sock clubs, personal and otherwise

i remember a little while ago knitting quietly in a collective somewhere, i dont remember the venue, but we were talking socks, and nancy bush, and how much we liked them, and how many of them we wanted to knit, and lyns looked up and said ‘we should have some kind of personal sock club’. mrs sockvictim was there, and knitterjp, and a few others i cant remember, and everyone agreed it was a great idea.

towards the end of 2010, the wonderful knitterjp posted this idea on the morris and sons group on ravelry, and the rest is well, history. a little group meant to be for knitting with friends has become bigger than ben hur, as word of blog and mouth travelled to all corners of the globe.

i am in two minds about this turn of events. the huge explosion happened while i was overseas, and when i came back, all the socks i’d voted for, including my own nominations, had been out voted. there was one pair of nancy bush that actually arent a favourite of mine for some reason, and no cookies. i pouted. i felt like our little idea had been taken over and wasnt about ‘us’ anymore. and it wasnt. in the scheme of things, thats fine. its lovely to see so many people interested, although people do seem to struggle with the concept of no rules. i understand its a knit-along of sorts, so people think we’re all supposed to knit the same thing, but as far as i know there are no rules for KALs either.

i dont have any qualms breaking the rules. i like the idea of deadlines to help me get some socks actually finished this year, but my time is too precious to be knitting patterns i dont like. im fussy about socks, and sock patterns. and i bought yarn in the US especially to match, so i decided to just knit what i wanted anyway. i packaged up 6 yarns, loosely chose some patterns, and put them in a bag:

the knitting police may come and drag me off to knitting purgatory, i do not care. oh wait, there are no knitting police.

i hated those shurtugals. stupid name. stupid left twist. yeah im antsy about it, and i dont mean to offend anyone, but i cant help how i feel. i felt a gazillion times better when i frogged them, and i switched back to a pattern ive been meaning to do for ages. in one night i did this much ‘hedera’:

i really like cookie a patterns. ive done a few now and sometimes they get complicated but they always turn out right (if you read the pattern properly). kai meis are my favourite socks ever. the only ones of hers i dont like are ‘rick’. just too hard, sorry cookie. but these ones are coming along just nicely, mostly because i dont have to look at the chart. we like that in our sock patterns.

the next ones in the club are nutkin, and thats easy. i love the pattern, and i bought the perfect yarn, koigu of course:

im looking forward to those. after that, things get a bit difficult. i was going to use this claudias hand painted for leyburns

but knitabulous tells me there is no stretch in that pattern, and thats not good for a person with actual calf muscles. so im open to suggestions there, or they can go to the bottom of the pile.

i really wanted to do the nancy bush’s that lyn nominated, Unst, and i bought this yarn in NY especially:

its a wool/silk blend and will be just perfect. but they’re long socks, and that might be where my PSC for 2011 comes to a grinding halt. if it doesnt, i really want to make wasabi peas (my own nomination) with this colinette jitterbug in morello mash,

and then im seriously thinking baudelaire with this blue wollmeise.

i quite like the boyfriend socks that have been chosen for S6, but im not sure about me and cables in socks. ive managed to never knit anything with a cable. can i keep that record intact for another year? (no i am not mad, im actually quite sensible. im already big enough without adding to my bulk with cabled garments, thanks very much). again, sock fiends, open to suggestions here too – what sock pattern best befits the blue wollmeise twin?

im interested though, how do you feel about S6, and KALs ย more generally? am i just a mean spirited knitting grinch perhaps? (i already know the answer to that). or am i right in feeling like life’s too short to knit what you really dont like?

k xx


About DrK

researcher, knitter, dog lover View all posts by DrK

25 responses to “sock clubs, personal and otherwise

  • Ailsa

    Of course you’re right not to knit what you don’t like.

    The leyburns have had mods made for the tight bit around the ankle, it’s not the leg that’s the problem, it’s the ankle. If you went up a needle size in that area, or cast on more stitches – rav can help.

    Would it be cheeky to say that the two options in your last paragraph aren’t mutually exclusive? One could, theoretically, be both.

    Me, I have no opinion on s6. I think it’s fine the way it is, but I concede I’m not fussy about my sock knitting patterns. Not being the biggest fan to start with I find most patterns as disagreeable as each other. I do like wearing knitted socks though, so it’s a necessary evil.

    • drkknits

      No not cheeky, I am a grinch. Who knows what she likes, unfortunately. Youโ€™re right of course, s6 is very cool, and shows what a great idea it is. Would it surprise you if my second grade report from Mrs greene said that I had trouble playing in big groups?! But very good to know re leyburn. I will look to rav for knitting help post haste.

