When I first learned to knit socks 13 years ago, I was taught on double pointed needles, top down.
In fact, that sock project was my first adult knitting project. (My friend and teacher Liz and I have many things in common, one of them being that we like challenging projects.)
I have merrily churned my way through — oh my god, Ravelry does not lie! — 47 pairs of socks over the years, most of them top down and usually on DPNs. It’s just what feels right. If I am doing plain a vanilla sock, I will gladly take it with me to the movies. Do you know how much knitting you can get done in the dark when you just have to go round and round?!
In 13 years I’ve knit 2 pairs (and some partials) of toe up socks. The first pair was knit almost 10 years ago in an orange colorway of Koigu KPPPM that was given to me as a gift. I loved the yarn, but the socks came out baggy. Whatever. I still liked them and I wore them until I wore them out (vowing never to knit socks with Koigu KPPPM again!) and stuck with my top down approach for the next many years.
As my knitting skills progressed and I met other knitters who had their favorite ways, I decided I should give it another shake. I cast on with some orange and red patterned Opal and got stuck at the heel. Those sat for a while. Like a couple years in the WIP basket. I loved the yarn too much to never have socks out of it so I bravely ripped it out last year.
On impulse this fall, I bought some Patons Kroy self-striping yarn that was on sale at the big box store. It was rainbow-y and under $10 for a pair, what can I say? I decided this was my moment to try toe-up again, so I could use every bit of the yarn. With a little help — encouragement, scolding, and nudging — from my friends, I made it through and knit the entirety of both skeins.
This pair of toe up socks fits better in that they are not baggy, but they have problems. I hate the kitchener toe, which sticks out and won’t shape to my foot even after being worn and washed for three months. Also, these tall socks have no shaping for my Hungarian peasant calves, so they bunch up around my ankles. I wear them around the house rather than try to stuff them in my shoes for both of those reasons. Since they contain nylon and get a little less wear than my other warm socks, they will probably last forever. First world problems, eh?
I know there are things I could do to make toe-up socks work for me, but I think I am at the point in my knitting life where socks are background, comfort knitting that I do not want to think about. Maybe I’ll try again in a few years; maybe not.
With not much more than a shoe size or foot length measurement, I can cast on a knit anyone a pair of socks with the formula in my head. Why mess with something that works?
What’s your comfort knitting project?