crazy for socks/no caps allowed

excuse my lack of posting. i've been busy. ok, i'm lying. sort of.

seriously, i thought about posting at least twice (two friday's have passed, and i tend to blog on friday, i think?), but i ran out of content, so i had to pick up my knitting. it was never put down, don't know why i worded it like that. anywho... i'm working some serious overtime on my knitting, and of course, everything else is falling to the wayside or whatever that saying is. my fingers are killing me softly! damn you metal needles that i love so much. but considering that i'm knitting on 5 items right now the finishing is slow, hence the light posting. who am i trying to convince here? ;) maybe you'll get a friday post this week to make up for lost/wasted time. there is some silk+merino fiber that i'm spinning right now that is too lovely to not be shared ;) digressing as usual. *sigh*

alright, back on topic... part of my "busy" includes me finally knitting socks. or a sock.

 what the, what the?! don't they sell this ish at the store???

who wants store bought, when you can rock handmade yo?!
isn't that awesome?! a handmade sock. seriously, i'm tripping off this.

............................................give me a moment.........................................

ok, i'm back. who knew socks would be so mind-blowing for me. anyway, this is a shot of the sock from last week (wednesday the 2nd)... when you continue reading, you will see where i am now. i'm not knitting on this project monogamously - i currently have 4 other knitting projects going, a few sewing projects, and a spinning project -  but it's still making fast progress!

this sock (soon to be a pair) is from the book "favorite socks: 25 timeless designs from interweave" and these are the "retro rib socks" (page 9 if you have the book). I purchased this book probably about 2 yrs ago when i first started getting serious about knitting. i knew for sure one day i would be knitting socks. and 2 yrs later, here i am. the sock yarn i'm using is "happy feet" by plymouth yarn company. the colorway looks like #22 on their page, but i'm not sure as i have no clue where the ball band is :\ the yarn was purchased about 2 yrs ago as well at a knitting store closing. both skeins were like $3/each or something irresistible that i could not pass up. the yarn retails anywhere from $6-7.99/skein, so yeah... 1/2 off ain't bad. a $6 pair of high quality socks ain't bad either ;) we won't factor the labor into that.

look! just like in the picture!!! :D

here are more sock pictures. less rambling... ha!
oh really quick... let me share some of the process shots, so you can wrap your mind around the sock construction. and don't act like you aren't wowed by this, because it's pretty dope. and yes, i'm a dork!

ok, so you start off knitting a tube, or the "leg" of the sock... then 1/2 of the stitches get worked on only, and become the "heel flap" (the part of the sock that, you guessed it, lays against your heel. who knew it had a name!)... once the heel flap is done short rows (totally not going to explain them, sorry) are used to form a heel cup (or the "heel turn").

ok i won't be a jerk, i'll explain short rows as best as i can. basically they are what they sound like. a shortened row. you don't work the entire row of stitches; you only work till a few stitches to the end of the row (ugh, tongue tied), then you turn your work around and work your way back to the other side. the number of stitches you work to is predetermined. the number of stitches keeps decreasing until you reach the established amount of stitches appropriate for a heel. basically, short rows on a sock will pinch the sides of the knitting in and that is how you get that cup shape as seen below. if you sew, think darts! darts make fabric fit over curves and hug the body. here is a video showing you how this is done in case if i've confused you to no end ;) hell, even i'm lost, and i've already done this part of the sock! *phew*

now if that wasn't complicated enough (or at least totally beginning to blow your mind) there are a few more ways that you can knit socks. i know, i know. don't you hate when people have to find other ways to do the same damn thing?! ugh. but honestly, i love it. i dork out on this type of thing. so yes, my goal (this year) is to knit a sock in all the different ways - and from the sock books i have i'm only seeing 3 or 4 methods - ie: top down/heel flap (which is what i'm currently doing), toe-up (from the floor up yo!)/heel flap, top-down/short-row heel, and flat, and additionally 3 or 4 different methods depending on the type of needle you want to use - ie: 4 double point needles, 5 double point needles (which i'm using in the photos), 1 circular needle (magic loop) or 2 circular needles. i know... total ***mind $%@#*** right? is your brain about to explode?! geez louise!

ok, this particular sock is knit "top down" or "cuff down" with a heel flap. i'll discuss the other methods when we get there. baby steps, geez. on to photos!

