I have successfully finished my first cuff down socks! It felt a little like driving on the other side of the road, but I kind of liked it. It turns out I have been avoiding cuff down socks for no reason. Although the socks required two of my most dreaded knitting skills: picking up stitches (along the side of the heel) and kitchener stitch (to join the opposite sides of the toe together), those were relatively easy hurdles to jump (with the help of some youtube tutorials and the very clear instructions at the back of knit. sock. love.) I chose Monkey socks by Cookie A to start me off in this new direction for a number of reasons:
1. Of all the socks in knit. sock. love., they seemed the most approachable, and I’ve been anticipating actually using this book for months.
2. They are wildly popular (with over 16000 projects on Ravelry), and I presumed that that many people can’t be wrong.
3. They’re lacey enough to be pretty, but solid enough to be warm.
While I’m pretty happy with the results, I’m a little underwhelmed; their enormous popularity and the overall beauty of knit. sock. love. set my expectations very, very high. They’re cute, but they’re not spectacular. To be fair, that may also have to do with the disappointing way that the colour was distributed in stripes in this yarn.
They were also socks wildly in need of blocking, which launched me on a new adventure. I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to details, so I tend to do as little blocking as possible. It isn’t essential for everything. Many objects come off your needles looking great, but in general the more complicated the texture, the more you need to block (this is especially true for lace). Blocking can give your knit objects shape, and can even rescue the odd stretched out or otherwise misshappen sweater (even if you picked it up at the mall). Basically, you wet the knit garment and carefully stretch it into shape, leaving it that way to dry.
Previously, I have just dampened my socks and pinned them down, but these socks clearly demanded more discipline. I looked online for sock blockers, but found this set of DIY instruction instead. The suggestion to use a placemat was ingenious. After a quick trip to the dollar store, I had these. I traced the wooden sock holders at my local yarn store, and added a hook at the top, so that my socks could hang from the shower curtain rod as they dry. Success!