The one knitted gift I did not finish before Christmas was a pair of socks for my brother, Alec. Luckily, however, all of the nice relaxing time I had at my in-laws' provided ample time to finish them up before we met in Washington DC for New Years.
Pattern: Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula by Amy Swensen for Knitty
Yarn: Regia's Kaffe Fassett Sock Yarn, 2 balls of Landscape Caribbean
Needles: US 2 32" circular (for Magic Looping)
Start to Finish: December 22 - 29, 2007
(I'm not sure if the look on his face is saying, "Wow! I'm so thrilled to have a pair of socks handknit by my sister!" or "Um, smile, smile, when the heck am I going to wear these bright, stripey monstrosities?!")
Notes: This was only my second attempt at a pair of socks, my first toe-up, and my first time doing the Magic Loop (the right way), so it was a pretty good learning experience for me. It may have been wise to follow an actual pattern, rather than just a "formula", but again with the learning...had I not made the mistakes I did, I would not have known as well what to do next time.
Mistake #1: I made the sock way too big. My first attempt had the circumference at about 10.5". I think I was in denial...I waited until after I had gotten so far as the heel to rip it out and start over. Everyone who had been watching me knit for the days prior agreed it was a good idea. Gosh, even Harry looked at me like I was crazy.
Mistake #2: I made the sock too long. Because I didn't have my brother's foot in front of me, I had to guess at its length. I know he wears size 12, so I looked up what that meant in inches and made the sock that long (11.3"). In retrospect, I should have added a little bit of negative ease, because it ended up being slightly too long for him.
Mistakes #3, #4, and #5: Binding off. First, I bound off in 2x2 rib and realized it was too tight even for me. I bound off more loosely, but still too tight. I ended up doing a round in 1x1 rib and then doing a sewn bind-off, which worked well and was loose enough, but the yarn turned brown right when I started so it looked kind of weird and sloppy. I ripped it out, ripped out a few extra rows, and tried again and it worked. If anyone has any tips on binding off at the cuff of a toe-up sock, I would love to hear them.
After all that, I'm fully prepared for my next pair of socks!