Here are some basic sock knitting truths:

  1. You have to truly love someone to knit them plain black socks
  2. You have to truly love someone to knit them plain black socks when they have big feet
  3. You have to truly love someone to knit them plain black socks when they have big feet and a certifiably insane fear of having their toes restricted by said plain black socks that are infinitely more comfortable, roomier, and toe-friendly than any other skimpy, stretchy, nasty nylon sock he's ever owned.

I think I actually shrieked something like, "I'll never knit you another sock again as long as I live! Never! Never! Never!" but I can't swear to it.

The embarrassing thing? I cast on a new pair an hour later. I am going to knit the perfect fitting pair of socks if it kills me.

Or him.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

REVIEW: Cool Socks, Warm Feet - Lucy Neatby (book)

Cool Socks, Warm Feet by the brilliantly talented Lucy Neatby is the book that opened up the world of sock-knitting to me. As strange as this may sound, the layout and feel of the book broke down my defenses and calmed my raging sockophobia.

This book is spiralbound and that makes a surprising difference. When you're struggling with needles and yarn, you shouldn't have to struggle with the pages of your book as well. What a pleasure it is to flip to the page in question and have it lay flat. Sheer bliss. The book is beautifully laid out. The color photos are luscious. The directions are clear, direct, and easy to follow. The patterns are varied in style and experience level. The various design changes possible within a pattern are spread out before you like desserts at a buffet. Choose one! Choose all! Round toe? The directions are there. Kitchener? It's there. Wedge? Of course. And same goes for heels. There are cuff choices. Cast-on options. Cast-off methods I'd never heard of before.

And the Chimney Toe! You'll find great instructions for this innovative toe grafting method on Lucy's website.

Sock books used to intimidate me. The information might as well have been written in ancient Greek for all that I could understand what they were saying. Lucy makes the incomprehensible crystal clear. I began with her basic sock on page one and I instantly made the pattern my own. Now I'm not the kind of woman who writes in her books but I found myself scribbling notes in the margins, circling my size options, adding technical data for the changes I found myself making spontaneously and -- to my amazement -- with great success.

What can I say? Some books are simply perfect: the way they look, they way they smell, the way they sit in your hand, the way the photos leap out at you and practically dance on the table top. For me, this is one of those books. I don't know how she did it, but somehow Lucy Neatby reached out from those pages, squeezed my hand, and said, "You can do it! You can knit a pair of socks."

And she was right.

You can find Lucy at her Tradewind Knits website.

But beware. Once you start knitting socks, there's no turning back.

Barbara Bretton

(Originally post to Romancing The Yarn)