Monday, January 1, 2007

$3,000 Socks

When I finally got a whole pair of perfect socks out of a sock machine I refused to wear them. I am going to frame them! They are the most expensive socks ever made. I have approximated the cost to be more than $3,000. They are not to be put on feet!

It had taken one convention, one new setup basket, one new Black & Decker Workmate Portable Project Center and Vise, one B&D Workmate Mastercart, one folding table (formerly a folding bar stool) with cutout, two years, two small folding bistro chairs, three sock machines, three workshops, four new fork weights, 150 different new needles and a partridge in a pear tree.

If anybody wants to give it a try I have to say in all honesty that I could have knit socks without the B&D equipment and quite a few of the other add-ons I purchased in hopes of changing my luck when everything was going wrong. I must also admit it was not always the machine that was the trouble. A lot of it was the operator.

Many people who are interested start researching and learn there are quite a few brands of these old machines. The question then is which machine is best. I now have an AutoKnitter, a Legare 400 and a Gearhart (circa 1917-1918). The best is the one that you can get a pair of socks out of, and that can be any brand. Another admission: in the two years it took me to knit a pair of socks there were periods of weeks when I could not devote the time needed for the learning curve. I did get at least one sock out of each of the machines, but perfectionist that I am, and not about to allow a machine to stop me from making my "ideal" sock with a ribbed cuff, I never made a second sock if the first had flaws. I raveled, rewound and started again. Some of those socks didn't just have flaws, they were flaws!

The last machine I bought was the Gearhart which is a war horse that doesn't throw up at the least little hitch in the yarn. I was able to knit a very nice pair of socks made from KnitPicks Simple Stripes, Crayon colorway.

Those are the socks to be framed. They were made on the Gearhart using a 60 slot cylinder and 30 slot riber. I'm going to knit a pair by hand in the same colorway and try to make them identical. Trial and error have shown that using a 60 stitch caston I'll need to use size US 0 needles. I'll frame those for comparison--$3,000 Socks vs $13 Socks.

Happy Knit Year!
Bona Fide Knitter


Laura said...

I sense the making of yet another exhilarating Mastercard commercial! Another 999 pairs of socks cranked out and your investment will have paid for itself. Provided you don't use an 18-carat gold for that frame, of course.

Love the blog! Are you sure BFK doesn't stand for Brilliant and Funny Knitter?

gwynlynch said...

As usual, your witty ways always shine through!
I LOVE your blog!!
I agree with Laura, BFK does stand for Brilliant and Funny Knitter!!