Sunday, January 3, 2010

Whole Lotta Sox Finished This Weekend

For my first commercial venture, and in response to considerable nagging from family and knittin' peeps to make videos and patterns for sale, I've been putting together the sock lesson package. The high-def sock DVD is done, and the printed materials are next. I have the sock instructions written and have been proofreading and testing the pattern book. I wrote a narrative pattern with just the women's medium described, but there's also a chart with all twelve sizes. Once you've got the hang of the sock you won't want to read all that detail, and you can work all those sizes from the chart.

People have been surprised at my hesitancy to teach or design for pay. Well, ever since I sold my yarn shop in 1989, my knitting has been strictly fun and never business. I was cool with just the day job, no appointments or deadlines. Nothing messes up the craft experience like a deadline! But here I am, finally dipping a toe back in. If this product is well-received, that will be affirming and exciting and will justify my time investment. If it's not, I did it and certain well-meaning relatives (who hopefully aren't reading this) can stop bugging me. Why, this is a win-win situation.

After John and I checked all the instructions and numbers endlessly, I started checking gauge and knitting socks. I compare the measurements to the chart just to make sure my charting is accurate. Then I weigh the pair of socks and make sure my required yarn estimates are okay.

I wanted to get the majority of the sock package done before I go back to work tomorrow. Year-end where I work is crazy busy. I love my job but feel sad that this vacation time is over. Usually when we have time vacation we go somewhere, but this staycation was sweet.

Because the kids' socks take so little yarn, and I've estimated how many grams I'll need for the small ones, I'm using some fun leftover sock yarns to make them. I'm using the Weight Watchers electronic scale to weigh my little balls of yarn in grams. I hardly ever use it for food. I asked the WW leader when I bought it if it would be good for weighing small packages, and she said she thought so, but said nobody else had ever asked that question. She gave me the strangest look, and I'm sure she was wondering what on earth I was weighing. Of course, I was planning to use it to weigh leftover yarn, but I didn't explain that to her. I try not to let people know just how boring I really am.

The scale is very accurate, so I don't find myself out of yarn with a sock and a half knitted.

Pictured, from left: Knit Picks hot pink sock yarn; Knit Picks Bare dyed with blue Kool-Aid; Knit Picks Bare in the slubbed version; Knit Picks dyed with orange and lemon Kool-Aid; an terrific cotton/lycra sock yarn called Cascade Farms Fixation (a deviation from my general rule to stick to wool); another blue Kool-Aid dyed Knit Picks sock, and finally, a variegated sock yarn I purchased from Barry Travis on the sock knitting list.

I knit a lot of socks on the circular sock machine, but the great advantage of using the flatbed is that we can easily make tiny socks or huge socks. The circular machine has several cylinders with different numbers of needles, but I don't have the compound cylinder that will do childrens' sizes.

I want to encourage everyone who'd like to make socks to dig in and try this method. The knitting is fiddly at first, but after a while, you get a routine going. I am a slow MKer, and yet I'm getting a sock done and ready to sew in 20-25 minutes.

Oh, also, I put up new video YouTube versions of the 3 sock videos with NO MUSIC. The music was annoying. My husband told me it would be, and I should have listened to good advice!

I added a little segment on the regular DVD with how to fold the cuff with a garter bar. If you have a garter bar, this is the way to go. I was also popping my ribber stitches up to the main bed with a Shadow Lace tool...another time-saver that would make a good video one of these days!


  1. Hi Diana, would you, could you possibly give advice for those of us who would prefer to knit knee socks?


  2. Sure, I make knee socks sometimes. My son plays hockey and it's terribly cold sitting in the rink watching them play.

    You will probably find the circular cast-on for the cuff loose enough to go over the calves. After about an inch of 1x1 ribbing, change to 1x3 ribbing and loosen the tension. You will probably have trouble getting it to knit off each row unless you have the 3 purls be on the ribber and the 1 knit be on the main bed. Knit as long as you need to (this depends on the size of the calves, and mine are big, oops, I mean shapely). Then you'll want to scrap it all off and rehang it, because having the 3 part of the 1x3 on the ribber made it inside-out.

    Did that help? Good luck. Send pictures!


  3. Hi Diana, Would you be interested in giving a seminar? Thanks, Leda

  4. Sure, I love to teach. Depends on where it is. I do have a day job and would have to arrange to be off.