Socks with Sarah, a KAL for 2014

Susan B Anderson made a huge splash a few months ago when she posted a photo of her sock drawer and it changed the knitting world immediately. It sounds so funny, but at a time when I think a lot of knitters were getting a little tired of the shawl craze and were searching for the next ‘it’ thing this sock drawer  — filled with every color under the rainbow — sparked a creative fire in knitters everywhere. Suddenly we were all asking ourselves, “Why doesn’t my sock drawer look like that?” Personally, mine had three or four handknit pairs lost in a sea of cheap workout socks & SmartWool. I am perfectly capable & I live in an area where socks are mandatory 9months out of the year… so why doesn’t my sock drawer look like Susan B Anderson’s?

Many of the bloggers I follow started featuring sock projects. Fellow local knitters started pulling more sock projects out of their knitting bags. The Yarn Harlot, well, she’s been knitting socks continuously forever because she is awesome. Even the very popular Knitmore Girls started #operationsockdrawer in which they decided to give new homes to their uninspiring handknit socks and start in earnest to create a sock drawer akin to Ms. Anderson’s. Yes, it seems everyone is talking about socks. Knitters, I think we’ve found ‘it’ — socks are the new ‘it’ thing.

As any knitter will do in the face of such collective enthusiasm, I started trolling sock yarns and patterns, sifting through my stash, reading reviews and searching for new techniques. I immediately started making to-do lists and mentally scheduling my sock knitting. What would be reasonable? How much sock knitting would be too much? Too little? Do I want to just make simple socks or try tougher techniques? I wonder if anyone would want to do this with me?

And thus, the idea for a knitalong was born.

Here’s what I propose, my friends:

Let’s knit socks.

Everyday.

For a year.

Now before I scare you away, I want to be clear. I am not proposing that we knit at break neck speeds to see who can crank out the most socks in a year. Oh no, that’s not my style at all.

The goal of this KAL is to condition ourselves to incorporate sock knitting into our every day lives.

Whether I knit a whole cuff during a Saturday movie marathon, or turn a heel in the 20minutes before my kids wake up, or work the stitches from needle 1 while I wait in the doctor’s office — whether I am knitting a Cookie A sock with multiple charts or a straight-up vanilla sock, I want to take advantage of the enthusiasm erupting from this renaissance of the sock to bring it back into the bread & butter of my knitting. There is no project easier to travel with, easier to pick up & set down quickly, and no more essential item in our arsenal of handknits than socks. I know a lot of us have socks going at all times — for me that usually means my sock sits in its bag until I am in between projects, I knit on it until I figure out my next project, and then pack it away again. And repeat. I want to change that attitude to one in which I am happy to pick up socks for at least a few minutes every day, not because I can’t think of anything more exciting, but because it is part of my day — maybe even something relaxing to which I look forward. Oh, and look in your stash. I bet you have some yarn suitable for socks in there, too. What a great opportunity to use some of that up!

While I certainly don’t plan to solely work on socks during 2014 (nor do I recommend that because personally I would go crazy), the idea here is that we simply bring our socks out every day and knit on them. We all know that a little knitting over a long period can go a long way — how would 365 days of sock knitting change your sock drawer? How would it change your knitting routine?

Why knit with me?

So many people are knitting socks right now, so why knit with me?  Why not?!  If you are like me and you are finding your way back to socks, join us — this will be a blast, I promise! Maybe socks never stopped being your mainstay — that’s great! — you can join us, too, and maybe shoot us some pointers or just share your projects. Never knit a sock before? That’s ok, too. I will be creating tutorials along the way to help you through the intimidating spots. I will also have a thread in the brand new Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group  — pop over & say hi! — where you can ask questions and share your progress & triumphs. I certainly can’t take the place of a good quality class at your local yarn shop, but if you don’t have that option available to you I would be happy try to help you!

So, in reality, how is this going to work you ask?

We will be knitting on socks everyday January 15, 2014 – January 14, 2015.

And really, that’s the only requirement for this KAL.

Easy.

At any given time I will be writing about & creating tutorials for the patterns I am working on — you are welcome to knitalong with these projects or work on patterns of your own choosing. I will be starting with my favorite basic pattern, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock. This is my go-to plain sock pattern & is a fantastic first sock pattern for anyone new to sock knitting. The design team at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas have done a fantastic job with this pattern and have made it extremely easy to follow, but just in case you are still intimidated by words like “heel flap” and “turning the heel” and “gusset shaping,” the good folks at CYT gave me the ok to create some tutorials for you. So don’t worry, you can do it!

As the year goes on, my plan is to have at least one CYT Basic Sock on my needles at all times — for time in the car, for relaxation knitting, and just in the interest of creating a routine of sock knitting. In addition, I will be working more complex patterns & techniques here & there just for fun & to keep things interesting. Because I know a lot of us like schedules & timelines, I will also provide a schedule for the first CYT Basic Sock as well as any future new patterns I am working on. You certainly aren’t required to follow these schedules, but I will provide them for those who appreciate the motivation a timeline can provide.

Why start on January 15th?

I wanted to give us all time to get settled into the new year & back into our routines. I also want to give you time to gather your materials.

For those wanting to work on the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock with me right at the start, you will need:

1 copy of the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock Pattern  — please purchase a copy via your LYS, the CYT website, or Ravelry if you haven’t already

(Remember we want to support good designers, photocopying patterns for family or friends denies designers payment for their hard work — Don’t do it!)

Your choice of EITHER about 400yards of Fingering weight yarn OR about 300yards of Sport or DK weight yarn

The pattern provides directions for both weights — if you are worried about the speed of the project or 2nd sock syndrome, I strongly recommend the Sport/DK version. They work up much faster! And as always, remember: When in doubt, buy extra yarn!

Set of 4 double-pointed needles in EITHER US size 1 or 1.5 (for fingering weight) OR US size 3 for Sport/DK version

I will be starting with the traditional double-pointed needle knitting standard for the first set of socks & will not yet touch on 2-at-a-time or magic loop methods.

Remember to check your gauge — I can’t do that for you and it can make all the difference in a sock that fits or a sock that does not!

Between now & the KAL start date on January 15th, I will be writing some informational posts about yarn, needles, tools, resources, & mental preparation to get us all ready.

So who’s ready to knit some socks?!

sockswsarah