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Sock Innovation

April 12, 2010
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About five years ago I discovered sock knitting. My desire to knit socks was heavily influenced by this photo. I quickly discovered that toe up socks were totally for me. During the past several years I have tried cuff down socks but it has always ended tragically, with a cuff that would not fit over my heel. (Or once not-so-tragically in these fingerless mitts that everyone seems to love).

However, these tragedies never prevented me from thinking that someday it would work. Someday I would make a cuff down sock that fit.

I suppose you can now say that day has arrived.

I bought the Cookie A Sock Innovation book right before Canadian Thanksgiving. I skimmed it and then decided to rework one of the patterns to be a toe-up sock. This didn’t work out well, but it was mostly due to my choice of yarn + needles.

But I still had that yarn, and it was almost two years old, and I really wanted to use it to make a sock in a super interesting pattern (I always envisioned it being one of Cookie A’s). So, just a few days after declaring to a table full of my friends that cuff down socks were just not for me, I cast on a pair of cuff down socks. Never say never, I suppose.

And I knit them, and they fit.

Wanida Socks

It was a miracle, I know. I did swatch and add a few extra stitches to the cuff just to be safe, but beyond that I can’t explain why it worked this time. Just to make sure this was not a fluke, I decided to cast on another pair from Sock Innovation. My decision coincided perfectly with a very informal Sock Innovation KAL going on at Round The Twist. (You should actually go back and watch all the episodes. I’ve found the videocast really motivating. There’s something about watching someone set goals and achieve them weekly that really gets me focused). Anyway, the KAL started with the first pattern in the book, Glynis, so my decision of what to knit next was sort of made for me (sometimes it’s easier that way).

Glynis Socks

Look, they fit too!

Now let me explain something before my friends think I’ve gone off the deep end. I am not advocating cuff down socks for everyone. I still think toe-up is the best way to go for beginners, and I’m not even crazy about how the cuff down socks fit. I still prefer toe-up socks. If my knitting was not to the level it is I would not be making these socks, because honestly, it’s fiddly. I’m doing them one at a time on bendy bamboo DPNs, I’m picking up 40 or so stitches for the gussets and grafting the toes and I’m only enjoying these things because they’re a novelty. I’m appreciating the rhythm of working a Cookie A chart, making a heel flap and decreasing down the foot. It’s like rearranging the furniture in your living room after having it the same way for so long. Sure, the TV is now controlled by the light switch, but you can see different stuff out the window when you sit on the couch!

Anyway, I’m now deeply embedded in this cuff down thing, and as I explained to a friend the other night it’s not even about the socks. Sure they fit, sure I’ll wear them someday, whatever. That’s so not the point. Toe-up is about knitting socks, cuff down is about knitting.

Oh, and I’ve started another pair.

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