Handmade Conversations — Knitting Socks on Straight

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013

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Have you ever knit a pair of socks? Typically, socks are knit in the round. Author Alice Curtis teaches a new way to knit socks, which is straight! In her book "Knit Your Socks on Straight" (Storey Publishing), Alice teaches several techniques and innovative patterns for knitting socks on straight.

How did you first get started knitting socks, and what do you love most about it?

I knit my first socks when I was newly married and worked in a yarn shop in New Haven, CT. I found the socks years later when I opened my yarn shop in Little Falls, NY, but I had "forgotten" how to do it. It took me three tries to get it right. Now I knit socks often because they use a small amount of yarn, are very portable and they can be little works of art. My girls love every pair that comes off my needles and hope they can have them, but that's OK because I love to see the pleasure they get from wearing them.

I love the idea of knitting socks on straight! How did you develop and grow this technique?

I had a really fun group of beginner knitters that were really interested in knitting socks but didn't feel ready for circular knitting. I wanted to keep their enthusiasm going so I checked out some two-needle sock patterns. They didn't work out for several reasons, so I began to think of a way that would work, that was easy to do and with socks that feel good, too. I enjoyed the process and the students loved making their socks. I feel like each design I come up with is like solving a puzzle. It's a challenge where certain rules have to be followed, and when the design works out and looks the way I envisioned it, I am so happy.

Do you have any tips or advice for beginners knitting socks for the first time?

Whether you knit flat or in the round, a good pattern with the sock-making process broken down into steps helps a lot. Practice the parts. For instance, it only takes a few minutes to do just a heel flap and heel turn to learn that part. Be patient with yourself. Go slow and trust the instructions. Take a class on socks. Learn to "read" the knitting so you understand what a knit and a purl looks like. So what if it's not perfect? The next ones will be better. There are no sock police!

What 5 supplies/items would you suggest for a beginner who is just getting started with knitting socks?

Aside from the obvious yarn and needles, it is useful to have stitch markers. Also a stitch gauge ruler or tape measure. Sock yarn is strong because of the nylon, so a nice pair of snips is good and, of course, a yarn needle to finish the ends neatly. Lastly, a cute little work bag is a must so you have a place for your project and supplies and it's portable.

I've heard that many knitters like to knit in public spaces, like the movies or in their car. What your favorite unconventional place to knit?

I do like to knit in my car, doctor's offices, school hallways, at the park on my lunch, or anywhere I need to wait. It's easier to say where I don't knit. But the most unconventional place I have ever knitted is in a patient bed in the emergency room while waiting for the doctor to see me. I had my arm propped up on a pillow because the IV was right in the crook of my arm. I hope I never break something!

Show us what you are knitting or crocheting this week! It’s easy to upload your project on CraftFoxes to share with the community. We’ll choose some of our favorite yarn projects to promote via the blog and social media. Come back every Monday to see what yarn project we are loving.

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