Saturday, November 16, 2013

Old Dog, New Tricks - My First Adventure into Toe-Up Socks

I have been knitting since I was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I was so young that I don't even remember learning how. I know it was before I could read. My mother loved to tell the story about one of my first days of school when I recited the alphabet back to the teacher. I said "H, I, J, Knit, L, M, N, O Purl."

I grew up on the prairies of South Dakota so our winters were spent trying to keep warm. Grandma lived only a few miles from us so she was at our house often. Mom and Grandma would sit in the parlor knitting and talking. Since I was a restless child (I think that is what they used to call ADHD), they taught me to give me something to do. Soon I was knitting slipper and doll clothes. I never really played with dolls, but I knitted clothes for them. I also remember knitting hats for my many cats.

I started knitting socks when I was in grade school. It was an easy transition because doll clothes were often done on double-pointed needles. Every single sock I ever knitted was on cuff down and I haven't used a pattern from beginning to end in years. I would look for a lace or rib pattern to use on the sock, do the math, and just start knitting. I have always done the toes and the heels the exact same way. After all, if something works, why fix it.

So at the ripe old age of 60 (yes, I am admitting my age), I decided to try my first pair of toe up socks. It's not like I had anything against toe-up socks; I could just knit socks faster cuff down. However when I found a pattern for hearts as the lace pattern in a toe-up pattern, it was time for this old dog to learn a new trick. I had this bright, bright scarlet red sock that was perfect for a heart lace pattern. So following a sock pattern -- remember I haven't followed a sock pattern from beginning to end in years, if ever -- and tackled a new way of doing toes and heels.  And I loved it! Not only is it fun, but the fit over my toes is even better than my cuff down. It is probably also the joy of learning something new.

So the lesson here is even after knitting for 55+ years, there are always new adventures, new skills, and new methods to learn, not just in knitting, but in life as well. And who knows, maybe one day I'll even try knitting socks on circular needles! Hmm, I'm not so sure about that. I really love my DPNs!


  1. Oooooo red hot, they are gorgeous x

  2. At the ripe age of 63 I decided that I needed to learn to knit continental. So last week I sat down in a class at my LYS and learned - now to apply the learning! Gorgeous, vibrant socks!

  3. Wonderful socks. I love knitting socks toe up and on circular needles--because I do love the ways the toes and heels fit and being able to try them on as I go--and I love finishing two at the same time. I knit many pairs top down on dpns, but I think I'll stick to the toe up on circular needles. (I too find patterns/lace I like and then do them toe up.)

  4. I'm on my first pair of toe ups using two circs. I'm finding a steep learning curve but am enjoying learning a new skill. I'm 65 so it's not as easy to learn something new as it use to be,

    I love your red socks.