  • 2paw

    At first, I thought it was an exclusive group, but when I realised anyone could join, it ended up that I didn’t really love enough of the sock patterns. Twisted stitches?? Yuck, I avoid them if I can!! And though I love the en masse collegial feeling of a KAL, like being in a choir, I decided I would just knit socks all the time, fast or slow, the ones I wanted to.
    I love all the sock wool you have chosen, and the colours are beautiful!! I haven’t knitted Hedera, and I have always meant too. I usually end up whacking a lace pattern on my usual plain sock that I knit, and I like ribbed socks too. I am a plain jane when it comes to socks!! Don’t knit socks that need stretch without any. I made the Pomatomus socks in cotton before I was sock savvy ad I threw them out. Awful.

  • Jan

    Like you I also hate the Shur’tugals. I started and ripped back. I should have left them well alone when I saw the stitch pattern. I hated the stitch a year ago and still hate it and it makes my fingers ache. I like the look of the finished socks but hate the process.

    I’m doing a basic feather and fan because I do want to use the wool. It’s one of Ailsa’s and is lovely to knit.

    Your choice for Nutkin will look lovely. I used similar shades for that pattern a couple of years ago and they turned out well.

    I’m using this as an opportunity to use some stash and I’m not sure I’ll knit each chosen pattern. Before Shur’tugal, I already had plans to to Black Rose as a wild card. I’ve done Hedera before and really enjoyed that pair. They may make another appearance too.

  • RoseRed

    You definitely should not continue knitting a pattern you don’t enjoy (unless maybe it is for someone you love very much!)

    I don’t think you should worry about cabled socks adding bulk – they’re only socks! And will mostly be under jeans. But if you don’t like knitting cables, well that’s a different thing entirely!

    The wollmeise will work well for any textured pattern, whether lace or cables, it’s just got such great stitch definition!

    I only do KALs where I like the pattern (or the type of knitting ie a lace KAL) – for the S6, I was only ever going to do 3 out of the 6 patterns, purely from a matter of timing. And luckily, I really like 3 of the 6 chosen, and they are spaced evenly throughout the year, so it worked out nicely!

    I think it’s kinda funny how it has turned into a big KAL, but that’s the nature of ravelry, and on the whole I think that’s a good thing. It’s nice to focus on our similarities and what brings us together. Perhaps I should be Pollyanna to your Grinch?

  • Bells

    at the end of the day (year?) six socks can/should be finished, patterns can be determined by the knitter.

    I wish it hadn’t become quite so big and gotten away from those first exciting patterns. I really do. But it did and it’s something other than what was first imagined now. Make of it what we will.

  • Nettie

    I think of this sock club sorta the same way I do a book club. I’m getting to knit patterns (read books) I might not normally knit (read). Enjoying it so far (haha 1st pattern) – those twists don’t bother me at all. But I also have another pair on the go, so I can move between the patterns as I choose. Also there’s no rush with this KAL – two months per pair? I reckon I can do it. But then again, maybe I’m not discriminating enough and just love any old socks. In fact, haven’t met a sock I didn’t like. Yet.

    Maybe you’re not really a grinch. Just discriminating ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jp

    I am enjoying the sock club so far. No rules means we will probably knit some of the same patterns and some different ones. I think I am actually interested to see what patterns people knit as alternatives.

    It’s interesting how the club evolved. I am surprised at the international interest. But we have noted a lot more people have emerged at various knitting events with Shur’tugals on the needles. It’s been nice to meet some new to me knitters.

  • Emily

    As an overseas joiner (but one who used to come to the knititng groups of Sydney and joined to play with my mates) I can still empathise with you feeling a bit taken over.
    But I’m loving the no knitting police thing – Shur’tugal was totally my sort of pattern, might do them again some time, and I can’t bear lacey socks – so we’ll have great variety in what we see from each other. Suits me! I’m loving the variety, and hope people knitting alternative socks will still post in the threads.

    The yarn you have for nutkin looks delicious, I’m looking forward to that pattern too. (And looking forward to seeing your US haul knitted up in whatever sock patterns you like best!)

  • gemma

    Gee Wiz Dr K, knit what you like, life is far too short to waste knitting time on stuff you will be unhappy about. Every time I see something from your trip I feel ever so slightly jealous. You and your sister look like you had the best time.
    be well, best wishes,

  • Sarah

    Ah grinch knitting is the way forward – you’ve got to love it – there’s enough in life that’s sloggy without making the knitting a should do thing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • LynS

    First of all, what gorgeous yarns! You should knit whatever socks you think will make the most of them.

