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28 September 2010

Adventures in Knitting - Socks, More Socks and a Sock Monkey


I thought I’d update you all with a bit of knitting. My most recent finished project is a pair of socks I started knitting in the South of France. Socks are fabulous things to knit on holiday as they are so portable and the little wooden toothpick-like needles I use never get stolen by airport officials.

These socks became nicely imbued with seawater, sand and suntan cream and bring back many happy memories  - particularly of turning the heel sitting in a lovely cafe’ in Aix en Provence while sipping a citron presse’.  It’s one of the unsung pleasures of knitting – wearing the finished items always brings back memories of the actual process.

(The pattern is Hedera and the yarn is a Limited Edition sock yarn from Sundara Yarns.  All details are to be found on my Ravelry page).



When people see my handknit socks, I always get told ‘you should absolutely sell those’. Which is very lovely and everything but if you add up the $25-$30 including shipping for sexy sock yarn and then conservatively estimate 20 hours of knitting at $8.55 an hour (Washington state minimum wage), it means that I’d have to charge at least $195 per pair just to break even.

So you can imagine how happy I was when a big hole started to appear in my previous pair of $200 socks. Desperate measures were clearly called for, so I sat down in front of my computer and an instructional video on YouTube and proceeded to darn my socks.  I felt just like a character from Little Women (minus the computer and YouTube obviously).

It wasn’t that difficult, was very satisfying and actually looks OK despite this being my first attempt (though it’s lucky the hole is hidden in my shoe).




The darn from the inside


And from the outside


Finally, don’t tell the Minx, but I am knitting her a sock monkey for Christmas.  Her name is Carmen Banana and she comes in a kit from Knit Picks with the patterns to make a huge wardrobe of lovely clothes. So far I’ve only made some assorted limbs, but I’ll keep you updated on my progress.  You will notice that I have ‘knit a sock monkey’ on my list of 101 Things.




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wow, that's really fabulous! i love the darning. i have to admit, socks scare me. :( i just can't turn the heel! *sigh* someday, i promise, i will make a pair of socks!!

Have been v curious about what a sock monkey is, especially having recently read ds 1 an american novel which involved a sock monster, and which clearly assumed one would recognise the concept.
I am about to belatedly start my craft project for ds2's birthday - a "dolly you can take its kidneys out", which given that I have never even made a normal rag doll could prove interesting. My sewing machine (40+ years old, and away in a cupboard for the last 20) seems to be just about working - wish me luck!.
Nice even knitting by the way.

haha. that paragraph about selling your socks made me laugh. i totally understand that. people always think it's so nice that we knit, sew, crochet some things but they have NO idea of what the material cost. after i knitted the scarf i thought "yeah.. easy to make, doesn't take too long, could offer that in my etsy shop..." but then i added everything up and together with the shipping the scarf would be so damn expensive that i doubt that anyone would ever buy this. no. i'm fine with doing things just for myself every now and then. and thanks to you i'm even more inspired by knitting now. the socks are just LOVELY! and i wish i was good enough already to make one of those monkeys for my little niece. it's hilarious. one step at a time! :-)

Illahee, I've seen your stuff on Rav - you're a plenty good enough knitter to knit a sock! There's a link in this post to the tutorials that I found particularly useful, but there's LOADS of stuff on You Tube etc. Go on, you can do it!

L, sock monkeys used to be made out of actual socks - traditionally from a certain brand of knitted sock which had a heathered brown body and red heels that were used to make the mouth (Americans out there probably know more) so there's a very recognisable sock monkey aesthetic. But this one is proving to be very fun to knit. It's all made up of tubes knitted in the round, with 'heels' forming the bottom and face, so it's very similar to knitting socks in construction.

Loving your ragdoll idea, you must post pics on FB.

Lou, I'm so thrilled you've started knitting and can't wait to see your next project. I always try and challenge myself to learn new technique per project - there's always something new to learn and so many different directions to go in, which makes knitting so pleasurable.

how fun to read about the sock monkey. i haven't heard of this ever. i have to find pictures of the traditional socks. maybe i can make one like this since i really can't think of how to knit with 4 needles to get a tube.
i now know how to knit right but haven't figured out yet to knit left. i just DON'T get it. i might join the knitting class on mondays in the little shop where i bought the yarn. let's see. cause i really want to knit that pouf. but since i'm in my etsy shop preparation i have only limited time doing things for myself.

I have NO IDEA what you mean by 'knitting left' otherwise I would try to help.

Knitting 'in the round' to make a tube is very easy and you can also do it on a circular needle (needles joined by a cable). I just use small double pointed needles (DPNs) because they suit the way I hold my knitting.

I taught myself to knit in the round from YouTube as it's a much more American than European thing for some reason, and if I can do it you can too.

Beautiful. And what a beautiful memory, also. How do you find the time to be so fabulous? I consider it a banner day if I keep the kids in clean clothes and manage to slap on some lipstick for the weekly trek to Target.

ah. i have needles with a cable. i'll try to knit round next time i make another scarf.
here in germany they say "left/right stitch" (the word stitch is from th dictionary. i'm not sure how you really call them in english.) that's right stitch
that would be left
and those left stitches i don't get. at least not from this video and i can't find a better one on youtube.

Dee, if you saw my house at the moment you wouldn't think I'm fabulous. This blog is VERY carefully edited...

Lou, there are two different stitches in knitting; 'plain' or 'knit' stitch, which is the equivalent of your 'right' stitch. And 'purl' stitch which is the equivalent of your 'left' stitch.

There are also two popular ways of knitting (though lots of other different ways all over the world).

In America they're known as 'English' style where you pick the yarn up and wrap it round the needle and 'Continental' style where you pick up the yarn with your needle. You are doing knit stitches in Continental style, which is the most popular style in Germany.

I always knit the Italian way, which is a modified English style with my needle tucked under my arm, flicking the yarn over with my finger. Google Continental style, English style and under-arm knitting to see the differences.

I don't knit Continental very often but my understanding is that the 'right' stitches as you call them are very easy, but 'purl' or 'left' stitches are very tricky. I suggest you search on Google and Ravelry for 'purling Continental style' to get vids on how to do it. Or else just look up 'purl' stitch when you'll get vids of how to do it English style. But maybe it's better that you just go to a yarn shop and ask them to show you.

Also if you knit something in plain stocking (stockinette) stitch in the round you won't need to purl at all, so I suggest you try a hat or something for your next trick...

aaaahhhhh. now i know. how fun that there are so many ways of describing the knit. i remember my mom knitting the italian way. haha. now that you mention it. i see.. i still have a LOT to learn. though i'm currently working on my second scarf. :-)
thanx for the help!

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