Thursday, 28 February 2013

Next Step Sock Knitalong in Review

I can hardly believe that we set out on this 'next step' journey a mere six weeks ago, because it feels like I've been knitting 2 at a time socks forever... and I mean FOREVER. The reason for such a late post today is that I was still knitting D's Never-ending socks until lunchtime, when I would normally have written my post, so I had to wait until the kids were in bed. Anyway, here they are - finally (unwashed and unblocked!)...
NSSkal - D's never-ending socks
These are not quite perfect, and I would have preferred it if the stripes were matching, but D says that they are the most comfortable socks he has ever tried on and couldn't believe how well they fit (he is a serial sock spoiler due to these large feet, which I hasten to add are perfectly in proportion for such a tall man, and no - he's not a hobbit as was suggested on Instagram when I posted the FO pic!). He is already hoping for more, but I need to forget the tedium of knitting these before contemplating that.

Over the course of these 6 weeks I've finished three pairs of toe-up 2 at a time socks: the sample socks for My Boy, my Random Cotswold Socks and these for D - clearly I'm going to have to make a small pink pair sometime soon as a certain little lady has her cute button nose out-of-joint to have missed out on this occasion. The new skills I have practiced are (1) knitting two socks at a time on a circular needle (which has already been put to use for other things), (2) this sewn bind off which I love and may well become my default as it's so flexible and gives real control over the tension, and (3) learning to accept things that aren't matchy-matchy. The latter was the most difficult and probably the only thing I am still not entirely comfortable with. 

The book I bought for this knitalong was Toe-Up 2-At-A-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. In honesty, I have mixed feelings about it. The designs are really nice and the initial "sample sock" section was great with lots of detail and really clear step-by-step instructions. When I made the sample, this was exactly what was required. Unfortunately, this level of detail continued throughout the patterns and it really got in my way - I ended up scanning the pages for the pertinent information and was concerned I may make errors through not reading the patterns properly. 

I frogged the first (enormous) pair from this book and went back to my trusty Wendy Johnson book (Socks from the Toe Up) and adapted my favourite plain pattern which is written for one at a time socks on DPNs but the patterns are much clearer and less cluttered. When I came back to the 2-at-a-time book for D's socks, I rewrote the basics of the pattern into my notebook so that it was really simple and easy to follow and I am pleased with the outcome. Would I recommend this book to friends? Errrrrm.... maybe not. I'd probably suggest they watch a few good 2-at-a-time videos and then use their toe-up pattern of choice, or that they borrow this from a library for the sample sock section.

So I learned some new skills and made some socks. All of that is fine, but I could have done it alone. What made the last 6 weeks so very enjoyable was the wonderful community of people who were knitting along from all around the world and at all different levels - from first sock attempts, to complicated techniques. It has been amazing and truly inspiring and I would like to take the opportunity to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for taking part and being so generous with their encouragement and support.

There are almost 300 #NSSkal photos on Instagram (see them online here if you don't use IG) and over 90 member of the CftC Ravelry Knitalong group which will remain in use for the next kal. Here are a selection of the finished projects...
Knitted by (IG/Ravelry usernames are given here): Vrothenbuhler x 3, cariadjude, ohdeerlette, sarahboirin, littlebobbins, rosedahlia, supertinks, tinkhickman, Tipsymoth, Tickety-boo, prgrundy, happyLV, Vrothenbuhler, Ummrania, ohdeerlette, ALazyBeauty

Aren't they wonderful? There are lots more projects that are not finished yet and I didn't get the time to check permission to post some of the other pictures here, so please do visit the group/tag to see more. Of course people have also been blogging about the kal, so here is the final linky. You know what to do - add your URL below and then link back to this post for your readers to find the other participants.

I'm now deciding what to cast on next... and I'm also wondering what the next knitalong should be. What do you think?


  1. I'm yet to try two at a time or toe up - I've been thinking about the Wendy Johnson book too.
    How about a springy kal? I'm planning to knit a top in May?!

  2. I feel more or less the same about the whole sock knitting thing, it has taken so long to produce something so small really. I'm glad I've learnt the skills, and the socks are beautifully comfy, but by 'eck they've bored me to tears!

    Love your blue socks, they must have been a real labour of love, I don't think I could have stuck it out to make bigger socks, it's always worth it when they are appreciated though, I guess having to return to socks again for little miss will at least be an easier job.

    Thank you for organising the KAL, looking forward to seeing ideas for the next one..for now I need some crochet!

  3. So many socks!! They're amazing.

    Here's my FO:

  4. They look brilliant! Although I do feel like I have been knitting them for ever!! But, I'm already planning my next pair, just in sport weight yarn to make them quicker!!!
    I can't wait for the next Knit Along, thanks so much for hosting it and all the encouragement xx

  5. Three pairs in six weeks? That is a great accomplishment. The collage of everyone's pair is terrific. I'm bummed I had to drop out.


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