Last weekend, I noticed that some of my socks have been wearing out. It’s been about a year since I’ve made socks and my feet can destroy shoes pretty quickly, so it wasn’t a surprise to start seeing holes in my socks. I wanted to play with new toys, but I decided to get the sock machine up and running instead.
It took a few tries to remember how to make a sock, which was frustrating, but I eventually remembered all the steps and started pumping out new socks.
I started with some cheap yarn because all the steps were still stored in my head somewhere and I wasn’t 100% sure I was remembering the pattern for my foot correctly. For a while I sat there staring at the machine and thinking how much easier it would be if I would’ve just written it down somewhere. Even after making these socks, I still haven’t written it down. You know what would be smart? Putting a basic pattern here while I’m thinking about it, so I remember the row counts next time I bring the machine out.
Basic Men’s Ankle Sock – Size 12/13
72 needles ~100g/400m wool fingering yarn
Knit 50 rows Hang Hem to form cuff Knit 25 rows for leg Work Heel Knit 65 rows for foot (or length necessary for foot) Work Toe
I visited the local yarn shop on Saturday to get excited about making socks again and found some really beautiful yarns. The picture doesn’t do it justice. In real life, it’s pretty dark and has touches of color throughout. It’s surprisingly difficult to find yarn appropriate for a men’s sock and requires quite a bit of hunting and scavenging. Most yarns are too bright and too colorful and it’s hard to find more muted colorways that are still interesting enough without being a boring solid color.
Now that I know what I’m doing again, it’s time to produce another truck load of socks. Get ready for another avalanche of sock posts. Lucky you. 😉
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.