Yesterday, when I got up and got ready for work, I popped on my new jelly bean socks as I had planned. I was surprised just how loose the ribbing was. It stretches and lays flush with the ankle, but it really had no strength to it. It wasn’t squeezing around the ankle like a commercial sock would. But then, my ribbing has no elastic woven into it like a commercial sock would either.
By the end of the day, it was just as stretched out as my non-ribbed sock was. And to be honest, I didn’t care for how the ribbing looked once it was on my foot and stretched.
I can see how ribbing could be useful for a smaller ankle. But my ankle is quite large and it doesn’t seem to make any difference unless I decided to start putting elastic in my sock… which I won’t, because I’m allergic to it, hence the reason I’m making my own socks to begin with.
I could also see myself using ribbing if I was making socks for someone else, they do look more polished and commercial if you add ribbing. But for me, the amount of work and time that goes into adding ribbing is not worth it. I think my future socks will just have a plain hung hem (like the bottom sock in the picture).
I may play with adding elastic just to see how well it works out and for any socks I make as gifts.
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.