Last night, I was so excited when I finally got through a ribbed cuff on the knitting machine. Until now, I kept dropping stitches. The way the ribber attachment is placed on the machine blocks the view of the sock until you remove it. By then, you’re usually pretty far into the sock and it’s so disappointing when you find it didn’t turn out and you’ll have to manually fix it.
But, I took my time and watch every dang needle grab at the yarn trying to figure out why I kept dropping stitches. It was painful and slow, but I got through the whole ribbing section without any issues. So maybe I just need to go very slow.
In case you were wondering this yarn is Red Heart’s heart & sole – jelly beans.
For lunch today, I stitched up the toes and hid all the loose ends. Tomorrow, I will have some jelly bean colored socks on my feet and I’ll get to test how much of a difference the ribbing makes. The colors aren’t really my style, but they’re the first with ribbing at the ankle, so I’m wearing them!
Just visually comparing the two styles of a hung hem and a ribbed hem you can see a pretty big difference. I know it’s hard to tell from the photo but that’s about a 2″ difference. The bottom one is about the actual size of my ankle, so the ribbed one should grip on pretty well. But then again, I’m comparing two different yarns, which by the size of the stitches look to be pretty different…. so who knows.
Once I get some more practice in on these hems I’ll be moving on to the next item on my checklist: rounding out the heels and toes better. I’ve been watching YouTube videos on it and it looks pretty simple, so hopefully, that goes quickly and easily.
My first round of socks have all been sewn up and I’m starting to wear them. I’ve noticed a few things:
First, they are super cute.
Second, they are so soft and stretchy.
Third, it will take some time to get used to the texture on the bottom of my foot. Because I’m using sock yarn, and not a lace weight yarn, each loop is noticeably bigger and you can feel that on your foot when you walk. It’s not uncomfortable in any way, but you will notice the difference from a commercial sock as you wear them.
As I wear them I am slowly creating a list of changes and things to learn as I make each future sock. A few of the future changes will be:
- Change hung hem to a ribbed hung hem
- Round out the toes and heels better
- Try lace weight
Last night, I started playing around with the first one and started setting up the ribber attachment. I got a lot of extras with my machine so I’ll be slowly trying and playing with each thing until I get my ideal sock. Getting the ribber set up was a chore, but once everything was aligned and screwed down it was pretty simple. It was, however, very slow and tedious to remove and replace needles all for 30 rows of a cuff. I know I’ll get fast at it, but it seems like a very big pain in the butt for such a small section of each sock. But I got it working and the ribbing does seem like something I will want on my future socks.
Every year I usually buy myself some crazy expensive gift for my birthday. Some years I go a little crazier than others and this year I think I kept it pretty tame.
I have been looking at sock machines for years on eBay. But the price point for something like a 70-year-old machine with no support (especially if you have no idea how to use one) is pretty high.
A few weeks ago I came across a post the Erlbacher Gearhart has started reproducing their old machines. So I jumped on it and got their new speedster model with a bunch of goodies to go with. I was emailing back and forth with them for a while before purchasing making sure I would have everything I needed to hit the ground running when it arrived.
Two days before my birthday, a small wood box arrived with everything screwed down inside. I was surprised that it actually came with tools (like, real tools, not cheap things you’ll throw away), a spool of scrap yarn, a picture of the box (which I assume is there to help you put it all back in if you decide to put it away), a starting bonnet and a bunch of other stuff.
I had already done some yarn shopping before it arrived and watched a bunch of YouTube videos so I pretty much instantly started pumping out socks as soon as I put it all together.
There are still some manual and tedious things to do in sock making even with a fancy machine like this. Hanging yarn on the little hooks isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but now that I’ve done it a few times I am getting pretty quick at it. And I find sewing up toes with the dreaded Kitchener stitch actually pretty relaxing.
But ask yourself how long would it take you to knit a sock? Hours? Several evenings? As a beginner it’s probably taking me about 45 minutes with this machine and that is taking my sweet time and learning as I go. There are videos of people easily making a sock in 8 minutes. Isn’t that crazy!?
And watching it work is pretty mesmerizing even if you’re making a boring grey sock…
And here’s a sock I just cranked out that I’ll be wearing tomorrow.