    I’m a bit like Ailsa – I’m not particularly fussy about sock patterns and so I’m happily knitting along with whatever yarn and pattern comes along each two months. Left to my own devices, I’d probably knit Nancy Bush patterns for evermore, so at least I”m being challenged to explore different sock aesthetics (wow – rather a pretentious term) and broaden my techniques.

    I’m interested to see what’s become of our quiet s62011 sock club. I’m sure all kinds of lessons could be learned about the power of social networking. I like Jody’s point that we’ve met new knitters through the Shur’tugals. M&S gatherings have had a nice communal atmosphere with people at various stages of their sock knitting. The on-line forums seem to provide for networking of sub-groups of people who already know one another as well as more general chat and advice. I love the way the way the KAL enables us to reconnect with people we’ve met but don’t see any more, such as Emily and ProbablyJane.

    Personally, I’m pottering along with my not very much loved Shur’tugals (though I’m so in love with Ailsa’s pink salt yarn). And I’m interested to see people pottering like me, or zooming to the finish. Love the different effects the different yarns are achieving.

    And hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll have completed my six pairs of socks with varying degrees of satisfaction.

    • drkknits

      i love the way youve embraced it as a chance for personal growth, as well as GAAK lyn. and it is great to see how its attracted so many different people. from little things, as they say…

  • Tia

    With very little knitting time at the moment, and even less knitting mojo, I signed up for associate. Because I really DO want hand knit socks, and am not adverse to knitting socks, but my knitting perfectionism has always gotten in the way to finishing a whole pair. There are quite a few patterns in the chosen 6 that I have no interest in, so won’t be knitting them. I also have a pair of half finished Leyburns that I’ll be finishing during Leyburn time.

    I have no qualms in just chugging along with what I want, as there are no police ๐Ÿ˜€

  • justthreadtwiddling

    I kind of follow Nettie’s philosophy. But life is way too short to do things you don’t like, just because someone else is. Your yarn pics are making me a little envious! I really am trying to use this KAL as a sort of stash buster and NOT BUY any yarn for a while. I splurged and joined BMFA Socks that Rock Club this year so that pretty much uses up my yarn ‘allowance’ for a while.

  • gidgetknits

    Hmmm… I wasn’t really paying attention to that KAL. I’m very bad about KALs, but I know myself. I have enough timetables and deadlines in life without creating ones for my knitting. So hurray for you! You should knit what you like. Rules are meant to be bent and broken and it seriously isn’t hurting anyone. You have gorgeous yarn – whip it into the socks you love! And incidentally, cables in socks don’t really bulk you up and can be very satisfying and cosy. If you feel like doing cables.

  • Leonie

    I’m really not a fan of someone else controlling my knitting, it would be personal sock clubs only for me! Hope you can sort out patterns that work for you and your yarn. Who needs grinchy feelings over knitting? Not you!

  • 1funkyknitwit

    Well I too say knit what you want and if you must know mine have not even hit the sticks yet.

    I’ve read some dodgy comments on the shurtugals and as a novice sock knitter I may too knit another pair instead cause the comments are putting me off….ahhah

    I do like your Hedera pattern and I’m so drooooooling over that sock yarn, lovely colours !!!!

    knit whatever !

  • donna lee

    I know that feeling when you just say forget it and rip something out. It’s like a boulder lifted off your shoulders (a volunteer boulder but a boulder nonetheless). It’s a shame that the small friend kal turned into something huge. Don’t get me wrong, I like large kal’s for some things but there’s something to be said for an intimate gathering of friends.

    I have wanted to make Unst but just haven’t. I am determined to finish the bayerische socks (talk about cables and twisted stitches!) this year. They’ve been otn for over a year but the pattern needs concentration which was sadly lacking for a while.

  • missfee

    I think I am going to join you in unst – and also some of the others
    I am also sad that alot of the nancy bush patterns got lost in the flurry.

  • Emma

    When I first started reading about the personal sock club, I thought it was a great idea and was a little sad I couldn’t join on account of not being much of a sock knitter.

    You’re absolutely right in thinking life’s too short to knit things you don’t want to. Afterall, we knit for enjoyment. If it’s not enjoyable then it’s just a chore.

  • Ingrid

    I think that I might be one of the hijackers, except, that I’m not actually doing the club anymore. I started reading all the blogs where people said that they hated Shuturtle, and then saw my sister, who also hated it, and cast on a Gentleman’s sock in Railway Stitch. I’ve said it before, and will say it again, there’s nothing like a Nancy Bush pattern when you just want to follow a pattern

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