I finished my clown puke aka "Eye of Jupiter" socks last week. This is a colorway that Ryan choose for me after seeing the yarn on The Yarn Harlot blog. They are totally sci fi for those who pay attention to such things. The colors are the same as the Eye of Jupiter Apollo saw on Battlestar Galactica and the yarn is sold by Sereknity Yarns (etsy shop). Serenity is the name of the ship on Firefly. Luckily I like the red, blue, yellow primary colors. To keep with the theme I found Snicket Socks (and evidently magknits is no longer publishing and the pattern isn't avialable right now) that were designed after the blouse Violet Beaudelaire wore in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
This is my 7th pair of socks in the last 2 years. I love knitting socks for so many reasons: they are quick, they are interesting, they can be challenging without being overwhelming, they are portable, the end result is both useful and beautiful, self-striping yarn provides it's own entertainment, and even the most expensive sock yarn won't break the bank when you splurge. You can only use so many hats and scarfs (of course, I have 8-11 heads to knit for) but you need a pair of socks for every day and every outfit.
I can knit a basic sock in a long weekend, even a more complicated sock doesn't take me much more than a week (however, the second sock can sometimes take me a month or more to even start). Because they are small they fit in my basket or bag and can go everywhere with me; swim lessons, appointments, classes, church, running errands. Even 5 minutes of knitting time increases the socks by a row or two.
Socks are great to learn new stitches and techniques- if you have to frog (rip it, rip it) them it's not tragic. There are 5 basic parts to a sock- cuff, leg, heel, foot, and toe. Cuffs, heels, and toes only have so many variations but the leg and the foot are blank canvases for stitches and ideas. I can start with a basic pattern and then make changes (I hate the monotony of a plain foot so I usually take the pattern down the top of the foot). I look on ravelry and other knitting blogs and browse the patterns that are available and choose a pattern based on the yarn I have or if the name catches my fancy. If there is something I don't know how to do I google it and read instructions until I figure out how to do it (knitting socks from the toe up still intimidates me, though).
Sock yarn does not count as stash! I remind Ryan of this quite often. I like to have at least one skein in reserve to start when I finish my current pair of socks. 2 or 3 is even better... Sock yarn is relatively inexpensive, I've spent as little as $7 and as much as $40 (that's the Eye of Jupiter yarn Ryan bought so it doesn't really count). $10-12 is about average. I like a wool with some nylon blend. I've knit yarn with bamboo and sea shells in it as well. I saw some opossum yarn from New Zealand that I would like to try (it's about 7 times warmer than wool). Mostly I've used mixed colors or self-striping yarns, I'd like to knit some semi-solid jade green yarn.
As long as we live where its cold I'll wear wool socks so I guess I'll be knitting socks for a long time. Here's my next pair- it's Wisdom Yarns Poems sock yarn from Turkey. The pattern is a mystery, really! Each week I get the instructions for the next part of the sock. So far I've done the cuff and started the leg. Thursday I'll get the heel instructions. The really hard part is that there aren't any pictures with the pattern so I'm not sure what it's really supposed to look like.