Tennis Socks

Remember when I was on a kick to knit my own tennis socks and fine tune the sock recipe? Yeah, it was fun. They wore really well. This summer, I wanted to make more.

Guess what? What I wrote on the blog was the extent of my notes on the recipes. Seriously. That’s it. At least I had the blog to refer back to, I guess, or I’d have nothing. Nothing.


This time, I’m making notes. There was a lot of ripping as I reconstructed the rolled rims. Hopefully, I won’t lose these notes.

These socks are slightly different from the first set because I’m using fishy lips heels. That has become my favorite short row heel construction method.

Anatomically Correct

A while back, I was talking socks with my friend, Vanessa. We compared the different ways of doing the toes. She always made her socks anatomically correct — as in, there is a distinct right sock and a left sock, based on how the toe is shaped. Why? Her kids refused to wear generic symmetrical toed socks when growing up because their feet were not shaped symmetrically.

With that information, I decided to make a pair of asymmetrical socks to see how I like them.

Asymmetrical Toes
Asymmetrical Toes

This is the first time I’ve worked with Zauberball. I’m still on the fence on this yarn.

It is a lightly twisted single yarn. This is not a great yarn if you are playing around with a new pattern that is made up as you go because it just didn’t take to ripping out repeatedly well.

The color changes are loooong and slow. But I found a couple of spots where the changes were abrupt without a break in the yarn. No knots, but just a crisp change in colors. You can see the line of color change on the bottom sock where it went from a pink-red to purple. There was a similar change in the purple itself on the top sock but because it was a light purple to a dark purple, it didn’t show up on camera as clearly.

Yes, the socks really are that bright.


My last gripe is that the length of the color repeats are not consistent. As you can see from the photo above, the purple of the top sock was much much longer than the bottom sock. So, instead of returning to bright orange, the cuff ended at red-orange.

As an aside, there appears to be another full sock remaining. By that, I mean that there is a full color repeat form orange to orange left in the ball. Yes, I rewound the ball to check the color repeat.


Again, no train, but we had a boat!

It was too hot and sticky on the boat to pull Kozue out, so I mostly ignored my knitting. But I  started a pair of socks with the sock yarn. Toward the second half of the dive trip, I pulled it out and worked on the socks fairly steadily while I read between dives or watched The Hobbit at night.


When asked, I said that I was too lazy to wash the one pair of socks I brought with me so I needed a new pair to fly home with. (I normally pack a pair of socks in my carry on to wear on the plane for long flights. It’s as necessary as my Bose noise canceling headset, pillow and shawl.)

Okay, it was a joke but it made people laugh…after they gave me “the look” followed by “you know, they have laundry service on the boat…”

I finished the socks at the Bali airport, just before they closed the doors for the first leg of my return.

Shaking it up

I have been happily using my basic sock recipe for years. Last month, 2 things happened:

  1. I heard about Cat’s new Sweet Tomato Heel, and
  2. I watched Vicki’s podcast about her vanilla sock recipe.

I’ve had a sock on the needles for months. It’s been my meeting knitting project, except I’ve been busy taking notes and not much time for knitting. However, I did just turn the heel and was making my way toward the cuff. At this rate, who knew when I would get to my next pair of socks?

So I ripped this sock back to the heel and tried out Cat’s new heel. When I got to approximately where I normally start my ribbing, I tried out Vicki’s method of 7×1 ribbing for a few rounds (5), 3×1 ribbing for a few more rounds (5), then continue with 1×1 ribbing until desired height.

Finished Sock with mods

It’s amazing how much faster you work when you are trying out new things. You can’t wait for it to finish to try it on. A train ride to the city and back (an hour each way) didn’t hurt.

So, what do I think?


Mixed results. The heel is a bust for two reason:

  1. The third short row didn’t fit my heel bone. But as Cat said, that can be adjusted. I could stop short of the full complement of short rows. That didn’t bother me as much as the next problem.
  2. Cat has you knit a couple of rounds plain in between the 3 short row segments. After the first segment, the sock is just too shallow for my high instep, and I found that those two rounds were really binding on my ankle. I didn’t notice it when I tried it on immediately after finishing the heel because the rest of the sock wasn’t in place and it didn’t sit in its normally location.

The first problem is solvable, but the second one was the clincher. This heel just doesn’t work on my foot. The whole point of knitting my own sock is to make socks that fit me like a glove, which, for a foot, is a sock. Ha!

But to its credit, I do like how it looks when laid flat!

Now, to Vicki’s ribbed cuff. That was interesting and fit well. She make hers that way for aesthetics. How my cuffs looked never really bothered me as long as they fit well and didn’t sag. So the ribbing is a wash. Just something else to tuck into my bag of tricks.

Yup. It’s been ripped. I’ve started the heel for the third time on this sock.

The yarn is 100% merino from Fancy Image, so it must mean I picked it up from Madrona at some point. And it also means that this pair of socks has a life expectancy of about 2 years. I hope it takes less than that to make them.

2013 Spring Cleaning #3


These socks have been sitting in my mending drawer for many years. I know I’m never going to mend them. They are now in the garbage can. They never made it back inside the house after the photoshoot.

Majority of these are Koigu socks. I love Koigu but they don’t make long wearing socks, at least, not for me. The few pairs of hand spun socks in there were painful to toss as well, but they gave me lots of pleasure from spinning, knitting to wearing.

What do they all have in common, aside from the holes? They are all 100% merino. ‘Nuff said.