After knitting four more pairs of socks than usual, I wouldn't go so far as to say I have my "personal recipe" down, but I have learned a few things about what I like as I knit more socks.
Less is More: As in- less needle diameter equals less sock diameter, equals less floppiness, equals more likey. I think I'm finally getting an even tension for my knitting and find I do better with size US 0 needles. My gauge has been consistent on the last three pairs I have knit, thanks to my Karbonz and cheap bamboo. I think my days of accidentally knitting floppy house socks are over.
Sock blockers give me confidence: If the sock is a little tight before blocking, I know I've got it right. After a soak and block, they fit perfectly. So, I finally broke down and ordered some Bryson sock blockers in the small size. I am so much more confident about the size I'm knitting if I can barely stretch the WIP over the blockers, but once wet, they fit well. It also makes capturing the stitch pattern way easier than having to find a bright patch of sunlight on an area of floor that isn't covered in pet hair for a photo-op of a crumpled mess. Now I just need to find a place to hang them where the kitten can't reach them. It is eery how well I know what things she will go for. I knew she would covet them. Right now, my method is to put the socks on the blockers and hang them over the top hinge of different doors, sticking out into various rooms. My son-in-law gave it a puzzled look, but it is the only safe place. For the moment.
Cuff-down, toe-up... tomāto- tomäto: I also find that I don't really care whether I'm knitting cuff-down or toe-up. It's all the same. I've got a measurement for foot length that works for me and it can be plugged into any pattern. It's now just a matter of convenience. For instance, I'll probably start a cuff-down pattern at the movie theatre tonight so I don't have to think about decreases for the length of the show.
I don't want my family to shun me on movie night: Once I thought I'd do all of my vanilla socks two-at-a-time, but I'm changing my mind. It's not as portable as the lone sock and ball of yarn. It's okay if I know I'll be knitting on my couch, which truly becomes my couch when I'm knitting. I have room to let project bags, my iPad, and yarn, spread out. Even the dog can run, jump, and slide across knitting books to find a little corner to sleep in. But, no one is appreciating it in restaurants or during movies. And guys, I thought I would lose my mind in that last X-Men Babies movie without something to knit on. Let's face it, one of the reasons I started knitting was to avoid feeling a little bitter about the time suck of tv and movies that I didn't enjoy. (The fact that I now watch plenty of tv of my own volition for the convenience of busying my mind while knitting, is beside the point.) I need my hands working during a movie that is not wonderful.
Below, it happened to be an all day music fest where I was only interested in a handful of the bands.
I need to knit up a couple of pairs of socks quickly to get back on track with the Box o Sox Knit-along. Next up, I think I will join the Floralong with the Herbstblatt Regina group on Ravelry. This KAL goes thru August, so I know I can finish a pair of easy vanilla socks, even when trying 9 inch circulars for the first time.
Are you doing any sock challenges this year, friends? And how is it going?