Socktoberfest Postmortem

At the beginning of the month, I had one pair of socks on the needles.  It was a project that had stalled out of boredom and gauge concerns.  As the excitement of Socktoberfest washed over me, I decided to cast on a new pair of socks in a perfect autumnal color palette.  Then, in the final days of the month, I took a class and cast on yet another pair of socks.  That’s 3 pairs of socks on the needles.  It’s nearly driving me insane.

Pair #1

After a significant hibernation period, I pulled this sock out to see what, if anything could be done.  I sat on the floor of my craft room and turned picked up the gusset stitches and knit a row or two.  Still not loving it, but also not quite ready to rip it out.  It could be the perfect mindless projcet for me at some future date.  Back into the bag it went.

Verdict: Hibernate.

Pair #2

These socks have been wonderful.  The yarn and pattern are working together in a perfect symphony of color and texture.  I have one sock down, and about half of the second sock to go.  Hopefully I can finish these off this week.

Verdict: Finish Soon!

Pair #3

In a fit of excitement and  curiosity, I signed up for a class on knitting 2 socks on 2 circular needles at the same time.  This is something that appealed to me for a couple of reasons.  First, I regularly suffer from SSS (second sock syndrome), and this looked like a great way to eliminate that possibility altogether.  Second, I have always been circular-curious.  Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting socks on double-pointed needles.  But there is the odd occasion where it would be nice not to have to worry about dropping a needle, or poking yourself in the palm of your hand when reaching into your knitting bag.  I also had the feeling that knitting socks with 2 circulars would be less strenuous on the fingers and hands.

I signed up for this class at one of my Local Yarn Shops (I know, how lucky am I to live where I have more than one yarn shop to choose from?!).  This store is more disorganized than not, so it should have come as no surprise that just about everything associated with the class was a mess.  When I signed up, the owner of the store couldn’t tell me what pattern, yarn or needle size we would be using.  My inner teacher’s pet started feeling anxious immediately.  How could I be prepared if I didn’t know these things?  So I called the store the day before the class and was told I needed to come in to pick out my yarn.  I made arrangements to get there 30 minutes before the start of the class to do this.

When I got there, the instructor*** pulled out 5 colorways of worsted weight Artyarn for me to chose from.  I immediately gravitated toward this great grey, pink and aqua yarn, which I then had to pay for on top of the fee for the class.  And because I didn’t already have two size 5 circular needles, I had to buy those too.  So, a class advertised for $40 turned into a $75 experience in a flash.  If they had made that clear when I registered for the class, I may not have taken it!

I then had to divide the yarn and wind it into two balls by hand because they don’t have a swift and ball winder.  As you can imagine, this turned into a mess.  Fortunately, a kind and patient classmate helped me untangle it all.  But I digress.  You are probably anxiously waiting the end of this rant so you can find out how the class was and whether or not I like the technique!

Well, it made no sense to me at first.  Two balls of yarn and what is essentially 4 needles and 2 cables is a lot to manage.  They strive to get entangled and twisted.  It’s difficult to discern which needle goes where when it’s time to knit.  But I knit on, patiently following the instructions and waiting for it to come together.  Sometimes knitting is like that: you just have to knit blind and have faith that it will make sense at some point.  Usually it does, and this time was no exception.  About 4 rows in, I had my epiphany.  I get it!

I’m tickled to have learned a new technique, and I love this yarn.  But… It’s a little fiddly for me.  I know, double points are fiddly too, but it’s not the equipment that’s bothering me.  It’s the constant untangling and yarn management that’s getting me down.  Do you have any advice on how to keep things neat and separate while knitting?  How do you prefer to knit your socks?

I am thrilled with the knitting on 2 circulars bit, and I can definitely see myself knitting one sock at a time this way.  So now I am at a cross roads with these socks as well.  Since the class didn’t provide a sock pattern (ahem…), I’m kind of knitting blind here.  And I’m not sure I want a pair of worsted weight socks, so I’m thinking about ripping these out and using the yarn for something else. Ugh.

Verdict: Undecided.

All in all, I was happy to participate in Socktoberfest.  It gave me an excuse to think about past, present and future sock knitting, inspired me to take a class, and resulted in the purchase of 2 skeins of sock yarn, a new project bag, and that nifty wooden needle holder.  I think I was a true sock fanatic this month!  I hear November is Knit a Sweater month…

***While the lack of organization and information about this class was frustrating, the instructor did a good job. She was patient and took time to help everyone figure this tricky technique out.***

5 thoughts on “Socktoberfest Postmortem

  1. I recently started knitting socks on two circs, and I can’t imagine ever going back to DPNs. KnitPicks just got a huge order from me when I filled in all my missing small gauge circular needles, so now I have a pair of each size from US0 to US3 (including both sizes of US2; how weird is that?)

    But, knitting two at a time just sounds like a recipe for frustration. Every time I’m tempted to do it, I chicken out. I’m impressed that you would try it for your first time out with two circs!

  2. Pair # 2 are gorgeous and I can understand why you’d give them priority! I think pair #1 just need to be saved for a time when you need more mindless knitting – that’s what my self-patterning Fake Isle socks were great for.

    Very interested in hearing about your experience with that class and the technique! I’ve been wanting to try that – but I’m not sure if that’s something I can teach myself, and there are classes or anything where I live. Also – I only have one pair of worsted weight socks and I have to say – I practically never wear them! Occasionally as house socks in the winter but that’s it. So you might indeed be happier ripping and using that lovely yarn for something else. Good luck!

  3. i love your little clear project bag! So cute.

    As you know I havent tried socks (proper ones anyway) yet but if I do it will be DPNs all the way I think. Have you tried magic loop? I have a friend who knits her socks that way and although it looks tricky , she assures me it is not so. 2 at once sounds like a recipe for knots!

  4. Rotate the projects to avoid boredom! I just bought one of those small project bags from Michael’s today. They are clearing them out in my store and they are now dirt cheap, if you need another, check it out.

    I don’t think I would like worsted weight socks either, but it is quicker to learn at that weight. Magic Loop is essentially the same as with two circs, just with the one long needle. You might give that a try as well and you can do two at once with that too.

  5. I find it easier to have 2 different lengths of circulars when knitting 2 at a time,or use Addi which come in silver or gold tips. That way I always knit with the correct needles. At the end of the round, take a second and straighten out the yarn balls. It will keep the tangles manageable.

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