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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Socks and Frostbite

Do you see what I've done? I've done the heel flap and I'm on the heel turn of my first ever top down sock! I've come to some conclusions about socks in general and top down socks in particular, since everyone knows that knitting half of something (of course with a sock, its more like a quarter of something) makes you an expert. I've decided Nancy Bush is a genius. She wrote this book, Knitting Vintage Socks, and despite the fact that I've completely skipped the easy, more basic socks at the front of the book, she isn't punishing me. She is still holding my hand and walking me through how to knit this sock (the Child's French Sock - for women), patiently telling me exactly what to do when she could easily tell me to knit a French Heel and be done with it (she explained at the front of the book after all). But she is very kindly helping me through each step so that I don't overtax my brain. Thank you, Nancy!

I've also decided that many Western knitters and their families had severe frostbite of the toes. Why, you ask? Well, apparently Western knitters (I'm assuming we're talking about Western Europe versus Eastern Europe and the Middle East here) typically knit socks from the top down, while other knitters in more of an Easterly region knit from the toe up. As regular readers know, I've always been a toe up kind of girl, but I try to keep an open mind so I thought I'd give top down a whirl. When I sat down to knit last night, I was done with the cuff of the sock and ready to start something called a heel flap. What you see above - heel flap, stitches picked up again after the heel flap, and about half of the heel turn - is over 3 hours of knitting! So, therefore, I must conclude that if I were knitting socks to keep mine and my family's feet warm all winter, we would all have frostbite before I finished the socks (Caleb would probably be OK, he still has little feet, but Mickael? you're on your own, honey) I think this is also why there is so much discussion about socks wearing out. I've been doing socks for about 2 years now and I have yet to have a sock wear out. The closest thing to wearing out that my socks have experienced was when Ramius stole a puffball from one of the Pom Squad socks. My mom knit me some socks 5 years ago for me to wear while I was in labor with Caleb and those aren't worn out. So, I have to ask myself, why all the fuss about sock durability? After 3 hours of knitting last night, I get it! You top down people spend so much time doing the heel turn, that you need the socks to last for 15 - 20 years to get a good return on your time investment. I have come to the conclusion that as long as Nancy Bush (or someone equally patient) is willing to write a sock pattern that I can understand and walk me through every step of the heel turn, I will do an occasional top down sock. At the rate they're going, I should be able to make 2 pairs a year.

I'd also like to say THANK YOU! for all the wonderful comments about Bristow. I am so happy that you like the pattern! One thing I'd like to note, Shannon of the Comments asked a question about the gauge of the pattern which is 19 stitches/29 rows per 4 inch square and yes, this is correct. It sounded like a high row count to me too, but after counting it 5 times, then letting it sit for a week and coming back (because it could have been playing a trick on me) and recounting, its still 29 rows per 4 inches. Usually, if you get a slightly different row gauge, its not the end of the world, whereas we all know what happens if your stitch gauge is off.


Blogger Shannon said...

Thanks for answering my question. I've already done a swatch for the sweater, but now I think my row gauge might be off! It's a lovely design.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I was surfing the internet and came across your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how it makes such good reading.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

AIU Degree Online

5:28 AM  
Anonymous S said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm knitting a "Bristow" in white to wear for my wedding next september - thanks for the great design!

10:35 AM  

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