 [outside view]
heel flap and heel turn (or cup, as i like to call it)

[inside view]
can you see it?! isn't that heel cool? :D

then, once you finish the heel cup (aka "heel turn"), you go back and grab the stitches from the side of the heel flap (and maybe 1 or 2 more so you don't have any holes) and knit them to the stitches that you thought you could forget about. you know... the ones you left alone for a bit? yeah, they don't magically become a sock without work ;)  wuhhh? um...just nod like you understood that.

hopefully i haven't lost you. pretend you are still interested aren't totally glazed over and wipe the drool off your chin, it's time to see where i'm at on the sock today. fun!!!

[front view]
the pattern is coming out cute :)

[back view]
that's like... 6" of growth right there! recognize.

[side view]
so that little inverted "v-shaped" area is called the "gusset" 

the gusset is created by what i mentioned earlier - picking up edge stitches from the heel flap and knitting onto the remainder of stitches that you left alone for a bit (the front of the sock). again, if you sew, you know what gussets are - triangular/wedge-shaped pieces of fabric that are sewn into v-shaped wedges of fabric which create fullness, except for on a sock, it doesn't create fullness. it just fills in the v-shaped gap with stitches and this helps to really contour the sock to your foot... oh, nevermind. i feel like i did a better job at describing that, but just google this ish if it sounds interesting. and it does, right? simple things folks, simple things. sorry i'm not rambling on about the latest playstation game, how i felt about the super bowl half-time show (which i did not watch), or the latest youtube video of keyboard kitty remixed with antoine dodson. yeah, run and tell that! anywhoooo... i keep up with pop culture. if those references went over your head... i don't need to tell you where to go... ;) and no, it's not hell this time!

and we've reached the end (finally, good lawd) of the blog.
i've never wanted an out fast enough. the verbiage gets confusing until you actually knit the sock. i promise. if you are knitter, and you are interested in making your first pair of socks i encourage you to do so. it's awesome, i swear. forget about anything negative you've ever heard about it, it's all hype. for real. don't believe the hype.

if you love knitting, knitting quick/instant gratification items, keeping small projects on you for "just in case" moments, and learning new things this is absolutely for you. there are tons of resources out there to help you along on the journey, and not to mention how much more awesome sock yarn is! a book i would like to recommend (if you are a visual learner) is "teach yourself visually sock knitting" by laura chau (for my ravelry folks she is "cosmic pluto"). check your local library, or purchase it if you can't be bothered with the library. no but seriously, this book is fantastic, it breaks it all down from tools and materials to use, to some of the lingo/stitches used in sock knitting, the anatomy of the sock and the different methods of constructing socks, troubleshooting and care. it's really a great read. and what is helpful is this book is loaded with images (visual, duh) included on the step-by-step construction part. so if short rows and gussets trip you up, this is a time-saver.

if you are one for a little more "technical" info... you know, the stuff you can really sink your teeth into, or if you would like to just jump right in head first and design your own socks (or learn the basics of design) then i would recommend checking out "sensational knitted socks" by charlene schurch. this book is fantastic as well. same concepts as above, but this book breaks down how to "customize" a sock with a basic recipe - select size, select your needles and materials, select pattern repeats, select stitches, and you're off. there is some really helpful info regarding adjusting a pattern to accommodate different foot and calf shapes, as well as making more durable socks. really, really great section. fantastic book. i read the entire thing in one sitting. yeah, yeah, who reads these kind of books for leisure? I DO!!! ;) oops, caps *doh*

track my progress here on my ravelry page!
or on the progress bar located in the top right column of the page.

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